Board of Directors
Whitney Allen, President
Whitney Allen brings more than 6 years of nonprofit fundraising and event experience to the board, as well as her longstanding passion for animal welfare. Formerly the Event Coordinator for PAWS and Auction of Washington Wines, Whitney currently serves as Major Gift Officer for Food Lifeline in Seattle. According to her, working with the most generous people in the community – donors – is the best profession in the world. Whitney approaches all projects with a vision for exceptional donor experience and seamless execution. Her strengths include strategic planning, project management, donor-centered communications, and volunteer training and evaluation. Whitney is currently mom to two rescue creatures: Kessa the cat and Nico the dog. In her off hours, Whitney enjoys cooking (and eating!), skiing, hiking, yoga, science fiction and crime dramas.
Julie Pitt, Vice President
Julie Pitt is an independent consultant specializing in strategic counseling and tactical support for the ecommerce & digital technology sector. Her primary interest is in helping nascent businesses become market leaders. She discovered the Seattle Animal Shelter on her way home from work and has been a volunteer for close to a decade. She became increasingly involved in shelter and was instrumental in helping the shelter shift towards a more positive and reward based method of dog handling. In addition to being a serial foster parent, she shares her home with four dogs and a cat. When not working or volunteering, she can be found competing locally and nationally in the sport of dog agility.
Heidi Beck, Secretary
Heidi Beck is a real estate attorney at Perkins Coie. As a transactional lawyer, she brings project management, writing, communication, analytical and organizational skills to her work on the Board. Heidi is also a devoted fan of the Seattle Animal Shelter. She has been volunteering at the shelter for over 15 years, mainly as a member and team lead of Get Fit With Fido, a group that takes shelter dogs running in Myrtle Edwards Park, but she has also fostered multiple cats, served as a day-of-race volunteer for the Furry 5K every year and had stints as a dog-walker, a member of Fabulous Felines and a Match Maker. She brings both her passion for the animals, and her hands-on knowledge of the Shelter and its programs, to her service on the Board. Heidi’s other interests include travel, the arts (she is also serving as a Trustee of the Henry Art Gallery and chairs Perkins Coie’s art committee) and cooking.
Stephanie Ko, Treasurer
Stephanie Ko is a business and estate planning attorney. As part of her practice in business law, she helps non-profit organizations with set up, application of tax exempt status, record keeping and strategies for fundraising, financial planning and succession planning. Stephanie is passionate to help end homeless pets and to harness the bond between dogs and human. She and her husband are parents of two shelter dogs, a Golden Retriever and a Flat-Coat Retriever, who complete their family. Stephanie has been a volunteer puppy trainer of Guide Dogs for the Blind for almost 4 years, which helps give the blind the precious gift of freedom and security. Before then, she volunteered at the Humane Society for over 5 years as a Dog Behavior Specialist and Adoption Assistant. She also supports the King County Animal Shelter for its effort to end animal abuse, end homeless pets and make Seattle a pet friendly city. Stephanie and her husband enjoy hiking with their dogs in the canyons of the Southwest.
Ann Graves, Seattle Animal Shelter
Ann Graves began her career in animal welfare over 25 years ago as a volunteer with the Humane Society for Seattle/King County (aka Seattle Humane). After completing her BS in Zoology at the University of Washington she began working at SAS as an animal care officer in 2000. From there her journey carried her through the field services unit to her current role of acting director. Ann has been instrumental in developing a strong animal cruelty investigation team at SAS, has been an instructor at the state animal control academy for 15 years and continues to volunteer with national and international organizations (ASPCA, HSUS, HSI) investigating animal cruelty and animal fighting. This work has taken her as far as the Islands of Guam, Saipan and Rota where she worked to bring basic training to local animal care & control officers. In 2016 Ann was named Outstanding Animal Care & Control Employee of the Year by the National Animal Care & Control Association. Ann’s furry family currently includes two dogs and three cats with the occasional foster animal still finding their way home with her. When not working Ann enjoys hiking, live music and is always up for a good road trip.
Shawna Kelley is the Regional Recovery Executive with Rosewood Ranch, an eating disorders and chemical dependency residential program in Wickenburg, Arizona. Shawna brings a wealth of experience both in marketing and nonprofit work. She holds a BA in Psychology and a MA in Communications from California State University, Chico. She previously worked in the nonprofit field for a domestic violence agency as well as being the Education Director for Animal Samaritans SPCA. During her time at Animal Samaritans she worked with children in pre-K through 5th grade teaching them how to care for animals, as well as educating the community on a variety of animal rights issues. Shawna also headed up a volunteer committee that put on an annual fundraiser for the Humane Education Program. As well as her work experience, Shawna has been very active volunteering at various shelters walking dogs and fostering kittens. She has fostered over 75 kittens over the past 15 years, beginning with a feral litter in her back yard. Shawna is passionate about animal welfare and in spite of fostering so many adorable little kittens, only has one sweet grumpy 18 year old cat, Oscar. She is very excited to be part of the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation board and the opportunity to serve the animals in a new and challenging way.
Laura Walker, Marketing Committee Co-Chair
Laura Walker is a devoted animal rights proponent and dog lover. She has been working in the marketing and advertising fields for eight years. She currently works as a project manager at GMI Lightspeed, a market research firm. She brings to the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation a background in brand management, customer service and client relations. Originally from St. Louis, Laura holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri. She has volunteered since 2012 as an Adoption Assistant at the Seattle Animal Shelter. When she isn’t volunteering or working, Laura is spending time with her 7 year old rescued Beagle mix, Maebel Jean. Laura’s other interests include hiking, traveling, wine tasting & exploring the great Pacific Northwest.
Sue Boivin, Development Co-Chair
Sue Boivin is a passionate animal rights advocate and nature lover. After moving to Seattle from Canada, she discovered the Seattle Animal Shelter when she was looking to adopt her next furry running partner. She has been a volunteer on the SASF marketing committee (2013-2014) and was a SAS volunteer dog walker (2006-2008). Sue is a Creative Director with over 17 years experience has lead projects for brands such as Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Nautilus, T-Mobile, on projects ranging from global e-commerce websites to high profile brand and product launches. When she isn’t working you can find Sue hiking the backcountry with her dogs, skiing, cycling, sailing, traveling and enjoying the northwest lifestyle.
Gina Bonifacino is a lifelong animal and nature lover. As a volunteer Adoption Assistant for the Seattle Animal Shelter, she brings a passion to the SASF Board for the Shelter’s work to connect animals and people. Gina has over 15 years of experience in governance, public outreach and education, grants/funding and project management as a grants and environmental program manager in the public and nonprofit environmental sectors. She is a Lean Greenbelt and a returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Philippines 97’-00’) and holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Penn State University, a Master of Environmental Science, and a Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University. In her spare time, she enjoys cheering on the Seattle Sounders, running, hiking, cooking and exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her partner Jeremiah and dog Lucas.
Hayley Rogers, IT Committee Chairman
Hayley Rogers is a consulting healthcare actuary at Milliman, Inc. Her primary clients include private insurance companies with Medicare plans, the Department of Veteran Affairs, and the Washington State Public Employee Benefits Board. Hayley adopted her two cats, Calvin and Jackson, from the Seattle Animal Shelter shortly after moving to Seattle. You may recognize them as the extremely handsome May 2015 models in the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation calendar. To give back to the shelter, Hayley began fostering cats and kittens for the Seattle Animal Shelter and working on the IT committee for the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation. When not working or volunteering, she can be found on a ski slope or travelling the world!
Tamra Strentz, Marketing Committee Co-Chair
Tamra Strentz is a communications strategist. With her public relations and communications marketing expertise, she works with clients and brands in the lifestyle, outdoors and food/beverage space. She is a passionate advocate for shelter and rescue animals, and first connected with the Seattle Animal Shelter in 2008 as a dog adoption ambassador, Furry 5k volunteer and later as human volunteer trainer. After living in London from 2012-2014, she returned to Seattle and got involved with the Washington Alaskan Malamute Adoption League to help coach independent, clever and free thinking mals as they look for their forever homes. Outside of work and volunteering, Tamra enjoys international travel, snowboarding, hiking, FlyWheel and Pilates.
Brad Near is CEO and Head of Talent for Rainier Recruiting, a management staffing firm in Seattle. For 13 years Brad has enjoyed connecting Seattle’s top talent with the best PNW companies. He has roadmapped hiring plans for many small-mid sized organizations, and spoken at recruiting conferences on modern resume and interview techniques. As a lifelong dog lover, Brad’s family has always had at least 1 adopted dog in their home. Brad has volunteered for 7 years at the Seattle Animal Shelter, leading Saturday’s 5 mile “Get Fit with Fido” running program, logging over 500 hours of volunteering. When he’s not running with the SAS pups, Brad enjoys his time as a member of Seattle Mountain Rescue and is a climb leader in the Mountaineers.