Keeping Those We Love Safe and Secure

Cristin Flynn Goodwin

If board member Cristin Flynn Goodwin had a theme song, it would likely be Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.” Cristin is one determined woman who feels strongly about keeping who and what we love safe and secure.   

A lawyer by trade, Cristin spent 17 years at Microsoft working in its legal department helping the company muddle its way through issues from cyberattacks to the war in Ukraine. She exudes the quiet confidence one needs to remain level-headed in the middle of a crisis. Cristin is adept at helping others manage and thrive in such events. She now has several of her own businesses which enables her to apply a career’s worth of experience to a broader set of clients.

While she’s been in the Seattle area for the past fifteen years, she considers the east coast her “heart home.” She grew up surrounded by pets like cat Winnie the Pooh and golden retriever Tigger and used to volunteer on a neighbor’s farm, helping take care of dairy cows – which was a lot of hard work!

Cristin joined the Seattle Humane board in June 2023 at the urging of fellow Microsoft security executive and board member Ann Johnson. Ann knew Cristin was a rescue dog mom and committed to animal welfare. Cristin had also adopted a cat from Seattle Humane in 2022, and was so impressed by the team, the volunteers, the care for the animals, and the entire adoption process.

After doing some research into Seattle Humane and the leadership team she knew she would be among kindred spirits.

“I looked at the mission and saw those involved as responders as well. They are protecting those in need, who are in crisis and can’t speak for themselves. I think that’s truly a wonderful thing,” she reflects.

Cristin is energized by the role that Seattle Humane can play, not just in our backyard but far beyond, by establishing best practices and being a beacon of hope for the community. “One of the things I hope to achieve is leveraging some of my incident response experience working with the federal government and FEMA. How can we utilize some of the response tools in the U.S. to help Seattle Humane support disaster rescue like it for the Maui cats but at a bigger scale?”

Her commitment to responding and helping those who need it most is not only a professional endeavor, but also personal, namely with her pets. Almost two decades ago, Cristin adopted her first German shepherd, Max. Her family walked into a rescue in Virginia and looked for the one who had the roughest start in life.  

After grieving Max’s passing, they contacted the Washington State German Shepherd Rescue and again asked for a “hard case.” This is when she met her aptly named dog, Shadow.

“She was actually an American Kennel Club registered dog. Her previous owner just mistreated her and ultimately, she was surrendered at seven months old and was just a mess. In the first week we got her she ate a vacuum, and she even ate the crown molding off the door. She didn’t know how to be around people or dogs.”

Shadow in her happy place

Of course, Cristin didn’t give up on Shadow. She knew the work she needed to put in and that it would take months of discipline in a smart, safe way. She provided the necessary structure and support to make Shadow feel safe and secure.

“Now she’s a big, wonderful girl. I could put either of my German shepherds in a room full of toddlers and they’d be perfect,” she shares. She continues to foster German shepherds and is currently hosting a three-month-old German shepherd puppy who’s afraid of people and loves to chew on expensive things.

When she’s not counseling her clients through a crisis or hanging out with her two kids, you’ll find her skiing in the Snoqualmie back country. Shadow frequently joins her, and she loves the snow. Cristin will hike to the top of a hill and Shadow will chase her down repeatedly.

Cristin’s hope is that everyone can experience the joy that pets can bring to our lives. We have little doubt that she will do all that she can to achieve this goal!

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