Request a Best Friends expert speaker on animal issues

Here at Best Friends, we are incredibly fortunate to have on staff some of the brightest minds in animal welfare, and some of them may be available to share their expertise with your conference attendees or group.

These animal welfare experts can speak on a variety of topics, so we’ve assembled the following links to help you get to know them a little better.

To begin the process of requesting an animal welfare expert, start with the guest speaker form below. (If you’re not sure which speaker you’d like, that’s OK. Complete the form, and we’ll look to see if a good fit is available.)

Once we receive your information, we’ll be in touch with you to learn more about your event.

When requesting a guest speaker via the form below, you are not obligated to book, nor is there a guarantee that your chosen speaker will be available. There may or may not be associated costs, which will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Request a speaker

Akisha Townsend Eaton, Esq. — Legislative Attorney
Speaker's topics: Companion animal legislation, ending breed discrimination, legislative advocacy and lobbying, community cat legislation, dangerous dog legislation, laws and regulations impacting shelters

Amy Starnes — Director of Digital Engagement
Speaker's topics: Online fundraising, email marketing, digital strategy

Arlyn Bradshaw — Mountain West Regional Director
Speaker’s topics: Coalition engagement, public policy, community cat policy

Barbara Camick — Director of Annual Giving
Speaker's topics: Direct response, general fundraising

Beth Wolfer - Planned Giving Officer
Speaker's topics: Development, stewardship, planned giving, public speaking/improving presentation skills

Brent Toellner — Senior Director of National Programs
Speaker's topics: No-kill sheltering, contracting with municipal governments (public/private partnerships), managing length of stay at an open-admission shelter, shelter marketing, advocacy, progressive policies in sheltering and animal control, community gap analysis

Carmen Smith — Manager of Wild Friends
Speaker's topics: Wildlife rehabilitation (native and non-native species), rescue of domestic animals (e.g., chickens, pigeons), what to do if injured or orphaned wildlife are brought to your rescue group (safe handling, finding a rehabilitation facility, laws, etc.)

Carrie Ducote — Senior Manager, Georgia
Speaker's topics: Community cat programs, coalition building, best practices to achieve no-kill, and open adoptions/client service

Chris Boortz — Training Specialist, National Outreach Volunteer Programs
Speaker's topics: Volunteer engagement

Desiree Triste-Aragon — Community Cat Project Manager
Speaker's topics: Anything related to shelter-neuter-return (SNR) and trap-neuter-return (TNR)

Destiny Haney — Community Cat Program Manager
Speaker's topics: Kitten nurseries, bottle-feeding, community cats, cats in general, coalition-building

Elizabeth Doyle — Senior Writing Mentor and Style Editor
Speaker's topic: Writing

Elizabeth Jensen — Regional Director of the Northeast Region
Speaker’s topics: Client service, conflict resolution

Elizabeth Oreck — National Manager of Puppy Mill Initiatives
Speaker's topics: Puppy mills, commercial dog breeding, retail pet sales ordinances, pet stores that sell animals or offer rescued pets for adoption, advocacy

Eric Rayvid — Director of Public Relations
Speaker's topics: Social media, marketing, crisis PR, crisis marketing

Erin Olsen — Manager of Pet Adoptions, Best Friends in Los Angeles​
Speaker’s topics: Community adoption centers (NKLA Pet Adoption Center), shelter outreach

Dr. Frank McMillan — Director of Well-Being Studies
Speaker's topics: Animal welfare and well-being, animal mental health, puppy mills, pet store puppies

Holly Sizemore — Chief Mission Officer
Speaker’s topics: Nonprofit leadership, change management, leading toward no-kill, spay/neuter, community cats, government policy and no-kill communities, collaboration and networking to increase lifesaving, strategic planning, engaging and empowering staff and volunteers

Jen Reid — Manager of Horse Haven
Speaker's topics: Rehabilitating horses (both behaviorally and physically), farrier work, relating to special needs in horses

Joani Ross — Research Coordinator
Speaker's topics: Research and analytics

José Ocaño — Pacific Regional Director
Speaker’s topics: Shelter operations, lifesaving programs, change and culture management, team development, shelter prevention programs, community engagement programs

Karen Gallardo — Director of Planned Giving
Speaker's topics: Planned giving, general fundraising

Kari Hartkorn — Senior Manager of Hospitality and Brand Experience
Speaker's topics: Marketing, branding

Kate Moore — Manager of Digital Campaigns and Email Marketing
Speaker's topic: Online fundraising

Kaylee Hawkins — Senior Manager - Pacific Region
Speaker's topics: Open adoptions, community events, volunteer/foster programs, coalitions, shelter/rescue collaboration

Kimberly Elman — Manager of National Outreach Volunteer Programs
Speaker's topic: Volunteer engagement

Lawrence Nicolas — Regional Engagement Manager for the Mountain West Region
Speaker’s topics: Kitten nurseries, high volume and open adoptions, foster programming, shelter operations and best practices, lifesaving programs

Ledy VanKavage — Senior Legislative Attorney
Speaker's topics: Doggie due process, why breed discrimination doesn't work, community cat legislation, advocacy for animals, lobbying

Lee Greenwood — Legislative Attorney
Speaker's topics: Legislative process, lobbying, getting a community to no-kill, shelter transparency legislation, dog- and cat-related legislation

Liz Finch — National Community Cat Program Director
Speaker's topics: Community cat programs, breed labels and DNA testing, hoarding, Best Friends Network, progressive sheltering concepts

Lori Bernath — Volunteer Engagement Manager
Speaker's topic: Volunteer engagement

Makena Yarbrough — Mid-Atlantic Regional Director
Speaker’s topics: No Kill Programs, shelter operations, capital campaigns, Managed intake, Change and creating culture, executive leadership, board development/management, team building and management, community engagement, marketing and branding, campaign fundraising, customer service 101

Marc Peralta — Senior Director of National No Kill Advancement
Speaker’s topics: Coalition-building, high-volume adoptions

Marla Browne — Community Cat Program Manager
Speaker's topic: Community cat programs

Michael Hand — Producer, New Digital Media and Special Projects
Speaker's topic: Imagery

Michelle Logan — Senior Manager of National Shelter Outreach
Speaker's topic: Best Friends Network, shelter operations, managed intake, animal enrichment

Michelle Sathe — Public Relations Manager
Speaker's topic: PR

Michelle Weaver — Director of Animal Care
Speaker's topics: Shy dogs, general dog behavior, dog behavior assessments

Myla Burns — Senior Manager, Donor Data Technology
Speaker's topics: Supporter data, data quality

Nicole Petschauer, DVM — Senior Veterinarian
Speaker's topics: Shelter medicine for rescue/shelters

Nikki Kelley — Data Scientist
Speaker's topics: Shelter Animals Count, data and transparency, data-driven gap analysis, strategic programming using data

Pat Guerrero — Senior Manager of Volunteer Engagement and Programs
Speaker's topic: Volunteer engagement

Peter Wolf — Research and Policy Analyst
Speaker's topics: Anything related to community cats (except veterinary medicine), focus on public policy and science surrounding community cat and trap-neuter-return (TNR) issues

Phiphi Gavalas — Senior Manager of Digital Engagement
Speaker's topics: Marketing, branding

Richard Angelo, Jr. — Legislative Attorney
Speaker's topics: Community cat legal matters, shelter transparency laws, companion animal legislation, legislative advocacy for animals, lobbying, general animal shelter laws and regulations (state and local), dangerous dog laws, breed discrimination

Samantha Bell DiGenova — Cat Behavior and Enrichment Lead for Best Friends in Los Angeles
Speaker’s topics: Cat enrichment and behavior for improving adoption rates

Scott Giacoppo — Director of National Shelter Outreach
Speaker’s topics: Animal care and control management, community cats, animal cruelty investigations, field operations, community-based programming, lost pet services, wildlife conflict resolution and wildlife protection

Sheila McLalin — Pacific Regional Manager
Speaker’s topics: Volunteer programs, shelter outreach (safe at home, client service), foster programs, coalitions, large-scale adoption and community events

Sherry Woodard — Animal Behavior Consultant
Speaker's topics: Anything related to animal training and behavior, career dogs, hoarding, rescue and emergency response, enrichment, other topics upon request

Stephanie Macgill — Director of Foundation Partnerships
Speaker's topics: Foundations, grants

Tawny Hammond — Director of National No Kill Leadership Advancement
Speaker's topics: Professional leadership, team-building, effective “followship” (how to be a great follower in your organization), getting political support for animal services, leading and managing lifesaving changes in the municipal setting, succession planning for animal services, animal control that supports lifesaving and public safety, community engagement in animal services, how to become a no-kill animal services, professional excellence in animal services, animal services and social justice (why animals matter), animal services as part of community wellness, lifesaving before the animal shelter doors, developing standard operating procedures for animal services

Vicki Kilmer — Director of Business Intelligence
Speaker's topics: Research and analytics

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