Board of Directors and Staff
The Board of Directors and shelter staff of the Santa Cruz SPCA are an extraordinary team of well-qualified leaders who are commited to excellent animal care and welfare.
Sheri Billings has served on the Board since February 2011. She is a CPA and owner/principal of the Summit Accountancy Group, Inc., in Soquel, specializing in income taxes and business valuations. A fancier of all things feline, Sheri shares her home with two rescue cats, Buddy and Bentley. Her hobbies include fly fishing.
Hedy Nochimson joined the Board in April 2016. A lifelong animal lover, she became a SCSPCA volunteer in 2012, in the spirit of giving back and in gratitude for all the wonderful animal companions that had shared her life. With a special fondness for felines, Hedy has been very involved in the welfare of SCSPCA cats. Not being able to resist the other residents of the shelter, she has also fostered and adopted a little Maltese/Poodle now known as George. After working for 20 years as a software engineer in the high-tech industry, Hedy retired and began a second career as a chef, opening her own business and becoming an active member of the growing food scene in Santa Cruz. Besides cultivating her passion for food and family, Hedy enjoys travel, home design, and sports activities.
Linda Powers joined the Board in October 2021. She has been a Kitty Parent most of her adult life. When her precious Roscoe died in 2009, she first looked to the cats at the SCSPCA for feline companionship. The mention of a planned new facility, where the cats would have daylight and fresh air, had her hooked. Linda and her husband Bob have been contributors to making this dream a reality, and she looks forward to helping the dedicated SPCA staff realize the full potential of this wonderful place. Linda and Bob worked as a 2-person bubble of cat socializers during the pandemic. Their new passion is fostering cats who have special needs — including a year with the infamous Pluto — or cats who simply are not thriving in the shelter environment. Linda’s educational and career background is in mathematics and physics, having spent over 25 years as a theoretical researcher in Inertial Confinement Fusion. Since retirement she has more time to dedicate to travel, fitness, piano, and creating stained glass “masterpieces.”
Nina Mar Burnette
Nina believes that people who love and respect animals will be better stewards of the planet, and be kinder human beings in general. Given the opportunity as a child, she always chose to cat-sit or dog-sit versus babysit. Nina joined the board of directors in April 2017, and brings an extensive financial and tax background. She earned her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and her LL.M., Taxation from New York University. Nina recently retired from a career with Apple, Inc. as Senior Director, International Tax & Senior Tax Counsel. In addition to their daughters, and many animal companions throughout the years, Nina and her husband have raised three golden retrievers.
Shortly after retiring, Malcolm and his wife adopted a wonderful tabby kitty from Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV). He sent them a couple photos of their new kitty with a note stating how wonderful she was. Marketing staff asked if he would be willing to volunteer and photograph shelter cats and kittens for the HSSV website, newsletters, calendar, and other collateral. Thus began his volunteer life in 2008. Malcolm has also participated in the HSSV Volunteer Advisory Committee, aimed at enhancing collaboration between volunteers and staff.
During his 10+ years as a volunteer, Malcolm has thoroughly enjoyed the interaction (mainly with cats, but dogs too), and the photographic opportunities offered. Cats, of course, are not the most cooperative of photographic models, but he feels that patience is worth the end result. Malcolm has also photographed felines for Town Cats and The Dancing Cat in San Jose, and conducted photography classes at the latter. He also enjoys reading, with a glass of wine, and a cat on his lap.
When a family pet is brought out of a shelter kennel, s/he's scared, sometimes completely shut down, sometimes literally shaking with fear. The constant noise, uncertain fate and shelter environment all contribute to this. And then there's whatever neglect, mistreatment or even cruelty they endured in the past. But when they leave the shelter something magical happens. They can sense they're safe. They relax, often drinking an entire bowl of water before falling asleep. On arrival at the SPCA they can't wait to get inside, sensing something good is waiting for them. And because of people like you they're right.
Alison "Ali" Talley
Ali's four-legged family currently includes three cats and one dog, all of whom are--of course--former shelter animals. In her free time, she enjoys photography, road-trips, live music, gardening and spending quality time with her family. Ali is thrilled to join the Santa Cruz SPCA team and looks forward to leading the organization into the future, including the SPCA's new purpose built forever home (expected Spring, 2020)!
Mandi has been a part of the SCSPCA team since 2009. With over 20 years of experience working in the animal care industry, she brings an extensive knowledge base related to animal care, medicine, behavior, and training. Along with shelter management, Mandi coordinates many of the organization’s marketing campaigns, social media presence, community engagement, and programming efforts. During her time with the SCSPCA, she has also taken an active role in animal welfare legislation, attending the Humane Society of the United States’ Lobby Day in 2012, and testifying at a Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting to help pass SB 1221, a bill banning the use of hounds for bear and bobcat hunting.
Born and raised in Santa Cruz, Mandi has lived a life that revolves around animals. She took pride in caring for her childhood dogs, cats, horses, goats, chickens, and rabbits, and currently enjoys riding her horse Biggs and walking her dog Sage. Mandi has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism with an emphasis in PR from California State University at Northridge.
Manager of Humane Ed & Volunteering
Brenna has lived in Santa Cruz and worked in animal care, placement, and education at local shelters for more than 20 years. She joined SCSPCA in May of 2006 as the humane educator because she believes education is the most effective way to make a difference for animals and promote a humanely progressive society. Brenna enjoys teaching children and adults compassion and respect for all living things. Her humane education programs teach that even the smallest actions can have big effects, and that responsible choices can improve the lives of animals – both domestic and wild –as well as the people of our community. During the school year, Brenna spends much of her time in classrooms and other education settings, presenting fun, informative, and interactive material to both adolescents and adults. She also directs the SCSPCA Summer and Winter Kids’ Camp and a series of youth volunteer programs.
Brenna lives with an SCSPCA-adopted pug mix named Poe and a rescued blue and gold macaw named Loki. Brenna has a B.A. in marine biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Volunteer & Humane Education Coordinator
She’s been an educator over 20 years, teaching second grade then spending many years in education at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. She has an MA in Education, BA in Psychology and teaching credential.
In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her husband, hiking with her dogs and reading in the sunshine.
Sarah arrived at the Santa Cruz SPCA after relocating from New York City in the summer of 2014. A lifelong animal advocate and confirmed “Cat Person,” Sarah spent many years at the SCSPCA as an Client Care and Adoptions Coordinator but has now moved into a Development Coordinater role where she tends to the important relationships we've built with the people who support us! She utilizes her exceptional client care abilities and creative writing skills to assist the team in all things development and fundraising. While not at the SCSPCA, Sarah teaches chair yoga classes as well as sings, plays mandolin, and performs theatre throughout Santa Cruz.
Hayley is truly a citizen of the world, she was born on the South Pacific Island of Borneo, and was raised primarily in Hawaii, then left to get her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. She has a strong background in nonprofit work as both a volunteer and staff member for several nonprofit organizations including Girl Scouts, Jacob’s Heart as well as others here in the states, and oversees.
Being an animal lover all her life, she has had the pleasure of having many different types of pets over the years, including 2 Jackson’s chameleons, 2 Australian Shepherds, 1 crazy little poodle, 2 parakeets, 1 Huskey/wolf mix, and countless fish. Her current pup and best friend, Butters, is an uber-fluffy Australian Shepherd who loves going on hikes, beach romps and snuggling.
Hayley lives here in Santa Cruz with her husband and two young children, and is grateful for the opportunity to help improve the lives of homeless animals in our county through her work at the Santa Cruz SPCA.
Lynn has managed the SCSPCA’s accounting needs since 2011. A CPA by profession, she works primarily with local non-profits and enjoys her time at the shelter, where she can pair her accounting skills with her love for animals, on any given day gaining a “lap assistant” or a “keyboard helper.” She enjoys playing soccer, reading, and doing jigsaw puzzles.
Behavior & Training Specialist
Petra Woosley, CPDT-KA
Adoptions & Client Care Coordinator
Additionally, Liz volunteers at other shelters in the Monterey Bay and interns for HeartsSpeak; a nonprofit organization that provides animal shelters and rescues the training and resources needed to promote and market their adoptable animals. Liz also holds a certificate from the Karen Pryor Dog Training Academy for completing the Shelter Training and Enrichment course. With a passion for animal behavior and Bully-breed dogs, Liz loves making a difference in the lives of homeless animals!
Adoptions & Client Service Coordinator
Adoptions & Client Service Coordinator
JoAnna made the transition from long-time volunteer to Adoption Counselor and Client Service staff in 2019. She self-identifies as a “dog person” and loves being around lots of them. Her fantasy is to have a large sled team made up of Chihuahuas. When she did Agility trials with her Cattle Dog, Tallulah, she loved spending the weekend with hundreds of excited, happy dogs and their owners.
Her Chihuahua, ChaCha was adopted from the SPCA in 2010, and she recently adopted Chewy.
For over 20 years, JoAnna worked for the Dickens Project at UCSC, and still serves as President of their Friends group. In 2018, her short play, “Christmas with Dickens” was performed at local libraries, and her short stories have been read on the radio.
Animal Care Supervisor
Ana has been an important part of the SCSPCA’s animal care team since 2012. She works incredibly hard to ensure the health and well-being of each animal that comes through our doors, and she carefully maintains a high level of care throughout their stay. Ana also assists with volunteer orientation and training as well as the management of in-kind donations. When she’s not working hard for the animals, she enjoys spending time with family, reading, and watching movies.
Animal Care Coordinator
Animal Care Coordinator
Luisa joined the SCSPCA facilities team in 2015. With a natural desire to clean and organize, Luisa dives into her sanitation duties with vigor. She enjoys creating an environment conducive to the health and happiness of all the shelter guests, and she meticulously delivers just that. In her free time, Luisa enjoys socializing with friends, crocheting, and baking.
Animal Care Coordinator
Animal Care Coordinator
The Santa Cruz SPCA is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the welfare of animals. We receive no government funding, and depend solely on financial support from our friends. Our organization is not affiliated with any other SPCA or Humane Society.
Tax ID: 94-6171565
© 2017 Santa Cruz SPCA