History of the ITA Otter Award

In the early history of the ITA, a Consultant’s Boot Camp program was offered to the members.   In the Boot Camp, the concept of 4 animal personality types was introduced based on concepts developed by Dr. Gary Smalley and Dr. John Trent.   Sam Allred was the developer of the Boot Camp program and used the animal type tests and profile data as part of this workshop.

The four animal types outlined in Smalley’s personality types were as follows:

  • Lions – Practical, productive, strong-willed, independent, decisive, leader
  • Otters– Visionary, outgoing, responsive, warm, friendly, talkative, enthusiastic, compassionate
  • Retrievers– Calm, easy-going, dependable, objective, quiet, diplomatic, humorous
  • Beavers– Analytical, self-disciplined, industrious, aesthetic, organized, sacrificing

The Otter was chosen as the personality goal for the ITA and the Otter Award was established by the ITA!

It  has been awarded to those individuals within the organization who have had a major impact on the organization by exhibiting the qualities of the Otter.  Each of the recipients receive a crystal Otter at an ITA Collaborative Award celebration and presentation.

The Characteristics of the Otter (based on the Smalley/Trent personality types) include:

Relational Strengths:

  • Optimistic
  • Energetic
  • Visionary
  • Motivator

Communication Style:

  • Inspire Others
  • Positive and Enthusiastic
  • Listen and Lead

Fun Loving and Outgoing:

  • Otters are a very social creature
  • Otter personalities love people
  • Otters enjoy influencing and motivating others


Current Otter Award recipients

Sam Allred

Ron Eagle

Doug Brady 

Jo Ann Benzer

Taylor MacDonald