Conference 2013 Speaker Bios
Speakers are listed in alphabetical order.
Lanie Anton, ASPCA, Community Initiatives Director - 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.
Dr. Rebecca Boncheck, VMD, Chesterfield Veterinary Clinic - Dr. Boncheck is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine, 1991. She has undertaken extensive training in Animal Disaster Response. As the Small Animal Emergency Response Coordinator for Burlington CART, her role was vital in the sheltering of displaced animals during Superstorm Sandy. She teaches the Animal Response Modules for the Burlington County Office of Emergency Management and spends time in public teaching personal disaster preparedness for pets.
Gene Baur, Co-Founder & President, Farm Sanctuary - Gene Baur is co-Founder and President of Farm Sanctuary, America’s leading farm animal protection organization. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from California State University, Northridge and a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University. He has conducted hundreds of visits to farms, stockyards, and slaughterhouses to document conditions. His pictures and videotape, exposing factory farming cruelty, have been aired nationally and internationally, educating millions. Gene has testified in court and before local, state and federal legislative bodies, and has initiated groundbreaking legal enforcement and legislative action to prevent farm animal abuse. He played an important role in passing the first U.S. laws to prohibit cruel farming methods – including the Florida ban on gestation crates, the Arizona ban on veal and gestation crates, the California ban on veal and gestation crates and battery cages, and the California ban on foie gras. His efforts have been covered by leading news organizations, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, National Public Radio, ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN. His book, entitled Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds about Animals and Food, was published by Touchstone in March 2008 and has appeared on the Los Angeles Times and Boston Globe best seller lists.
Carolyn Brown, Director of Surgery, Spay/Neuter Operations, ASPCA - Carolyn is a graduate of the NYS College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University and has more than 17 years of experience in HQHVSN programs including pediatric and community cat TNR programs. Carolyn has participated in clinics associated with adoption centers, non-profit organizations and low cost for profit clinics. Carolyn continues to promote HQHVSN as a tool to decrease shelter admission and euthanasia through her work with ASPCA Spay/Neuter Operations.
Beth Burstein, Beth Burstein Photography - Beth Burstein began her photography career at age 13; graduated to yearbook photographer at age 17; was Park Photographer in the Grand Canyon at 19; has had ongoing photography assignments, projects, published work, and exhibitions from 1983 to present day; and shot her first formal pet portrait in 2005. It’s been raining cats and dogs ever since! Beth currently does on-location, custom pet portraits in the NYC Tri-State and SF Bay Areas – her specialty is going on-location to photograph pets in their natural environments. She loves photographing animals, and feels that with a good dose of patience, an understanding of her subject’s temperament, and perhaps an ounce of magic, she can create great pet portraits. She is also delighted to currently photograph the rescued farm and wild animals for Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary in Newton, NJ. Beth is based in Montclair, NJ, and her work can be viewed at www.bethburstein.com. Contact: email@example.com.
Heather Cammisa, CAWA, St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center - Ms. Cammisa is a New Jersey native. She is currently the President & CEO of St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center with shelters in Madison and North Branch, New Jersey.
Ms. Cammisa is a certified NJ Animal Control Officer and Cruelty Investigator. She teaches the shelter operations portion of the New Jersey ACO certification course. She has served on the boards of Jersey Shore Animal Center in Brick, the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, New Jersey and the Animal Welfare Federation of New Jersey. She is currently serves as an advisory member of the Animal Welfare Federation of New Jersey, is a board member of the National Federation of Humane Societies and sits on the Companion Animal Advisory Council for the Humane Society of the United States. She was the first person in New Jersey to hold the designation of Certified Animal Welfare Administrator. Heather holds a Master’s Degree in Economics from Rutgers University and lives in Somerset County with her dog Sammy. Her office cat, Jake, lives where she spends most of her time: at the Madison location of St. Hubert’s.
Aimee Christian, Vice President, Spay/Neuter Operations, ASPCA - Aimee Christian is the Vice President of ASPCA Spay/Neuter Operations. Under her direction, the ASPCA Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinics spayed/neutered nearly 40,000 cats and dogs in New York’s five boroughs in 2012 alone. In addition, she and her team launched a national project; offering training and mentorship to groups around the country starting their own mobile, in-clinic or MASH high-quality, high volume spay/neuter models. Aimee is currently an MBA student. Prior to joining the ASPCA in 2005, she had also received two Master’s degrees from Harvard University, and her Bachelor’s from Hunter College.
Susan Cosby, Executive Director, Philadelphia Animal Care & Control - Susan Cosby is the Executive Director of the newly formed Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia, former President & CEO of the Pennsylvania SPCA and former Executive Director of the Animal Welfare Association in NJ. She has led high volume, high quality spay and neuter efforts, partnering with local groups to sterilize thousands of animals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Todd Cramer, Program Manager, PetSmart Charities, Inc. - 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 AWFNJ conference and the Humane Society of the United States Expo.
David Croman, VMD, Director of Veterinary Services, People for Animals, Inc. - David Croman, VMD is a 1999 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, and is currently the Director of Veterinary Services at People For Animals (PFA). Prior to working at PFA, Dr. Croman worked in private practice and provided veterinary services for South Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and the Jersey Animal Coalition. When not involved in veterinary medicine, Dr. Croman enjoys hiking with his dog “Jessica”, sailing, skiing, and other outdoor sports.
Karen Dashfield, DVM, Medical Director, Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary -Karen Dashfield DVM- Medical Director, Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary. Karen has over 30 years of shelter experience, working her way up from shelter volunteer in high school, to shelter Veterinarian. She enjoys sharing her knowledge at seminars and conferences including the AWFNJ and Petfinder’s Adoption Options Seminars around the country.
David Drake, Director of Development, Maryland SPCA - David Drake serves as Director of Development at the Maryland SPCA and also provides consulting and training for nonprofit organizations through Catalyst Fundraising. His experience includes overseeing a walkathon that raises $350,000 a year, as well special events from black tie dinners to food truck rallies. He developed the National Fundraising School for American Humane Association, and he has led workshops for the Association of Fundraising Professionals and Maryland Nonprofits.
Deb Edwards, Administrative Director, St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center - Deb Edwards, Administrative Director of St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Training & Behavior Center, is a NJ Certified Animal Control Officer and a Certified Animal Cruelty Investigator. She speaks frequently to professional and public audiences on various animal welfare topics, such as successful fostering and improving relations between non-profit and municipal shelters. Deb shares her home in New Jersey with one dog, two cats, one bird, a revolving door of foster animals and a very understanding partner – all of them rescues in one way or another.
Beth Gammie, Emergency Services Manager, RedRover - Beth is the Emergency Services Manager for RedRover, a nonprofit animal welfare organization headquartered in Sacramento, California. In this role, Beth leads the RedRover Responders program, which provides trained volunteers and technical expertise in setting up and operating emergency animal shelters in natural and man-made disasters. Prior to this position, she was a volunteer with RedRover and numerous other animal welfare groups.
Jane Guilluame, Executive Director, People for Animals, Inc. - Jane Guillaume entered animal welfare in 2007 after having been a human nurse for 30 years. As Executive Director of People for Animals, Inc. (Hillside, NJ), she has worked to tear down barriers to spay/neuter wherever she finds them. Jane has helped PFA increase capacity from 6,000 surgeries annually in 2007 to a projected 20,000 this year and opened a second clinic in Robbinsville. Jane enjoys partnering with other organizations to promote spay/neuter. Visit our website for details www.pfaonline.org.
Hillary Hager, Director, National Volunteer Center, Humane Society of the US - Hilary Anne Hager has managed volunteers in animal welfare environments for 12 years and currently serves as The HSUS as Director of the National Volunteer Center. Engaging volunteers in meaningful work to make the world a more humane place is Hilary’s passion and life’s work. In addition to managing volunteers in shelters, she has been a volunteer herself at a wildlife rehabilitation center, and served on the board of directors for a chimpanzee sanctuary, the WA Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies, and a “friends-of” non-profit group supporting the work of a municipally-operated shelter. Hilary holds a master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership from Seattle University.
Diana H. Jeffrey, Esq. - Diana earned her law degree in 1991. Her career spans the public and private sector, litigating personal injury and civil rights cases. Ms. Jeffrey is Director of Government Accountability for NJ Appleseed Public Interest Law Center where she represents “good government” advocates in their quest for transparency in government. She has seventeen years in animal welfare, including five years as director of the Animal Welfare Federation. Ms. Jeffrey was the 2009 recipient of the Unity Award.
Bryan Kortis, Program Manager, PetSmart Charities - Bryan Kortis currently serves as Program Manager for PetSmart Charities, overseeing their Free-roaming Cat Spay/Neuter grants as well as other initiatives. He is the co-founder and former executive director of Neighborhood Cats and has authored and produced many of the leading educational materials on Trap-Neuter-Return. 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.
Dr. Emily Levine, DVM, MRCVS Dipl, ACVB, Diplomat, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists -Dr. Levine was awarded her doctorate in veterinary medicine in 2000. She then completed a one year internship at a specialty medical and surgical referral hospital in Arizona. Dr. Levine remained there for one year in general practice before beginning her residency in animal behavior at Cornell University Hospital for Animals. After completing the residency, she moved to England where she ran the behavior clinic at the University of Lincoln, engaged in clinical behavior research, and taught students.
Dr. Levine has authored several papers and co-edited a proceedings on behavior research. She has authored chapters in both veterinary textbooks and a mainstream book on animal behavior. She has appeared on local television programs and been interviewed for a variety of articles. She was interviewed in an award winning film on the welfare of farm animals. She serves on two boards of local animal welfare associations and is committed to promoting animal welfare and treating pets with behavioral problems. Dr. Levine enjoys working dogs, cats, pocket pets, farm animals, and parrots.
Dr. Levine joined the staff at Animal Emergency and Referral Associates in June 2006 in Fairfield, NJ. Her practice is limited is to working with families with pets who have behavioral issues.
Kerrie McKeon, The Cat Sleuth - Kerrie McKeon has spent 8 years working with thousands of cats in a shelter environment, designing behavior modification plans for cats with “issues,” successfully matching cats with new owners, providing follow-up support when problems arose, and helping to choose the appropriate feline friend for cats who have recently lost their companions. s a feline behavior specialist, the Cat Sleuth has appeared on several local and national television and radio programs, providing spay/neuter and adoption advice on ABC’s Eyewitness News, chiming in on Sirius Radio’s Cat Chat on Dog Talk, and discussing cat breeds and their characteristics on the Mike and Juliet Show.
Beth Mersten Cruz, Founder & President, Shelter Showcase - Beth Mersten Cruz is the founder and president of Shelter Showcase, and has served on the AWFNJ Board since 2007. Beth worked for Best Friends Animal Society for 7 years, where she organized the largest Best Friends Pet Super Adoption, and managed the No More Homeless Pets conference, Best Friends Network and the No More Homeless Pets outreach team, providing guidance on program development and animal welfare topics to grassroots organizations, humane societies, town officials and volunteers. Beth also founded a small consulting firm in 1998, which provided computer consulting and project management services for 8 years in the corporate world. Beth holds a Masters in Conservation Biology and a Bachelor’s in Biology, both from the University of Pennsylvania.
Ashley Mutch, Manager, Pets for Life - Ashley Mutch, 26, of Philadelphia, PA became the Manager of Pets for Life Philadelphia in July 2012. She worked for 3 years in Humane Law Enforcement in Philadelphia prior to joining the Humane Society of the United States Pets for Life team. She graduated from Elmira College with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, and although unrelated to her degree, has fallen in love with her career in animal welfare. She currently has one rescued pit bull, Gunner, and one rescued cat, Lucky.
Kate Pullen, Sr. Director, Community Outreach, ASPCA - Kate Pullen joined the staff of the ASPCA in November of 2005 with the specific job of assisting the Louisiana SPCA recover from the effects of hurricane Katrina. She is now a Senior Director for ASPCA Community Outreach, working again with organizations around the country.
Kate has over 25 years of shelter experience and was the Director of the Humane Society of Baltimore County from 1990 to 1992, the Director of The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, VA, from 1993-2000, and the Director of Animal Sheltering Issues for The Humane Society of the United States from 2000 until the fall of 2005 when she joined the staff of the ASPCA.
Kate is a sought after speaker/advisor and expert on shelter operations, program development, shelter design, program implementation, crisis intervention, board operations, and, strategic development. She provides extensive advice on a variety of topics to the animal welfare industry.
Kate has a degree in Business Administration and currently lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Linda Reider, Michigan Humane Society - Linda Reider is the Director of Statewide Initiatives for the Michigan Humane Society, which operates three open admission adoption centers and full-service veterinary centers, one satellite adoption center, and six offsite cat centers in the greater Detroit area. She works to better connect animal shelters and rescue groups statewide through MHS’ Michigan Partnership for Animal Welfare state federation. Linda represents MHS on state-level committees, is a founding board member of the Michigan State Animal Response Team and works on pet-related legislation. She presents workshops on foster program management, conversational adoption counseling, adopter support, promoting overlooked pets, collaborations among animal groups, disaster response, and maximizing offsite adoptions at regional and national conferences. Linda holds B.S. and M.S. degrees, plus a Certificate in Nonprofit Business and Management, and has held various positions in the animal welfare field for the past 27 years. She lives with a bossy old Pekingese and her son’s two hairy cats.
B.J. Rogers, CAWA, Community Initiatives Director, ASPCA - B.J. provides support, training, and grant assistance to shelters around the country as well as supporting Partnership projects in Miami, Florida and Shelby County, Alabama. Previously, B.J. served as the chief executive of Vermont’s largest and oldest animal welfare organization. Prior to animal welfare, B.J. worked in human services, higher education, and in politics. He’s a longtime member of the board of the Vermont Humane Federation and the Advisory Council of the New England Federation of Humane Societies.
Kim Saunders, St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center - An attorney with a passion for animal welfare, Kim left her practice to become a leading force in making Petfinder a household name, creating a paradigm shift in how people, shelter, rescues and homeless pets connect. Through strategic efforts and hitting the pavement, she led the growth of Petfinder from 400 members in 1999 to 14,000 during her tenure, resulting in the facilitation of over 20 million adoptions. Kim now brings her driving passion for elevating the professionalism and efficacy of our field to her position at St. Hubert’s where she oversees all direct animal care work, community service & outreach programs, regional and national initiatives and communications. A trusted colleague to animal welfare professionals nationwide, Kim remains dedicated to collaboration within our field. She serves as an advisory member of the board of the Animal Welfare Federation of New Jersey (AWFNJ) and is a New Jersey certified animal control officer, an author, and a devoted foster parent. Kim shares her home with rescued Pit Bull Mojo, who currently has his own office foster cat.
Kathy Schatzmann, Humane Society of the US - Kathleen Schatzmann, NJ State Director for the Humane Society of the United States, has worked in NJ during Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. She has experience working with the Governor’s Office, Department of Agriculture, County Offices of Emergency Management, County Animal Response Teams, Incident Command Centers. Schatzmann worked with both national and local groups in direct animal care involving search and rescue, temporary sheltering, intake/release, veterinary care, enrichment and specialized in communication with the public and media.
Dr. Shari Silverman, DVM - After a disaster how to you work towards getting back to your normal operations and deal with the realities of the impact of the disaster? We will discuss how the Louisiana SPCA did just this after Katrina, how to prepare for a disaster to minimize negative results after the disaster has passed, how to take advantage of the opportunities after a disaster and not shy away from them, and how to reclaim your program and operations. There will be ample time at the end of this presentation for questions and answers from the audience.
Speakers are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control