Tanya Hilgendorf with a kitten

Tanya Hilgendorf

President and CEO

Tanya’s been leading HSHV since 2005. With a BA in Political Science and a Masters in Social Work Administration and Public Policy 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 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, 2000+ volunteers, and a 97%+ save rate focused on rescuing, healing, saving, and protecting animals and supporting the community. Tanya currently is the proud mom of several fabulous felines, a high-spirited GSD, and a beautiful, brilliant human.


Matt Schaecher

Chief Operations Officer

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 a furry dog and two rather furless human babies.


Chad Wood

Human Resources Manager

Chad’s first job was obtained specifically to support his pets, which have ranged from cats and dogs all the way to geckos and snakes. Chad has always loved animals, almost as much as helping others. This is what brought him to work in HR, non-profit HR specifically. The opportunity to serve others as well as help animals is the perfect combination for a workplace, and Chad is thrilled to be part of the HSHV team.

alicia and gandalf

Alicia Curley

Friends for Life Coordinator

As a kid, Alicia dreamed of being a zoologist who would travel the world saving endangered species. While her path didn’t quite go in that direction (she spent 13 years in the tech industry), she’s happy to now combine her career with her love of animals at HSHV. Starting as a dog walker and laundry volunteer, Alicia is now the Friends for Life Program Coordinator. Believing the human-animal bond is nothing short of magic, she’s proud and humbled to coordinate support services that help pets stay with their people for as lovingly-long as possible.


Lindsay Clark

Leadership Giving Officer

Having spent most of her nonprofit career in human services organizations, Lindsay is excited to join HSHV to advocate and fundraise for animal welfare. A strong conviction that “we belong to each other” and that we must care for the vulnerable among us compelled her to earn a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and continues to inform her passion for nonprofits and volunteering. When she isn’t working or volunteering, Lindsay is likely reading, walking, baking, or spending time with family.

Ashley Diaz Jackson

Ashley Diaz Jackson

Adoptions Manager

Ashley’s animal career started in 2006, working for Michigan Humane. She continued on in animal medicine, working in both for-profit and non-profit clinics, including as a surgery tech at HSHV. Her path took her to pharmaceutical sales in veterinary medicine. The desire to be around people and their pets led her to create a new position with Premier Pet Supply, Director of Training and Customer Success. With the skills from years in clinic, a connection with the pulse of animal wellbeing, and keeping up with the best information on products for all pets led her back to HSHV! When not working, she loves the outdoors, and spending quality time with her husband and all her fur babies. She currently has two Dachshunds, three cats and fish.

Cameron and Orchid

Cameron Greig

Community Cat Coordinator

Cameron, who manages both HSHV”s TNR and Bountiful Bowls program, has always been an entrepreneurial-minded philanthropist. As a child, he would donate his allowance to any worthy cause. As he got older, he realized that time is just as important as money and would regularly volunteer at a homeless shelter, food bank or a pet shelter — to this day, he cannot go to his family cabin in northern Michigan without stopping at two different pet shelters. At one, he teaches the pups to do tricks for treats, and at the other he visits the kitten room to read to, play with and socialize the kitties. Cam owns a one-eared, extra-lovable cat named Gigi.

Marketing, photographer Anne Savage, portrait, staff, Tawn Hinze

Tawn Hinze

Volunteer Manager

Tawn’s always had a love of animals having had chickens, rabbits, cats, and two German Shepherds growing up. Pair a love of animals with a passion for volunteering that started during college through various student organizations, becoming a volunteer at HSHV seemed like the perfect fit. She began volunteering in 2009 and was hired as an assistant to the Volunteer Manager in 2014. Tawn feels lucky to be a part of such a wonderful, dynamic, and talented group of volunteers. Outside of HSHV, you can find her at local coffee shops, going on hikes, doing yoga, or spending time with family & friends.


Jessie Hitt

Humane Education and Community Engagement Manager

Jessie was planning to pursue a master’s degree in library science when she happened to attend an information session on the newly formed Humane Education department at HSHV. During that info session, led by Karen Patterson, she learned about the existence of the master’s degree program in Humane Education from the Institute for Humane Education. She knew right away that was what she wanted to do! Jessie enjoys talking to people of all ages about the interconnectedness of animal welfare, humanitarianism and environmental protection. She has a special place in her heart for farmed animals and black cats.


Samantha Jeffries

Clinic Manager
Samantha grew up near Detroit and has always had a passion for animal welfare. She attended Baker College for Veterinary Technology, and graduated from MSU with a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology. Upon moving to Ann Arbor, she started volunteering at HSHV, and then accepted an externship in our vet clinic through Baker College’s Vet Tech program. When a job opportunity opened up in 2014, she was brought on to the team, and has been here ever since! In her free time, Samantha and her wife like to explore all that Michigan has to offer, take long road trips, and love on their two dogs and four cats, all HSHV alumni, most of which are missing an appendage or two!


Joy Johnsen

Director of Special Events

Joy has been fundraised for local non-profits for over 18 years.  When she started at HSHV as a volunteer in 2010 she was immediately drawn to the HSHV mission, and was hired as the shelter’s Special Events Coordinator in 2012.  Today, she serves HSHV as the Director of Special Events and is always kept on her toes coordinating HSHV’s annual fundraisers: Walk & Wag and Run and the Compassionate Feast. She also hasn’t forgotten her original volunteer commitments, and continues to care for a local feral cat colony. Joy enjoys relaxing at home with her two HSHV alumni: a small white fluffy cat and LARGE black fluffy dog.


Karie McMahon

Intake Manager

Karie started working at HSHV as an Intake Technician in 2009. Having never worked in an animal shelter before, it was an eye-opening experience. Prior to that, she had worked as a zookeeper, and caring for laboratory animals, but until HSHV had not found a place that was the right fit for her. She loved HSHV instantly, and the rest is history. Now she heads up the Intake Department, runs the Love Train program, and manages HSHV’s private rehoming page. She shares her home with 3 feline friends, and lots of Star Wars toys.


James O’Bryan

Facilities Manager

As a kid, James saved every stray cat in the neighborhood. Today, he’ll stop on any road to save a turtle. And he’s always enjoying saving and fixing things. So when the facilities job opened up at HSHV, he jumped at the chance to come back home — marrying his love for animals with helping people. Prior to that, he’d been working as a facilities manager/director at a Traumatic Brain Rehabilitation facility and Assisted Living/Memory Care retirement community. When he’s not fixing things at HSHV, you’ll find him on the lake!

Cathryn O’Connell

Development Manager

Always an animal lover from a young age, Cathryn was never too far from her pets growing up.  Whether it was her dogs, cats, chickens, horses or a feral cat in the area, she was spending time with at least one of them, if not all of them at once.  After a career in design and project management, Cathryn feels lucky to combine her customer service skills with her life-long passion.  Connecting with animal loving donors, volunteers and furry friends is a dream come true. When she is not at HSHV, she enjoys spending time with her furry and non-furry family, enjoying the outdoors, learning new skills and working on various projects that mostly include her pets.

John David Patrick

Director, Legacy Gifts and Capital Development

John David (JDP) is a devoted advocate for nonprofit advancement and community development having worked alongside performing arts, human services, healthcare, and LGBTQIA+ organizations. Having a lifelong passion for animals, JDP sought an opportunity to contribute to animal welfare. He relocated from Indianapolis to join the HSHV family and is committed to using his passions to make the world a better place for animals and humans alike. JDP is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), a graduate of Indiana University’s Lilly School of Philanthropy, and the Vice President of Programs for the Association of Fundraising Professionals. His free time is spent cuddling with his furry companions, trying new recipes, and spending time outdoors.

humane education, Karen Patterson, Marketing, Melinda Szabelski, photographer Anne Savage, portrait, staff

Karen Patterson

Vice President of Volunteers and Humane Education

Karen Patterson is a life-long animal lover who has a passion for education and animal welfare. Teaching others about showing kindness and compassion for both animals and humans is her passion in life and is the inspiration of her first published book, Harley Saves the Day. Karen has ten years of formal teaching experience in the classroom and has since worked with students and teachers throughout Washtenaw County in her role at HSHV. She holds a Master’s of Education degree (in humane education) and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Humane Education Coalition.  Karen currently lives in Chelsea with her son and four furry kids.


Merri Priddle

Director of Data and Process Management

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.


Jaci Schaecher

Vice President of Development and Marketing

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!

Allie Spencer, Anne_Savage, Cruelty Investigations/Emergency Rescue & Back of House Manager, For website, holding, kitten, Marketing, photographer Anne Savage, portrait, staff, staff portrait

Allie Spencer

Cruelty Investigations/Emergency Rescue & Back of House Manager

Allie grew up in Michigan, graduated with a degree in Anthropology-Zoology from the University of Michigan, then moved to California for an internship at an exotic animal sanctuary.  She began her career in animal welfare at the San Diego Humane Society where she was an Admissions Counselor, Humane Law Enforcement Officer, Animal Services Supervisor and Behavior and Training Animal Services Manager.  She moved back home to Michigan to be closer to family and return to the trees and seasons that she missed so much.  Outside of work, she enjoys hiking with her dogs, Toby and Emma, and snuggling with her one eyed cat, Jackson.

Laurie and Squiggle 2

Laurie Stadther

Tiny Lions Cat Café Manager

With a deep love for “all-things-cats,” Laurie is thrilled to be the manager of the Tiny Lions Cat Café!  She has a well-rounded history in education and nonprofit work, including building a nonprofit of her own working as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.  At home, Laurie spends time with her bird, a sassy sun Conure named Tango, cares for her revolving-door of FeLV+ cats, and enjoys spending time watching the koi fish in her pond.

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Jonathan Trevathan

Chief Financial Officer

Combining a love for 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 indoors and out with his family, including three HSHV alums. Hazel and Huck, two social cats, and Juniper, a high energy blue heeler mix that took the Love Train up from Tennessee.

Wendy Welch

Director of Communications

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.

Dr. Courtney White

VP of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Courtney completed her undergraduate career at Michigan State University and went on to earn her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine.  Following graduation, she completed an internship at Michigan Veterinary Specialists and later trained at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine where she received her certification in canine physical therapy. Outside of work, Dr. Courtney enjoys spending time with her three children, hiking, camping, fishing, going up north.  Her family has two dogs and a cat who have all been adopted from HSHV and a bearded dragon.