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 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. 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Director of Compassionate Living
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.
Compassionate Living Strategic Analyst
Rene is passionate about education, health and wellness, and advocating for animals. She has been working in higher education since 2005 and is dedicated to promoting education and life-long learning. Rene has an EdD in Education and Leadership in Healthcare, MA in Curriculum and Instruction, MS in Health Education, and a BS in Health and Wellness. She has been involved with animal rescue for several years, volunteering at a local animal shelter and fostering dogs to provide them with a safe and loving home until they are adopted. Rene also enjoys gardening, which has created a strong commitment to supporting efforts to promote awareness about the benefits of growing and eating healthy foods, an appreciation of bees’ impact on the ecosystem, and utilizing this hobby to connect with nature and promote overall wellbeing.
Dominique is happy to manage the HAP website while she is working on her Master’s in Human-Computer Interaction at DePaul University. She has received her bachelor’s in Psychology and Cognitive Science from Marquette University.
Puppy Mill Coalition Chair
Linda works in the senior living industry. She lives in the North Hills with her husband, Pat, their two dogs, Charlotte and Danny, and has two grown daughters who live in Pittsburgh. She has a BA in Communications from the University of Pittsburgh. Linda has always been an animal lover and protector and appreciates being able to contribute to the HAP team. She serves as Administrative Assistant.
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.
Jessica is a student at Penn State specializing in Macroeconomics. She is bilingual in English and Chinese and also identifies French, German, and Japanese. She loves animals and technology and has had pets such as rabbits. She looks forward to reducing animal suffering by using her research skills.
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.
“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.
Intern Field Instructor
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.
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.
Jennifer joins HAP as an intern for the 2021-2022 academic year. She is a graduate student in the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh with a concentration in Community Organizing and Social Action. Jennifer believes that policy practice is key for long term and sustainable systemic change. Many social and environmental issues are linked and all human existence depends on the well-being of our animals and the environment. Jennifer hopes to contribute to HAP’s current legislative agenda and civic engagement projects by bringing a social work lens to the organization. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her two cats, playing tennis, and coloring.
Irina joins HAP as a Website Developer volunteer. She graduated from Chatham University in 2021 with a Masters of Arts in Interdisciplinary Design. Irina is originally from Ecuador and moved to Pittsburgh in 2013. She is a Web Developer/UX Designer and also has a certificate in Computer Information Systems. She cares deeply about animal welfare and is hoping to fight for them using her skills to innovate, redesign, and maintain the HAP websites.