Cristina Keef (she/her/hers)
Executive Director 2006- Current
“I love the PVMA. I am so grateful to work for such passionate and generous people and a community I care for and believe in so much. We strive to make the lives of our members less stressful, more supported, and as efficient as possible. We also work hard to be a partner within our animal welfare and pet-loving community and an innovative member of the veterinary profession”
I was raised in Junction City, Oregon, a small farming town just north of Eugene, south of Corvallis best known for the annual Scandinavian Festival. Like many of us who end up working with animals as adults, I constantly ‘rescued’ any I could, easy to do when people would drop them off regularly at our house in the country. My dad and I built more animal enclosures than I could count to house the dogs, cats, doves, rabbits, a pygmy goat, squirrels, hamsters, rats, 3 sheep raised for FFA!
When I was 14, I was required to do a half day job shadow and naturally chose our family veterinarian, a mixed animal solo practitioner who was nearing retirement. A week or two later, they called to offer me a job. By the time I was 16, I spent more time there than at school (but was still an excellent student!). When the practice was sold, things changed dramatically, going from a relatively quiet hobby practice to a 3+ doctor small animal/exotics/wildlife practice and boy was it fun! The reputations of our new owners from out of state proceeded them and we became a VERY busy practice and saw just about everything. I am very fortunate to have grown up in such a diverse practice and have very fond memories of the late nights and unique experiences. I regularly volunteered for Feral Cat Coalition mobile clinics and local wildlife rehab centers throughout high school as well.
After graduating from high school, I continued working full time while commuting to Oregon State University. About a year later, I moved to Portland not knowing anyone, one of the best decisions I ever made! After working at two small animal practices and attending Portland State, I took a year away from veterinary medicine to work at a lifestyle branding (marketing) agency owned by one of my pet sitting clients. It was a tremendous learning opportunity and a fun change of pace. Unfortunately, the company had some difficulties and as I was exploring my options, I received a call from Dr. Steve Kochis, the then outgoing PVMA president and friend, telling me about the PVMA Executive Director position being available. Shortly after, I interviewed and was hired in April 2006. I can’t imagine being anywhere else. My love of the PVMA and Portland veterinary community only continues to grow stronger. I am so very fortunate to be a part of it and hope to continue to be for many years to come!
I continue to volunteer for a number of local organizations, including assisting with the care and training of puppies that are part of the Coffee Creek Puppy Program. I enjoy taking care of my home, garden, 4 chickens, 1 cat and 1 dog as well as traveling, photography, crafts, kayaking, hiking and all the other lovely things the Northwest has to offer.