Melanie Sadek, CAWA, President

Melanie Sadek is the President of Valley Humane Society (VHS). She has worked in both for-profit and non-profit environments, including 20 years of corporate and small business management. As manager of the traffic safety department for the California State Automobile Association, Melanie worked to develop education and outreach programs and build volunteer coalitions. She was also instrumental in governmental affairs activities, facilitating effective marketing outreach programs, and screening non-profit funding requests. Melanie opened Murphy’s Paw, a retail store in downtown Pleasanton selling dog and cat supplies in 2007. During the four years she owned the store, Melanie created strong brand recognition and great community support, which she passed along the new owners in late 2011. Melanie’s excellent relationship-building skills coupled with her marketing and public relations experience have allowed VHS to step out of the shadows and become a more visible animal welfare leader within the TriValley region. Melanie’s dedication to supporting the community was recognized in 2016 when she received the TriValley Hero Award for her Community Spirit.

Dr. Nozomi Watanabe, Medical Director

Nozomi has been a staff veterinarian at East Bay SPCA for the past 9 years. She graduated from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2006 and has always had a special interest in shelter medicine. She joined Valley Humane Society in October 2021 and is excited to be a part of such a compassionate and innovative organization. Nozomi is passionate about providing medical care to homeless pets and protecting the bond between people and their pets. Her family includes her husband, 2 children, 1 cat and 2 dogs.

Tracie Cota, Surgery Center Manager

Tracie has worked in the veterinary industry for over 15 years. Her background in hospital business management, shelter management, and finance provided her hands-on technical and medical skills. Tracie has experience working with local SPCAs, including Monterey, East Bay, and most recently, San Francisco. She is passionate about providing excellent medical care to shelter animals and keeping pets with their people. Tracie joined Valley Humane Society May 2021 to oversee shelter and spay/neuter operations. She is excited to be part of the Valley Humane family.

Melissa Adkins, Marketing 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 since high school. She shares a home with her husband, daughter, and two black cats named Olive and Simone.

Shoshannah Reed, Volunteer Programs 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 also oversees the Canine Comfort Pet-Assisted Therapy Program. Her current dog, Peach, is a VHS alumni pet adopted in 2018.

Emily Scholz, Adoption and Foster Manager

Emily Scholz_squareEmily started volunteering with Valley Humane in February of 2012, providing customer service at the front desk, as an adoptions counselor and at off-site events. In November of 2014, Emily became a staff member continuing to focus on customer service and adoptions. Emily starting fostering dogs and puppies in 2015 as well as managing the foster program at Valley Humane. Emily earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering at Santa Clara University and worked for Accenture for 15 years prior to joining Valley Humane. Emily lives in Pleasanton with two Cocker Spaniels, Poppy and Lillie (adopted from Valley Humane), and two cats, Salty and Olive 

Claire Maniti, Development Manager

Claire joined Valley Humane Society as Development Manager in February 2023. Claire has worked in strategic campaign planning and fundraising in the Bay Area for several years, raising money to support city, county, state legislature, statewide Constitutional officer, and ballot measure campaigns across the state. Claire is a graduate of the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs, and an alumna of UC San Diego.

In her spare time, she is an avid carnivorous plant enthusiast, and enjoys recipe testing vegan Filipino dishes and long-distance running. Claire is a co-parent to Crunchy Hamilton the dog (adopted from Valley Humane Society!), and has two cats, Space Dust and Ube.

John Mendoza, Finance and Administration Manager

An animal lover from childhood, John grew up having just about any pet you can think of: a ball python, an iguana, dog, hamsters, fishes (fresh water and salt water), guinea pigs, turtles, a tortoise, birds, a rabbit and even hermit crabs. He joined Valley Humane in 2023 as Manager of Finance and Administration, transitioning from a career in hotels, and is excited to be involved with an organization that makes a difference in both the lives of animals and in the community. In his free time, John enjoys exploring different cuisines, both in cooking and dining out, watching sports, gardening, and traveling. He and his wife recently adopted a dog, Patch, from Valley Humane.

Sally Parsons, Program Specialist

Sally Parsons joined Valley Humane Society as Volunteer Programs Assistant in April 2019. Prior to that, she spent 15 years supporting fundraising and marketing efforts for youth in the greater East Bay. Her most recent position was Director of Development for Oakland Military Institute College Preparatory Academy, a school founded by former California governor Jerry Brown, when he was mayor of Oakland. The proud guardian of a beautiful 15-year-old beagle named Tahoe, Sally loves being part of an organization that can provide support and love for animals in need, especially since they don’t have a voice of their own. Sally has lived in Pleasanton for 25 years and has a daughter, son, and daughter-in-law. She is a fitness fanatic that enjoys hiking and working in the garden.

Shelby Slate, Program Specialist

Shelby joined Valley Humane Society as Programs Specialist in 2021. She has worked in customer service in the past, but has always wanted to work with animals. When the opportunity to join Valley Humane presented itself, she was so excited to be able to combine the two. Shelby graduated from CSU Monterey Bay where she studied Sociology. She grew up in the East Bay Area and graduated from Amador Valley High School. Currently, she lives in Tracy and loves cuddling Storm and Sierra, her two Siberian Huskies. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, and attending sporting events.

Glenalyn Hunt, Content Marketing Coordinator

Growing up in Pleasanton around many communities of animal lovers, Valley Humane was a household name for Glenalyn. When she saw an opportunity to join the team as Content Marketing Coordinator in 2022, she jumped at the chance. After spending the last eight years working in communications/marketing for various Fortune 500 companies and earning her MBA in Marketing, Glenalyn is excited to use her skills to support and further Valley Humane’s mission. Her own dog, Norma, is a street dog rescue, and she is passionate that every animal know the love and safety of a family. When not at work, Glenalyn can most often be found reading or watching TV with her husband and Norma by her side. She also loves to sing, try new recipes, and travel! 

Toshina Prasad, Data Entry Coordinator

A lifelong animal lover, Toshina (Tosh) and her kids hosted a garage sale a few years ago to support Valley Humane. Bringing the proceeds in to donate, she felt welcomed and thanked in a truly genuine way. When the opportunity to join Valley Humane as the Data Entry Coordinator arose at the same time Tosh was looking for a career change, she jumped at the chance. Tosh is excited to be a part of this inspirational organization, after a diverse career in the automotive, finance, and real estate industries. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, and traveling with her family. She believes the perfect wind down to any day is cuddling up with her dogs, Ms. Luna, a 9 year old rescue cattle dog mix, and Nova, a 5 year old German Shorthaired Pointer. Her family also has the privilege of being home for a senior Leopard Gecko named Twitch. 

Macee LeMoine, Operations Manager

Macee brings a wealth of experience in animal care, transitioning from a decade-long career in veterinary medicine, where she held various roles from receptionist to hospital manager. Crafting is her passion, with a knack for DIY projects using her trusty Cricut machine and delving into hand embroidery. A Halloween enthusiast and avid fan of scary movies, Macee shares her home with a diverse fur and scale family, including Maloo Mindee Sue the cat, Boone Barry the Bully Corgahula, Stuart Francis Bean the dachshund, Juleeus the gecko, Clark the cockatiel, and two fish, Pamela and Cherry.  Macee finds joy in helping animals find their new homes at Valley Humane. Fun fact: her current celebrity crush is Pedro Pascal.

Tamara Salgado, Medical Coordinator

Tamara started volunteering at Valley Humane Society in late June 2018. A graduate from Amador Valley High School, she had long wanted to volunteer at an animal shelter, so when the organization advertised an urgent need for cat care volunteers, Tamara saw it as the perfect opportunity. Tamara is currently enrolled at Las Positas College. She enjoys hiking, concert-going, and watching movies and TV shows. At home Tamara’s furry companions include a “couch potato” Bichon Frise named Max, a large white cat named Leia, and a rambunctious tabby named Winnie.

Shantanu Deshmane, Operations Coordinator

Shantanu’s choice to join Valley Humane Society is deeply rooted in a cherished bond with his family cat, Thalia. Adopted from VHS when he was in fifth grade, Thalia’s loving presence for 16 years left an indelible mark on Shantanu and his family, inspiring him to give back to animals in need. Shantanu channels his passion for helping others into the welfare of animals. Outside of work, he immerses himself in diverse interests, from mastering the Rubik’s cube to creating rap music and nurturing a profound love for nature, wildlife, and conservation. For Shantanu, the opportunity to contribute to the well-being of animals at VHS is not just rewarding but serves as a source of purpose and motivation. A long-time Pleasanton resident with a brief stint in Washington State, Shantanu’s commitment to animal welfare shines through in every aspect of his life.

Colby Smith, Operations Coordinator

Colby’s journey to Valley Humane Society began in his teenage years, where he dedicated his time volunteering as a dog socializer. Drawing from experiences at the Oakland Zoo and Lindsay Wildlife Experience, as well as caring for rats during college, Colby developed a diverse skill set in animal husbandry and research. Outside of work, he channels his passion for sports into coaching football at Granada High and indulges in reading and staying active. For Colby, the gratification lies in connecting animals with loving homes, reflecting his commitment to animal welfare. At home, he shares his space with Aven, a 12-year-old cocker spaniel mix, and Sammy, an approximately 50-year-old tortoise. A Livermore native through and through, Colby’s curiosity extends to animal cognition, particularly with birds of prey and their problem-solving abilities shaped by natural history.

Brittany Shore, Operations Coordinator

Brittany desired to transition from the intensity of forensic work to a more lighthearted and fulfilling role, and found the perfect fit at Valley Humane, where she could make a positive impact by helping pets find loving homes. Her diverse work history includes retail at Forever 21 and Barnes and Noble, childcare at Gainesville Health and Fitness, and forensics at the Forensic Anthropology Program at Florida Gulf Coast University. Outside of work, Brittany indulges her inner nerd with a passion for books, comics, movies, and video games, even streaming horror games on Twitch. Guided by her deep love for animals, Brittany finds meaning in connecting people with their new furry companions, drawing from her own experiences with three cats and two dogs. Born in West Virginia, raised in Florida, and having lived in New Mexico, Brittany is excited to settle in California, bringing a wealth of diverse experiences to her role at Valley Humane.

Lynn Tran, Operations Coordinator

Lynn’s role as Operations Coordinator marks another step in exploring her various career options after finishing her undergrad in 2022. After some trial and error with a pharmacy career, she has transitioned to exploring job potential that involves her true passion of working with animals. VHS stood out as the perfect opportunity where her love for animals could be nurtured. Outside of work, she immerses herself in art, voice acting, and her love for movies, shows, and nature. Lynn’s deep-rooted connection to animals dates back to her childhood, fostering a desire to make a meaningful impact in their lives. Having volunteered at HSSV in Milpitas during high school and continuing to foster cats well after college, Lynn’s commitment to animal welfare shines through. Although she currently doesn’t have any pets of her own, aside from fostering kittens, Lynn looks forward to adopting a cat in the future.