AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS
CARE, Chief Executive Officer
James is a multi-awarding winning creative strategist and leader with 25+ years of experience developing relationships between organizations and their constituents. His expertise has been utilized across a diverse group of brands, both non for profit, and for profit. Specific brand experience includes: Timberland, Disney, The Mills Corporation, NAACP, Baltimore Health Department, Maryland Health Department, Kennedy Krieger Institute, CVS Caremark’s Project Health, Safe Streets Baltimore and many other brands.
James and his team have initiated several programs, including the ground breaking Gulf Spay/Neuter Campaign and HSUS’ Pets for Life, which helped reshape animal welfare, while simultaneously advocating for more diversity and inclusion throughout the field.
He has also played an integral part in AWO organization’s projects, including HSUS’ Adopters Welcome, Outdoor Cats Research, Stop Puppy Mills and Spayathon, as well as Best Friends Animal Society’s Outreach Action Team, Maddie’s Fund, and SPCA of Texas’ Let’s Fix This Campaign.
CARE, CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER
Jen is the COO and Art Director for Illume Communications. As a highly organized logistics expert, she manages CARE’s staff and workflow. Jen studied studio art in school and has over 20 years experience in marketing and publishing as both a designer and a director. Aside from her visual communications and organizational skills, Jen brings an in-depth knowledge of social media marketing strategies. Much of her recent work within the animal welfare field has included innovative campaign strategies and production for large scale projects such as Breaking Bias for HSUS Expo 2019, Stop Puppy Mills Video campaign, Petstablished, Let’s Fix This, HSUS’ Spayathon, and HSUS’ Adopter’s Welcome toolkit.
Our Board of Directors
Dr. Michael J Blackwell, DVM, MPH
Director, Program for Pet Health Equity, University of Tennessee
Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS (Ret.)
A life of public service is what exemplifies Dr. Michael Blackwell. Like his father, he earned a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Tuskegee University. He also earned a Master of Public Health degree from Loma Linda University. Dr. Blackwell’s career has been anything but traditional. He currently serves as the Director of the Program for Pet Health Equity, College of Social Work, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His mission is to improve access to veterinary care, especially for families with limited means. He chairs the Access to Veterinary Care Coalition.
Previously, Dr. Blackwell served as chief of staff, Office of the Surgeon General of the U.S., chief veterinary officer of the U.S. Public Health Service, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, and chief veterinary officer of the Humane Society of the United States. He achieved the rank of Rear Admiral and Assistant Surgeon General during 23 years on active duty with the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. In addition, he has served on many national boards and committees Dr. Blackwell has received numerous awards and recognitions, most notably, the U.S. Public Health Service Distinguished Service Medal (which is the highest personal honor award), and the Meritorious Service Medal (the second highest personal honor award). He also twice received the Surgeon General’s Exemplary Service Medal.
Johns Hopkins University,
Equity Compliance Investigator
An experienced labor & employment attorney, Kara D. Beverly is an Equity Compliance Investigator in Johns Hopkins University’s Office of Institutional Equity, where she is responsible for investigating reports of discrimination and sexual misconduct, as well as training University community members on how to prevent all forms of discrimination in professional and academic environments.
Kara is committed to serving her community and is currently the President of the Board of Directors of the Women’s Housing Coalition, Parliamentarian of the Psi Phi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, the Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Junior League of Baltimore, and a member of the Young Hearts Board of the American Heart Association. A Prince George’s County, MD native, Kara Lives in Towson and enjoys spending time with her rescue dog
Chief Executive Officer, Emancipet
Amy Mills is passionate about solving tough social problems, both professionally and through service as a board member, volunteer, and consultant to non-profits. Since 2006, Amy has served as CEO of Emancipet, a non-profit building a national affordable veterinary care system to serve the underserved. Under her leadership, Emancipet has opened seven low-cost pet health clinics in five cities — Austin, Pflugerville, Killeen, and Houston, Texas and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and launched a national social change training program. Emancipet’s low-cost clinics provide care to over 100,000 pets living in underserved areas every year, keeping those pets healthy, happy, and safe with their families.
Amy works with a staff of 140+ brilliant, dedicated, and optimistic veterinary and non-profit management professionals to build a national low-cost veterinary clinic system for the underserved. Emancipet drives social change by listening to and serving their clients — low-income pet owners who have been economically excluded from accessing veterinary care.
Emancipet is scaling through two primary strategies — opening new clinics in areas historically underserved by veterinarians, and by offering training and consulting to equip and inspire change makers working in the animal welfare, veterinary, and public health industries to take action to improve the health of animals and the people who love them.
Emancipet’s network of clinics currently includes one mobile and six brick & mortar clinics that provide direct services in 20 cities in Texas and Pennsylvania.
Shelina Davis, MPH, MSW
Chief Executive Officer
Louisiana Public Health Institute
Shelina holds master’s degrees in public health and social work from Tulane University and earned her bachelor’s degree from Xavier University of Louisiana.
Shelina Davis, MPH, MSW serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI) an organization that champions health for people, within systems, and throughout communities. Shelina brings over a decade of experience in public health, health care systems, leadership and professional development and health equity. Shelina has a personal and professional vision of seeing a world where all people have a just and fair opportunity to be healthy. Prior to joining LPHI, Shelina served as Assistant Vice President of Practice Improvement at the National Council for Behavioral Health based in Washington, DC, where she led the strategic oversight and development of the public health portfolio of initiatives — supporting community-based organizations as well as federal, state, local and tribal agencies and workforce in addressing their most pressing behavioral health challenges using a health and racial equity lens.
Clare Callison is the Maddie’s Canine Lifesaving Advisor for American Pets Alive in Austin, TX. She provides guidance and hands-on support to animal welfare organizations all over the country. Her focus is helping organizations increase their live release rate through proactive adoptions, rescue partnerships, innovative marketing, and embracing a foster-centric sheltering model. Before coming to Austin, she was the Director of Operations for San Antonio Pets Alive for 5 years. While in San Antonio, she helped develop one of the largest northern transport programs in Texas which targets the most at risk population in the municipal shelter – large dogs. Because of her heavy involvement, San Antonio has gone from a 28 percent save rate to 90 percent over three years. Clare enjoys helping others seek lifesaving solutions to common challenges that exist in working in a high-volume, fast-paced rescue environment.
Senior Program Manager at Pawsitive Change Inmate-Canine Training
Zach’s life has been dedicated to the service of man and mutt. He is a sober liver disease survivor, dedicated to rescuing dogs, so they may help rescue people.
Zach founded Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue (a 501-(c)(3) org) in 2009 while still battling to receive a liver transplant. His dogs and his people helped save Zach’s life, putting him on a trajectory of service. They have saved over 5,000 dogs since then and have spearheaded countless community programs to better both human and canine lives. Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue spay and neuter program renders aid to vulnerable populations, providing 1,600 per year. Their miracle mutts program has teamed with nearly 100 local non profits to bring the power and magic of the human canine bond to those in need.
Zach Skow’s focus is growing out organizations and it’s program so they may reach a No Kill Kern County (less than 5%). Since their inception, kill rates have gone from near 80% to now below 40%. Over the last two years, Zach’s focus is healing men and mutts in prison through the Pawsitive Change inmate canine training program. “This program has breathed new purpose into my life and, I believe, is what I was put on this earth to establish and grow.” Pawsitive Change began at California City State Prison with 25 inmates and 8 dogs and has quickly expanded to over 100 men, 40 dogs, in 4 state prisons, including level 4, MAX Corcoran State Prison. Their programs exist because of support from the public and they are always looking for assistance and support.
In 2011, Zach Skow was awarded the American Red Cross Real Hero Award.
In 2017, Zach Skow was earned Leukemia and Lymphoma Man of the Year Award.
Zach resides in California with his equally mission driven and animal loving wife Heather Skow and is a father to Shiloh and a new one on the way!
Executive Director at Animal Protection Society of Durham/Durham County Animal Shelter
Shafonda Davis is a CAWA (Certified Animal Welfare Administrator) who has worked in Animal Welfare for over twenty years. She is the current Executive Director of the Animal Protection Society of Durham in Durham North Carolina. She serves on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of the Association of Animal Welfare Advancement and is a former Board Member of the North Carolina Animal Federation.
Shafonda feels privileged to work in a diverse community in the South with a diverse staff that work together to create a better world for animals through sheltering, outreach and spay neuter assistance.
Having started in Animal Welfare with very few people that resembled herself, Shafonda is hoping to contribute to a future where all of Animal Welfare is accepting and inclusive.
When Shafonda is not working she spends time with her large family, loving pets, and animal welfare friends.
Janet Reich Elsbach
Janet Reich Elsbach writes about how all the numerous things going on in the average life collide with making dinner on her blog a Raisin & a Porpoise. A home cook inspired by seasonal food, the particular cravings of those she loves to feed, and the idea of bringing people together at the table, her book, Extra Helping: Recipes for Caring, Connecting, and Building Community One Dish at a Time, was recently published by Roost, and addresses the most fundamental building block of mutual aid: nourishing the people near us.
er pre-school teacher, Janet has a master’s degree in education and now teaches writing to adults with disabilities, a position she has loved for over ten years. She has been working in non-profit organizations for decades in various capacities, as a founder, an employee, a board member and a funder. She has spent a lot of time on both sides (seeker and giver) of development work, which she sees as a narrative exercise with the challenge of helping people identify across what they perceive as barriers and expand their sense of common humanity. She has leaned hard into justice work in recent years, seeking out under-resourced Black- and BIPOC-led organizations and working to amplify both their visibility and their capacity.
She has been around animals all her life. She grew up with a horse-loving sister and ran a small sheep farm and kept chickens for ten years. A life-long dog lover, she has always had the company of at least one dog, and has trained two as therapy animals to visit children and the elderly. She began fostering in earnest three years ago and has fostered and placed over 60 dogs. Working with half a dozen different rescue organizations over this time, it has become increasingly clear that the glaring whiteness of rescue critically impedes the soul mission that drew her into the work–greater freedom, safety and joy for all beings—and is beyond excited to discover Care’s work just as she realized there was no longer any room to compartmentalize her animal welfare work and her justice work.
Executive Director at the Animals and Society Institute
Ivy Collier earned her Bachelor of Science in Social Psychology and a Masters of Public Affairs focusing on fundraising and nonprofit management. She also earned the title of Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE).
Ivy is the Executive Director at the Animals and Society Institute, a human-animal relationship think tank that promotes scholarly work in the human-animal studies and policy fields. Ivy has worked in the animal protection field for more than a decade. She also brings over a decade of experience in nonprofit management, program development and fundraising and has served in key roles with animal welfare and conservation organizations. Ivy is committed to serving in the animal welfare community and is working to make it more inclusive.
Ivy resides in Delaware and enjoys spending time with her husband, three cats and dog.
Jack was the founding principal of SPECTRUM Risk Services, LLC in 1998 and has continued to serve as the managing partner in this firm which provides a broad range of consultative services to the insurance industry including formation of captives, public entity pools, risk management surveys, due diligence examinations for investors, profit improvement and best practices audits for insurers, reinsurers and brokers and agents, regulatory examinations both internationally and domestically. Jack has also served as an expert witness, consultant or arbitrator in more than 45 insurance disputes.
Prior to forming SPECTRUM he led the Group Captive Division of AIG Risk Management for five years which served more than 60 captives in Vermont, Bermuda, Caymans and Hawaii. He then was Senior VP with AIGRM for Public Entities, from local municipalities to state governments. Jack was also Vice President of CIGNA Corporation for Marketing Planning and New Business Development. During this time he led the cross-selling efforts of the newly recently merged INA and Connecticut General. Prior to this he was in charge of marketing for CIGNA Special Risk Facilities, Inc. which served the Fortune 1000 market using alternative risk transfer products.
Jack is an original and founding member of Rembrandt SPC Ltd. a Class B (ii) insurer located in the Cayman Islands. He has served as Chairman, Vice Chairman and member of the Executive and Underwriting Committees. Jack graduated from Niagara University, magna cum laude, as a dual major in Modern Languages and Philosophy. He took post graduate courses in French at Villanova University and Theology at Catholic University.
Jack’s more than 40 years experience includes:
• Led the formation of the first Risk Purchasing Group in the U.S.
• Frequent speaker at industry conferences including Bermuda, Hawaii and Vermont captive conferences as well as Self-Insurers Association.
• Consultation in formation of public entity pool, hospital group captive and risk retention group for nursing homes.
• Served in senior management positions at INA/CIGNA, American International Group and AON.
Jack has served as Grand Knight and Faithful Navigator with the Knights of Columbus. He has been a member of the Insurance Management Association of Cayman Islands, Vermont Captive Insurance Association, State Risk and Insurance Managers Association, Public Risk and Insurance Managers Association, American Society of Association Executives, New Jersey Association of Counties and the North American Council for Adoptable Children.