Our Team

Board of Directors

Brian Bonsteel, DMD

President & Founder​

Dr. Brian Bonsteel is a practicing general and cosmetic dentist honored to be chosen as one of Pittsburgh Magazine’s “Top Dentists.” Understanding that lawmaking is key to solving animal problems that are too big for rescue alone, he founded Humane Action Pittsburgh (HAP) to introduce local legislation and educate the public about animal advocacy and lobbying. In 2015, the HSUS presented Brian with the “Advocates We Love” award.

Natalie Ahwesh

Natalie Ahwesh

Executive Director

Natalie monitors and evaluates pending policy, regulatory, and legal action at the federal, state and local level that may have an impact on animal protection. She works with local stakeholders, including policy makers, police officers, public safety officials, and elected officials to ensure current laws and policies are being enforced. Natalie was recently named the PA State Director for Animal Wellness Action. In 2017, she was awarded as District Leader of the Year by the Humane Society of the United States and, in 2019, she was honored as one of the Incline’s “Who’s Next” Animal Advocates and PUMP’s and Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 Under 40 honorees for her work with HAP. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master’s Degree from The George Washington University.

Sam Ahwesh

Sam Ahwesh


Sam manages fundraising monies and conducts all financial reporting as needed. He has a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master’s in Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University.

Mario Costanzo


Mario is a full time realtor with over 23 years experience in the greater Pittsburgh area. He is an avid horseman, having bred, trained, and raised horses in the U.S. and abroad. He enjoys gardening and is a certified Master Gardener with Phipps Conservatory. He has a BA in Psychology from John Carroll University with a background working with at risk juveniles and seniors. Mario has been with HAP from its inception and is serving as Secretary.

Senior Leadership

Shannon Dickerson

Shannon Dickerson

Vice President

Shannon started with HAP in 2018 and moved from enthusiastic tabler, to Director of Marketing, to Vice President over the next two and a half years. Shannon is extremely proud of not only the work HAP does, but the way they get it done. She believes in resolving conflicts and coming together to solve animal and environmental issues humanely. She also founded Pittsburgh Ploggers in 2018 and is proud to now have the fitness/litter clean-up program under the HAP umbrella. Shannon is a Pitt alum and holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Colorado in communication and rhetoric. She has worked as a marketing strategist for the past 12 years and is an adjunct instructor at Chatham University. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, Ryan, two cats, and eight fluffy chickens.

Janice Bahary

Janice Bahary

Director of Grant Writing

Janice works with our grant writing team, raising funds to support HAP’s initiatives. She is a nonprofit management professional with a background in fundraising, grant writing, policy, and advocacy. She has a bachelor’s from Binghamton University in NY and a Master of Public Policy and Management from the University of Pittsburgh. Janice and her family foster dogs from local animal shelters to help them rehabilitate and become adoptable.

Sabrina Culyba

Sabrina Culyba

Director of Environmental Stewardship

Sabrina is HAP’s Director of Environmental Stewardship. She is motivated by a vision of Pittsburghers and Pennsylvanians that see themselves as empowered, responsible, and caring stewards of their local environment and the world-at-large. She also operates Recycle This Pittsburgh as a resource for city residents to find out more about the practical realities of recycling specific items in the Pittsburgh area. Sabrina is a professional game designer and runs her own boutique game design and consulting studio, Ludoliminal. She lives in Highland Park.

Aimee Douglass

Lead Blogger and Strategic Analyst

Aimee authors the HAP blog and has been a volunteer with HAP since 2018. She is an active participant in the Compassionate Living campaign and in 2019 tabled at her first event for HAP. Aimee works in the healthcare industry and has a bachelors degree in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and a masters degree in Communications with a health care focus from Southern New Hampshire University. She lives in Penn Hills with her husband and their three dogs.

Kayla Seifert

Kayla Seifert

Director of Fundraising

Kayla oversees all fundraising activities for Humane Action PIttsburgh. She has been passionate about being kind to animals since childhood and is proud to have recently adopted a fully vegan lifestyle thanks to everything she’s learned from HAP. She is a nonprofit professional, having worked for the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation and Animal Friends, and she is also a volunteer with Forever Home Beagle Rescue. She lives in Regent Square with her rescued beagle, Stanley.

Rachel Sekine-Tenny

Rachel Sekine-Tenny

Director of Communications

Rachel is the liaison between our board of directors and our members. She manages membership enrollment and provides HAP with a strong social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Rachel is an attorney with a Certificate in Animal Law from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. She lives in Point Breeze with her husband, son, and two cats.

Taylor Wainwright

Taylor Wainwright

Chair of the Western PA Ethical Eating Collective

Taylor is passionate about working for a just food system – for animals as much as for people and the planet. Taylor formerly worked at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and is currently pursuing a Masters in Food Studies from Chatham University. She believes in strengthening communities through grown & foraged plant-based food and practicing zero-waste cooking. Taylor is a life-long Pittsburgher, now residing in Morningside with her husband, two kids, three chickens, one pup, and ten separate recycling bins.


Akanksha Satyarthy

Akanksha Satyarthy

Social Media Manager

Akanksha is a digital marketing strategist with over 9 years of experience in social media, advertising, graphic, and website designing. She loves creating content for HAP and No Plastic Please social media networks. It gives her the power to reach out to more people and spread the message. Akanksha is a fitness enthusiast and lives in Pittsburgh.

Ashton Caldwell

Assistant Social Media Manager

Ashton is a recent Penn State Communications graduate. He has a deep passion for communicating with people, social media and making a difference in people and animals lives. He loves the Pittsburgh community, it’s people and is proud to be a part of a team that is making a difference.

Jason Hinkledire

Humane Action Pittsburgh Podcast Host

Born and raised in Claysburg, PA, Jason has loved popular music since he was a kid. After DJing in high school and throughout his 20s, Jason entered the world of trivia hosting in 2010, and in 2014, he broke the Guiness World Record for Longest Marathon as a Quiz Master with 33 hours and 8 minutes of nonstop trivia action! Jason has dabbled in internet radio a few times in the past decade and is now hosting the Humane Action Pittsburgh Podcast. He lives in Virginia with his wife, Janice, and four very fun, very beautiful, and very funny dachshunds.

Mel Jones

Mel Jones

Social Media Content Contributor

A resident of Aliquippa PA, Mel jones is a Graphic designer, Web designer, technical writer, and self-published author. For over 20 years, He has used to his design and communication skills to businesses and organizations large and small. His work is displayed on his website, Designermj.com.

Hannah Lewis

Grant Writer and Assistant Blogger

Hannah has been working with HAP since July of 2020. By day, she works as a literacy educator. She is an avid hiker, but also loves to spend time indoors curled up with a book and her long-haired cat, Frejya.

Bob McGrogan

“no plastic please” Strategic Analyst

Bob joined Humane Action Pittsburgh as part of the “no plastic please” campaign in March of 2020 just as the pandemic was becoming a reality. The challenge then became how to reimagine take out during and after the COVID crisis. Bob brings years of experience in food service and non-profit fundraising to the group and has become a vital part of the “no plastic please” campaign.

Brittany Menhart

Fish and Wildlife Strategic Analyst

Brittany is a new volunteer, having recently moved to Pittsburgh after earning her Bachelor of Science in Biology. Brittany spends most of her time caring for her many animal companions (horses, rabbits, cats, dogs, ponies, and fish) and organizing local animal rights activism events.

Emma Powis

Administrative Assistant

Emma is fresh to the HAP team and assists leadership with research, communication and education. She turned vegetarian at age 11 and then vegan at 19 due to her love and compassion for animals. She is originally from England and currently living in Melbourne, where she regularly fosters cats from local animal shelters. Her hobbies include roller skating and learning Spanish, both of which she is terrible at.​

Elizabeth Ringler-Jayanthan

Elizabeth Ringler-Jayanthan

Humane Educator

Elizabeth is a licensed social worker and trauma therapist, and enjoys integrating nature into her work with clients. Elizabeth has volunteered with animal related causes for many years including previously volunteering with the South Florida SPCA Horse Rescue in Miami, Fl. Elizabeth believes deeply that caring for animals and the environment intersects with the well-being of people. As a Humane Educator, Elizabeth hopes to help facilitate that connection between people and the environment.

More in this section:

Vision & Mission

Our Team

Advisory Council

Member of the Month

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