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Austin Pets Alive! CX Consulting

Role: Maddie's Fund Customer Experience & Technology Consultant

Background: APA! is a leading progressive animal shelter in Austin, Texas. I was brought on for a year engagement to evaluate and improve the experience of foster parents and adoptive parents at APA!. This work was a very collaborative and workshop-heavy effort in order to great more transparency and alignment amongst the team. It then evolved from focusing on just the foster/adopter experience to the experience of the Dogs in care. Both of the people-focused and dog-focused initiatives lead to a series of initiatives owned by respective team members.


  1. Conducted workshops for PSI (People Support Initiative) to uncover opportunities for improvements to the foster or adopter experience

  2. Conducted workshops for DSI (Dog Support Initiaitve) to identify pain points and areas for growth, alignment, and change management

  3. Gave Dog Team at APA! executable ideas for action and oversaw checkpoints for progress


1. Journey Mapping of Foster and Adopter Processes and Experience

I first kicked off the PSI portion of the project (People Support Initiative), by leading shelter staff through a series of workshops to map experience for:

- Adopter in shelter, bite at home

-Adopter process during COVID

-Foster process - new foster

-Foster process - veteran foster

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2. Pain Point Affinitization + Goal Alignment & Solutioning

Worked with PSI staff to sort painpoints across the buckets of services provided and which type of persona it would be helping (Adopters vs. Fosters). They then voted on which pain points they’d like to solve and wrote goals for their programs.


We took those goals and did some brainstorming around possible initiatives.

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3. Gap Analysis and Action Items

We utilized Airtable to harvest the initiative ideas from the workshop series and assigned ownership, priorities, and dates

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4. Empathy Maps and Dog Support Initiative Pain points

We shifted gears to focus on improving the Dog Care Program (DSI). We started with empathy mapping for the different staff roles involved, as well as pain point gathering.

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5. Ideation and Priority Matrix

The Dog Care staff were asked to ideate on the problems identified in the previous workshop and then to sort them along the axis of “Resistance” vs. “Importance/Impact”.

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6. Systems Mapping for Program Change Management

Workshop to map the differences between the FC and VF programs. We then highlighted areas for future alignment and ways to merge the program into one.

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7. Dog Care-Specific Pain Point Documentation

The Dog Care staff was going through a lot of team changes and need for alignment. We conducted a large pain point documentation session to record all of the areas for improvement for the new management coming in. These were then sorted into a matrix with problems around Communication, Resources, and Technology/systems on one axis and the level of effort it would take to solve these across the other axis..

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