OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Pets Lifeline’s Board of Directors is a volunteer board comprised of local residents who help PLL set the organization’s roadmap for the future and works at fund and friend-raising throughout the year.
Marchelle lives in Kenwood (since 1998) with her husband Curt, their Golden Retriever Crystal “the pistol”, and 2 rescued cats – Chipper and Harrison who was recently rescued from the Paradise fires. They have an adult son Greg, his wife Marianne, and 2 granddaughters - Katelyn (studying Biomedical Engineering at USC) and Sarah (a senior at Napa High School). Marchelle has always given back to her community having served on Boards and volunteered for many organizations. She previously served on the Board of Boys & Girls Club for 12 years and is a Past President and Sweetheart. Marchelle is a founding member of the Cha Chas who for 14 years have volunteered their time for the youth at Valley of the Moon Children’s Center.
Marchelle’s professional experience includes starting Carleton Group Healthcare Interiors with her husband Curt. For over 30 years they’ve worked with large customers such as Kaiser, Sutter Health, Palo Alto Medical Foundation and the UC System medical facilities. She is fluent in all aspects of business from owning their company. Prior to that she was a partner in an event company producing large events, PR and marketing.
Larry lives in Sonoma (since 2000) with his wife Virginia and two Pets Lifeline superstars, Baxter (beagle mix), and Lulu (miniature Schnauzer). Larry is currently serving on the Board of Directors of The Boys and Girls Club, is a past board President plus was honored as Sweetheart in 2017. Previously, he was Board President of the International Health and Racquet Sports Association and member of the Tennis Hall of Fame Advisory Board.
Larry’s career encompassed roles providing leadership to drive staff accountability, financial responsibility and ethical practices. Most recently Larry was with the San Francisco based, The Bay Club Company. Prior to relocating to the Bay Area, while based in Boston, he was President of The WellBridge Company, an upscale wellness and fitness organization. After WellBridge, he joined the then Boston-based Virgin Lifecare Company as VP.
Larry has been an avid tennis player and competitor from early childhood and now enjoys the challenges of golf. He loves reading, a good bottle of wine and a good hamburger that he doesn’t get at home.
Secretary, Events Committee
Elaine Smith is a former Hillsborough resident who now calls Sonoma home with her husband Graham Smith. Elaine was on the board of the Peninsula Family Services and spent many years volunteering with various organizations focusing, on educational development.
Governance & Events Committee
Toni was born and raised in Boston Massachusetts, moving to Southern California is the mid 80’s and finally to Northern California in 2000. She practiced law for over 20 years in both Massachusetts and California, concentrating on civil litigation and real estate. She has been and continues to be involved in a number of non-profit, charitable organizations including the Anti-Vivisection Society, the Cha-Chas (providing support to The Valley of the Moon Children’s Home for abused, abandoned and neglected children), 4Paws where she and her pup Winston volunteer at the local Library for Read to the Dog Days, and finally to Pet’s Lifeline where she joined the Board of Directors in 2017. Toni lives in Kenwood with her beloved husband Chuck and her labradoodle Winston. She enjoys photography, travel and cooking.
Sandy is a long-time Sonoma resident with an impressive background in the non profit development world. From 1999 to 2015, she served as a consultant with Marts & Lundy and co-leader of the firm’s Schools Practice Group. Prior to her consulting work, Sandy served as director of development at Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco, she co-founded the California Schools Development Conference (CAPS) specifically to address the need for professional development opportunities for the entire development office team. From 1989 to 1994, Sandy served as the director of development at KQED, San Francisco’s public broadcasting tv and radio station.
Before moving to the Bay Area, Sandy lived for twenty years in Denver, Colorado where she served as director of development for several educational and civic organizations. In addition to her professional activities, Sandy serves as class agent for Mt. Holyoke College, is a past board member of the Golden Gate Chapter of The Association of Fundraising Professionals, Live Oak School and St. Paul’s Episcopal School. Currently Sandy serves as a trustee of The Bay School of San Francisco and Ox Bow School and a founding board member of Leadership and Design, an advisor to The Boys and Girls Club of Sonoma Valley and tutors in the Sonoma County Adult Literacy Program.
Frank Espina’s professional experience spans over four decades as the founder of his own CPA firm as an audit and tax partner. He retired in 2018. His financial accounting and tax consulting experience lends well to the role of Board Member.
Over the years, Frank has served on several volunteer boards as President and Chairman of the Board of Family Service Agency, San Mateo Chamber of Commerce and Suicide Prevention and Crisis Center. Also, for 20 years he was on the Board and CFO of Pets in Need. Currently, he is on the Board and CFO of the Wine Country Marines. He has both a BA and MBA from San Francisco State University and spent time in the United States Marine Corp. He is married to his wife Andi for the last 18 years. He has two dogs, Hambone and Coco Chanel. He currently serves on the finance committee for Pets Lifeline.
Governance & Events Committee
Deborah grew up in the East Bay and was an actress and model spanning 20 years. She was also an Oakland Raiderette. Deborah married John Emery in San Francisco and helped start his medical spa in the city. She was an active member of the Junior League and helped co found the Child Abuse Prevention Society in San Francisco.
Deborah and John started their move to Sonoma in 1985 and Deborah became involved in many community efforts including Salute to the Arts, Children's Home Auxiliary, Sonoma Valley High School projects mentor and President of the board of Boys and Girls club of Sonoma Valley. There she spearheaded the much needed start of the new Teen Programing. After serving 10 years she was looking for a new place to serve. Having adopted several pets for her family she saw a need to serve the unheard. Deborah joined the Pets Lifeline board four years ago, and is looking forward to help drive the future of this worthy service to our community and the wonderful pets that are lovingly taken care of.
Program Development Committee
Cyndi lives in Sonoma with her husband Lars and their beloved cat Mia, a.k.a. Creamy. She is a lifelong animal lover and is proud to serve on the Pets Lifeline Board of Directors so that she can express that love through helping to do good for our local cats and dogs. Cyndi’s other passion is travel and hopes to eventually visit every continent so that she can learn more about the languages and traditions of all cultures on our planet.
Cyndi has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 30 years for many different organizations: The Sierra Club Foundation, San Francisco Food Bank, Jewish Community Center, Sports4Kids, National Gaucher Foundation, Friends of San Francisco Animal Care & Control, and currently the Gaucher Community Alliance where she is the Co-Founder/Co-President and The Cultural Conservancy, where she serves as their Chief Development Officer.
Chair, Audit Committee & Co-chair Strategic Planning Committee
Born in New York State, Yvonne has been a resident of California for more than 50 years, the last 15 in Sonoma County. She graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.S. degree in psychology. Her 26-year professional career was spent with Levi Strauss & Co. After starting with the company as a secretary, she went on to hold positions in Merchandising, Production and Product Development. Subsequently she served as President of Levi Strauss de Mexico SA de CV in Mexico City. She was the first woman of any nationality to head a company in Mexico. Her last position with Levi’s was V.P. of Merchandising and Product Development for the 14 segments of the Levi’s brand in the U.S. Yvonne uses her skills and experience to support the non-profit community in Sonoma. This has included board positions with La Luz Center, the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art and Pets Lifeline. She rejoined the La Luz board in 2018 and currently serves on the Development and Strategic Planning committees. She currently resides in downtown Sonoma, reads voraciously, travels extensively and enjoys the great experience of living in the wine country.
Program Development Committee
The summer of 2018 was a big one for Jane – she retired, moved to Sonoma and married her husband, Bill. Prior to that, Jane’s career as an independent school business officer spanned over thirty years, working at Hanahau`oli School in Honolulu, HI, The Park School in Brookline, MA, and most recently as the CFO at The College Preparatory School in Oakland. During her professional career, Jane served as the president of Cal-ISBOA, a professional association with 250 California independent school business officers, was the founding president of HAISBO (Hawaii Association of Independent School Business Officers), and was a member of ABOIS (Association of Business Officers in Independent Schools). Jane has also served on the board of directors of NBOA (National Business Officers Association) and was the recipient of the Ken White Distinguished Business Officer Award in 2018. Since moving to Sonoma, she has chaired the Finance Committee of the First Congregational Church of Sonoma and volunteered with Impact 100 Sonoma. Jane and Bill share seven grandchildren between them (two set of twins!) and are looking forward to future travel to see family and friends, as well as exploring some new adventures together.
Chair, Investment Committee, Co-Chair - Facilities Committee
Brad Meyer has an extensive background in growing businesses. Based in the Indianapolis area, Brad built several rental car franchises all over the country. Brad also served civically on a Redevelopment Commission and other local organizations. After retiring, Brad and his wife Dolores bought a home in Glen Ellen and have been Sonoma Valley residents for over 2 years with their three dogs. Brad is very passionate about animals and animal rescue.
Dr. Tiffany Newman, DVM
Tiffany grew up in Sonoma Valley, attending El Verano Elementary, Altimira Junior High and Sonoma Valley High School. She attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, spent 2 years teaching English in Japan, and completed her degree in veterinary medicine at the Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island where she met her husband, Gordon. They moved back to Sonoma in 2016, where they currently live on a hobby farm with their 3 elementary school daughters, 6 alpacas, 2 goats, 2 bunnies, 2 dogs, cat, guinea pig, numerous chickens and racing pigeons. Tiffany currently practices small animal veterinary medicine at Sonoma Veterinary Clinic with Dr. Howard Rosner. Sonoma Veterinary Clinic with Dr. Howard Rosner.
Program Development Chair
For 20 years, graced television screens in northern and central California as an anchor and reporter. Best known for nearly five years as a news anchor at KTVU in Oakland during the first several years of the station’s then-new Mornings On 2 newscast, she later joined KGO-TV in San Francisco to serve as co-anchor of the station’s Marketplace financial program with Rosie Allen.
After leaving television, Laura and her family relocated to Sonoma from the East Bay in 2000 and went into non-profit work. In 2007, Laura became the Executive Director of the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation. Now, Laura is sharing her enormous talent with Pets Lifeline.
Nancy has been with PLL since 2009 taking the helm as Executive Director in 2010. Nancy is an active member since 2011 in the Association of Animal Welfare Advancement. Under her leadership the organization has solidified its presence as a respected animal welfare organization, created a robust humane education program and fundraised and completed a capital campaign to secure a future facility for the 37 year organization. She lives in Sonoma with her dog Doc and three cats, Cowboy, Michael and Spudnik.
Shelter Manager, RVT
Denise joined the staff of Pets Lifeline in October 2021 as the Shelter Manager. She has twenty-four years of experience as an RVT. She has practiced Emergency, Internal Medicine, Surgery, Neurology, Oncology and now shelter medicine. She has two daughters, 12 and 8 years old. They are very involved in Soccer and Swimming. They have five dogs at home ranging from a 7 pound to a 60 pound and 3 cats.
Kevin is a part-time Kennel Assistant. Kevin began as a dedicated volunteer at Pets Lifeline. When a part-time position opened up, he applied to work at Pets Lifeline. Kevin is an animal lover and after each shift, he will make a cup of coffee and visit with the cats and dogs before going home for the day. Kevin has two dogs at home.
Spay/Neuter Clinic Coordinator
Christina made the transition to shelter work and animal care at Pets Lifeline in August 2022 after volunteering at our humane education summer camps. She has always had a passion for animals of all kinds, working with everything from fish, birds, and other wildlife, to dogs and cats. Currently, she is pursuing a master's degree at Sonoma State University with a focus in molecular physiology. She has her own menagerie at home of two cats named Taz and Nox, a dog named Charlie, and a bearded dragon named Barry.
Ali joined the Pets Lifeline team as Operations Coordinator in January 2022 with a passion for problem solving and a lifelong love of animals. She has lived in Sonoma since 1984 and raised her two daughters in the Valley. In her spare time, Ali enjoys spending time with her amazing family, including her beloved pets, as well as traveling to warm and sandy destinations.
Kirsten stepped into a new position at Pets Lifeline as Volunteer Coordinator in December 2022. A Native to Sonoma Valley, she lives here with her husband, rescue cat, and two dogs. Kirsten has always been an animal lover and has had many varieties of pets, including birds and fish, and spent much of her youth working with horses. She comes from a background in wine production and hospitality, and enjoys using her skills to help animals thrive.
Assistant. Shelter Manager,
Shoshana is the Assistant Shelter Manager. She is a native of Sonoma Valley and began working at Pets Lifeline when she was a teenager. She has worked at PLL for over 25 years caring for the homeless cats and dogs. She is a mom of three and her family has adopted five (four cats and one dog) PLL pets, plus they have fostered hundreds of kittens, cats and dogs.
Animal Care Technician
Anthony is a part-time Kennel Assistant. Anthony is a Sonoma Valley native and began visiting the cats & dogs of Pets Lifeline before he could walk. When looking for his first job, he is pleased to be able to work at a place that is near and dear to his heart.
Lelio Lis (Eli)
Hailing from France Eli first started at Pets Lifeline in the Fall of 2021 as a volunteer, mostly cleaning, washing and doing various physical labors. He received his work permit in February of the next year and applied for a job the very next day. Eli chose to work at the shelter due to his appreciation for all life forms unburdened by human consciousness and that also enjoy belly rubs. He has no pets at home to call a part of his tribe although a cat with a chocolate coat of fur occasionally visits his household garden and demands attention.
Theresa joined the staff of Pets Lifeline in August of 2022. Born and partially raised in the Midwest among many kittens and cats, she acknowledges their personalities are as funny and varied as her three kids. With a career in non-profit spanning over 20 years, and a Master’s Degree in Organization Development, Theresa enjoys being a part of an ever-evolving organization always striving to provide the best possible care for the animals. In her spare time, she loves being with her family, friends, the outdoors, and placing a creative flare on life’s endeavors spanning from hand-lettering & signs to baking for staff birthdays.
Adoption Specialist & Cat Behaviorist
Laura joined the staff of Pets Lifeline in October 2022. With a lifelong love for all creatures Laura has been working in the Animal Care world for over five years with wildlife and domestic critters. She developed an interest in behavior sciences along the way, wondering what more we can do to help our animal companions feel happy and satisfied in their homes. If you can't find her, she's probably sitting with a cat. She has two rescue cats of her own, named Kai and Lizzie, who teach her about cat behavior every day.
Canine Trainer/Behavior Consultant
Laurinda, the Canine Trainer / Behavior Consultant, worked in animal medicine for 28 years. She is a certified dog trainer and has a certificate training shelter dogs through Animal Behavioral College. Laurinda has a certificate in Natural Animal Remedies through Penn Foster College. She is certified for the fear free program. For fifteen years Sonoma Valley residents have relied on her as a professional dog sitter. She currently has four rescue dogs, and a husband.
Customer Service Representative
Misty stepped into a new position at Pets Lifeline as Customer & Client Services Representative in Oct 2021. An animal lover since before she can remember, she has been working in the animal industry for 20 years. Born and raised in Sonoma County, Misty has been living in Sonoma the last several years with her husband. Her passion lies in lost pet recovery and customer relations. She has a senior fospice cat from Pets Lifeline and a son entering the twonager phase.
Amy is a native of Sonoma Valley and has always wanted to be a veterinarian. She started volunteering at Pets Lifeline in 2011 and transitioned into working as a Kennel Assistant and Adoption Specialist. She studied veterinary science & became certified as a Veterinary Assistant. She worked at a local vet hospital for seven years and gained practical veterinary experience working as a Vet Tech Asst. Amy has two canine Pets Lifeline alumni at home along with three rescued cats.
Sara, the Administrative Coordinator, also known as Admin Queen, was born and raised in the East Bay and moved to Sonoma in 2004. She began volunteering at Pets Lifeline upon her arrival in Sonoma and joined the staff a decade later in 2014. Sara shares her home with four PLL kitties and highly recommends having a catio for cats to safely enjoy fresh air and sunshine.