To contact the Board confidentially, email: Board@cthumane.org

President

Ellen Sharon

Vice-President

Gretchen Dale

Vice-President

LuAnn Giunta

Treasurer

Jo Ann Roberts, Esq.

Secretary

William A. Haines, DVM

Eric Lopkin
Steve Parker
Peter Cable
James Basquil

To reach a member of the staff, please address an email to the individual you would like to contact and submit to: info@cthumane.org

Executive Director

Gordon G. Willard

As CHS’ Executive Director, Gordon oversees the operation of the entire organization through his executive team, and when necessary, with hands-on involvement. He is responsible for putting board-approved initiatives into action and advancing the strategic plan and long-term goals of CHS. Gordon earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science from Cornell University and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Johns Hopkins University. People have often asked Gordon why he works to help animals rather than people. His response: “Suffering is suffering and so I choose to end it for our fellow animal travelers.”

Gordon is an active person who enjoys playing hockey, golf and throwing trees (Scottish Games). He also is an avid woodworker and plays the tuba. Gordon and his wife Val have shared their lives with many rescued pets.

Director of Development

Barbara Naugle, MS

In her role as Director of Development, Barbara organizes and builds CHS’ capacity to raise funds, develops relationships with those who wish to help animals, and teaches us all the benefits of fundraising in order to maintain and grow CHS’ programs. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Eastern University and a Master’s in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy from Bay Path University. Barbara loves both cats and dogs and is “thrilled to be part of a team which connects for long-lasting and meaningful relationships.”

Barbara is an avid quilter and knitter, and a very amateur artist, and a baker. She enjoys all these activities in her spare time. Her family is completed by husband Chuck, daughter Sadie and their dog Penny.

Director of Operations

Theresa Geary

As the Director of Operations, Theresa is responsible for directing and overseeing the daily operations in all three of the adoption centers and the Fox Memorial Clinic. This includes animal care, pet intake, adoptions, medical care, behavioral care and facilities maintenance. Theresa earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Connecticut in Animal Science. Theresa has always had a connection to animals. As she progressed in her career, her empathy for homeless pets grew as they don’t have as many advocates as owned pets. She also developed a great deal of compassion for people who were either severing a bond with a pet or starting a bond: “Both are important as they leave a lasting impact on the person and the pet.”

When Theresa is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and walking her dogs. Theresa shares her life with her three pets, a miniature poodle mix named Beatrice, a wire-haired Dachshund named Rascal and her Guinea pig, Mr. Pirate.

Medical Director

Dr. Mark Gold

Dr. Gold, a 25-year Army veteran, will head up CHS’ entire veterinary program, which encompasses all shelter medicine at CHS’ three locations (Newington, Waterford and Westport), its reduced-fee Fox Memorial Clinic, and traveling community wellness clinics. With so many pets arriving in need of extensive medical treatment plans, Gold’s passion for medicine, science and problem-solving is much needed.

“I love medicine. I love science. I absolutely love animals—they’re sentient beings, and care about what’s going on in their environment. They love like they’ve never been hurt. They’re deserving of care and need people to take good care of them,” said Gold, who has two senior German shorthaired pointers, Blitz and Kingston, at home.

Director of Human Resources

Jennifer Adams, SHRM-SCP, SPHR

As the Director of Human Resources, Jennifer is responsible for overseeing all aspects of employee relations, benefits, and payroll practices and procedures. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and Jewish Near Eastern Studies from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. Jennifer loves “helping employees realize their potential and seeing them grow and evolve in our organization.”

Jennifer’s hobbies and interests include reading, cooking and learning about wine. She shares her life with her husband and their dog, Jett.

woman with dog

Executive Assistant

Mary-Anne Paulino

As the Executive Assistant, Mary-Anne is responsible for supporting the Executive Director and the organization in fulfilling its mission. She earned an Associate’s Degree from Manchester Community College. Mary-Anne loves all animals and has rescued many from CHS over the years. “Needless to say, I was thrilled when I saw the ad for a position at CHS.”

Mary-Anne loves flower gardening, reading and spending time outdoors. She shares her life with husband Orlando, children Orlando, Gino and Maria. And her family is full of both rescued pets and farm animals including dogs, Maggie, Vegas and Smokey, cat Molly and bearded dragon, Lucy.

Assistant Director of Operations

Allyson Simerlein

As the Assistant Director of Operations, Allyson is responsible for assisting with directing and overseeing the daily operations of all three adoption centers and the Fox Memorial Clinic. Allyson comes to CHS with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Foundations of Animal Behavior from Franklin & Marshall College and over 13 years of animal shelter experience. Allyson knew she wanted to work with animals since she was a child and has experience in many animal-related fields including wildlife conservation, birds of prey, and veterinary hospitals, but her passion is in animal rescue. It is not only her calling but gives her “the opportunity to have positive, profound and lasting effects on the lives of animals and people every day.”

Allyson shares her life with her husband, children and her beagle, Rocky (aka Rock, Rock-Man, Beagy, Bug, Buggy, Bugster, Buddy). In her leisure time, Allyson enjoys spending time with her family, jogging, embroidering anything and everything, and serving as an officer on the board for her sorority, Kappa Beta Gamma.

Assistant Director of Development

Kerry Garofano, MS, CFRE

Kerry is part of the development team, leading CHS’ individual giving and grant programs as well as building donor relationships along the Connecticut coastline. Kerry’s desire to work with animals developed early on when a neighbor struggling with too many pets lost her home. Her experience has shown her firsthand that there are many pathways to the animal welfare field. Her role is sharing the stories of how CHS works each and every day to save pets’ lives and engaging donors in becoming a part of this legacy. Kerry earned her Bachelors of Science in Biology at Union College, followed by a Masters in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts Veterinary School. She has since earned her Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential.

Kerry lives in Mystic with her husband Eric, dogs Bailey and Pearl (both from CHS), and cats Coco and Junior (another CHS alum). In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the outdoors, competing in road races, and traveling.

Volunteer Manager

Melissa Zaluski

Melissa is in charge of overseeing the volunteer program, including recruiting, training, recognition efforts and more. She also assists with the coordination of independent service projects. Melissa received a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Creative Writing from Colby College and has been certified in volunteer administration by the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration. Melissa has been passionate about helping homeless animals since she was a child. At a young age, she held fundraisers and collections to benefit animal welfare groups.

Melissa enjoys kayaking, hiking, reading and gardening. Melissa’s family is completed by husband Greg, cats Everest and Chuck, and dog Pepper…all CHS alums.

Marketing and Communications Manager

Susan Wollschlager

Susan joined the CHS team as the marketing and communications manager in September 2016, bringing a volunteer background in animal rescue and professional experience in news reporting and communications. Through her role at CHS, she shares the stories of pets in need and how others can make a difference, gives a (hopefully entertaining) voice to the critters on social media, and is getting closer to being an official cat lady. She graduated from Bucknell University in 2009 with a BSBA in management and double major in creative writing. Her lifelong love for animals led her to rescue cats as a youngster with help from her mom and, later, start the Animal Rescue Club at St. Joseph High School in Trumbull. At Bucknell, she served as president of the Students Helping Animals club, working with a cat shelter, a dog rescue, a horse rescue and a wildlife sanctuary.

She resides with her husband Mike, cat Autumn, rabbit Josie and dog Grover, a CHS alum. Susan enjoys cooking, getting outside and spending time in Vermont.

Development Manager

Priscilla Clark, MA, CFRE

As part of the Development team, Priscilla works with donors and corporations on partnerships and events. Priscilla has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Albertus Magnus College and a Master of Arts degree in Communications from Rhode Island College. Priscilla has always loved pets. When she saw all the hard work that goes into animal rescue after adopting two homeless cats in 1998, she became involved with the rescue group as a volunteer.

When Priscilla isn’t busy planning events, she enjoys hiking, visiting museums and volunteering for other causes close to her heart. Priscilla and her family enjoy the companionship of Simon and Nina, both CHS alumni.

Major Gifts Manager

Eve Basher, MA

As the Major Gifts Manager, Eve is the first member of the Development team to be based in Fairfield County. Building relationships, undertaking research and organizing events in her area, Eve utilizes her role to keep CHS connected in the local community. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies from the University of San Diego and a Master’s Degree in History from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. Eve spent her formative years competing nationally in the equestrian world, organizing fundraisers for equine-related groups along the way. Eve adopted her first cat and dog from CHS growing up, and was eager to join the team when she returned from life overseas.

Eve enjoys travelling, reading, and staying active alongside her husband James and rescue dog Dany.

woman holding german shepherd

Community Outreach Manager

Ashley Marshall

The responsibilities of the Outreach Manager currently include managing the humane education program, the Scout patch program, the adult education series – PETtalk, and the community pet wellness clinics. Ashley holds a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from UConn and found a love for volunteering in underserved communities while there. She came to CHS because she “wanted to combine her passion for teaching, helping the community, and pets.” She was also an avid FFA member during high school.

In her spare time, Ashley enjoys baking, horseback riding, hiking, kayaking and going on road trips. She shares her life with her four pets, a Doberman Pincher named Ruger, horse Tobe, cat Ella and bearded dragon, Cato.

Assistant District Manager, Newington

Elizabeth Clavette

Elizabeth has been with CHS for 20 years. In Newington, she proactively manages the daily animal care and other essential functions of the location’s operation. Prior to joining the Connecticut Humane Society, Elizabeth attended the Technical School of Animal Husbandry in Poland and had many years of experience with farm animals and as a zoo keeper. She has been an animal lover all her life and now takes pride in “helping pets in need, providing them with proper care and treatment and placing them in their forever homes.” In addition to her daily work with CHS, Elizabeth provides foster care for underage puppies.

Elizabeth enjoys gardening, dancing, reading and spending time with family and friends. Her family is completed by boyfriend Stan, and children Jessica and Daniel.

District Manager, Waterford

Brandon Guy

Brandon oversees all aspects of Waterford operations, including animal placement and surrender practices, and cleaning and maintenance functions. He resolves issues impacting the staff and clients. He also works to create and maintain relationships with local businesses, residents and other rescue groups and agencies. Brandon studied Exercise Science at Southern Connecticut State University. His love and appreciation of animals has grown since he has been with CHS. At first he enjoyed his career because pets are cute, nice and always there for you. Now he “takes pride in being their voice and working to make sure that they have the best chance at success in their new home.”

Brandon enjoys golf, going to the beach, kayaking, bicycling, snowboarding, playing and watching sports. (Go Yankees and Broncos!) His family includes his wife Jen, son Tyler, two dogs Bronx and Bernie, and a cat named Reggie.

Assistant District Manager, Waterford

Denise McNichol

Denise has a long history with CHS beginning as an administrative assistant, a position she held for 27 years before earning her promotion to Assistant District Manager. She took on the Foster Care Coordinator responsibilities for Waterford 18 years ago. In addition to retaining her administrative and foster care duties, Denise is now in charge of the entire district volunteer program and also oversees shelter activities when the District Manager is not on site. Denise studied liberal arts at UConn and computer technology at the former Thames Valley Regional Technical College. Denise has seen CHS go through many changes over the years and is always encouraged to see the impact that the organization has on pet overpopulation and adoption. She is proud “to be a part of an association that strives to help those who can’t help themselves and is always looking to the future of animal care.”

Denise’s favorite hobby is cooking followed closely by sports. She is an enthusiast with an interest in many things, but especially baseball and football. Denise shares her life with husband Jim, son Peyton and her three cats, Miles, BooBoo and Tid Bit.

District Manager, Westport

Bliss Kern

Bliss is responsible for managing all aspects of the Westport location. Her responsibilities include pet intake, pet adoption, coordinating the medical care of the animals with the veterinary staff, and overseeing the behavioral program. Bliss earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in French and British Literature. She went on to earn an MA/ABD in Eighteenth Century British Literature from Rutgers University. Like so many people Bliss comes to animal welfare work because of her relationship with her first adopted dog, Phineas Manfred. When it was time to get a friend for Phineas, Bliss visited another shelter to adopt and was reminded of the vital role animal welfare plays in the community. She began to volunteer walking dogs and “thus began my journey from academic life to the world of animal welfare”.

When Bliss isn’t busy making sure that Westport is running smoothly, she enjoys watching BBC Television series, reading contemporary fiction and hiking with her dogs. She is lucky to be one of a family pack that includes husband Jonathan, dogs Phineas, Bertram, and Asta, kitties named Belinda and Arlo, both CHS alums and rabbits named Agnes and Agatha who are CHS alums also.

justin hidalgo with a chihuahua

Assistant District Manager, Westport

Justin Hidalgo

Justin is responsible for inventory, ordering, pet intakes, pet adoption, overseeing the medical care of animals and ensuring CHS remains OSHA compliant. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Lehman College. He came into animal care and welfare after completing a six-year contract and a ten-month deployment to Afghanistan with the US Army National Guard. As a young kid, he always wanted to help make a positive change in the world, and to lend a helping hand wherever needed. Several years after starting his new career, he realized that he wanted to make a bigger impact and provide care and love for animals that do not have a home or family.

When he is not fostering Westport pets, Justin enjoys backpacking trips into the wilderness with his Shiba Inu, Summit. He is fascinated with the cosmos and his name etched on the Solar Parker Probe currently orbiting the sun and the Mars 2020 mission. He reads self-help books and is a huge fan of horror movies.

Practice Manager, Fox Memorial Clinic

Connie Mercer

Connie is an avid sports enthusiast who was an All-Star athlete in two sports while attending Windsor High School. She went on to attend Mitchell College where she obtained an Associate’s Degree in Athletic Training/Physical Education. During her college career she was an All-New England Hall of Famer in two sports. Upon graduation, she began coaching and eventually found herself in the restaurant business where she quickly reached management status. Connie joined the Fox Memorial Clinic team several years ago because she was seeking a career change in an area where she could help others. As practice manager, Connie is responsible for all aspects of the clinic including: administration, personnel, inventory management, animal welfare and care, medical protocols, customer service and giving lots of love to the four-legged patients.

When she is not running the busy clinic, Connie enjoys spending time with her husband Bob, golfing, cooking, walking and playing with her Yorkshire terrier, Divot (a CHS adoptee). Connie also volunteers for several charities and continues to be extremely serious about sports!