Emily L’Heureux made official after serving three months as the nonprofit’s interim CEO

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — Woods Humane Society has named Emily L’Heureux as its new chief executive officer. 

“The Board of Directors is thrilled to officially announce Emily’s promotion to the role of CEO this month,” said Board President Kandy Noel. “Emily brings a passion for animal welfare advocacy and a long, successful career in business management to this important position. She has a deep knowledge of our organization’s history, mission, vision, and values, and has proven to be an effective leader and collaborator. For all of these reasons and more, she has the full and enthusiastic support of the board.”

Noel explains that L’Heureux has already made an impact on Woods Humane Society. She has increased donations by more than 40 percent; nearly doubled social media engagement to over 80,000 followers; overseen multiple individual fundraising campaigns that have broken organization records; and has personally secured six-figure gifts that will have a lasting effect on the future of the organization.


Notably, as director of development, L’Heureux navigated a time of unprecedented fundraising and operational challenges during the pandemic and led Woods Humane Society to receive increased donations and community support crucial to continuing to fund its operations, fulfill its mission in the San Luis Obispo County community, and perform up to 3,000 adoptions per year.

After three months as the interim CEO, L’Heureux says she is honored to take this next step with the organization. 

“I came to Woods because I believed it to be the most dynamic, progressive and impactful animal shelter I had ever seen,” she said. “I knew there was no better place to join if I wanted to make a difference in the lives of homeless animals. This is the exact same inspiration that drives me today. It is an incredible honor for me to now lead, and also continue to serve this great organization. I am completely committed to building upon Woods Humane Society’s proud legacy of high-quality animal care and community impact.”

As a lifelong advocate of adoption and community service, stemming from her early years of volunteering and fostering rescue animals, L’Heureux is passionate about connecting with, inspiring and empowering generous supporters and animal lovers to fuel the life-saving and transformative work of animal welfare. 

Originally from the Central Valley, she says she has always had a house full of rescued animals, and her current group includes 4-year-old shepherd-mix Ranger and kitten Nirmal, both adopted from Woods. 

In addition to her tireless work for homeless animals, she currently serves as vice president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (San Luis Obispo chapter), is a founding board member of Junior League of the Central Coast, and is a member of the South County YMCA Advisory Committee.

Woods Humane Society is located at 875 Oklahoma Ave., San Luis Obispo, and at 2300 Ramona Road, Atascadero, and is open to the public daily from 12 to 5 p.m., with adoption hours from 12 to 4 p.m. For more information about Woods, visit WoodsHumane.org or call (805) 543-9316.

Feature Image: New Woods Humane Chief Executive Officer Emily L’Heureux. Contributed Photo