Like many of us in 2020, Debbi Gillotti reevaluated what was most important to her and how she wanted to intentionally spend her time moving forward. Deciding to dedicate more of her energy to animal welfare initiatives she holds dear brought her closer to Seattle Humane. She recognized the innovative community services Seattle Humane offers and wanted to help make more of an impact for pets and the people who love them. “The programs we have to extend care into the community go beyond the traditional animal shelter concept.”
Gillotti has supported Seattle Humane since the early 2000s, contributing to integral efforts, including the capital campaign that brought our community-centric campus to fruition, in addition to kitten fostering initiatives.
“That’s what we really like to support, specifically, the foster program,” says Gillotti. “We were at the shelter when these poor little kittens were brought in who were very young and sick, who probably wouldn’t have survived otherwise.”
Gillotti joined the board in 2020, just in time to support the organization’s new 5-year strategic plan. She looks forward to Seattle Humane’s expansion of industry-leading programs supporting pet owners throughout the lifecycle of their pets. “It’s more than just ‘get a pet and go home,’” explains Gillotti. “We want to be able to support that family through their journey whenever they need help.”
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing inequities and availability of veterinary care in the greater Seattle area and across the nation. “The saddest thing, I think, is when someone has to surrender their pet because they can’t afford to take care of them anymore. That, to me, is so heartbreaking,” says Gillotti. As a board member, she is prioritizing the accessibility of pet-centric services in the community to help keep pets with the people who love them. “Those are the challenges we have to look at: the cost of care, the availability of care, and the availability of services.”
Gillotti is especially proud of Seattle Humane’s partnership with Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. The collaboration exemplifies a few of Seattle Humane’s priorities in action: making veterinary care accessible across the greater Seattle area and investing in the next generation of leaders in animal welfare. Gillotti believes the partnership’s offerings allow the organization to continue to serve as a resource to families and their pets in the community. “It’s good for the community to have this foundation,” Gillotti adds with pride.
Outside of her contributions to Seattle Humane, Gillotti stays busy with professional and more philanthropic ventures. A seasoned information technology professional, she is the Chief Operating Officer of nVoq Incorporated, a healthcare software company headquartered in Boulder, Colorado. She is a board officer of two Mercer Island community organizations. Gillotti is also a Distinguished Alumni Fellow and long service trustee of the University of Pittsburgh, where she actively chairs committees and supports numerous student programs.
At home, Gillotti enjoys spending quality time with her husband, Jay, and cats Oliver, Dexter and Jasper. “We’re just a cat household,” Gillotti says with a chuckle. Each of her Siamese/Balinese “boys” has a distinct personality and an individual daily routine you will find the Gillottis abiding by. Oliver demands to be brushed in his designated brushing spot in the house, Jasper insists on playing fetch and Dexter has a morning regimen that often interrupts Gillotti’s at-home workout routine. “I can only do that after I’ve given Dexter his appropriate level of attention, which means picking him up, and carrying him around and giving him a lot of caresses.”
As a Seattle Humane board member, Gillotti serves on the Strategic Planning Committee, chairs the Governance & Nominations Committee and co-chairs the Audit & Risk Management Committee. Gillotti continues to work closely with the organization’s leadership to bring its strategic vision to life.