Our Team

Jim Tedford with dog

Jim tedford, CAWA

President & CEO

Jim Tedford accepted his dream job when he joined The Association as President & CEO in June of 2015. But Jim is no stranger to the organization. He has been a member for nearly 30 years and served as our Board Chairman some twenty years ago. Jim has been actively engaged in the animal welfare movement for more than 37 years having served as CEO for animal sheltering organizations in New York, Louisiana and Tennessee. He served as a regional director for The Humane Society of the United States and then spent six years providing direct response marketing services to animal welfare organizations. Jim presents frequently at national and regional conferences on various animal welfare issues, organizational development and not-for-profit management.

Jim and his wife Ann share their world with three terriers and an immortal macaw. Avid lovers of the outdoors, Jim and Ann spend as much time as possible on the hiking trails or camping in their Casita (fiberglass “egg”), often accompanied by all three terriers.

Katherine McGowan-Shenar

Katherine Shenar, CAWA

Executive Vice President

Katherine McGowan Shenar serves as the executive vice president for The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and brings experience in leadership development, organization culture, coalition building, marketing communications, fundraising, and emerging trends in animal welfare.

Katherine began her career working in the media and transitioned to an advertising agency before realizing her animal welfare calling. Her advocacy work started in 1996 when she led the public relations and marketing department for the Humane Society of Missouri. She has served as the executive director for the Animal Protective Association of Missouri, the animal welfare issues consultant for The Humane Society of the United States, president and CEO of Asheville Humane Society, and executive vice president for San Diego Humane Society. She is the author of the book Coalition Building for Animal Care Organizations, a how-to guide for animal advocates to work collaboratively in communities and has written numerous articles for Animal Sheltering magazine. Katherine holds a Masters of Arts in media communications and served as an adjunct professor for the School of Communications at Webster University. She resides in Florida with her husband, four dogs and two cats. Connect with Katherine on LinkedIn.

photo of Valerie Sheppard

valerie sheppard

Senior Director of Professional Development and Credentialing

Valerie Sheppard has spent more than 20 years helping professionalize animal welfare staff, first as the head of HSUS' Humane Society University and then leading the ASPCA's elearning and webinar program. She has hosted more than 500 webinars, and counting.

Valerie has a Bachelors degree in Theatre from Smith College and a Masters in Career Counseling from Johns Hopkins University. After-hours, Valerie misses her son who's away at college, and relaxes with her partner, two Shepherd-mixes, a red-eared slider turtle, and a gaggle of fish. She kayaks Maryland rivers and is learning, ever so slowly, how to ski.

photo of Kelly Cunningham

kelly cunningham

Director of Engagement

Kelly Cunningham brings brings almost two decades of animal welfare experience  of animal welfare experience to her role as Director of Engagement for The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement. In this role, Kelly is responsible for helping our members further succeed in their animal welfare careers by connecting them to services and programs, professional development opportunities, and one another.
Prior to joining The Association, Kelly worked for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals overseeing programs/projects and community relations for outcomes such as animal shelter operations, adoption and behavior, corporate partnership, and internal communications programming.  
Kelly lives just outside Philadelphia with her husband, two daughters, two dogs (Winston and Murphy) and one cat (Bella). Connect with Kelly on LinkedIn
photo of Jasmin Robinson

Jasmin Robinson

Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives

As Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives with The Association, Jasmin Robinson is part of the team working on DEI in animal welfare spaces.

Jasmin is a consultant, educator, and equity thought partner with over 12 years of professional experience. She primarily supports higher education institutions, k-12 schools, and nonprofit organizations with diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic planning, program development, trainings, and facilitation. Jasmin is a certified qualified administrator for the Intercultural Development Inventory, LLC. In addition, she is a member of the Illinois Diversity Council (ILDC), Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA), and the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE).

Jasmin is completing a Ph.D. in Educational Administration, and her research interest include Black women experiences in historically white spaces, anti-Blackness, and cultural competence.

In her spare time, Jasmin enjoys cooking, walking, thrifting, and brunch spots in the Chicagoland area.

photo of Zanna Poe

zanna poe

Membership Coordinator

Zanna Poe has worked for The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement since 2015. She started as the Administrative Assistant and later progressed to her current role as Membership Coordinator. Zanna is responsible for helping and promoting our members, maintaining membership records, and continuously ensuring member satisfaction by improving processes and member benefits. She also manages conference registration, our Career Center, and is the person behind our support@theaawa.org email address.
Zanna resides in East Tennessee with her husband, son, and three dogs (Roxy, Benji, and Milo).

Our Board of Directors


Bottom row: Matthew Pepper, Michigan Humane; Jim Tedford, CAWA, The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement; Dr. Apryl Steele, CAWA, Dumb Friends League.

Middle row: Raissa Allaire, Tree House Humane Society; Rachel D.K. Finney, CAWA, Columbus Humane; Dr. Roberta Westbrook, Houston SPCA; Shelly Moore, CAWA, Humane Society of Charlotte.

Top row: Dr. Steven Hansen, CAWA, Arizona Humane Society; Tracy Elliott, The Anti-Cruelty Society; Martha Boden, PMP, CAWA, SPCA Tampa Bay; Anna Payton, Will County Animal Control; Ed Jamison, Operation Kindness.

Not pictured:

shafonda Allen
Shafonda Allen, CAWA, APS of Durham
Andrew platou
Andrew Platou, CPA, Humane Rescue Alliance