At a Glance
Animal Justice League of America was founded by Shane Rudman, a successful entrepreneur and businessman living in the Kansas City area. At 29, Shane was named one of the top 10 entrepreneurs in North America under the age of 30 by The Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs. Shane has served on many boards of both successful for-profit and nonprofit organizations.
Shane Rudman was born in Hill City, Kansas August 1964. His dad was a welder and mother had dropped out of high school to have their first son at seventeen. Shane was the second of three sons. His dad went on to become a plant manager for Norandex. His mother went on to get her GED after being a waitress. She wound up finding success with a sales career. His parents tried to make their marriage work. They married and divorced each other three times. Shane jokes “you can’t say they didn’t try.”
Shane loved his parents and credits each of them with playing keys roles in his success. He spent most of his childhood growing up in McPherson, Kansas. Like many divorced family’s, both sides struggled financially. Much of the time his family was on welfare and food stamps. He was embarrassed in 4th grade after students started teasing him about his lunch card being a different color than everyone else’s. It was the first time Shane felt what it is like to have people discriminate against him because of where his family was at financially. It stung. Depending on which parent he lived with, these are the homes he went home to after school each day.
Shane has always been wired to win. From the very beginning, he was always looking for ways to compete. If a new family game was introduced, the first and only question he would ask is “how do you win?” If the game didn’t have winners or losers, he refused to play it. “Why play if you can’t win?” he’d ask. For Shane, he always had to be all in or all out. If he didn’t believe he could win at it, he wouldn’t want anything to do with it.
He learned early on if you were a successful athlete in McPherson, everyone forgot about what side of the tracks you lived on. Everyone wanted to be your friend. So Shane threw himself into athletics, striving to be the best at everything he took on. He was in a great athlete, better than most. His greatest asset was his work ethic. Shane was always the first one to the field, court or track, and always was the last one to leave. His hard work paid off. He was the almost always the captain of any team that he participated on. He was the point guard on the winning basketball team. He was the quarterback of the football team. And he was an all-state member of the greatest track team in McPherson’s history. Shane was recruited by several colleges to play both football and run track.
His College Career
As a star athlete, Shane signed a letter of intent to play quarterback and run track for Hutchinson Community Junior College. Unfortunately, he quickly realized that a JUCO scholarship did not cover much. He made the toughest decision of his life at that point and he quit sports. Back in McPherson it didn’t take long for word to get out that he had quit. All of a sudden, he went from being a local hero to back to being the kid from the wrong side of the tracks. He hated that feeling but knew it was what was best for his future. He worked two jobs while going to college. He was a pre-loader at UPS from 4 AM to 9 AM every week day. He would then go to class, take a short nap, and then work at the college union from 5 PM to 1 AM. He struggled in class for the simple fact none of the professors had what he wanted. They didn’t own a business or make much money. He desperately wanted success. He desperately wanted to move to the right side of the tracks. He wanted to move his mom and his dad to the right side of the tracks. He wanted to set an example for his brothers, step brothers and step sisters about what was possible if they worked hard and hung around the right people.
He only attended college to take up time while he searched for what he was truly looking for. Between his sophomore and junior year of college he found it. A financial company offered to train him part time to teach him the business. They told him if he was good enough and he worked hard enough that eventually they would allow him to become a vice president of the company. Not only that, but they were giving him the opportunity to own his own part of the company. Something that he could will to his children and change his family tree forever. The company had been founded by a group of coaches, so they targeted former athletes and ran the company like a sports team. He couldn’t believe his luck and that somebody was actually going to give him a shot.
His Perfect Partner
Shane worked very hard and very quickly moved up in the company. He opened his first office in Salina, Kansas. He was only 21 years old, but he built the number one office in the entire country. The founder of the company took a special interest in him and started to mentor him. Shane’s dreams finally started to come true. He was ready to find a partner and start a family.
After giving a speech on the importance of written goals, a woman came up on stage and approached Shane. She asked him “have you met the woman you’re going to marry yet?” He describes the situation as being awkward and the woman seem to be relentless. When Shane responded that he didn’t think that he had met her yet, she continued to ask “how do you know? How do you know? How do you know? Frustrated, he raised his voice and said, “look lady I just don’t think I have so please just back off!” She then asked him if he had written down what he wanted yet. She then backed up, became very kind and quiet, and just asked again “have you written down what you want yet?”
The woman went on to explain that she had gone through a divorce six months earlier. After sitting down with her pastor, she found out that she had gotten married for all the wrong reasons. She apologized for asking the way that she did, but she felt like she was supposed to get his attention. She told Shane about the advice she had been given by her pastor. The pastor suggested she write down the six most important things in a future partner. That way if she’s attracted to someone, she can figure out if they meet the six fundamental things within a one-hour conversation. Shane thought it was an extremely good idea! He immediately started working on putting together a list. He wound up having 26 things on the list – quite a few more than the woman’s pastor had suggested.
At 24, Shane had won a trip to go to Hawaii. The first big night of the trip was the awards banquet and Shane seem to be winning all the awards. During the banquet he was sitting next to a couple named Susan and Eddie. Throughout the entire three-hour banquet, most of the conversation was filled with Susan raving about her niece. She kept pressing and insisting for Shane to meet her. Of course Shane thought it would be great if the woman described truly existed, but he didn’t think that was a reality. By the end of the night, in order to get Susan to stop pushing he agreed to meet her niece – but only if she would fly over at the end of the trip. They coordinated a meeting spot the night before Shane was set to leave.
True to their word, they had their niece, Gina, there to meet Shane. Immediately he knew that Susan had been telling the truth about her niece’s beauty. They were only able to have a quick conversation before Shane became bombarded by other people swarming around him asking him business questions. Shane wanted a chance to talk to her more, so they arranged to meet the next morning before his flight at 10 AM.
The next morning the conversation was very comfortable from the beginning. While they were talking, Shane went through his list. He couldn’t believe it! She couldn’t know he had the list, yet she checked off all 26 qualities. Shane is fond of saying “you couldn’t make it up this good.” That’s his politically correct way of saying divine intervention, and that is how he truly felt about his meeting with Gina. They had already started joking about getting married. Shane had already sent his luggage to the airport and only had the clothes that he was wearing; swim trunks, a tank top, flip-flops, hat, sunglasses and a fanny pack. He changed his flight, bought a whole new wardrobe, and decided to stay in Hawaii for another week to get to know Gina better. Under the supervision of her aunt and uncle, they got to know each other on a total of four dates and then got married! They have four beautiful children and their first grandchild was born in the fall of 2017.
His Successful Philanthropy
Shane’s business success continued. At the age of 28 he was named to the Top 100 Entrepreneurs Under the Age of 30 in North America. At age 29 he had moved up to the top 10. Many great things continued to happen in their lives. Shane joined the boards of nonprofits and charities that he believed in. He gave away millions of dollars and helped the community the best he knew how.
He has served on the board of the prestigious Barstow School, founded in 1884, and he currently serves on the board of the very popular anti-bullying nonprofit E3sports…Embrace…Empower…Encourage.
The Barstow School https://www.barstowschool.org/page is known as one of the best academic institutions in North America, producing numerous Ivy League students yearly. That is why all four of Shane’s children attended Barstow from pre-K all the way through high school graduation.
For several years they had tried to recruit Shane to join the board. Once his oldest was in middle school, Shane saw the importance of dramatically improving the sports programs at Barstow. He knew how sports had dramatically shaped him for success so he was ready to help Barstow make improvements. He knew he would face an uphill battle since the school had always been an academic focused environment, but knew he could apply what he had learned throughout his life. There was no reason that Barstow could not be just as good athletically as they were academically.
He joined the board and was named part of the search committee to find a new headmaster. Shane knew he was going to find a headmaster that was open to athletics being just as important as academics, but they found something even better. They found a man named Shane Foster who was one of the best athletes coming out of Australia. He was a true leader and somebody that could get things done quickly. Shane Rudman immediately lobbied everyone on the committee to hire Shane Foster and many good things ensued.
Since Shane’s son’s primary sport was basketball, the first thing he did was set about finding the best basketball coach possible. He settled on a coach named Jeff Boschee. Jeff was a four-year starter at KU and the all-time record holder for three-pointers made in Big 8 history. Shane had never met Jeff, but he did some research and got his number. In a one-hour meeting, Jeff agreed to become the new head coach at the Barstow school. Shane then met with the headmaster to explain that Jeff Boschee was going to be the new head coach. Jeff had to agree to stay at Barstow three full seasons regardless of offers he would be receiving. The only exception Shane said he would agree to was if Roy Williams called and asked Jeff to join him at North Carolina.
Barstow went from losing for years to winning immediately. Barstow’s three-year record was 69-11. Jeff accepted a college head coaching job, but the foundation was set. Billy Thomas, a former KU starter and 10-year NBA veteran took over after Boschee and the winning continued. The school went on to win many State Championships in virtually every sport imaginable. Shane accomplished very quickly what he set out to do. Even after Shane Rudman retired from the board, under Shane Foster’s leadership, Barstow continues to win at most everything they participate in.
Shane currently serves on the board of a nonprofit that one of his goddaughters helped create. http://e3sf.org/ It is an example of how quickly things happen when Shane is passionate about a cause and throws his experience, contacts, resources, and passion behind it.
The Rudmans and Tietgens have been family friends for 20+ years. The Tietgens adopted Claire after helping her alcoholic mother carry her to term. She was born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and has struggled academically all through school. She’s in special needs classes and has dealt with severe bullying because of it. Her dad Charlie owns a construction company and has been kind enough to personally help the Rudmans out with their properties and construction needs. One day, Charlie came to the Rudman Estate and was visibly upset. He asked to meet with Shane because he needed his advice and guidance.
Even though Shane had known Claire her entire life, Shane had been dealing with his own health issues and wasn’t fully aware of the severe bullying Claire had experienced. Charlie shared with him that school cameras had just caught a 12-year-old boy coming up behind Claire while she was drinking water at the water fountain. The boy swung as hard as he could, punching her in the side of the face and knocked her to the ground. The school had suspended both kids. Shane could not believe it! Charlie asked if Shane would get involved and he immediately agreed.
Shane laid out a vision of what was going to happen for Claire and the family over the next 3 to 6 months. Charlie had a hard time believing it, but because he had experience with witnessing what Shane had done in the past he was willing to be open minded and supportive.
Claire had recently taken a self-defense class. She did well at it and seem to enjoy it, and the class would be a great tool to help Claire build her self-esteem. Shane told Charlie they were going to build everything around her “thing” – that “thing” that she’s currently enjoying. He told Charlie within the next 3 to 6 months, Dana White from the UFC and Rhonda Rousey, who had just blasted on the scene with her World Championship, would reach out to Claire and encourage her. Charlie could not believe it, but Shane said, “just trust me.”
Long story short all that has happened. We encourage you to go to their website and learn more about the story. What E3 sports does to help head off suicide in teenagers is incredible.
“Bullied But Not Broken” has reached thousands of kids. With Dana White and Rhonda Rousey’s involvement, and now Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, millions of kids’ lives are going to be improved. Shane has never been prouder of one of his Goddaughters than he is of Claire
Shane has had dinner with 5 different US Presidents, negotiated multi billion dollars deals, and so much more, but he believes his greatest accomplishment is yet to happen.
In 2007-2008 Shane started experiencing health issues that were becoming debilitating. It forced him to start slowing down. His health continued to fail even after seeing more than twenty of the best doctors in the nation. In August of 2010 it culminated in a heart attack. Shane believed in God before his death or near-death experience, but he says he now feels like he has a direct line of communication. His experience was very much like what everyone else explains. His entire life flashed before him in an instant. From above he could see his wife Gina frantically calling 911. Even though there was this incredible peace with this bright light and he could feel the unique presence, he wanted to tell Gina and the kids that he loved them just one more time. Unfortunately, he couldn’t talk. He could only watch Gina on the phone and he had no control over his body. The peace he felt turned to panic because he felt a tremendous need to tell his 4 children just one more time that he loved them. He decided he wanted to live and started fighting. Even though he had told his children almost every day of their lives how much he loved them, he was driven to be able to tell them just one more time.
The ambulance had a hard time getting through the private gates of his estate, but they got there. They arrived in time to save his life. Shane knows one reason he lived was so he could tell his family just one more time that he loved him. He also knew there was another reason that he lived: God wasn’t done with him yet. There was still something left that God was calling him to do.
His health challenges made him slow down enough to start watching more TV. He watched one of the very first episodes of Pit Bulls and Parolees (http://www.vrcpitbull.com/.) and loved what Tia was doing both for the pit bulls and for the paroles. He told Gina that he wanted to get a pit bull, but the answer wasn’t just no, it was hell no. Gina’s father was a canine officer with a sheriff’s department in North Carolina. He had been on the wrong end of a lot of those pit bulls in drug raids so she grew up believing a lot of the myths about pit bulls.
Meanwhile Shane’s son, Shane2.0, was a shooting guard at Drury University when they won the 2013 National Championship. Bob Barker of the “Price is Right” fame, and the Godfather of the animal welfare movement in North America, had graduated from Drury 69 years earlier and was on the basketball team. Bob was so excited about Drury winning he made a trip to see the team. He met Shane’s son and took a liking to him. Bob put his arm around Shane2.0 and said “Thank you for bringing us home our first ever DII National Championship. I’m sure you are going to be successful in life. Can you do me a favor?” Shane2 said “Sure. What is it?” Bob said something I’m sure he had no idea was going to instigate the largest movement in animal welfare history. He said, “If you ever get a chance…please help out some animals.” With that he walked to the end of the stage and handled Drury’s president a check for $1.5 million to start a department on animal welfare awareness. That seed was planted and began to grow.
Shane2 and his wife Minka started volunteering at Great Plains SPCA. One Saturday they were at the shelter and urged Shane and Gina to come check out the shelter and a certain dog. It was a brindle pit bull. Gina said no at first, but eventually agreed to visit. She met Cain and again said no, but Shane wouldn’t give up. He eventually won her over they got their OG… Cain. They were officially starting to be indoctrinated into rescue.
That was just the beginning. Shane and his wife Gina went on to rescue numerous dogs, most whom have been abused in unimaginable ways. You can read more about them on our stories page and see why Animal Justice League of America was born. Shane completely believes this will be bigger and better than any cause or business he’s helped in the past. This really is something that is going to change the world… and he believes it’s not going to take all that long. Justice is coming!