The Arizona Humane Society’s Board of Directors is a group of dedicated individuals who volunteer their time to help advance the mission of AHS and advocate for the organization. The Board focuses on organizational governance and strategic planning and entrusts the operation of the organization to the AHS staff.
|Chair, Melinda Morrison Gulick – DMB Associates||Bryant Colman – Economic Incentives Advisory Group||Meredith Savage – Nerium International|
|Chair Elect, Ann Damiano – Cisco Systems, Inc.||Susanne Ingold – Burch & Cracchiolo||Ann Siner – Eco-Chic Consignments, Inc.|
|Secretary, Kimberlee Reimann Padilla – Coca-Cola Refreshments||Rob Kort – Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, Schreck, LLP||Andrew Sussman – Bentley Capital Management|
|Treasurer, Patrick Loftus – Ernst & Young, LLP||Andrea Marconi – Fennemore Craig, P.C.||Cindy Watts – Community Volunteer|
|Member At Large, Ed Troell – Community Volunteer||Kerry Milligan – Community Volunteer||Member At Large, Eileen Rogers – Allegra Marketing & Print|
|Michael Napier – Napier Law Firm||Ronald Wilson – Morris, Hall & Kinghorn||Mary Frances Ewing – Smith Barney|
|Patty Withycombe – Community Volunteer|
Dr. Steven R. Hansen, President and CEO
Dr. Steven R. Hansen oversees AHS’ organizational operations and leads the implementation and execution of its strategic plan as AHS strives to become the animal welfare organization of the future. Dr. Hansen has nearly three decades of experience in animal welfare. Prior to joining AHS, Dr. Hansen spent 15 years with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), most recently as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer, where he was responsible for leading medical, finance, human resources, information technology, capital projects and facilities programs and departments located in New York City and nationally. Dr. Hansen has a vast and experienced medical background and has served as Director of Veterinary Research and Support for Wellmark International and practiced clinical veterinary medicine in Houston and Chicago. He serves on a variety of mission-critical boards, including the Morris Animal Foundation’s Animal Welfare Advisory Board and the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Legislative Advisory Committee. He received his BS and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees from Iowa State University and received an MS and MBA from the University of Illinois. Dr. Hansen is board certified by the American College of Animal Welfare and the American Board of Veterinary Toxicology.
Michelle L. Giesen, CPA, Chief Financial Officer
Michelle Giesen oversees accounting & finance, retail & thrift store operations, facilities, warehouse and information technology at the Arizona Humane Society, and has 15 years of combined experience in public and private accounting. Michelle spent six years as the Chief Financial Officer for Wespac Construction, Inc., and was responsible for overseeing the accounting department for the $175 million construction firm. Michelle also supervised accounting for the McDowell Mountain Music Festival, LLC, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, served as Controller for DMB Realty and spent four years in public accounting at Arthur Andersen. Michelle has acted as a consultant for various firms including local real estate and construction companies and a San Diego-based retailer. As former President of the Construction Financial Management Association’s local chapter — the largest chapter in the nation — Michelle continues to be an active member of the CPA community.
Elizabeth Claxton, Director of Customer Experience
Elizabeth Claxton oversees Adoptions, Humane Education, the information ambassadors, and retail and off-site locations. Elizabeth has a strong retail management background, specifically focused on the development of management staff in conjunction with the implementation of comprehensive and in-depth customer service models. Most recently, she has served the Arizona Humane Society by managing and developing all off-site operations with an emphasis on customer experience. A Phoenix native, Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her many furry children — Winston, Murray, Deuce, and Cassandra the tortoise.
Shannon Valenzuela, Director of Shelter Operations
Shannon Valenzuela oversees admissions, alternative placement, behavior, field operations, Second Chance Animal Hospital™ and the public spay/neuter and wellness clinics. A long-time employee of the Arizona Humane Society, Shannon has held various positions within the organization, including field officer, veterinary technician, receiving supervisor, spay and neuter clinic supervisor, public clinic supervisor, hospital services manager and now director of shelter operations. She is working toward a business degree, is wild land firefighter certified and has trained for disaster response and incident command with FEMA.
Kelsea Patton, Director of Marketing and Development
Kelsea Patton oversees all marketing, community relations and development efforts for the organization. Kelsea has 15 years of experience in non-profit leadership and is charged with introducing creative strategies that allow AHS to serve as the state’s leading animal welfare organization. Kelsea works to build mutually beneficial relationships with the community, develop effective multi-media campaigns that inspire action and launch innovative solutions that raise awareness of the pet overpopulation epidemic. Prior to her role at AHS, Kelsea served as the Director of Community Relations at DMB/Marley Park. Kelsea earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing from Baylor University and a Master of Arts degree in Innovative Leadership from Western International University.
The Arizona Humane Society is fortunate to have 12 of the best veterinarians you’ll find anywhere in the Valley. These highly-skilled medical professionals are compassionate caregivers who have devoted their careers to shelter medicine. We’re proud to call them ours, and so are our pets.
James Baker, DVM
Dr. James Baker has served the homeless pets at the Arizona Humane Society for the past 12 years. He graduated from Colorado State University in 1984 and spent his career in both private practice and emergency veterinary medicine, where he developed an interest in soft tissue surgery, ultrasound and critical care shelter medicine. Although he primarily works in shelter surgery at AHS, Dr. Baker’s 20 years of emergency medicine and critical care experience provides our Second Chance Animal Hospital™ team with an additional expert on hospital cases. Also a pet owner, Dr. Baker shares his home with his 3-year-old Golden Retriever, Bob, whom he met and adopted while working in shelter surgery. And when he’s not busy in the operating room, he can be found pumping iron.
Bruce Bean, DVM
Dr. Bruce Bean has been with the Arizona Humane Society for 24 years, specializing in shelter spay/neuter surgery. He also performs orthopedic and soft tissue surgeries in our Second Chance Animal Hospital™ when needed. A seasoned veterinarian, he spent time working at private practices in both Phoenix and Detroit, Mich., before coming to AHS. Dr. Bean graduated from Michigan State University in 1974 and performed his surgical residency at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University. Over the years, Dr. Bean estimates that he has performed around 75,000 spay/neuter surgeries — the majority of which were for dogs and cats, but also a few rabbits, pot-bellied pigs and ferrets. When he’s not busy doing his part to reduce pet over-population, he enjoys doting on his two Brittany Spaniels, Rusty and Casey.
Nancy Bradley, DVM
Dr. Nancy Bradley is entering her 19th year practicing veterinary medicine. Prior to joining AHS, she worked with Maricopa County Animal Care and Control Services. She is a Phoenix native who attended Colorado State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in veterinary science and a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. She also received a Master’s Degree in non-profit management from Regis University in 2006. She is currently a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians and the International Veterinary Forensic Science Association. She and her family share their home with four dogs, two cats, one horse and a goat.
Kathleen Croteau, DVM
Dr. Kathleen Croteau has been with the Arizona Humane Society since 1995 and serves as the lead veterinarian for our Second Chance Animal Hospital™. She has worked on a diverse caseload during her career, ranging from kennel cough to skin disease to more severe injuries stemming from animal cruelty. Having earned her veterinary degree from Colorado State University in 1995, Dr. Croteau has worked primarily in shelter medicine with a few short periods in private practice. In addition to veterinary medicine, she has an interest in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. An avid animal lover, Dr. Croteau has a dog, Sassi, a Maltese mix that she got from AHS. She also has three desert tortoises – Crush, Danika and Drette.
Katherine Daigle, DVM
Dr. Katherine Daigle is Lead Veterinarian at our Margaret McAllister Brock Veterinary Clinic. She is a 2001 graduate of the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and previously worked in private practices in both Arizona and Michigan. Dr. Daigle has a special interest in ophthalmology and dermatology. Dr. Daigle has a Labrador Retriever named Boomer that she rescued, and when she isn’t leading our compassionate team of vets, she enjoys traveling and camping with her family.
Leo Egar, VMD
Dr. Leo Egar has served the animals at the Arizona Humane Society since 2007. In addition to helping reduce pet overpopulation through spay and neuter services, he also assists with investigations of animal cruelty. Before coming to AHS, he worked in veterinary emergency medicine and with the Rural Area Veterinary Services program of the Humane Society of the United States to lead spay/neuter service trips to remote areas of the county. Dr. Egar, a graduate of Haverford College, has traveled to Native American reservations to provide free veterinary care to animals and participated in the veterinary medical response to major disasters including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. When not working in the shelter or with animal and wildlife rescue groups, Dr. Egar enjoys spending time outdoors in the Arizona landscape with his German Shepherds, Zeiss and Charlie.
Gregory Lewis, DVM
Dr. Gregory Lewis brings 36 years of veterinary excellence to the Arizona Humane Society, where he heads the spay/neuter efforts of the Marge Wright Low-Cost Public Clinic. Having earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois, he has dedicated his life to caring for animals. Dr. Lewis has a vast wealth of varied experience, having worked at five humane societies, a private practice, relief work and emergency care. He estimates having spayed or neutered approximately 300,000 animals and is still counting. When he is not busy doing his part to reduce pet overpopulation, Dr. Lewis enjoys hitting the links, swimming and working out at the gym. Currently he has no pets, but lives vicariously through the animals he cares for day to day.
Swaneth Portalatin, DVM
Dr. Swaneth Portalatin has been a part of the Arizona Humane Society’s Second Chance Animal Hospital™ since 2009. She earned her veterinary degree from Ross University in 2006 and has developed a keen interest in reptiles, as well as veterinary surgery. Before coming to our shelter, she worked at a corporate veterinary hospital and also a small private practice. Working at a private practice, she saw a few dogs from AHS and was impressed by the great care noted on their medical records. Dr. Portalatin is passionate about spay/neuter and the need to reduce overpopulation for companion animals, as she understands too many are euthanized because of a lack of responsible owners. At home, she tends to the needs of her own pets – four cats and one green iguana. She also has an aquarium with a few cichlids and a pleco — both types of tropical fish.
Sheri Harmon, DVM
Dr. Sheri Harmon joined the Arizona Humane Society’s Second Chance Animal Hospital™ in 2011 for the second time. She began her veterinary career at AHS as a clinic receptionist nearly 20 years ago! Prior to joining us again, she worked in private practices in the Valley for 10 years. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University in 1997 and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Colorado State University in 2001. She is a general practitioner and surgeon with dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, pocket pets, and specializes in reptile medicine. Dr. Harmon’s interests include preventative medicine, dentistry, surgery, and pain control. Now, she is also compassionate about learning shelter medicine. Dr. Harmon shares her home with tortoises, cats, dogs, lizards, and a parrot. Her hobbies include traveling, SCUBA, hiking, and Arizona Cardinals football.
Melissa Thompson, DVM
Dr. Melissa Thompson’s interest in shelter and rescue work began at a very early age, and in October of 2011 she joined the Arizona Humane Society after three years in the private veterinary sector. In 2000, she received her Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University and went on to complete her Veterinary degree at Western University of Health Sciences in 2008. Dr. Thompson’s interests include trauma medicine and reducing the number of homeless pets in our community. When she’s not busy saving lives in our Second Chance Animal Hospital™, Dr. Thompson likes to hike, ride horses and train for triathlons. That is, if she can fit it into her very active foster schedule, which includes caring for ill and injured homeless dogs within her home until they are ready for adoption. In addition to fostering, Dr. Thompson shares her home with five dogs, four cats, two horses and a tortoise.
Alondra Velez, DVM
Dr. Alondra Velez joined the AHS Veterinary Team in July 2012. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Dr. Vélez completed her undergraduate work on the island before going to veterinary school at Ross University in St. Kitts. She completed her last year of clinical rotations at the University of Minnesota and then moved to New York City, where she completed a one-year rotating internship at Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists. After her internship, Dr. Velez spent a year working as a relief veterinarian in New York City, where she was exposed to all kinds of cases and a wide variety of people. Dr. Vélez moved to Tucson in the summer of 2009 where she worked as an emergency room veterinarian for three years prior to joining AHS. Dr. Velez’s professional interests include feline medicine, gastroenterology, endocrinology, emergency and critical care. In her spare time, Dr. Velez loves to cook and travel.