Staff

Melanie Sadek, Executive Director

Melanie Sadek_squareMelanie brings a wealth of experience to VHS including 11 years of corporate and small business management. Melanie managed the traffic safety department for the California State Automobile Association. In this capacity she worked to build volunteer coalitions and developed education and outreach programs. She was also instrumental in screening non-profit funding requests, governmental affairs activities and facilitating effective marketing outreach programs. Most recently Melanie started a small start-up where she has built strong brand recognition and great community support. Melanie’s excellent relationship building skills coupled with her marketing and public relations experience has allowed VHS to step out of the shadows and start to become a more visible animal welfare organization within the Tri-Valley region. Recognized as a visionary, a collaborative leader and a strong communicator, Melanie has begun the process of expanding VHS’ donor development to include corporate sponsors as well as private donors to help meet the current needs of the organization and take VHS into the future as a recognized leader in animal care and community participation.

Sandy St. Dennis, Medical Director

Sandy has been an active volunteer for VHS since 2001, serving as VHS’s Medical Director, providing veterinary medical care and supervision for all VHS pets. A graduate of UCD veterinary medical school, Sandy has previously practiced veterinary medicine in Fremont and Livermore as well as working as a spay/neuter surgeon for the Tri City Animal Shelter in Fremont. She is an advocate for the humane treatment of homeless animals as well as responsible pet ownership. She is a member of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians. Her family includes her husband, 2 children, 4 cats and 2 dogs.

Yayoi daCosta, Operations Manager

Yayoi DaCosta with Zoe2_squareYayoi started at VHS as a volunteer assistant vet tech in 2010. She has been in the animal medical field all of her life. She began by following a dairy cow veterinarian on his daily rounds by the time she started to walk. Her most recent involvement prior to joining VHS was volunteering at a SPCA in Southern California. On the business side, after graduating from UC Davis with a business degree, and being fluent in her native Japanese, Yayoi became an asset manager to the largest fee for service company and managed over 2 million square feet of commercial real estate all over the United States. Her family includes a husband of 20 plus years, boys 9 and 11 and faithful dogs Zoe and Mia.

Melissa Adkins,  Marketing and Development Manager

Melissa Adkins_squareJoining Valley Humane Society in February 2012, Melissa is in her second stint with VHS, having also worked for the organization from 2005-2008. In the interim, she worked as a marketing coordinator for Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation in Walnut Creek, where she honed her writing and social media skills. A San Diego native, Melissa has lived in the Tri-Valley for nearly thirty years. She shares a home with her husband, a threenager, and two black cats named Olive and Simone. Outside, she feeds a pair of black feral cats, dubbed Top-Notch and Sideswipe, and the occasional racoon.

Shoshannah Reed, Volunteer Program Manager

Shoshannah Reed_squareShoshannah’s love of animals led her to become a volunteer for VHS in 2007, when she helped care for the beloved dog of one of our early Hope Hospice partnership clients. She officially joined staff in 2010 as Humane Education Manager, developing the humane education and Critter Camp programs. In 2015 she assumed the role of Volunteer Program Manager. Shoshannah believes we can “teach a child and save a pet” by working with the youth of our community through character education and hands-on experiences.  Our Critter Camp and Girl/Boy Scout workshops create responsible, caring, future pet advocates, and strengthen the human-animal bond. Shoshannah became active in early childhood education and continued to volunteer at her children’s schools after leaving an eight-year professional career to start her family. She is the mother of two teenagers and a wife of eighteen years. Together, her family has raised two cats, four dogs, a chameleon, and many other animals, in addition to fostering numerous cats and dogs for VHS.

Cathy Bogart, Medical Coordinator

Cathy Bogart & Jasper squareCathy has been passionate about saving animals’ lives for many years. She grew up in the Bay Area and graduated from Foothill College with an A.S. in Veterinary Technology in 2008. Since then, she has been involved with the care of many different animal species. Cathy has fostered over one hundred neonatal kittens, volunteered for over a year with B2L House Parrot Sanctuary, and has also bred and worked extensively with reptiles. She is pictured with her dog, Jasper.

Emily Scholz, Office Manager

Emily Scholz_squareEmily started volunteering with VHS in February of 2012, working at the front desk, as an adoptions counselor, and at off-site events. In November of 2014, Emily accepted a staff position serving as the office manager. Emily also works in IT as a software project manager and lives in Pleasanton with a cocker spaniel, Poppy, and three cats, Minty, Salty and Olive. In addition to caring for her own pets, Emily also fosters dogs and enjoys cooking, reading and hiking.

Maureen Murphy, Operations CoordinatorMaureen Murphy_square

Britney Cooper, Humane Education CoordinatorBritney Cooper

Britney comes to VHS with diverse program and childcare experience that make her a wonderful addition to the team. Brinteyfirst fell in love with VHS and all the rescued animals as a Critter Camper in 2007. Soon after, she began volunteering with her mom and brother. She also participated in our Teen Marketing program, spearheading a project to bring Canine Comfort to Foothill High School. Prior to joining our staff, Britney worked as a Recreation Leader IIII in the City of Pleasanton’s Community Services Department, where she organized, developed, and led a CPRS-award-winning program, in addition to creating her own personalized programs. Today, Britney and her family share their lives with three former VHS cats, named Rocky, Cheeto, and Milo.

Abril Palomera, Operations Coordinator

Robert Sterne, Operations Coordinator

Robert Sterne_and_Lex_squareRobert grew up in Livermore, and graduated from Livermore High School. He received his BS in Chemistry from University of California, Davis, and his MS in Chemistry from the University of Arizona. It was while in Arizona that he adopted his first pet, a black cat named Lex, in 2009. Robert returned to the Bay Area after graduation, and was introduced to VHS in 2014 when his mom adopted a dog. Soon after, Robert became an active volunteer working in both Cat Care and the AniMeals program. He accepted a part-time staff position as an Operations Coordinator in 2015.

Lauren Voorhies, Office Assistant

Lauren Voorhies_editLauren has been a VHS volunteer since November 2014. In June of 2015, she accepted the position of Office Assistant. Prior to joining VHS, Lauren worked with the Go Green Initiative to film an online web series that teaches children the importance of energy conservation; it has since been shown in classrooms all over the world. Lauren has three dogs—Emma, Zenyatta, and Teddy—and five cats—Primrose, Timmi, Star, Madeleine, and Belles—that she shares her life with.