Our People: Miryam Chae Helps Animals Find Forever Homes

At Constellation, it’s the personal involvement of thousands of our employees who Give Back, inspired by their own personal convictions, that makes our contributions so extraordinary – and so effective. Miryam Chae who fuel their passion for giving back by volunteering in the communities where they live and work.

Q: What are some of the causes you are most passionate about? How does working at Constellation allow you to help that cause?

A: I’m involved in several causes such as the Tour de Cure, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and most recently the Pantene hair program supporting people with cancer. But, my primary passion is in animal rescue and welfare. Constellation reminds us it’s important to be involved and they make it easy by promoting our responsibility to our community and giving back through involvement or monetary matching donation programs.

Q: What drives your passion for these causes or organizations?

A: I have always loved animals so I started volunteering at the Napa County Animal Shelter in 2010 as a dog walker. I quickly learned I could be an advocate for these animals. Without us, they don’t have a voice to tell their story and help them find their forever homes.

The more involved I became the more I saw a need to help them through socialization, fostering, and adoption events. Recently we have seen a greater financial need so I have launched a non-profit to help support the animals at the Napa Shelter. Our vision is all animals will have a chance at a safe loving home.

Q: What kind of impact do you feel you have in the community and upon others by giving back?

A: I’ve often joked I’m just a “crazy dog lady” but I recognize how my volunteer work impacts those around me. I felt humbled when my colleague nominated me for this Giving Back profile because she said, “what you do is amazing and I’m inspired by you.”

I have successfully placed animals in the homes of friends and colleagues which has given me a good reputation for being a doggie matchmaker. Fostering more than 40 dogs in the last five years helps me understand dog personalities and determine the best home for them which leads to the ultimate in giving back. I’ve seen firsthand how fostering saves lives. At least 10 of my foster dogs would not have survived in a shelter environment had my family not stepped up, which to me, is the biggest impact we can make.

Q: Do you have a memory or experience related to giving back that you could never forget?

A: I have many wonderful memories when it comes to dog adoptions, but my most memorable has to be my first adoption event at the Napa Farmers Market. I spent 45 minutes talking to a woman who had lost her dog six months earlier. The dog I was promoting was quite a handful. He had been returned three times for being an escape artist. He needed training and patience and this woman was clearly going to be the right fit for him. Her husband later came back after finishing all their shopping and said, “Honey, we only came for bok choy, not a dog!” They adopted Fergus that day and he later went on to become a certified therapy dog helping brighten the lives of people in our local facilities.

Q: What advice would you relay to fellow Constellation Brands Employees who are thinking about getting involved in giving back efforts?

A: Simple. Do it! Find something you’re passionate about and jump right in. No excuses. Not only will you set a great example for those around you but you’ll be helping out an organization that really needs it.