Philly Happening has been hard at work naming the top 10 Movers and Shakers of 2016 and the much anticipated list is out!

We’re taking the opportunity to shine the spotlight on each one of the amazing people who made this year’s list.

Jen Leary is the founder of the Red Paw Emergency Relief Team. Her efforts help over 800 displaced animals every year.  Jen was kind enough to take some time to answer a few of our questions.

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-11-34-53-amPH: What town do you live in?

JL: I live in the Grays Ferry section of Philly

PH: Where did you attend school?

JL: I am currently attending Philadelphia University in their Leadership In Emergency Services Program.

PH: What motivates you every morning?

JL: Freshly brewed Starbucks!

PH: What would you say is your idea of a perfect day?

JL: Hoodie weather, with a pumpkin spice latte in hand, no fires in the city, football on TV and the Eagles beat the Cowboys!

PH: Who inspires you?

JL: The first responders we work so closely with on disaster scenes and the families we assist who work so hard to recover after they have lost so much.

img_6421PH: How did you decide to go into your business/profession/service?

JL: I was a Philadelphia FF for seven years and have been a disaster responder for the Red Cross for ten years. I saw there was a gap in emergency response services when companion pets are affected and knew I had the background and skills to help fill it. Five years later Red Paw has helped over 2000 families with pets who have been affected by a residential fire or disaster.

PH: Which achievement are you most proud of?

JL: Red Paw is the first of it’s kind in the country, and in 2013 we were added to the City of Philadelphia’s Emergency Response Plan.

PH: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?

JL: Getting Red Paw’s name out there and having community members and first responders understand who we are and what we do. And changing people’s assumptions that Red Paw is a shelter or an animal rescue. Red Paw is an emergency response organization that provides specialized emergency assistance for families affected by residential fires and disasters. People want us to be a shelter or rescue but we just aren’t. We provide a very specific service.

PH: What is the biggest accomplishment that you’d like to achieve over the next 5 years?

JL: I’d really want to acquire funding for paid staff and a building for Red Paw’s Emergency Intake Facility and Headquarters.

PH: How do you think your friends & coworkers would describe you?

JL: Someone who is driven, a little bit stubborn and an overachiever who expects a lot out of people but never asks someone to do something she isn’t willing to do. Also, addicted to coffee, pizza and the iPhone! Lover of social media and football season.

PH: Where’s your favorite place to go in Philadelphia County?

JL: LaVa Cafe in Graduate Hospital to do work, 1 Life 1 You Fitness in Port Richmond to workout, LaColombe in Fishtown for meetings, Continental in Rittenhouse for brunch, Tacconelli’s in Port Richmond for pizza, PARC in Rittenhouse for dessert and any Starbucks I drive by for coffee!

PH: If you could take a time machine back to visit yourself 10 years ago. What advice would you give?

JL: Stay in school.

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