Frequently Asked Questions

This page explains the session proposal process for Animal Care Expo, the largest professional development conference and trade show for animal welfare professionals and volunteers. If you would like to be considered as a speaker, use this as a guide as you turn your session idea into a well-written proposal.

When and where is Animal Care Expo?

Animal Care Expo will take place at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, Florida on April 19-22, 2022.

Who attends Animal Care Expo?

Animal Care Expo is attended by those who work and volunteer in animal shelters, rescue groups, national animal protection organizations and includes leadership, operations staff, marketing and fundraising professionals, veterinarians and vet techs, kennel staff, animal care and control officers, trainers and behaviorists, and more.

What is the timeline?

Session proposals will be accepted through the online form until Friday, August 13th at 5:00 p.m. ET. After sessions have been reviewed everyone who submitted will be notified of the status of their proposal.

Do I have to be a speaker in order to submit a session idea?

Yes, only submit a session if you intend to be a speaker for the topic.

What are the chances that my session will be selected?

We receive hundreds of session proposals every year. Our Animal Care Expo team selects proposals on a wide variety of progressive topics relevant to animal sheltering and rescue. The odds of a session being selected depend on the quality of the proposal, the total number of proposals received and the quantity/quality of similar proposals.

Please understand that opportunities are limited, so not every proposal can be accepted. The HSUS reserves the right to select session topics and speakers at its sole discretion and may reject a proposal for any reason. 

Proposals will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Note that tracks will not be determined until after sessions are reviewed and selected
  • Relevance of the content
  • Quality and clarity of the session proposal
  • Speaker professional background and experience

These were the top-viewed sessions of 2021, which was held online:

  • Fix it or nix it: Toxicity in the workplace
  • HQHVSN: Techniques and options that impact patient care, efficiency and budget
  • Integrating shelter animals into homes with pets
  • Pet acquisition: Perspectives from animal welfare leaders
  • The past, present and future of adoptions
  • Assessing and progressing at-risk dogs
  • Building local support for progressive community cat policy
  • Innovations in return-to-home programs

What Expo participants want:

  • Deep dives into topics
  • Specific best practices, strategies and tools they can use
  • Audience engagement
  • Clear learning outcomes

What Expo participants don’t want:

  • A session dominated by basic content or an overview of your organization’s programs
  • Presentations that do not match the session description
  • Sessions that focus on sales pitches for products or services
  • Unprepared speakers

What can I do to improve the likelihood of my session being chosen?

There are a number of steps that you can take to make your proposal more likely to be selected:

  • Fill out the session proposal form completely, correctly and on time.
  • Consider submitting an advanced-level session for those attendees with many years of experience in the field.
  • Choose a topic and be specific. Subjects like "dog behavior" and "fundraising" are very general, so be sure to explain what specific aspects your session addresses. Better examples would be "using clicker training to improve dog behavior in the shelter" or "how to attract new donors through Instagram."
  • Make the most of the description space. Do your best to paint a clear and accurate picture of what your session entails.

Can I submit more than one session?

Yes, we encourage and prefer for you to submit at least two sessions. If you choose to submit multiple sessions, please be sure to complete a submission form for each one.

How much time is allowed for the sessions?

Standard sessions are either 60 or 75 minutes, Learning Labs are 6.5 hours with an 75-minute lunchbreak. 

How many speakers can I propose per session?

For standard 60 or 75-minute sessions, no more than two speakers. Learning Labs may have up to four speakers.

Who can submit a session for consideration?

Anyone—as long as the topic is relevant to the conference and the person submitting is qualified to speak on that topic.

Do speakers receive compensation?

As a general rule, the HSUS will provide each speaker a complimentary full-conference Animal Care Expo registration including a Learning Lab. Speakers who work for a 501c3 organization or municipal agency (and others on a case-by-case basis) will receive one-night hotel at the Orlando World Center Marriott during the conference dates for each standard session presented and/or two-nights for presenting a Learning Lab. We do not want the inability to cover travel expenses to prevent a speaker from participating; therefore, a stipend of up to $500 may be available to speakers who require it in order to attend Animal Care Expo. We are unable to pay a honorarium or speaking fee to Animal Care Expo speakers.

Can representatives of for-profit companies submit session proposals?

Yes, but make sure your session isn’t simply an advertisement for your company. Sessions must aim to educate shelter and rescue professionals, not sell them a product. Overtly commercial submissions will not be considered.

What are other requirements?

  • Each speaker must sign an Event Speaker Agreement
  • Each speaker must submit a short biography and photo
  • A digital handout is required for each session
  • A title and description is required for each session
  • Speakers who are presenting a session together must collaborate and rehearse

What should I expect if I am selected to present at Expo 2022?

If your proposal is selected for Animal Care Expo, we will contact you via email to confirm your availability and proposal content. You will have access to a speaker management portal that will include information and deadlines for registering for the conference, submitting handouts, signing up to host a round table and more.  We reserve the right to edit your session title and description in our conference materials, or to pair you with another speaker on your topic.

What should I do if I have technical problems submitting my session?

Please email with a detailed description of the problem.