On January 1st, The Raptor Center will enter a new era as it welcomes Victoria Hall, DVM, MS, DACVPM as the third director in its almost 50-year history. Hall joined the staff in June as the first holder of the Redig Endowed Chair in Raptor and Ecosystem Health. Current director Julia Ponder, DVM, MPH, whose visionary leadership has taken the organization to new heights, will pass the torch as she takes on an expanded leadership role with the College of Veterinary Medicine. In addition, she will stay intimately involved with TRC, leading special projects such as the Partners for Wildlife program and helping Hall with the transition.
“I am so thrilled to have Dr. Ponder as a mentor and resource during and beyond this leadership transition,” Hall says.
Hall’s impressive background in management, veterinary practice, and global public health ensures TRC’s sustainability and strengthens its credibility on One Health issues. Ponder couldn’t be happier. "We are all in this together—raptors, humans, environment,” Ponder says. “It is a system that we are all integrally part of and dependent on. And TRC is an amazing tool for getting this message out."
That One Health message was gaining traction in 2007 as Ponder inherited the leadership role from Dr. Patrick Redig. She quickly applied her strong skills in fundraising and communications to strengthen TRC’s position. “I capitalized on every opportunity, shared my vision, and was able to connect with the amazing community that makes our work possible.”
One of those early opportunities was conversations about the potential to create a permanently funded, raptor-oriented chair. Strong support from generous donors made the Redig Endowed Chair a reality in 2019. Hall was recruited via an international search.
With a few months of experience at TRC, Hall is even more excited for the future. “After these stressful, challenging times of COVID-19 restrictions, I am even more impressed. I believe that there is nothing better than to help lead and enable a passionate, driven team to do really important work that matters.”
One of Hall’s early projects was to guide TRC’s transition to virtual programming. “The education team has taken the challenges of COVID-19 and turned them into opportunities as they rapidly create, test, and launch new virtual offerings to help support our community and schools,” Hall explains. “The dedication of the staff, expertise in education development and delivery, and passion for education and outreach makes TRC an unstoppable force for good in the world.”
With the leadership transition, Hall and Ponder look forward to continuing the mission and impact of TRC for many years to come. “Over fifteen years ago, I was given the gift of having Dr. Redig as a mentor and resource when I took over leadership of TRC,” says Ponder. “Giving TRC the gift of deliberate leadership transition will ensure continuity and strength as it moves into the future.”