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Meet Samantha Dishman of Salty Dog Paddle in Palm Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Samantha Dishman.

Samantha, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started out volunteering for Salty Dog last year for the largest fundraiser of the year for the charity called Barks, Babes & Bros. At the time, I didn’t know too much about the charity other than that it was volunteer-based and that they helped injured rescue dogs. The event I helped out turned out to be such a pleasant surprise that I ended up volunteering more and more. After a few months of helping out with their social media and marketing, I was offered a position to take over as their Development Director. Now, I oversee all the social media and marketing for the charity, which is now the largest watersports public charity in America!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I think any nonprofit has hurdles along the way. Salty Dog used to be a surf shop with locations all over America from the 1970s-1990s and then suddenly closed down most of its stores. It wasn’t until it had actually been shut down completely that the business was turned into a nonprofit in 2014. From that point, rather than being a startup business, we really had to bring back to life a surf shop that had a huge following with people who knew the name but had forgotten what it was all about. The toughest part was educating people that all the proceeds from the sale of literally anything (including merchandise and apparel or from stand-up paddle-boarding lessons and rentals) benefit the rescue dogs.

Please tell us about Salty Dog Paddle.
Salty Dog is basically a nonprofit surf brand and lifestyle. We raise money for injured rescue dogs through watersports while educating participants about marine life and our oceans. We partner with a bunch of rescues in South Florida to help them market since we have such a large following now as well as raising money for dogs in emergency situations. My role in the company as Development Director is to oversee all the marketing and social media accounts. My goal is to get as much exposure as possible to the dogs we help while promoting the brand. We’ve actually even had some posts in this past year go viral and gain hundreds of supporters.

What I’m most proud of as a company is knowing that we can maintain our image as a surf brand while helping animals in need and when people see the brand they know that it’s helping animals in distress. It’s more than just a shirt and more than just a name; it’s a sign that people want to help and care. What sets us apart from other surf shops is the fact that we are a charity. However, I wouldn’t say that necessarily makes us a competitor to them. We have a bunch of surf shop sponsors who actually provide us with boards for fundraisers and events and in exchange, they get a ton of exposure they might not have gotten without our help.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over the only thing I would have done differently with Salty Dog would be to start sooner to help more dogs. I had volunteered with other organizations in the past, which weren’t volunteer-based charities so I never really knew where the funds I helped raise were going and never got to actually see the impact I might have made. I never got to see the “happy tails,” or got to see in person the dogs and marine life that we’ve saved. I never got to actually physically touch them or to know it was a real dog that I was helping; not just a sad puppy-dog ad.

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