Staff

Melanie Sadek, CAWA, President

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. 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 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 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 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, CFRE, Development Manager

Will Anzenberger joined Valley Humane Society’s team 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, Pi and Poly, 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.

Valerie Bishop, Content Marketing Manager

Valerie is wild about writing words and skilled in social strategies. With a MA in Communication, she has successfully led marketing departments in both the for-profit and non-profit worlds, ranging in industries as varied as beer, biotech, religion, and technology. She is passionate about communicating ideas and philosophies and thrives creating protocols to enable processes.

In her spare time, Valerie enjoys hiking the foothills of Mt. Diablo and relishing the wildlife. She is a self-proclaimed macaron connoisseur and enjoys creative endeavors such as music and crafting. She never follows a recipe but always makes delicious food in overzealous quantities, but also frequently shares her love through cuisine. She has an aging Siamese monster (ferocious feline) and is very much looking forward to having a dog someday.

Melissa Wright, Manager of Finance and Administration

Melissa started at Valley Humane Society as a kitten foster before joining the team as Bookkeeper in October of 2017. She has worked in accounting and bookkeeping since her teen years, starting as an office manager at a sign shop and working in offices doing accounting for car dealerships and construction companies. Melissa also owned a daycare and preschool for five years and was a stay-at-home mom for 14 years to raise her two children. She loves working at VHS because it has allowed her to marry her expertise in accounting with her love of animals. Melissa is originally from Kingston, New York and moved to the Bay Area as a child where she has enjoyed the diversity and opportunities the Bay Area has to offer. She shares her home with her husband of 18 years and her two teenage children as well as three kitties, a 600 lb pig, and chickens. When not at work, she can be found at basketball tournaments and horse shows cheering her kids on.

Lily Chong, Veterinary Operations Manager

Lily joined the team in her current role in 2022, and has been working in this field for the past 17 years as a veterinary assistant and RVT for the past 9 years. She has also worked at the Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA. Her heart is with shelters, because she believes that we are the animals’ voice and that it’s our responsibility to give them the care and love that they need. She knows that working at the shelter helps the ones that need it most and believes it’s the most rewarding aspect of the role to help the sick ones get better, and go through the process of finding a forever home which they all deserve.

In her spare time, Lily likes to make and decorate backgrounds for a seasonal family picture of all the pets in clothes and costumes and post them on their social media. She has 10 pets total: 4 cats, 4 dogs (Pit bull, frenchie, pomeranian and a long-haired chihuahua), 1 sulcata tortoise, and 1 panther chameleon egg (waiting for it to hatch).

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.

Shelby Slate, Program Specialist

Shelby joined Valley Humane Society as Programs Assistant 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.

Alexys Wang, Veterinary Assistant

Alexys joined Valley Humane Society in November 2021 as a veterinary assistant at the surgery center. She began working in the veterinary industry as a veterinary assistant at a small animal practice in 2019 while attending school at UC Berkeley. Her passion for animals led her to expand beyond clinical experience as she volunteered at Oakland Zoo and served as an undergraduate researcher at the UC Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. Since graduating with a B.S. in Molecular Environmental Biology, Alexys is thrilled to join VHS where she can provide her service to underserved shelter animals in the process of finding their forever homes.

During her free time, she enjoys sketching, sharing memes, listening to music, spending time with her family (including a German Shepard), and learning her third language, Korean. Alexys also has a passion for traveling, whether it’s hopping on a plane to explore foreign countries or visiting local spots in California.

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.

Valerie Albright, Operations Coordinator

Valerie joined Valley Humane Society in June 2021 as an Operations Coordinator. After she graduated from Cal State East Bay with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, she knew she wanted to find work where she could help improve the lives of others around her, including animals. At Valley Humane Society, Valerie has been able to learn more about animal health and medicine, which has been exciting for her. In the past, she worked at the Oakland Zoo in the Guest Services department. Valerie is the type of person who at parties hangs with the host’s pets. She has lived in the Bay Area for most of her life. She currently has a 10-year-old McNab mix named Pepper.

Isabel Bouchard, Operations Coordinator

Isabel has worked for Valley Humane since 2021, because she believes and prioritizes the idea that togetherness can make a difference for the animals & people in this community. She is proud to be part of a team of selfless & dedicated people working towards the same goal. Every day is important!

Her family has lived in Pleasanton her entire life – she grew up less than a mile from the Valley Humane, and her mom would bring her by to visit the animals when she was young. She also spent a couple of summers at critter camp. She now has 4 cats: Cadence, Laila, Cy, and Luke, and her dog Gabbana, who was adopted from Valley Humane.