Conference 2014 Speaker Bios
Speakers are listed in alphabetical order.
Please check back for more information about the speakers.
Lanie Anton, American SPCA - Lanie has been working in animal welfare since 1994, starting as a member of a volunteer organization operating a municipal shelter. She joined the ASPCA in 2000 working on a variety of projects and with many agencies in the Community Outreach department. Lanie served on the Board of the Animal Welfare Federation of New Jersey from 1995 to 2006 and again since 2010, fulfilling the office of president for two years. Prior to the employment at the ASPCA, Lanie spent over twenty years in advertising and marketing. Lanie attended William Paterson University.
Matthew Bershadker, ASPCA President & CEO - Matthew Bershadker has been president and CEO of the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) since May 2013. A 12-year veteran of the nation’s first animal welfare organization, Matt previously served as senior vice president of the ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Group (ACG), the division responsible for programs and initiatives that confront animal cruelty and suffering on all levels across the country.
A Board Member of the Gruber Family Foundation and the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, Matt lives in New York City with his wife Nina, son Elias, and their rescued dog Thelma
Dr. Colin T. Campbell - Dr. Campbell joined the New Jersey Department of Health in 1990, where he currently holds the position of State Public Health Veterinarian. Working in the Department’s Communicable Disease Service, he consults with physicians, health care providers, veterinarians, local health officers and the public on issues regarding rabies and other zoonotic diseases in people, as well as animals. He assists local health departments with animal control and sheltering issues.
Kristen Collins, American SPCA - Ms. Collins, Director, Anti-Cruelty Behavior Rehabilitation, oversees the operation of the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center, a facility dedicated to the rehabilitation and study of fearful, undersocialized dogs. Previous work includes performing behavior evaluations for animals from puppy mill, hoarding and dogfighting backgrounds, implementing shelter behavior modification and enrichment programs, and writing articles and giving interviews on animal behavior topics. Ms. Collins, an Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, earned her master’s in applied animal behavior at the University of Illinois.
Todd Cramer, PetSmart Charities, Inc. - Todd currently supports PetSmart Charities’ pet adoption program. Prior to joining PetSmart Charities, Inc., Todd served as the Executive Director at Noah’s Ark Animal Welfare Association. He spent 6 years as a Community Initiatives Director for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). He is experienced in disaster response and animal forensics investigation. He has been a popular national speaker delivering workshops on animal welfare topics at Petfinder.com Adoption Option events, the Animal Welfare Federation of New Jersey conference and the Humane Society of the United States Expo.
Karen Dashfield, Antler Ridge - Karen Dashfield DVM is the Medical Director for Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary, a wildlife rehabilitation facility run by Kelly Simonetti a New Jersey Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator. Antler Ridge receives over 1,000 injured and orphaned native New Jersey mammals yearly, and receives over 3,000 phone calls yearly from concerned persons who feel they may have a wild animal in need. Karen has been involved in Animal Welfare for over 30 years and teaches extensively for groups including Petfinder andCareer Development Institute (CDI).
Colleen Doherty, ASPCA - Prior to joining the Cruelty Intervention Advocacy (CIA) program in 2011, Colleen worked in the ASPCA Adoption Center. Currently, Colleen oversees the daily operations of the CIA program which includes field operations, case management and a grants program for financially or otherwise disadvantaged pet owners. Colleen has experience in a variety of areas including event planning, large scale animal removal, volunteer management, animal placement and outreach. Colleen is pursuing a degree in Community Health at Joseph’s College in Brooklyn, NY.
Laurie Garrison, PhD, ASPCA - Dr. Garrison has been working in animal welfare since 1999 when she started volunteering at the Monmouth County SPCA and eventually became their Executive Director. In 2012, Laurie joined the ASPCA as Director of Applied Research in the Shelter R&D Department, where she conducts research to help shelters to increase adoptions and other live outcomes for animals, to decrease intake of animals into shelters, and sometimes most importantly, to bust myths in our industry that once busted, will result in more lives being saved.
Geoff Goyette - Geoff is a state certified Animal Control Officer (ACO) and Animal Cruelty Investigator (ACI) works for the Township of Edison, is the lead ACO for the Middlesex County Animal Response Team and is Vice President of Training & Development for Career Development Institute (CDI). He co-founded a volunteer animal rescue organization and instructs Pet First Aid and Media & Community Relations for CDI.
Mr. Goyette has been recognized by the United Way as a “Hometown Hero” for his volunteer work with animals. His teaching partner, Belle (an 8 year old Golden retriever therapy dog) is being inducted into the NJ Veterinary Medical Association in 2014.
Linda Harper, PhD - Dr. Harper has been a clinical psychologist for over 30 years in the Chicago area. As the founder of Blessed Bonds, a foster based program, she understands the unique challenges of following one’s passion to help animals. Dr. Harper is an author, international speaker and workshop & pet loss support group leader for animal organizations throughout the country. Her book, “The Power of Joy in Giving to Animals” will be out in the spring. www.harperhelper.com
Kathy Healey, Somerset Regional Animal Shelter -Getting her start with a foster-based cat rescue group, Kathy has been involved in animal welfare since the late 90’s. She started volunteering at Somerset Regional Animal Shelter in 2000, when she was appointed to their board. Seeing a need for fundraising and support, she formed the non-profit group Friends of Somerset Regional Animal Shelter (FOSRAS) in 2002. FOSRAS volunteers help inside the shelter with the animals, adoptions, and outreach. But their main goal is fundraising, for which they hold many events both inside and outside of the shelter. The majority of the monies raised have gone towards medical care for the animals. Since 2002, FOSRAS has grown into a fundraising powerhouse with nearly 30 core members (and countless other helpers!) raising approximately $100,000 per year to help the animals at Somerset Regional.
Jane Hoffman - Jane Hoffman is President of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s animals, which she helped found in 2002. An attorney, formerly with Simpson Thacher and Bartlett and senior consultant at Handy Associates, a management consulting firm, she is a Founding Member and former Chair of the NYC Bar Associations Committee on Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals. In 2007, she received the inaugural Excellence in Advancement of Animal Law Award from the American Bar Association.
Jody Jones, Dallas Animal Services - Jody has served as a professional in the animal care and control industry for many years. In June 2011 Jody was appointed Division Manager for the City of Dallas Animal Services and since then has already begun implementing proven strategies to significantly reduce the number of homeless pets euthanized each year.
Prior to coming to Dallas, Jody served for seven years as Division Manager for the City of Richmond Virginia Animal Care and Control. Under Jody’s management, Richmond Animal Care and Control partnered with the Richmond SPCA and its President Robin Starr, to develop a program to eliminate homeless pet euthanasia. Since implementing the program in 2006, not a single healthy homeless pet has been euthanized in Richmond’s facility. While at Richmond, Jody’s life-saving work continued, with support from Association for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the Richmond program became a model for communities across the country.
Before her position in Richmond, Virginia, Jody served as a Director of NYC Animal Care and Control.
Jody is currently a faculty member of the American Prosecuting Attorneys Association for the Committee on Animal Law and serves on the board of multiple animal welfare organizations.
Denise Kelly, Avian Welfare Coalition - Denise has been active in animal protection for two decades and has 30+years experience with captive birds. She worked with Best Friends Animal Society and Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (HEART), served on the board of The Association of Animal Sanctuaries (TAOS), and helped form the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. In 2000, she co-founded the Avian Welfare Coalition (AWC) to create a voice in the animal protection community for captive birds. Denise is a consultant specializing in marketing, new business development, and advertising sales for consumer and trade publications. She is currently an advertising sales representative for All Animals, member publication of the HSUS
Lisa Kisiel - Lisa Kisiel joined the ASPCA in February of 2013 and is Case Worker for the Cruelty Intervention Advocacy (CIA) program. In this role Lisa assesses cases, formulates action plans, coordinates animal services such as spay/neuter, removal and veterinary care, and provides long-term monitoring and engagement through CIA’s progressive intervention model. Prior to working for the ASPCA, Lisa worked as an Art Therapist and Counselor with experience in serving clients with co-occuring disorders. Lisa graduated from Albertus Magnus College with her Masters of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling.
Bryan Kortis, PetSmart Charities - Currently serves as Program Manager for PetSmart Charities, overseeing their Free-roaming Cat Spay/Neuter grants as well as other community cat initiatives. The co-founder and former executive director of Neighborhood Cats, Bryan has authored and produced many of the leading educational materials on Trap-Neuter-Return. In addition to being a frequent presenter on free-roaming cat issues, he has helped launch successful TNR programs in New York City and other communities throughout the United States.
Bryan Langlois, DVM - Dr. Langlois is a Shelter Veterinarian who lives in Lancaster County, PA. Originally from Long Island, NY, he attended the Atlantic Veterinary College on Prince Edward Island, Canada. He was the staff veterinarian/Medical Director at the Humane League of Lancaster county from 2005-2013. During his time there he created and grew many veterinary related programs from veterinary care for shelter animals to providing basic veterinary services to owned animals to a very successful feral cat TNR program that altered over 15,000 cats in the county during his time there. More recently, he helped co-found the Pet Pantry of Lancaster County and is working with that organization to provide both pet food and low cost veterinary care to those who demonstrate financial need. He is currently working to expand the programs to many other organizations. His ideal dream is to have a state-wide low cost spay/neuter network in the Commonwealth.
Erika Mathews, St Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center - Erika is Vice President of Development, began her fundraising career at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). She has worked in all aspects of development, including direct mail, major gifts, planned giving, capital campaigns, foundation and corporate gifts as well as in events and publicity. Erika also worked at a small urban shelter, was Development Director for the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, and served on the board of The Grey Muzzle Organization. She is most grateful for the friends she has made along the way, especially Chelsea a 10-year-old brown dog from Harlem; Hunny, a 14 year old brown dog from Brooklyn; three audacious cats; a 33-year-old retired school horse, Chance; and Gatsby, the greatest bunny of all time.
Mike Melchionne - Chief Investigator Melchionne started his career 1975. He recently retired after having been an animal control officer for 38 years. He attended the first Animal Control Officers class in 1983 as well as the first Animal Cruelty Investigators Course in 2001. In 1985 he founded and was the first President of the New Jersey Certified Animal Control Officers Association and currently serves as their Executive Board Advisor and Administrator. Chief Melchionne attended and graduated from the Passaic County Police Academy as a Class II Special Police Officer. Investigator Melchionne attended John Hopkins University and holds a certificate for “Non-Profit Business and Management”. He served as the Director of Animal Welfare Services for St Hubert’s Giralda. Investigator Melchionne then designed, implemented, and managed the Gloucester County Animal Control Program and Animal Shelter Operations. He served as Chief Animal Control Officer/Animal Cruelty Investigator for Stafford Township managing a staff of three full time and three part time ACO’s covering 5 local jurisdictions. Chief Melchionne has been appointed by two New Jersey Governors to serve on two State councils/task forces. Among his numerous NJ State certifications he is a certified Police Academy Instructor under the NJ Police Training Commission. Chief Melchionne volunteered and spent 10 days in Louisiana after Katrina rescuing animals left by their owners. Investigator Melchionne sits on several boards of directors including as an advisor to the NJ Animal Welfare Federation. Chief Melchionne owns several cats, a Brittany spaniel and a working organic farm in Pennsylvania with numerous rescued animals.Chief Investigator Melchionne is still considered the “GO TO” person for NJ Animal Control Officer and Animal Cruelty Investigator Issues.
Janette Reever, HSUS - Janette is the Deputy Manager of Animal Fighting Investigations for HSUS.
Since joining The HSUS in 2009, Reever has been essential to building The HSUS’s national database on dogfighting targets and cultivating evidence against them.She uses information garnered from tip-line calls to determine appropriate targets, draw connections between dogfighting associates, and ultimately build sound cases against them. Working in conjunction with law enforcement, she ensures that all promising animal fighting targets are thoroughly investigated and pursued.
John Saccenti, Career Development Institute - Mr. Saccenti attended Fordham University where he was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Education, Masters of Science in Education and Political Science as well as an Educational Specialist Degree.
After service as an Army officer and undercover work with the FBI, Mr. Saccenti served in the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice where he developed all Basic Law Enforcement Training courses. He advised the Surgeon General and the White House on public health policy.Mr Saccenti is President of Career Development Institute and a consultant to the Department of Justice. He operates the Animal Control Officer/Cruelty Investigator Course officially sanctioned by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. It is the only Spanish language Animal Control Officer Course of this type in the world.
He also is on the Advisory Board of the Animal Welfare Federation of NJ, Chairman of the Sustainable Jersey Task Force on Animals in the Community, the NJ representative for the International Fund for Animal Welfare
Pia Silvani, CPDT-KA, CCBC - Pia is Assistant Vice President and Behavior Specialist at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center located in Madison, New Jersey, where she developed various courses focusing on positive, reward-based techniques, helping to enhance the bond and relationship of dog and their human companions. The result of her efforts is an astounding 100+ classes per week. She has written six training manuals, which are being used around the country as a resource guide for other trainers.
Pia was instrumental in developing a behavior center for the shelter which offers pre-adoption and post-adoption education to all adopters. She also developed a canine coach program where volunteers and apprentice trainers work with shelter dogs on a daily basis to help the dogs become more adoptable as well as a program called Mutts on the Mend where free advice and help are given to 501(c)3’s and city shelters to help with their resident dogs. Through word of mouth and a good reputation, St. Hubert’s now has a very successful private consultation department for pet owners specializing in aggressive and anxiety-related problems for dogs.
Pia lectures internationally as well as with the Petfinder Adoption Option team several times a year, helping to educate rescue groups and shelters around the country, is an active writer for various newsletters and magazines and has been nominated several times for her work by The Dog Writers Association of America. She routinely gives guest appearances on television and radio and lectures internationally at various conferences and forums
Her book “Raising Puppies and Kids Together - A Guide for Parents” was voted in the top three parenting books for a Franklin D. Roosevelt Foundation and winner of Zootoo.com 2008 Pet Lover’s Choice Awards – Category: Top Behavior and Training Book.
Pia shares her home with 3 Belgian Tervurens and the ruler of the household, resident cat, Soldier! Pia competes in Obedience, Rally-O, Agility, K9 Nosework and plays around with Disc Dog. She continues to enjoy dancing but now with her dogs!
Cindy Stutts, Licensed Educator, Rabbit House Society - Cindy, an animal lover and advocate from a young age, adopted her first house rabbit, Oliver in 1995 and by 1997, had become an educator for House Rabbit Society. In 2004, through Rabbit Rescue and Rehab, the NYC Metro Licensed Chapter of House Rabbit Society, she started a rabbit care and adoption program for NYCACC. By working with staff, both kennel and medical, recruiting and training volunteers, and forming an adoption partnership with Petco, Cindy has been able to eliminate euthanasia for all heathy adoptable rabbits. Cindy was featured on Martha Stewart in Feb 2011, in recognition of the “Year of the Rabbit”, extolling the virtues of adopting vs buying a rabbit either at a petstore or breeder. She was also recognized for her work in MAY 2010, by being named “NYer of the Week “ on NY1.
Aileen Walden, Alley Cat Allies - Ms. Walden is the Director of Community Programs & Support for Alley Cat Allies. Among her responsibilities is overseeing the National Cat Help Desk, which receives an average of 1,200 requests for assistance a month, special projects and campaigns, and the Atlantic City Boardwalk Program. Aileen has been working in national animal welfare fulltime for approximately a decade after a successful career in retail and food service marketing and operation (and animal rescue on the side).
Pamela Ward, Alley Cat Allies - Pamela Ward first became acquainted with Alley Cat Allies while working for the International House of Blues Foundation in Atlantic City and was a frequent visitor to the Taj Mahal colony on the Boardwalk. Already a cat caretaker, she joined the organization in 2012 as Direct Care Associate, providing hands-on assistance for TNR, facilitating adoptions, fostering kittens and assisting the Atlantic City Program Manager in all aspects of the Atlantic City Program.
Kim Wolf, Beyond Breed - Kim Wolf is the Executive Director of Beyond Breed (www.beyondbreed.com), a nonprofit corporation dedicated to supporting the bond between people and pets. She runs a project called “Ruff Riders” that assists pet owners in under-resourced neighborhoods in New York City. Kim is also employed as a social worker for a program supporting senior citizens and their pets in Manhattan. Her previous experience in animal welfare includes positions at the Pennsylvania SPCA, Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, and Animal Farm Foundation. Kim has also been a social worker for older adults and “at risk” individuals in New York City and Philadelphia, and she spent four years at AARP in Washington, DC doing policy and communications projects. She has presented at numerous animal welfare and aging conferences around the country, and she has received awards for her community outreach and advocacy efforts (including the “Humane Outreach Award” from the Pennsylvania SPCA). Kim lives in Brooklyn, New York with her six adopted dog
Rick Yokum, NJSPCA - Richard Yocum President of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - NJSPCA. Member of NJSPCA for thirteen years and am currently serving my 9th year on the Board of Trustees with the last three years as President. I also serve as a Captain in the Law Enforcement Division. I am the NJSPCA Director of the Community Services Division and the Animal Welfare Division.
William Zaorski - Mr. Zaorski conducts criminal justice workshops for the Basic Course for Animal Cruelty investigations for Animal Cruelty Investigators and SPCA Humane Law Enforcement Officers. He has developed a series of Advanced “Beyond the Basics” workshops on animal cruelty.
He retired as a Deputy Attorney General in the State’s Division of Criminal Justice. He is a graduate of Seton Hall Law School. He is a member of the State Bar Association and serves as co-chair of the criminal practice/procedures subcommittee of the association’s Animal Law Committee. He was an Assistant Prosecutor in Monmouth County.
Speakers are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control