Ask the CEO: American Association for Laboratory Animal Science

Ann Turner, Ph.D., FASAE, CAE, describes her biggest challenge--leading an organization serving professionals ranging from scientists to manufacturers to salespeople--and shares what she does when it's time to unwind.

Ann Turner, Ph.D., FASAE, CAE, Executive Director, American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, answers questions from AALAS member Cindy Buckmaster, Ph.D.

Buckmaster: What attracted you to this association, and why are you so committed to its success?

Turner: I applied for the executive director position with AALAS for practical reasons: stability of the association and location. The association's mission is to advance "responsible laboratory animal care and use to benefit people and animals," which I support. Personally, my husband is a 21-year kidney transplant survivor, which would not have been possible without research on animal models.

What do you enjoy most about working with this association, and what do you find most challenging?

The AALAS staff makes coming to work each day gratifying and fun! I never feel like I am on the high wire without a safety net. The biggest challenge is to provide services and programs to facilitate the professional development of a very diverse membership. Some members are high school graduates in their first job and in need of basic training. Some are scientists with Ph.D.s or DVMs. Others are the manufacturers and salesforce for the products required by research labs. Some are directors of academic institutions or presidents of corporations. It is gratifying that AALAS offers programs and services for all these audiences.

What do you enjoy doing when you're not focusing on association business?

Sometimes I think I must be a millennial rather than a baby boomer because I work at work-life balance. I enjoy professional participation in ASAE and serve on the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. I also sing in my church choir and participate in church women's groups. I am an avid reader and play with my Bernese Mountain dogs, George and Gracie. If I have a free hour, I will go shopping.