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Rory Adams is the recently appointed senior manager of adoption initiatives at PetSmart Charities. Before joining PetSmart, Rory was content manager at American Pets Alive!. Prior to that, he worked at Maddie's Fund in roles such as dog program coordinator and education specialist. Rory developed the Maddie's Apprenticeship and Fellowship programs to train shelter professionals on lifesaving best practices. He also founded and served as the executive director of Tucson Pets Alive!, a non-profit organization that helped increase lifesaving in Tucson in 2018, and was the director of a small animal shelter that helped save pets at risk in the municipal shelter. Rory's areas of expertise and interest include systems learning for animal welfare, achieving live outcomes for animals with medical and behavioral challenges, and the intersection between social justice and animal welfare.

Since 2005, Rebecca Aldworth has led the two Canadian affiliates of Humane Society International (HSI/Canada and Friends of HSI), directing all aspects of HSI’s organizational presence in the country. Rebecca has played a key role in exposing and addressing the cruelty of the notorious commercial seal hunt in Atlantic Canada. She has documented the killing for 19 years and was a principal architect of a successful campaign to close more than 30 international markets for commercial seal products. She has helped achieve landmark national reforms, including phase-outs of multiple intensive confinement systems on factory farms, as well as prohibitions on shark finning and trade, confinement of cetaceans for entertainment, cosmetic animal testing, and trade, and elephant ivory and rhino horn trade. Aldworth has led teams in rescuing and rehabilitating thousands of animals in crisis and distress, including landmark closures of the largest puppy mill and the largest roadside zoo in Canadian history.

Dr. Jo Anderson is a social psychologist and the Research Director at Faunalytics, a non-profit that provides animal advocates with up-to-date research and data on a wide range of animal-related issues. She oversees a program of research that focuses on identifying and supporting ways of shifting society away from harmful, intensive farming practices and toward more sustainable, plant-based solutions. Jo holds a PhD from the University of Waterloo and completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Cornell University. In addition to Faunalytics, her other roles include serving as a co-leader of the RECAP (Research to End Consumption of Animal Products) researcher collective, a research advisor to the Good Growth Co. and Food System Innovations, and an adjunct research professor at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada).

Melanie Anderson served as program director for the Summerlee Foundation for 33 years and is currently a board member. She assisted the donor, Annie Lee Roberts, in creating the animal program and its funding priorities. Melanie graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BA in journalism and worked for the Dallas Times Herald. Before joining Summerlee, she volunteered for various animal protection organizations throughout the U.S. and conducted her own feral cat rescue in Dallas. Melanie has served on several non-profit boards, including Animal Grantmakers and the Mountain Lion Foundation of California.

Through Summerlee, Melanie has implemented and participated in several strategic initiatives, including the creation of the Animal Funding Atlas (animal grantmaking database), and developing and funding sustainable model programs to humanely address the dog and cat overpopulation crisis in Mexico, as well as the Sunny Summit Initiative to address the trade of captive orcas and whales in the entertainment industry and the critical need for rehabilitation and sanctuary.

Melanie resides in the “urban-wildlands interface” west of Denver, Colorado. Besides living with indoor domestic cats, she also manages to peacefully co-exist with outdoor resident foxes, black bears, and an occasional mountain lion.

Recognizing the great need for services in remote rural areas, RJ Bailot co-founded the Canadian Animal Task Force (CATF) in 2007, and has spent his days in service of animal welfare ever since. With RJ at the helm as executive director, CATF provides onsite veterinarian care, such as spay-neuter clinics and surgeries, for First Nations communities and other underserved regions. In addition to providing population control and other veterinary services, CATF also assists in disaster recovery of animals and pets, and aids in relinquishment cases.

CATF started out as a team of three and has grown to a network of more than 2,200 active volunteers. Since 2010, it has completed nearly 70 onsite clinics and examined, spayed, neutered, vaccinated, and dewormed more than 21,000 companion animals. Additionally, CATF has placed more than 7,500 surrendered animals with partner rescue groups.

In 2008, RJ was given an award for outstanding personal achievement by the International Fund for Animal Welfare. More recently, in 2021, the RJ Bailot Bursary for Volunteerism in Animal Health Technology Scholarship was created in his honor by the key donors behind the Carla Cumming Sojonky Adoption Centre. The scholarship recognizes the impact RJ has had on the lives of both animals and people.

Elizabeth Baker, Esq. is the director of research policy for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, where she leads the team in its work to implement more effective, efficient, and ethical medical research, product testing, and training. She regularly presents and publishes on the Physician Committee’s work to change policy and practice to integrate human-based non-animal science. Elizabeth is a member of the California Bar Association, the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology, the Society of Toxicology, the European Society for Alternatives to Animal Testing, and the International Microphysiological Systems Society. She is a board member of the International Collaboration on Cosmetics Safety, the American Society for Cellular and Computational Toxicology, and a former council member of the Southern California Regional Chapter of the Society of Toxicology.

Dr. John D. Boone is an ecologist and wildlife scientist who received his Ph.D. in environmental, population, and organismal biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, with a specialization in vertebrate and applied ecology. He spent the first 10 years of his post-graduate career on the faculty of the University of Nevada, Reno, where his research focused on the ecology of zoonotic diseases. In 2006, he moved to the Great Basin Bird Observatory, also located in Reno, where, over the last 18 years, he has led or contributed to many applied conservation initiatives, population monitoring programs, and conservation planning initiatives throughout the Western U.S. In 2012, John began to serve as a consultant for several national and international animal welfare organizations to provide expertise in population management, monitoring, and data analysis for free-roaming dogs and cats. In this capacity, he has assisted in over 50 field programs around the world. Recently, he was a co-founder of the D.C. Cat Count project, designed to refine methodologies for quantifying free-roaming cat populations. Currently, he is a consultant for Humane Society of the United States, board chair of the SPCA of Northern Nevada, and board vice-chair of the Alliance for Contraception in Cats & Dogs.

Alison Bressette is from the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point, but resides in London, Ontario. Alison founded Aboriginal Community & Animal Advocacy Connection (ACAAC) for the purpose of providing accessible and affordable animal welfare resources and services, such as veterinary care, for dog and cat populations within First Nation communities. One very important aspect to ACAAC is to assist First Nations to establish long-term partnerships that will provide animal welfare services and resources to communities. ACAAC strongly advocates for the duty to consult and accommodate First Nation communities to achieve reconciliation. ACAAC operates to bring awareness, to promote animal welfare, the human-animal bond, respect, empathy, and compassion, and to improve animal health and wellbeing for First Nations animals.

Chris Bryson is the founder and CEO at New School Foods, a leader in whole-cut seafood alternatives, and makers of the world’s first plant-based fish filet that looks, cooks, tastes, and flakes like wild salmon. Previously, Chris was the founder and CEO of Unata, an eCommerce company that was acquired in 2018 by Instacart. Chris is an active donor to a series of animal welfare NGOs, a startup mentor to other alt-protein companies, and a proud member of the Founder’s Pledge.

Tim has a lifelong love of wildlife and wild places, and has experience in political organizing, park management, government relations, and applied research.

Tim has a master’s degree in natural resources from the University of Northern B.C., and was inspired to focus his career on conservation advocacy and research after working as an operations manager for several provincial parks, where his passion for the wild evolved from a fascination with natural history to policy surrounding reconciliation, the environment, natural resources and conservation movements.

As director of landscape protection for Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y), Tim leads a team of dedicated and passionate conservationists across the Y2Y region to work strategically in support of Indigenous-led conservation initiatives to protect large landscapes, and coordinates integrated projects to advance the Y2Y vision. He advocates for conservation solutions in policy initiatives, engaging with decision makers at all levels of government.

Tim lives on Vancouver Island, B.C. with his partner Zoë and dogs Mickey and Pippin, and spends his free time exploring the vast wild places of the world.

An award-winning executive leader in animal welfare, conservation, and education, Barbara Cartwright’s work has spanned five continents and 25 years. As the CEO of Humane Canada, the federation of humane societies and SPCAs, Barbara convenes and represents the largest animal welfare community in Canada, working to end animal cruelty, improve animal protection, and promote the humane treatment of all animals. Barbara has guided the organization through three successful strategic plans, managed a five-fold increase in resources, engineered a full brand transformation, and led the organization into a fully remote business model. She is sought after for her knowledge of policy and public affairs, securing animal protection amendments to the Criminal Code, WAPPRITTA, Fisheries Act, Food and Drugs Act, and Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Barbara worked alongside the Minister of Justice to pass Quanto’s Law in 2014; and in 2019, she secured a ban on cetacean captivity, strengthened animal fighting offenses, and closed loopholes in bestiality offenses. In 2023, she was instrumental in banning cosmetic testing and phasing out toxicity testing on animals in Canada. This year, Barbara is focused on passing legislation to ban the captivity of elephants and great apes, ban the export of live horses overseas for slaughter, and protect animals from family violence.

Barbara’s extensive experience in developing and facilitating relationships with stakeholders, governments, corporations, and NGOs has led to innovative programs with dynamic results, working with broad stakeholders to reform Canada's Criminal Justice System with regards to animals, creating the National Centre for the Prosecution of Animal Cruelty, establishing the Canadian Violence Link Coalition, launching an innovative, cross-sector program to address systemic barriers to women with animals experiencing gender-based violence, working with First Nations on community-based animal welfare programs, supporting fishermen to protect endangered right whales, and mobilizing African communities to conserve great apes. Barbara launched the Summit for Animals, the Animal Abuse Prosecution Conference, and the Canadian Violence Link Conference, as well as spearheaded original national research projects into cat welfare, the humane sector, and the indicators of a Humane Canada project.

Barbara holds a master’s degree in environmental education and communication, and a certificate in executive leadership from Said Business School, Oxford. Formerly president of the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, she currently sits on the boards of PetSmart Charities of Canada and the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center in Congo.

Dr. Charu Chandrasekera is the founder and executive director of Canada’s first and only center dedicated exclusively to alternatives to animal testing, the Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods (CCAAM) and its subsidiary, the Canadian Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (CaCVAM) located at the University of Windsor. She obtained her PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary, specializing in cardiovascular research. Charu is an experienced scientist, former animal researcher, science policy expert, and an animal lover. Through CCAAM/CaCVAM, she promotes the replacement of animals in Canadian biomedical research, education, and regulatory testing through 21st century science, innovation, and ethics.

Dr. Kendra Coulter is a full professor in management and organizational studies and the founding coordinator of the world's first major in animal ethics and sustainability leadership at Huron University College, Western University (Canada). She is a fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics (England) and the author of dozens of scholarly and media publications on animal protection, work, and wellbeing. Her most recent book is Defending Animals: Finding Hope on the Front Lines of Animal Protection (The MIT Press). She serves on the National Link Coalition’s board of directors (U.S.) and on the Canadian Violence Link Coalition’s strategic planning and coordinating committees. Her fiction debut, The Tortoise’s Tale, will be published by Simon & Schuster next year.

Elaina Cox is an Mi’kmaq youth with a master’s degree in sustainability management, a bachelor’s degree (Hons) in environmental governance, and a double minor (Hons) in political science, and geographic information system and environmental analysis.

Elaina is involved in numerous engagements and volunteering efforts regarding Indigenous and youth rights in decision-making and environmental welfare, including working with such well-known groups as UNESCO and UNAC, Ontario Nature, the Jane Goodall Institute, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, World Wildlife, and The Climate Reality Project. Elaina has a variety of experience working with international and national targets, including Canada’s NDC, UNDRIP/UNDA, ILO 169, UNEP FI disclosures, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Sustainable Development Goals. This includes through her master’s thesis research; assisting with the UNDA Action Plan Measures at Parks Canada; her work writing many of the initial chapters on a novel regarding SDGs and First Nations treaties due to print later this year; a youth voice on a book on women in politics; an international NDC reviewal project as Canada's representative; and, co-author of a report on youth involvement in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework for Global Affairs Canada.

Elaina's future goals are aimed at working to reach national and international targets and objectives through promoting Indigenous protected and conserved areas, the incorporation of traditional knowledge and practices, and the inclusion of youth and Indigenous perspectives in decision-making processes.

Longtime capital hometown girl from Ottawa, Tara Dobec completed her Bachelor of Arts in law and Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Carleton University before completing law school at the University of Ottawa. She then articled for the Crown Attorney’s Office in Sudbury and was called to the bar in 2002, working as a Crown ever since. Tara worked in Haileybury, Sault Ste Marie and Peel before finally moving back home to Ottawa. While she has always had an interest in animal prosecutions, she didn’t get an opportunity until 2016 when a high-profile case landed on her desk, but has been eagerly working on these cases ever since. Currently, she reviews and prosecutes most cases that come into her office. Tara is regularly asked to lecture for university students, police forces, Crown conferences, and with NCPAC at a yearly Animal Abuse Prosecutors Conference. She frequently provides advice on prosecutions to Crowns around the province and across the country. She tries her best to have training materials on animal prosecutions up to date for all of her colleagues. All this – in an attempt to keep her three cats, gecko and fish happy. The fish and gecko seem pleased with these accomplishments. The cats think there is lots more work to be done.

Dr. Mark Elbroch is director of Panthera's Puma Program (, and he has contributed to puma (cougar, panther, mountain lion) research and conservation for 20 years. Mark is a National Geographic Explorer, and the 2017 recipient of the Craighead Conservation Award, an award honoring individuals whose work has achieved “lasting conservation outcomes.” Mark is a member of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group and the current lead assessor for the IUCN’s 10-year assessment of puma conservation status. He has also authored / coauthored 10 books on natural history, including The Cougar Conundrum: Sharing the World with a Successful Predator. Mark’s work has been covered by the BBC, NatGeo Wild, New York Times, National Public Radio, the Washington Post, Newsweek, The Guardian, Inside Climate News, and CBS News, among others.

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith MP is a Canadian politician who is the member of Parliament (MP) for Beaches – East York. A member of the Liberal Party, Erskine-Smith was elected to the House of Commons in the 2015 federal election. Before entering politics, Erskine-Smith was a commercial litigation lawyer.

In 2015, Erskine-Smith seconded Bill S-203, the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act, that became law in June 2019. The bill prohibits the captivity of cetaceans and requires permits to import and export them to and from Canada. Erskine-Smith spoke to the house about the importance of the bill in June 2018.

In February 2016, Erskine-Smith introduced Bill C-246, the Modernizing Animal Protections Act, to ban the import of shark fins and make Canada's animal cruelty laws tougher. The bill won support from EndCruelty, a coalition of Canadians who support stronger animal protection laws. Due to concerns from animal use lobbyists, the bill was defeated 198 to 84 at second reading. Two years later, a government bill addressing similar concerns was tabled by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould. She acknowledged Erskine-Smith's efforts as a precursor to the government's legislation. The defeat of Erskine-Smith's Bill C-246 led to the creation of the Liberal Animal Welfare Caucus in 2017. In September 2017, Erskine-Smith wrote a piece in Now Magazine addressing his veganism and the importance of a social change towards the treatment of animals.

In 2016, Erskine-Smith received the Humane Legislator Award from Animal Justice for his efforts to modernize Canada's federal animal protection laws with Bill C-246. In 2017, Erskine-Smith received the Fur-Bearers’ Clements Award for his dedication to improving the lives of animals with Bill C-246. In 2019, Erskine-Smith was awarded the Toronto Vegetarian Association Lisa Grill Compassion for Animals Award for his compassion and commitment toward animals. He was also recognized by Humane Canada for his dedication to ending animal abuse.

Angela Fernandez is a full professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, where she is cross-appointed to the Department of History. In addition to teaching animal law, Angela runs a monthly working group on Animals in the Law and Humanities. She is a member of the Scholars for Animals in Law and Studies (SAILS) with the Brooks Institute for Animal Rights, Law and Policy, a working group which envisions, designs, and implements scholarly North American-based projects that will significantly impact animal interests and raise public awareness. In collaboration with Brooks, she supervises the production of the Brooks Animal Law Digest: Canada Edition and oversees the University of Toronto’s Animal Law Research Guide. From 2020 to 2023, she worked with Brooks and Animal Justice to organize the North American Animal Law Conference and the Canadian Animal Law Conference. She was the 2023 inaugural Vermont Law and Graduate School’s Distinguished Animal Law Scholar in the Animal Law and Policy Institute, and she has been a Fellow with the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics since 2018.

Stephanie Filer has worked in senior leadership positions at non-profits for nearly 20 years, leading high-performing communications, development, and operations teams. Her advocacy efforts at the state and local level have led to countless changes in animal welfare legislation, including overturning multiple decades-old, breed specific / discriminatory ordinances across Iowa.

After nearly 12 years at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, in August 2021, Stephanie joined Shelter Animals Count as executive director to further advance animal welfare across the country through data-enabled insights.

With a love for animals, a heart for her community, and a passion for under-served children, Stephanie has volunteered and served in officer roles on many boards to help these causes, including most recently as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). Her professional and civic achievements have earned her Forty Under 40 recognition and the first annual Stephanie Filer Community Impact Award, among many other awards and honors. She resides in Atlanta with her three cats and two dogs.

Mitchell Fox has spent the last 40 years advocating for animals, evenly split between grant seeking and grantmaking organizations. For a couple decades, he led advocacy campaigns at the Progressive Animal Welfare Society and Center for a Humane Economy. For a couple other decades, he led animal grantmaking at the Glaser Progress Foundation and (now) Summerlee Foundation. Between vicennials, he wrote a column for the Seattle Times, currently serves as trustee of the Susan Michaels Compassion Trust, and has attended 24 of 25 Animal Grantmakers Annual Conferences. Mitchell has two grown kids and lives in Seattle with his wife.

Larry Green is the external affairs officer for the Botstiber Institute for Wildlife Fertility Control. Larry has worked for a variety of non-profit organizations, including the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations and Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. Larry holds a master’s degree in television-radio from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University; and a bachelor’s degree in speech communications from Case Western Reserve University. He has served on the Animal Grantmakers board since 2022 and as board president since 2023.

Aaron Hancox is a filmmaker, writer and media executive at Sandbox Inc., an interdisciplinary media agency in Toronto. Throughout his career, Aaron has produced dozens of documentaries and multi-media projects on a variety of subjects, including cats and dogs.

Jill Hoffman is an award-winning communications professional with two decades of big agency experience working with well-known brands like General Motors, Nike, Allergan, and Blue Shield. She spent nearly a decade working with her father at Clive Hoffman Associates, where she helped the boutique firm maintain a thriving real estate practice. She has also helped several start-ups and smaller organizations raise their profiles.

Jill derives the greatest sense of professional satisfaction working with non-profit organizations. A native Angeleno, she has worked with several “hometown” charities, including A Place Called Home and the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust. Currently, Jill is a consultant to Animal Grantmakers, where she is involved with member engagement and outreach, member and external communications, programs like the Annual Animal Grantmakers Conference, and more. She played an active role in planning and marketing this year’s conference in Toronto.

Jill is also actively involved in animal protection in her personal life. Since 2014, she has participated in several half marathons to raise funds for the ASPCA (and was honored as a top fundraiser each time) and several (nine and counting!) Los Angeles Marathons in support of Angel City Pit Bulls (ACPB), one of Los Angeles’ most trusted rescue partners serving large-breed dogs with medical needs, as well as unweaned kittens. She has also volunteered as Team ACPB’s LA Big 5K lead coach and team coordinator for the past five years.

Jill graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Sangita Iyer is the founder of Voices for Asian Elephants, author of Gods in Shackles – What Elephants Can Teach Us About Empathy Resilience and Freedom, a National Geographic Explorer, award-winning wildlife filmmaker, broadcast journalist, and biologist.

Sangita directed and produced the globally-acclaimed epic documentary Gods in Shackles, which was nominated at the United Nations General Assembly, and has garnered 13 international film festival awards. Sangita received the "Nari Shakti Puraskar" (Women Power Award), the highest award from India’s President for her courage to expose the plight of captive elephants that are being exploited in the name of culture and religion. She also produced a 26-part short docuseries featuring the endangered Asian elephants, after receiving the National Geographic Society’s storytelling award.

Sangita’s work has been featured on “Good Morning America,” the BBC News, National Geographic, The Guardian, and other major news outlets. Sangita rang the closing bell at NASDAQ for World Elephant Day 2023.

Lynn Kavanagh oversees World Animal Protection’s farming and food systems campaign. She works to change government and corporate policies to improve animal welfare, raise public awareness about the plight of farm animals in Canada, and advocates for a more humane and sustainable food system. Lynn has been working in animal advocacy for over 20 years. She holds a BA in philosophy from York University and an MSc in animal behavior and welfare from the University of Guelph.

Pam Kingfisher is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, born to the Bird Clan, and has been a consultant to foundations and non-profits. She farms organically on her grandmother’s allotment land in Northeast Oklahoma, working with bees and medicinal plants. In May 2018, Pam was alerted that six chicken houses were being built on Spring Creek near Oaks. She activated her contacts, started a Facebook page, and sounded the alarm. The six houses were shut down in 13 days and the Cherokee Nation bought the land, taking it off the table. Pam then organized 18 community meetings to alert citizens, gather information and ask Oklahoma agencies to explain themselves to the affected community members. This organizing led to the first Oklahoma setbacks on poultry houses and a six-month suspension on new poultry feeding permits. In summer 2023, Pam lobbied for and received a legislative “interim study” at the Oklahoma House. By creating a big umbrella, Pam brought in every environmental organization and leader to the fight.

Camille Labchuk is executive director of Animal Justice and one of Canada’s leading animal rights lawyers. As a lawyer, Camille seeks out cases that enhance the legal interests of animals, expose hidden animal suffering, and result in meaningful policy changes. As an advocate, Camille’s work includes documenting the commercial seal kill on Canada’s East Coast, exposing cruelty in farming, protecting the free speech rights of animal advocates, and campaigns against ag gag laws, trophy hunting, circuses, zoos, aquariums, shark finning, puppy mills, and more. Camille is a graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and Mount Allison University, and has worked to protect animals for over 15 years. She is a frequent lecturer and media commentator on animal law issues. Camille lives in Toronto with her cat Cecily.

Rob Laidlaw has spent more than 45 years working to protect the interests and wellbeing of animals in Canada and around the world. He is a Chartered Biologist, founder of the wildlife protection organization Zoocheck, and a recipient of the Frederic A. McGrand Lifetime Achievement Award for substantial contributions to animal welfare in Canada. Throughout the years, Rob has been involved in hundreds of investigative, legislative, legal, public awareness, and capacity building campaigns at all levels of government in Canada and abroad. Rob is also an award-winning author of eleven children’s books about animal welfare and wildlife protection, many that are published around the world, as well as numerous articles, reports, book chapters, and other materials.

Stacy LeBaron, a feline entrepreneur with over 30 years in animal welfare, hosts the Community Cats Podcast, featuring over 500 episodes with experts on cat overpopulation and welfare. She organizes virtual conferences like the Online Cat Conference, the United Spay Alliance Conference, and the Online Kitten Conference, and offers certification programs in trap-neuter-return (TNR), surrender prevention, and return-to-home. Stacy also founded the Community Cats Grants Program, helping over 200 groups fundraise for spay/neuter surgeries.

Stacy partners with the Community Cat Clinic in Georgia, serves as president of PAWSitive Pantry, treasurer for multiple organizations, and an administrative trustee for the LeBaron Foundation. Formerly, she was president of the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society for 16 years. Stacy, a Vassar College graduate, lives in Vermont and Switzerland with her husband and offers consulting on cat overpopulation strategies.

Maggie Lynch, Senior Director of Research and Development, oversees the strategy for meeting the research and data needs of Austin Pets Alive!, including for the Human Animal Support Services (HASS) project. Maggie has been a leader at APA! since 2015, first as the head of the philanthropy team and moving to R&D leadership in 2022. She brings a background in academic research, performance measurement, program budgeting, and executive management to her R&D role, along with a talent for telling the story of the “why” of social change and for translating research and data into tools for bringing about substantial change in animal welfare.

Lori Marino is a neuroscientist and adjunct professor of animal studies at New York University. She is the founder and president of the Whale Sanctuary Project and executive director of The Kimmela Center for Scholarship-based Animal Advocacy. Lori’s scientific work focuses on the evolution of the brain and intelligence in dolphins and whales (as well as primates and farmed animals), and on the effects of captivity on wild animals. She has published over 140 peer-reviewed scientific papers, book chapters, and magazine articles in these areas. Lori also works at the intersection of science and animal law and policy, and is the co-director (with Professor Kathy Hessler) of the Animal Law and Science Project at George Washington University. She is also an adjunct summer faculty member at Vermont Law and Graduate School, where she co-teaches Science of Animal Law and Policy.

Jo-Anne McArthur is an award-winning photographer, author, photo editor, and sought-after speaker. Through her long-term body of work, We Animals, she has documented our complex relationship with animals around the globe. Since 1998, her work has taken her to over 60 countries. In 2019, she founded We Animals Media.

McArthur’s books include HIDDEN: Animals in the Anthropocene (We Animals Media, 2020), with co-editor Keith Wilson; Captive (Lantern Books, 2017); and We Animals (Lantern Books, 2014). Thousands of her images are available at the We Animals Media stock site. She has also been a jury member for World Press Photo and Mont Photo.

McArthur was the subject of the critically acclaimed 2013 documentary The Ghosts in Our Machine, which followed her as she documented the plight of abused and exploited animals and advocated for their rights as sentient beings.

McArthur’s photography and writing has been in publications such as National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Lens Culture, Medium, VICE, Canadian Geographic, DAYS Japan, Helsingin Sanomat, Der Spiegel, PhotoLife magazine, Huffington Post, Outdoor Photography, and Feature Shoot. In addition, We Animals images have been used by hundreds of organizations, publishers, and academics to advocate for animals.

Brendan McCormick works with Exponent Philanthropy’s staff, members, and partners to develop educational resources grounded in research. He leads its efforts to learn more about the community of lean funders. Brendan focuses his research on how foundations approach impact and evaluation, investments, operations, demographics, and equity practices.

Brendan has worked in philanthropy and grantmaking with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Greater Washington Community Foundation. He earned his master’s degree in public policy at the University of Maryland, where he focused on non-profit management and social policy.

In his free time, Brendan enjoys spending time with his family, cooking new recipes, backpacking, and finding a quiet place to read a good book.

Louisa McCune is the executive director of Kirkpatrick Foundation. She is currently on the board of Patrons of OKC Animal Welfare and the Neighborhoods Subcommittee for MAPS4, appointed by the Oklahoma City mayor. She is the past board president of Animal Grantmakers (2020) and, in 2021, served as committee chairman for the Philanthropy Southwest Annual Conference. She is an advisory trustee to the Kirkpatrick Family Fund and Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center, and an advisor to Green Box Arts.

In 2020, Louisa co-founded the Oklahoma Killer Whale Project and served as executive producer of The Odyssey Project (a livestream complete reading of Emily Wilson’s translation) in partnership with Oklahoma Contemporary. She is editor-in-chief and co-founder of ArtDesk, a member and co-founder of Common Bonds, and a member and co-founder of the Oklahoma Roundtable for Animal Welfare. She also serves on the boards of the Kirkpatrick Policy Group and Oklahoma Voters United. In 2022, Louisa was one of the faculty at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics summer school.

Louisa is a past member of the American Society of Magazine Editors and has served on the boards of City Arts Center, the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers, the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and Wilson Arts. She is a former committee member for the Thatcher Hoffman Smith prize and past judge for the National Magazine Awards and the Oklahoma Book Awards (the book she co-edited with Teresa Miller, Love Can Be: A Literary Collection About Our Animals, won an Oklahoma Book Award in 2018). Louisa has worked at several national magazines, including Worth, George, Harper’s Magazine, Mirabella, and New York. Her articles have appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel, Reader’s Digest, The Oklahoman, OKC Business, The Journal Record, OKC Pets Magazine, World Literature Today, and Zoo Sounds, among others. Her essay, “Family Plots,” appeared in Voices from the Heartland. In 2022, her pieces "The Skeleton’s Key to Nature’s Course: John Newsom Paints the Cosmogram" and "Deep in the Heartland: Early Concepts of Humane Education" were published.

An Enid, Oklahoma native, Louisa has three sons, McCune, Rucks, and Edward, and lots of dogs and cats. She is also a licensed pilot.

Vincent Medley is Maddie’s® Director of Human Animal Support Services. Vincent spent 21 years as a leader of four of the largest government-funded animal shelters in the United States—Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Philadelphia—where he served at every level of shelter operations and management, and led through some of the toughest transitions.

Vincent was also the CEO of a non-profit shelter that contracted enforcement and shelter services within large city governments, and has been a frequent speaker and trainer in animal shelters and at conferences across the country.

Most recently, Vincent was the senior coordinator and program manager at the Humane Society of the United States’ Law Enforcement Training Center. He has experience in the business world, as well—Vincent is a Lean Six Sigma White Belt and a life coach.

Vincent’s background, experience, and values drive his commitment to lifesaving, and the HASS model of keeping people and pets together.

Dr. Giuliana Miguel-Pacheco is a distinguished animal welfare scientist and consultant with over a decade of dedication to farmed animal welfare. Initially trained as a veterinarian in Peru, she identified the need for a holistic approach to animal recovery, which led her to specialize in animal behavior and welfare science. She holds an MSc in applied animal behaviour and welfare from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD from the University of Nottingham, where she conducted groundbreaking research on lameness treatment in dairy cattle. Her work spans a variety of projects, including the welfare of captive elephants and advancements in precision livestock farming. Recently, she has led innovative assessments of pig welfare on farms and in abattoirs. Giuliana has collaborated with North American food businesses and Latin American NGOs, driving significant advancements in farmed animal welfare. In August 2023, she joined Humane Canada as manager of farmed animal welfare.

Terri Morris is the humane education coordinator at The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, a registered Canadian charity founded in August 1992 in Puslinch, Ontario with the vision of creating a sanctuary where donkeys, mules, and hinnies could live free from neglect and abuse.

Martha Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, where she teaches an animal ethics course to law students. She received her BA from NYU, her MA and PhD from Harvard, and has taught at Harvard, Brown, and Oxford Universities. Professor Nussbaum is internationally renowned for her work in Ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, feminist philosophy, political philosophy, and now animal philosophy. Her latest book, Justice for Animals: Our Collective Responsibility, came out in paperback earlier this year.

Based in Toronto, PJ Nyman is the corporate engagement manager at Mercy For Animals Canada. In this role, PJ guides the organization’s Canadian work through coordinating public engagement around the country’s most critical farmed animal welfare issues, and works with companies to adopt and implement animal welfare policies. PJ became interested in animal protection in the food system while earning their master’s degree in social and political thought from York University, where they also taught undergraduate courses in critical sociology. PJ began their professional career in animal advocacy as a campaigner and, later, program manager at one of the largest farmed animal sanctuaries in the United States.

H. Richard “Dick” Obermanns, PhD served as the executive director of the Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust from 1998 until his retirement in 2021. Dick co-founded Animal Grantmakers and was instrumental in establishing the Trust as one of the largest animal protection foundations in the country. In his 23 years at the helm, Dick distributed more than $23 million in grants to non-profit organizations in Ohio, other Great Lakes states, and nationally, for activities that prevent cruelty to animals and promote the humane treatment of animals.

Paul Paquet holds graduate degrees in philosophy, and wildlife behavior and conservation, biology, and a PhD in zoology from the University of Alberta. Paul is an internationally-recognized authority on mammalian carnivores, particularly wolves. He has worked for decades on the relationship between wolves and their prey and on possible top-down effects from predators to prey. A research group led by him recently described unique behavioral aspects of wolf predator-prey ecology in western Canada. Paul has been instrumental in describing the complexities of wolf management, including characterizing wolf (sub)species, their ecology, and behavior. He has published more than 200 scholarly articles and several books addressing these issues.

Currently, Paul is an adjunct professor of geography at University of Victoria. Additional academic appointments include adjunct professor of biology and associate professor of environmental design at the University of Calgary; adjunct professor at University of Saskatchewan College of Veterinary Medicine; adjunct professor of biology at Brandon University; adjunct professor of zoology at University of Manitoba; and faculty associate at Guelph University and University of New Brunswick. He is also a member of government, industry, and advisory committees of organizations such as Environment Canada, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Caribou Scientific Advisory Committee for Saskatchewan, WWF International, the European Union, and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Canid Specialist Group.

Dr. Andrew Rowan has spent more than 40 years working on animal welfare science and animal and environmental advocacy. He has served on many government and corporate consultative committees and several boards of national and international NGOs. Most recently, he was the CEO of Humane Society International (1998-2017) and the board chair of the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust. Andrew was a professor at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, where he established the Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy (1983-97), launched an academic journal on human-animal relations (Anthrozoos, 1987-97), launched the first masters’ degree on animals and public policy (1995), and was chair of the Department of Environmental Sciences (1993-97). He has authored or co-authored several books and more than 100 academic papers on animal research and alternatives, on companion animal demographics and management, on humane wildlife management, and on human-animal interactions. He is a recipient of the Rhodes Scholarship (1968-1971). He co-founded Animal Grantmakers in 1999.

Melissa Rubin has worked in animal protection for more than 30 years. She started out in law school with a group called “Students for Animal Welfare” and eventually began working at the Humane Society of the United States. There, she ran the direct care programs, which included the Animal Rescue, Care and Sanctuary department, including the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, Duchess Sanctuary, Rural Area Veterinary Services, Pets for Life, Second Chance Chimpanzee Refuge Liberia, and the Global Animal Rescue and Response team. Melissa is very knowledgeable in setting program strategy and has developed strong relationships in the field, which she continues at Greater Good Charities.

As vice president of research and toxicology at Humane Society International (HSI), Troy Seidle leads a global team of experts who work with governments, companies, research funding bodies, scientists, and public interest stakeholders to promote acceptance of modern, animal-free approaches to testing and research. With three decades’ experience in biomedical and toxicological science policy, he possesses an extensive knowledge of current and emerging testing and research methodologies and of legal and regulatory frameworks across many different countries and sectors. Troy’s contributions to political negotiations led to an unprecedented 50 percent reduction in animal test requirements for pesticides and biocides in Europe, which earned HSI a LUSH Prize.

Troy is the chief architect behind the Animal-Free Safety Assessment (AFSA) Collaboration, a forum for stakeholder dialogue and cooperation toward a common vision of a not-so-distant future without animal testing. He has provided expert testimony to governments across the globe and served on numerous high-level policy committees, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the European Union and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Troy started early as an animal advocate: At 18, he was the youngest person to serve on the Canadian Council on Animal Care and witness first-hand the plight of animals used in science.

Owen Sharp joined Dogs Trust as chief executive in 2019, bringing extensive third sector experience to our dedicated leadership team. Owen’s career began as an accident and emergency nurse in Glasgow, where he progressed to leadership roles across the NHS before joining organizations such as Victim Support and Prostate Cancer UK, and later becoming global chief executive of Movember.

Owen was excited by the awe-inspiring scope and variety of work at Dogs Trust. From helping thousands of pooches find their forever homes to aiding individuals escaping domestic abuse with their pets, no two days at Dogs Trust are ever the same.

As a massive dog lover, Owen has two of his own: Dixie, a Labrador-Poodle cross; and Lexi, a Saluki-cross. Lexi was adopted from Dogs Trust Basildon, having initially been found as a stray. Owen fostered her at first, before falling head over heels in love and giving her a forever home, an occupational hazard of being a Dogs Trust foster carer.

Melissa Shupak transitioned from social work to the animal industry in 2014. After exploring various areas, such as wildlife, clinical settings, and sheltering, she discovered her true passion in sheltering and animal welfare, with a particular focus on behaviour and training

Melissa is a Certified Shelter Behavior Consultant – Dogs (CSB-D) through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), a Certified Animal Trainer through Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers, and a Fear Free Shelter Graduate.

Melissa joined Toronto Humane Society as an animal care worker in 2015, moving into the Training Department as a trainer and then moved into leadership positions. Now as director of animal sheltering, she is overseeing sheltering programs of Shelter Care and Training, Shelter Veterinary Care, Community Sheltering, Shelter Admissions (including rescue transport) and Rehoming to Improve the Lives of Animals.

Amy Soranno is an animal activist devoted to shedding light on the plight of farmed animals and advocating for their rights. She co-founded Ban Fur Farms BC, which played a crucial role in banning mink fur farms in British Columbia in 2021. Amy is also a prominent figure in the “Meat the Victims” movement, known for its mass sit-ins at animal farms. After exposing horrendous cruelty at a pig farm in British Columbia, Amy led hundreds of activists in a farm occupation and protest against the barbaric conditions, resulting in her being criminally charged alongside three others, now known as The Excelsior 4. Amy shares her insights through talks at universities, and by leading activism workshops. Amy's activism has taken her around the world, developing campaign strategies, organizing mass events, conducting animal rescues, working with policy makers, and engaging in farm investigations.

Amy Symington, MSc is a nutrition professor, researcher, and plant-based chef at George Brown College in Toronto. Aside from having a master’s in applied human nutrition with a focus on functional foods and their health benefits, Amy is currently doing her PhD in nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto, and has over 20 years’ experience in the food industry, including in restaurants, cafes, large quantity and catering, and private events and galas, as well as extensive volunteering in community kitchens.

Amy is the culinary nutrition program coordinator at Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto (GCGT), a not-for-profit cancer organization, and is the culinary nutrition specialist for Humane Society International, Canada. She volunteers with the Toronto Veg Food Bank (TVFB) as a chef and nutrition consultant, and does recipe development and food writing for various publications in Toronto and worldwide.

Amy believes in the evidence-based health and environmental benefits of plant-based diets and is the recent author of The Long Table Cookbook: Plant-based recipes for optimal health. She enjoys baking with her kids, cooking, running without her kids, and eating really good nut cheese.

As founder and CEO, Gary Tabor guides the Center for Large Landscape Conservation with a vision grounded in science and practice, drawing upon more than 30 years of experience working on behalf of large-scale conservation efforts in Africa, South America, Australia, and Canada, and 12 years within the U.S. environmental philanthropic community.

Gary’s conservation achievements include the establishment of Kibale National Park in Uganda; establishment of the World Bank’s Mgahinga/Bwindi/Impenetrable Mountain Gorilla Conservation Trust; co-founding the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative; pioneering the field of conservation medicine; co-founding Patagonia Company’s Freedom to Roam wildlife corridor campaign; and co-founding the Network for Landscape Conservation.

Gary has three academic affiliations as Senior Conservation Fellow at the University of Montana, as an advisory board member for the Global Health Initiative at the University of Wisconsin, and as adjunct associate professor, Division of Biological Sciences at the University of Queensland, Australia. Gary is a recipient of the Australian American Fulbright Professional Scholar Award in Climate Change and was also named a Henry Luce Scholar. Gary also serves as chair of IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas’ Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group.

Gary enjoys skiing, swimming, and spending time with his family in his very limited spare time.

Liz White is a longtime resident of Toronto. Liz began her career as a registered nurse and has spent all her working life advocating for a fair and just world. She has spent over 30 years as a community activist, and has worked on issues including advocating for the disadvantaged, animal protection, and aboriginal land settlements.

In 1987, Liz began working with the Toronto Humane Society, an experience that redefined her activism. In 1990, Liz and a number of other Toronto Humane Society staff formed Animal Alliance of Canada, where Liz still works and serves as director. For nearly 25 years, Animal Alliance has fought to protect animals and the environment. In 2005, Liz became the leader of the Animal Protection Party of Canada (formerly the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada). Liz is proud to be part of a movement that seeks protection for all living species and the environment we all share.

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