Lisa LaVerdiere – Founder of Home for Life Animal Sanctuary

It takes tremendous energy and relentlessness to create ideas. I find once I begin and an idea gets momentum it’s easier to get traction to see them actually take shape

Lisa (Micallef) LaVerdiere was born in Minnesota and is a graduate of Georgetown Univesity and William Mitchell College of Law. She worked as a lawyer for nearly 15 years, focusing her practice in the area of products liability and toxic tort law. Her work on behalf of children affected by lead poisoning was the highlight of her career.

In 1997, Lisa founded Home for Life Animal Sanctuary, which had been the culmination of nearly a lifetime of volunteer work on behalf of forgotten animals. Foreshadowing her dedication to the welfare of unwanted animals, Lisa began her volunteer work at a local open admission humane society at age 8 doing everything from feeding the animals to cleaning cages to walking dogs to assisting visitors to the shelter in choosing a pet to adopt. This experience motivated Lisa to do all she could to work toward a day when the tragic loss of life she witnessed as a child would come to an end. Later as a lawyer, she served as a volunteer and board member with a no kill shelter. These experiences and other work in the animal welfare field convinced Lisa of the need for an innovative 3rd alternative for animals at shelters beyond the two options of adoption or euthanasia offered at traditional shelters.

Where did the idea for Home for Life come from?

Directly from my volunteer work in the animal welfare field for both open admission and no kill shelters

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I feel I can always be more productive. I tend to be a night owl. During the day, I tend to be on the go, on the phone, in meetings, at the sanctuary- very active. At night I am able to concentrate and sustain attention to be creative and more productive especially when writing.

How do you bring ideas to life?

It takes tremendous energy and relentlessness to create ideas. I find once I begin and an idea gets momentum it’s easier to get traction to see them actually take shape

What’s one trend that really excites you?

The opportunity to reach so far and wide through social media although there is so much noise it’s hard to be heard

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

My habit of working and trying to be productive every single day. I don’t enjoy relaxing or vacation.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I don’t know if I can say any of my jobs were the worst. Being a lawyer had the biggest and most varied set of problems but also the biggest opportunities for learning. With every decision I made being dictated by an enormous, complex and ever-changing set of rules, it becomes difficult to not live that way all the time. I would say the biggest thing I learned was that there are multiple ways to deal with any problem and thinking outside the box can get you far.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would try my best every day and let the future take care of itself- the particularly being true when I was in school and worried so much about the future

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Read widely and never stop learning

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Focusing on the individual animals in our care and telling their stories instead of focusing on moving numbers thru a system

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I can raise money but it has been a challenge to manage it. we have had to raise the same amount each year to run Home for Life that it took to build it from the ground up

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Pet owners have great insecurity about what will happen to their animals when they die or if they get too ill to care for them. There is a great opportunity to create a safety net for people to turn to for care of their pets if they were to pass away

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Paying to have someone create our E newsletter so I didn’t have to spend time learning to do it myself

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Google chrome- easy to navigate; ConstantContact for E newsletter; Google Blogger. I am not that up on all the bells and whistles out there- I like to stick with what works- for instance I have been with Constant Contact for 10 years

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Bold by Peter Diamandis. It has nothing to do with animal welfare but it really lays out the tremendous opportunity that is out there for those who are forward thinking. Just extrapolate to whatever field you’re in

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Merritt Clifton, Jon Katz and Nathan Winograd. They are not at all on the same page and that’s the value of reading them

Merrit Clifton:
Jon Katz:
Nathan Winogrand :



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