Kellogg World Alumni Magazine Spring 2005Kellogg School of Management
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  Pam Carey
  Pam Carey '93 with her dog Coco

Alumni Profile: Pam Carey '93

The 'unwanted' redeemed
This Kellogg alum is working to ensure that every dog — and cat — has its day

by Raksha Varma

When it comes to her professional life, Pam Carey '93 does not believe in starting from scratch — even if some of her cherished clients are fond of scratching.

"There are too many lives at stake to re-invent the wheel," says Carey, who is the executive director for Pets Are Worth Saving (PAWS) Chicago, Chicago's largest nonprofit, no-kill humane organization. "Our energy should be spent on saving animals. We ensure that this mission can continue by paying close attention to our fiscal health and using strong business skills throughout our organization."

Carey oversees a multitude of programs for PAWS, which employs one full-time veterinarian, a group of vet technicians, 20 staff members and nearly 300 volunteers.

Originally from Joliet, Ill., Carey, 44, graduated in 1982 from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign). With this degree and a CPA certificate, she went to work for BP Amoco (formerly Amoco) in 1983.

"As the years passed, my management style became sharper because I had the opportunity to interact with a variety of groups and (functional) disciplines," says Carey, who spent 16 years as a manager with BP Amoco, one of the world's largest oil companies, in both the Chicago suburbs and Houston.

"Instead of using the command/control style, I shifted to a participative style of management," Carey says, noting that this approach encourages excellence and team building.

While working for BP Amoco, Carey entered the Kellogg School's part-time MBA program in 1988, where she specialized in marketing.

"Kellogg helped me to develop further my team-building skills," she says. "And whether you're an individual contributor or a leader, Kellogg instills the value of exceptional interpersonal and communication skills."

After she completed the program in 1993, Carey eventually left BP Amoco in 1999 and took a two-year sabbatical from the work force.

"I wanted to make a huge change," explains Carey, who helped her husband build their dream house in Lake Forest, Ill., during the sabbatical. "Although leaving the work force is a risk, it's a calculated one."

Carey's father was also diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2001. "Being off from work also meant I had more time to dedicate to my father and family during this most difficult time," she says. "That experience taught me to re-assess my life."

She re-entered the labor force in 2002, in a job she felt passionate about. "When I evaluated my life, I realized I wanted to work in the animal welfare field," says Carey, who has two dogs and a cat.

Before Carey attained a full-time position, she educated herself about the field. "Volunteer programs and workshops helped me get my bearings," recalls Carey, who volunteered for United Way and local Chicago programs, where she walked, groomed and cared for dogs. "A little bit of volunteering makes all the difference. It's an outlet for those who want to contribute."

Eventually, Carey's volunteer work brought her to PAWS, where she was hired initially as a consultant.

Founded in 1997, PAWS is a nonprofit whose mission involves ameliorating Chicago's pet overpopulation. More than 28,000 dogs and cats were euthanized in the city last year, Carey says, adding that PAWS uses its adoption agency, spay/neuter clinic and humane education center to combat this situation.

"You can't 'adopt' your way out of this (overpopulation)," Carey says. "The real solution is targeted spay/neuter programs to prevent these unwanted litters in the first place."

The organization's Lurie Family Spay/Neuter clinic performs nearly 50 surgeries per day. In total, the clinic has done more than 23,000 surgeries, which are free for the pets of those on public assistance and to anyone who lives in one of PAWS' 14 targeted low-income ZIP codes in Chicago. Other clients pay $40 for the services. PAWS plans to increase its clinic's work by 20 percent in the next year.

Carey, who became executive director for PAWS in 2004, is responsible for the clinic, adoption programs and community outreach.

Her strategic approach is governed by the business skills Kellogg helped provide: Carey says she emphasizes a culture of accountability that values volunteerism and collaboration.

"Everyone, from the vet technicians to the volunteers, plays a critical role," says Carey. "We work together because we share a common goal — saving the lives of animals."

For more information about PAWS, visit

©2002 Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University