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 2023 will take place at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana on April 3-6, 2023.

Who attends Animal Care Expo?

Animal Care Expo is attended by those who work and volunteer in animal shelters, rescue groups, and 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 Midnight, Sunday, July 17, 2022. After the Content Review Team has assessed all sessions and made their selections, anyone who submitted a proposal will be notified of the status by the end of September.

May I submit a session proposal for a colleague?

You may submit a session proposal for a colleague who has asked you to submit on their behalf. Please DO NOT submit a session without the consent of the proposed speaker(s).

What are the chances that my session will be selected?

We receive hundreds of session proposals every year. Our Content Review 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 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 and 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

The top session of 2022 in Orlando were:

  • Access to veterinary care
  • Boost employee morale
  • Creating highly effective teams
  • Foster is the future
  • From fearful to adopted
  • Fundraising for impact
  • Shelter enrichment for dogs and cats
  • Do the reunite thing/return to home
  • Resiliency in social media

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 do not 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 making a presentation they are unfamiliar with

NOTE: We are committed to refraining from using terms that further perpetuate narratives that place and describe communities of color as deficit populations (i.e. using the terms ‘vulnerable’, ‘at-risk’, or ‘low-income’ to describe a particular racial or ethnic group). Use of this language implies there is something inherently flawed in that community and places blame on the individual or a particular racial/ethnic group. Language should be respectful of communities and identify the system that has failed to invest in creating an optimal environment for positive health outcomes as the problem.

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

  • 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 primary and secondary topic for your session. Subjects like "dog behavior" and "fundraising" are very general, so be sure to explain what specific aspects your session addresses in the description section. A better example 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.

Are there additional opportunities for speakers to connect with attendees?

All speakers receive complimentary full-conference registration including a learning lab. We encourage your participation at the conference before or after your session. There are a variety of networking opportunities to connect with conference participants. We may also invite you to host a round table discussion or co-host a coffee chat to further engage with conference participants.

Can I submit more than one session?

Yes, we encourage you to submit multiple sessions for consideration. If you choose to submit more than one session, please be sure to complete a submission form for each one.

How much time is allowed for the sessions?

Standard breakout sessions are 75 minutes and Learning Labs are 6.5 hours with a 60 to 75-minute lunch break.

Do Expo speakers receive compensation?

As a general rule, the HSUS will provide each Animal Care Expo speaker with complimentary full-conference registration, however we do not want the inability to cover travel expenses to prevent a speaker from presenting at the conference. The Humane Society of the United States is committed to increasing the inclusiveness and diversity of our movement and our work, as reflected in our statement on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Animal Care Expo is the ideal venue to integrate a wide range of perspectives in our approach to create a humane and sustainable world for all animals. We strive to ensure a range of backgrounds and perspectives among our speakers, conference participants and in our session content.

To make our conference more welcoming for all, and to ensure participants get to hear and learn from the best possible group of speakers and presenters, we will:

  • Support speakers who need financial assistance to present at the conference, including hotel and travel, by inviting them to complete a grant-subsidized speaker application that could offset travel expenses associated with presenting at Animal Care Expo.
  • Ask speakers who are able to cover expenses associated with presenting at the conference to forego making a stipend request. By covering their own attendance, for-profit companies, exhibitors, sponsors, and non-profit organizations that have a budget for training can help us offer stipends that will help us welcome and support speakers for whom attendance might otherwise be a challenge.
  • Continue to provide all speakers with complimentary full-conference registration including a learning lab, (3) lunches, (2) evening receptions with dinner, and the Expo party.

As a part of the speaker submission process this year presenters will be asked to indicate whether they will need financial assistance via a question on the session submission form. Speakers’ need of financial assistance will not be factored into the process for selecting sessions.

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 the other requirements?

  • Each speaker must sign an Event Speaker Agreement
  • Each speaker must submit a short biography and headshot
  • Each speaker must provide a PDF of their PowerPoint presentation to HSUS at least 30 days in advance of the conference
  • A digital handout is required for each session; a PDF of the PowerPoint presentation is a recommended handout
  • Speakers who are presenting a session together must collaborate, rehearse and submit one joint PowerPoint presentation by the deadline

What should I expect if I am selected to present at Expo 2023?

If your proposal is selected for Animal Care Expo, we will contact you via email by the end of September 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 and submitting your headshot, bio, PowerPoint, relevant handouts and more. We reserve the right to edit your session title and description and/or ask you to co-present with another speaker.

What should I do if I have other questions?

Please email Darci Adams, Program Manager, Education at with questions or technical issues about submitting your session proposal.


Event Speaker Agreement 2023
Event Speaker Agreement 2023