Weber Shandwick Abu Dhabi MD Takes Love of Animals to New Level

Sarah Bartlett, Managing Director of Weber Shandwick’s Abu Dhabi office, is certainly passionate about her job. But after hours, she spends much of her time on another passion, working with animals, chiefly with the NGO, Animal Action UAE.

By day, Sarah Bartlett is the Managing Director of Weber Shandwick’s Abu Dhabi office. But after hours she devotes herself to work of a different kind – as a volunteer with Animal Action UAE.

“My day includes giving strategic reputation management advice to clients, business financial planning, liaising with organizations who approach us for support and ensuring that my team of 20 has the physical and mental support needed to do their jobs, which can be pressured and stressful as our industry never switches off,” says Ms. Bartlett. “I am on call 24/7, at weekends, too.”

A typical day for Ms. Bartlett starts with catching up with what happened overnight at Animal Action UAE via Facebook, before she begins her official duties at Weber Shandwick. Ms. Bartlett’s lunchtimes are usually spent at her desk on the Animal Action UAE Facebook group, with a sandwich in one hand and tapping out client copy and updates with the other hand.

After work, she generally heads to the Australian Veterinary Hospital in Khalifa City, to visit some of the charity’s rescued animals. The organization has a front-line team of seven women with an additional 200 volunteers across the UAE involved in their foster network.

“Many of our animals are physically sick or injured through road traffic accidents, disease or starvation, or emotionally damaged, often from abuse by humans,” says Ms. Bartlett. “I psychologically evaluate them, help socialize them where needed and give them love and attention to assist their paths to recovery and successful homing.”

Her role means she gets to see humanity at its best – “especially the selfless volunteers I work alongside and people who are willing to take on animals with substantial problems” – and at its worst – “I’ll never get used to the deliberate abuse we witness. Many of our animals are psychologically damaged.”

But there are joyful moments in her voluntary role, as well. “Last autumn I took in a tiny paralyzed kitten that we were advised to have put to sleep,” she recalls. “I was only supposed to have her for her final weekend on earth but she went from strength to strength, and was later adopted by an amazing couple on Reem Island.”

Ms. Bartlett explains that her career complements her charity work, “in terms of understanding how to communicate with people, using social media to find supporters and raising awareness for the work we do, and I have been extremely fortunate to combine my professional passions with my volunteer work.”

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