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.

Will Anzenberger, Development Manager

Will Anzenberger is the newest member of Valley Humane Society’s team, coming aboard in September 2019 to lead fundraising efforts as the organization’s Development Manager. Will has been a senior executive at several of the largest animal welfare organizations in the country, including the San Francisco SPCA and Dane County Humane Society in Madison, WI.

With a JD/MBA from the University of Wisconsin, Will assists donors who want to make and see the greatest impact with their philanthropy. He has successfully started legacy societies at several animal welfare organizations, as well as led capital campaigns to expand the scope and level of programs and services in a financially-sustainable manner.

Will enjoys spending some of his free time playing and watching hockey, photographing pets and sports, and volunteering with his two rescue dogs, Dexter and Pi, at hospice organizations. With family and friends in the Bay Area, Will is looking forward to returning to the East Bay, where he lived and worked for more than a decade, and to becoming part of the VHS family.

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.

Sally Parsons, Volunteer Programs Assistant

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.

Jessi McLeod, Marketing and Social Media Coordinator

Jessi started with Valley Humane Society in July of 2019 as the Marketing and Social Media Coordinator. Prior to this, she has worked as a receptionist in a local veterinary office, the promotions department of 101.7 KKIQ, and freelanced for various companies assisting with social media. Jessi grew up in family of animal lovers with a variety of pets over the years, and the opportunity to help animals find their forever homes is a dream job for her. When not at work she enjoys traveling with her husband, tackling her never ending reading list and spending time with her friends and family. Jessi is a Livermore native and still resides there with her husband and their two beloved kitties Max and Josie, as well as their neighborhood’s community cat that they feed – Albus Dumblecat.

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.

 

Victoria Gallagher, Operations Coordinator

Victoria joined Valley Humane Society in 2019 as an Operations Coordinator. Her love of animals started at a young age. Outside of school, she spent most of her adolescence caring for and training her family pets, educating herself about animal species and behavior, and volunteering at a horse-boarding facility helping young children build their horsemanship. She finally achieved her dream of working with animals when she was hired by a Fremont animal hospital as a receptionist and part-time veterinary technician. Victoria quickly learned that there was much more to the animal welfare community than she imagined. Hoping to expand her knowledge of the field and make a bigger difference for animals, Victoria took a job at a municipal animal shelter. There she worked as a kennel staff member, providing basic care for the animals who made their way there off the streets. Very quickly Victoria worked her way to front desk officer and began educating the public, working as a rescue liaison, and helping under-socialized and abused animals adjust to the stress of the shelter. Recently, armed with years of hands-on training, she found her way to Valley Humane Society, drawn by her motivation to preserve the welfare of rescued shelter animals. Though Victoria has had many pets throughout her life, her heart is currently stolen by her lovable shelter-rescued dog, Slugger.

Sarah Taylor, Operations Coordinator

Sarah joined Valley Humane Society in 2019 as an Operations Coordinator. She has worked for non-profit organizations for the past 20 years and received a BA in Education and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from the University of LaVerne.  Sarah is currently working toward an Applied Science Degree to become a Veterinary Technician.  Her love of animals started as a child where she always had plenty of pets: cats, dogs, guinea pigs and hamsters.  She is driven by the desire to improve the quality of the lives of animals who are in need.  In 1947 her Grandfather started a pet food company, Breeder’s Choice, and her father and uncle ran the company until they sold it in 2006.  It was wonderful for her growing up in the pet food world and helped to foster her love and compassion for animals.  Sarah and her Partner have 3 cats: Greta, Ava and Loki and are also proud owners of a dog Odin (formerly Spencer) who they adopted from VHS and has been the best addition to their family.

Susan Sasek, Operations Coordinator

A Bay Area native, and life-long animal lover, Susan joined Valley Humane Society in 2019 as an Operations Coordinator. She previously served on Valley Humane Society’s Board of Directors and has volunteered doing both cat and dog care and fostering at home. Susan has always wanted to work with animals, and finds it very rewarding to be able to help them on their journey to finding a forever family. Prior to her work with VHS, Susan worked as a surgical assistant for a periodontist/maxillofacial surgeon, performed corporate accounting for several companies, and raised three sons as a stay-at-home mom. When not at Valley Humane Society, Susan enjoys long hikes and is passionate about using her certification in Plant Based Nutrition to help people improve their lives. She lives with her husband and their three VHS adoptees, 13-year-old Chihuahua Mac (formerly McDreamy, adopted 9/2008), ~6-year-old Chihuahua/terrier mix Lucy (formerly Tortellini, adopted 7/2015), and goofy 10-month-old terrier mix Roo (formerly Rooster, adopted 1/2019); she’s also a proud “grandogmama” to each of her son’s pets.