Humane Society Silicon Valley | Dave Duffield
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Interview with Workday Chairman and Co-Founder and Maddie's Fund® Founder Dave Duffield

By Carol Novello, Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) President, July 2014

After celebrating the success of this year's 5th Annual Maddie's Pet Adoption Days®, Maddie's Fund founder Dave Duffield recently took time to chat with me about the significant role animals play in his and his family's lives. Thanks to Maddie's Fund, Humane Society Silicon Valley proudly participated in the country's largest free pet adoption event, finding forever homes for 240 animals and earning a $194,000 grant from Maddie's Fund. Learn more about the Humane Side of Dave Duffield in his Q&A below.

1. Did you grow up with animals? How did they affect your childhood?

The closest my brother and I came to having pets was a series of parakeets and my aunt’s dachshund. A very special Miniature Schnauzer named Maddie was my first dog. My wife Cheryl and I adopted her in 1986, and she blazed the trail for 10 other dogs plus 7 adopted children who’ve joined our family since then. The latest is Libby, an 8-month-old Miniature Schnauzer/Wirehaired Fox Terrier mix that Cheryl discovered during last month’s Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days, a weekend of no-cost shelter pet adoptions that our family foundation sponsors each year.

2. What kind of animal companion(s) do you have now and how long have they been a part of your life?

We currently have four dogs—Riley, a Havanese; Maggie, a Miniature Schnauzer; Reagan, a German Shepherd; and Libby. We also have four birds. Peanut, our oldest parrot, has been with Cheryl and me for 31 years.

3. What have your animals taught you and your family about compassion, awareness, and wisdom?

All our dogs over the years, but particularly Maddie, have reminded us to step away from the stress of everyday life and remember that things like family, loyalty, and faithfulness are what really matter. When you see that kindness in the faces of your pets and kids, the less important stuff fades away.

Building Maddie’s Fund also opened our eyes to the challenges, humiliations, and tragedies that millions of companion animals face every day. But instead of feeling hopeless or taken down by these issues, we see opportunities to save lives and possibly help make the world a more compassionate place in some small way.

4. How have your animals made a positive difference in your personal and/or professional lives?

Having pets has surely helped our children learn compassion and responsibility, as anyone with a pet would attest.

Professionally, I’ve always liked having dogs come to the office, as they bring with them a happy and friendly spirit.

5. Have any specific interactions with your animal companions formed your leadership style?

My leadership influences and beliefs started long before I had pets, so I don’t have much to say here. I might turn this around and say that my leadership style—putting employees and customers first—has more likely influenced my interactions with pets.

6. We live in a fast paced, high technology era with instant gratification coming to us from various digital sources. How does your animal companions remind you to live in the moment?

I’m not much of a networker—either in person or on social media. Cheryl and I don’t attend events or galas and such, and I’m not a user of any social media sites. Rather, we prefer to spend any free time at home with kids, dogs, and birds. For me, being with a playful pup is far more satisfying than a fundraising dinner or networking conference.

7. Is there a specific story you’d like to share about one of your pets and the impact it’s had on you and your family?

The most obvious is Maddie, the namesake of our family foundation, Maddie’s Fund. As mentioned earlier, Maddie was our first “dog kid,” and she showed Cheryl and me what having a family felt like. Additionally, when times got tough (and they did when we were mortgaging our home to fund a startup company), Maddie always made us laugh or did something sassy that sidetracked us. We needed the diversion, and I think she knew it.

8. Does your company support employees having pets or involvement with organizations that support animal rescue?

Workday hosts an annual Bring Your Dog to Workday, as well as Bring Your Kids to Workday, and Bring Your Teens to Workday. Additionally, we match donations and volunteer time given to any 501c(3) organization, and many of those matches go to animal welfare organizations. Dogs are also welcome at Workday’s offices daily.

I’d like to thank Dave Duffield and Maddie’s Fund for their continued support in helping Humane Society Silicon Valley “To save and enhance lives.” We couldn’t do it without people like you!