Staff

Tanya Hilgendorf

President and CEO
734-661-3518
tanya@hshv.org

Tanya's been leading HSHV for over 10 years. With a BA in Political Science from University of Michigan-Dearborn and a Masters in Social Work Administration and Public Policy from Wayne State University and having served as Executive Director of Ozone House, her passion centers on protecting the vulnerable (human and non-human animals) and transformational leadership that helps failing nonprofit organizations achieve mission success. With an incredible team of staff, volunteers, and supporters, HSHV has become a thriving, dynamic animal welfare organization with a multi-service organization, with 100+ employees, 700+ volunteers, and a 94% save rate focused on rescuing, healing, saving and protecting. Tanya currently is the proud mom of several fabulous felines and a beautiful teenaged human.

Matt Schaecher

Chief Operations Officer
734-661-3522
matt@hshv.org

Matt has been a Detroit firefighter for 15 years. Although always an animal lover, that is where he first saw the animal suffering that he knew he wanted to help end. Matt started as cruelty investigator at HSHV in 2005 and in 2015 he became HSHV’s Chief Operating Officer -- helping to put out HSHV "fires." He is passionate about protecting animals and saving every life possible and wants HSHV to be the best it can be. He is grateful to HSHV’s community of people who give so much of themselves to animals in need. He currently has two furry dogs and one rather furless human baby.      

Nancy McComb

Human Resources Manager
jobs@hshv.org

Nancy's had two dream jobs. Her first: working at Whole Foods in HR and Accounting, where she nurtured her passion about how our food is grown, processed and thought about -- and worked with like-minded people. Her second: her current position at HSHV, which her friends and family say "is the perfect place" for her. Nancy has been an animal lover since she was a kid-- bringing home every stray animal she came across. While she loves all animals, Nancy has a special place in her heart for pit bulls.

 

Dr. Carolyn Allen

Shelter Medicine Manager
carriea@hshv.org

Dr. Carrie completed her Veterinary Medicine degree at the University of Wisconsin. After a year in general practice, she interned in small animal emergency and specialty medicine. She has a background in non-profit work that includes numerous wildlife centers, shelters and sanctuaries. In 2009, Dr. Carrie proudly joined HSHV! Outside of work, Dr. Carrie enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter and cat Chloe. She also enjoys gardening, running, swimming, painting and spending time with extended family.

Alex Ball

Volunteer Coordinator
734-661-3517
alexb@hshv.org

Alex started his career at HSHV as a volunteer, and after a single day of volunteering ended up submitting an application to become a staff member.  Once cage cleaner, than child wrangler, now volunteer mastermind, Alex loves all things HSHV, especially his volunteers.  You can find him in the admin offices convincing cats to love him, unaware that this approach will be fruitless for all but the most generous of feline souls.

Michele Baxter

Manager of Cruelty Investigations & Emergency Rescue
734-661-3521
micheleb@hshv.org

Michele began as a volunteer at an animal shelter in Detroit.  Since then, she's been an adoption counselor, wildlife rescue officer, veterinary assistant, police officer, and cruelty investigator. She's even cared for "Katie," an African Lion cub who wound up at the Detroit Zoo! Michele is passionate about education, and has taught law enforcement personnel and prosecutors on the subjects of animal cruelty and animal fighting.  She enjoys working for HSHV "because it's innovative, and dares to be different in trying new things for the betterment of animals."

Haley Chynoweth

Cat Café Manager
734-661-3548
haleyc@hshv.org

"Cat Café Manager? That’s a job I could do?!” were the first words out of Haley’s mouth when she found out about HSHV’s cuddliest venture, Tiny Lions Lounge and Adoption Center. Volunteer cat comforter turned full-time cat servant, her 10-year-old self couldn’t be prouder. Her favorite animals are, of course, cats, but she has a soft spot in her heart for dachshunds and birds of all sorts. Haley’s favorite pastimes are cooking and making her fiancé try new things. She’s inspired by the shyer cats who take a little more time to come out of their shells and the two best cats in the world, Bug and Doug.

Krista Donohoo

Adoptions & Front of House Manager
734-661-3514
kristad@hshv.org

Working for minimum wage at a job far from home left Krista feeling empty at the end of the day. Following a tip from a friend and a life-long dream to work with animals, Krista took a leap of faith and applied at a shelter. She started her job as kennel cleaner with nothing but compassion, and continued her career for 8 years, advancing to animal evaluator and team leader.When the chance to apply at HSHV came along, she jumped at the chance -- and is proud to lead an incredible team at a reputable and amazing organization.

Ann Edwards

Foster Care Manager
734-661-3520
ann2@hshv.org

Travel bug satisfied? Check. Kids all grown up? Check.  Looking for a career change? Check.   Best shelter in the state? Check.  Ann started working part-time with shelter volunteers and quickly segued to full-time, running the foster program and taking lots of photos.  She's transitioned from a degree in Biology, working at GM - Brasil in the Economics Department, to an MBA, to working in the music biz, then running a communications company, now back to her first love: working with animals. She's inspired by foster parents, who've become her second family.    

Karie McMahon

Intake & Back of House Manager
734-661-3552
kariem@hshv.org

Sharp wit. Compassion packed. Star Wars lover. That's Karie, who, with her degree in biology and anthropology, considered working in the medical field until she realized she liked animals better than people. Since then, she's worked at the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species, at UM's Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine, and now at HSHV -- a position she considers life-changing -- for over 6 years. Karie feels fortunate to work alongside amazing people who are always looking to try to better themselves and HSHV.

Jaci Portaro

Vice President Development and Marketing
734-661-3525
jaci@hshv.org

Jaci (pronounced jack-ee) developed a passion for fundraising while pursuing her Master's in social work -- realizing the importance of adequate funding for nonprofits in order to fulfill their mission and beyond. At HSHV, Jaci combines that passion with a love for both animals and animal-lovers. "I love our donors and what they allow us to achieve every day," she says. She's a strong believer in the human/animal bond... so much so, that she has a hard time not adopting every cat who comes through our administrative offices!

Catherine Pappas

Leadership Giving Officer
734-661-3531
catherinep@hshv.org

Catherine was a fundraiser long before she knew it.  As a kid, she enjoyed tagging along with her mom, helping her raise money for various worthy causes.  Although she has had other jobs along the way, including waiting tables in college, being a “mystery shopper” and working as project manager for an incentive travel company, Catherine has been raising money for non-profit organizations the majority of her career.  A life-long animal lover, she is delighted to be working with HSHV’s generous donors, volunteers and staff.

Karen Patterson

Director of Volunteers and Humane Education
734-661-3575
humaneed@hshv.org

Karen's always been a humane educator. From an early age, she was gently advocating for animals in her neighborhood, presenting reports on animal testing to her classmates, and rescuing toads left and right. And after 10 years teaching elementary school and continually integrating humane education into her lessons, Karen realized that's all she wanted to do. She knocked on Tanya's door, suggested HSHV have a humane education program, and the rest is... our future! Karen has two dogs, two cats, one son, and one husband.

Merri Priddle

Director of Data and Process Management
734-661-3515
merri@hshv.org

Data, process and technology is not the most glamorous, but animals don't judge!  In a past life, Merri was a computer programmer and project manager.  She values details, data, results and sustainable practices, but is passionate about 4-legged friends, as "they give us 2-leggeds unconditional love, endless forgiveness and demonstrate the utmost resilience."  Merri is proud to work for our admin cats; fearful, nervous dogs and all the other critters who find their way to HSHV, and finds great satisfaction in seeing the results.

Jon Trevathan

Director of Finance
734-661-3524
jont@hshv.org

Combining his love of his college town with a life-long love of animals and his admittedly unnatural passion for all things finance and accounting related, the Director of Finance position opening up at HSHV was a dream come true for Jon. If he isn’t sharing his desk chair with a cat, you can probably find Jon feeding treats to some wiggly dogs. Outside of the shelter, Jon spends time outdoors with family, including Stella, his Australian Shepherd Chocolate Lab mix whose favorite thing is running. And swimming. And being scratched. And whispers in her big floppy ears. And fetching.

Wendy Welch

Director of Communications
734-661-3527
marketing@hshv.org

After selling fast food to kids and convincing people to buy unnecessary insurance, Wendy yearned to put her advertising skills to good use. HSHV was just the ticket. Originally a volunteer, then a human resources manager, and now in her dream job of communications director, Wendy is continually inspired by HSHV’s generous donors, passionate volunteers and unconditionally loving animals. She loves all things beagle, and is very grateful that coming to work with cat hair on her clothes is now, more than acceptable. 

 

 

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All images and photographs are courtesy of HSHV staff and Jeffrey E. Roush of Two Cat Studios.