Staff

Melanie Sadek, Executive Director

Melanie Sadek 2017_squareMelanie Sadek is the Executive Director of Valley Humane Society (VHS). She has worked in both for-profit and non-profit environments, including 11 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. Carol Campbell, Medical Director

Carol has been a staff veterinarian at Humane Society Silicon Valley for the past 10 years. She joined Valley Humane Society in January 2019 and is thrilled to be providing medical care to the pets in the Tri-Valley. Carol is a graduate of Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine. She has previously practiced in San Diego and various locations in the Bay Area. Carol is passionate about providing medical care to homeless pets. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Association of Shelter Veterinarians. Her family includes her husband, 2 daughters, 2 cats and 1 dog.

Dr. Sandy St. Dennis, Assistant 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 16 and 17 and faithful dog Coco.

Melissa Adkins,  Marketing Communications 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 more than thirty years. She shares a home with her husband, daughter, 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 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 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.

Kim Stange-Herlihy, Development Manager

Kim Stange-HerlihyKim Stange Herlihy was born and raised in the Bay Area. She spent her early adult years working in the medical services field as an EMT while working toward a Fire Science Degree. During this period she began to realize that a far more compelling drive was to care for abused and abandoned animals and the pursuit of funding sources to secure the future of vulnerable pets in need.

For the past decade, Kim has worked in the Non-Profit industry. For over five years she was the Development Director for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, (SPCA) of Northern Nevada. A relocation of her husband’s job brought Kim to North County Humane Society as their Shelter Services Coordinator primarily focusing on community outreach and fundraising. In 2012 an opportunity to return to her home in the Bay Area brought her to Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter as Communication and Marketing Director. During her period of employment with these three animal life-saving organizations, she raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and assisted with more than 7,000 animals that were rescued and given a second chance for happiness.

When not working, Kim enjoys spending time with her husband and their six animals. Kim’s other passions include health and fitness. A certified Pilates instructor for ten years, she additionally donates time to students with special needs who could not normally afford private instruction.

Becki Mathers, Volunteer Programs Assistant

Becki Mathers with Wombat_squareBecki’s first venture with Valley Humane Society was as a foster volunteer. After several months caring for some great foster animals (including one “foster failure” which joined her family permanently), Becki took on a customer service position at the adoption center’s front desk. In July 2017, a little more than one year after she began volunteering with VHS, Becki joined the staff. A huge animal lover, she is extremely grateful for the opportunity to work in animal welfare. Becki is also currently a site supervisor for Open Heart Kitchen, an organization dedicated to feeding people in need. She grew up in Chichester, on the south coast of England, and worked six years as a restaurant manager for a fast food company in the U.K. In 2012 she left to go travelling and settled in Melbourne, Australia to be with her (now) husband. The pair moved to California in 2016. Here only pet is her foster failure Robinson Crusoe, a chatty Siamese-mix kitty.

Laura Van Wagner, Humane Education Coordinator

Laura grew up in Pleasanton and graduated from Amador Valley High School in 2013. After pursuing a BA in Human Geography & Planning from California State University Chico, Laura returned to Pleasanton at the beginning of 2018 and began volunteering for Valley Humane Society doing dog care. Later that year Laura joined the staff Operations teams, and subsequently assumed the role of Humane Education Coordinator. Laura has loved animals all her life, and currently has a sweet Shih Tzu/Poodle mix dog named Pirate. When she’s not at Valley Humane Society, you can find Laura hiking, traveling, or enjoying time with friends and family.

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.

Snjezi Krattiger, Operations Coordinator

Snjezi grew up in Switzerland with Croatian roots. She was always surrounded by animals. Snjezi earned a higher business degree and worked for nearly 15 years in sales and marketing, but after 9 years as a stay-at-home mom, she was ready for a new adventure. A love of animals brought Snjezi to Valley Humane Society in 2016, and she began volunteering. The following year she graduated the Animal Behavior College as a Veterinary Assistant, and in 2018 joined the Valley Humane team as Operations Coordinator. She is happy to be part of such a great organization. Snjezi has lived in Pleasanton with her husband and daughter since 2014.

Tamara Salgado, Operations 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.

Josef McQueen, Operations Coordinator

Looking for work that would satisfy his desire to benefit others, Josef was directed to apply at Valley Humane Society by his sister Chelsea, a veterinary technician in the Central Valley who shares his love of animals. He joined the team as a part-time Operations Coordinator in February 2019. A criminal justice student at CCSF with plans to ultimately pursue a career in law enforcement, Josef also teaches the Monte Vista High School marching band in Danville during the fall season. He has experience in retail and customer service with a focus on computers and electronics. Josef was taught from an early age that it is our responsibility to do what we can to improve animals’ quality of life as much as they improve ours. He currently has no pets of his own, but hopes to bring home a dog one day soon. In his spare time, Josef enjoys hiking with his friends and writing poetry, as well as playing guitar and singing. He cites Ed Sheeran as his favorite current musical artist, as well as his go-to karaoke pick!

Anna Moniz, Operations Coordinator

Anna Moniz_cropAnna began volunteering for Valley Humane Society in 2015 doing cat care in Kitty City and the isolation ward. Having grown up with a variety of pets, Anna’s love of animals extends back her entire life. After earning her degree from UC Davis in microbiology, Anna worked for a biotech company as a microbiologist, later moving into clinical research. During her spare time she trained her Rhodesian Ridgeback in AKC obedience trials, and her Siberian Husky in Canine Nose Work. After getting married and having children Anna expanded her family by adopting two cats from VHS in 2010. She now shares her home with her husband, four kids, one dog, four cats, one corn snake, and a leopard gecko.

Brooke Mapelli, Operations Coordinator

Brooke was a dog care volunteer before joining the Valley Humane team in 2018. She is a student at Ohlone College and also moonlights as a barista.