Our Team

Staff

Natalie Ahwesh

Natalie Ahwesh, M. Ed.

Executive Director, Founding Member

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, law enforcement, and community members to ensure current laws and policies are being enforced. As E.D., she manages and oversees all HAP campaigns, programs, and staff.
 
Natalie has several awards and accolades, including the 2023 City & State PA Power 100, 2019 Incline’s “Who’s Next” Animal Advocates and PUMP’s and Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 Under 40 honorees, 2017 Humane Society District Leader of the Year, and is a founding member of The Humane League’s Animal Policy Alliance. She was also awarded a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship in 2023.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master’s Degree from The George Washington University.
Shannon Dickerson

Shannon Dickerson, MA

Director of Operations

Shannon started with HAP in the fall of 2018 and moved from enthusiastic tabler, to Director of Marketing, to Vice President, and now is the organization’s first full-time paid employee in her Director of Operations role. 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 in honor of her father, 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 since 2009 and is an adjunct instructor at Chatham University. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, Ryan, two cats, and nine fluffy chickens.

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Kayla Seifert

Kayla Seifert

Director of Development

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 adopted a fully vegan lifestyle thanks to everything she’s learned from HAP. Kayla holds dual bachelor’s degrees in Business Management and Hospitality & Tourism Management, as well as a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Robert Morris University. She’s been a fundraising professional since graduating, having worked for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and Animal Friends in previous roles. She’s also been a volunteer with Forever Home Beagle Rescue. Kayla lives in Westmoreland County with her partner, Oleg, and two rambunctious rescue cats, Fin and Ash.

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Independent Contractors

Laura Jellum

Marketing Manager

Laura is HAP’s Marketing Manager, overseeing the organization’s marketing strategies and campaign management. With two decades of marketing experience, she has collaborated with numerous nonprofits nationwide, lending her expertise to initiatives in public health, community outreach, and human services. Laura is deeply committed to building capacity within mission-based organizations, empowering them to broaden support networks, deepen community engagement, and refine brand identity through compelling communication strategies. She is particularly passionate about causes promoting health equity, environmental justice, and animal advocacy. When not behind a computer, she explores Pittsburgh’s hills, rivers, tunnels, and bridges with her husband, Ken, and dog, Tater Tot.

Kayla Seifert

Darrell Payne, PhD

Plastics Collaborative Program Manager

With the assistance of HAP staff, Darrell leads program implementation, including recruitment, relationship building, management, and research for the Plastics Collaborative. Holding a Point Park University Ph.D. in Community Engagement, Darrell is passionate about education and advocacy for communities, especially regarding sustainability, change, and relationship building. Darrell believes that a solid strategic process, a specific purpose, and measurable goals make real change possible. Darrell has volunteered for several nonprofits in Allegheny County; he is currently the VP on the Board of Trustees for Urban Pathways. In addition, Darrell holds a Master’s Degree from Robert Morris University in Engineering Management and lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, Kaysha, and two toddler-age children.

Volunteer Leadership

Janice Bahary

Mahima Amin

Administrative Assistant

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.

Janice Bahary

Janice Bahary, MPPM

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.

Janice Bahary

Derek Bennett

Web Developer

Derek, a west-coast transplant from Boise, ID, has found his new home in Pittsburgh where he resides with his fiancée and their two adventurous, larger-than-life dogs, Atlas and Maverick. After graduating from Gonzaga University he has been a web developer working for both larger products and custom websites for local businesses. He has a good eye for design and tries to combine that with the problem solving of coding to delight his clients. Outside of work he enjoys exploring his new city through the outdoors, whether that be by climbing, biking, or brewery hopping.

Janice Bahary

Alexa Bradley

Administrative Assistant

Alexa is originally from Buffalo, NY, and is loving getting to know more about her new home city, Pittsburgh. She is a 2020 graduate from the University of Notre Dame and currently works in the healthcare industry as an analyst. In her free time, she loves indulging in her love for nature and animals by getting outside. Some of her favorite activities include hiking, amateur mycology, skiing, competing in triathlons, and hanging out in the park with a good book. She is excited to use her analytical, organizational, and detail-oriented skills to help contribute to HAP’s mission of protecting animals.

Janice Bahary

Raquel Buege

Web Developer

Raquel first moved to Pittsburgh three years ago to start college at the University of Pittsburgh. Since then, her plant collection has grown significantly, along with her interest in web development and design. In school, she is studying computer science with a minor in information science on the UX pathway. Her focus is also on creating websites that are accessible and satisfying for the user. She deeply cares about animals and all life, and is excited to use programming to make a difference.

Nicole Toney

Emma Cannon

Grant Writer 

Emma graduated from Saint Michael’s College in 2017 with a BA in Anthropology and has experience working in human services and nonprofit development. She is excited to support HAP’s mission and fundraising efforts as a Grant Writer. Originally from Massachusetts, she has lived in Pittsburgh for five years and still regularly finds new hiking trails, restaurants, and bakeries to explore.

Aimee Douglass

Thomas Detillion

Grants Administrator

Thomas is a Technology Analyst at Accenture Consulting, where he works in tech advisory and business strategy. He grew up in Spokane, Washington, and graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Engineering Management. 

Thomas joined HAP to support a more equitable world for animals and work with incredible people. He lives in the East Liberty area of Pittsburgh and enjoys traveling, outdoor recreation, professional sports, and reading.

Akanksha Satyarthy

Jared Feldman

Strategic Analyst

Jared is currently pursuing his Master of Information and Data Science degree from University of California, Berkeley, and holds his Bachelor’s degree from Penn State. He is excited about having the opportunity to use data and analytics to help protect animals and promote a more compassionate lifestyle. Jared lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, Emmy, and their two dogs, Kozzie and Winnie.
 
Akanksha Satyarthy

Carol Fryday

Newsletter Editor

Carol is pleased to support HAP’s mission through her role as Newsletter Editor. Since graduating with an M.A. in Professional Writing from Carnegie Mellon University, she has worked primarily in the business sector. However, she is proudest of her four-year stint as editor of The Sylvanian, a quarterly publication of the PA Sierra Club, which won two national awards during her tenure.

She and her husband, David, live along the Ohio River in Beaver PA, and like many in their community are concerned about the health of our region’s waterways and the wildlife that depend on them.

In 2021, Carol and her intrepid dog, Mr. Ned, hiked 100 miles to complete the North Country Trail Association’s Hundred Mile Challenge. They were each awarded a certificate and numerous ticks for their efforts.

Akanksha Satyarthy

Dominique Green, MS

Website Manager

Dominique is happy to manage the HAP website while working as an Associate Research Analyst in research marketing. She has received her Master’s in Human-Computer Interaction at DePaul University. She has received her bachelor’s in Psychology and Cognitive Science from Marquette University.

Akanksha Satyarthy

Annelie Gustafsson

Administrative Assistant

Annelie is a passionate student that loves learning and trying new things. She is excited about joining the HAP team to cultivate her research and outreach skills while working on one of her greatest passions – encouraging others to help animals and the environment. Annelie has been a nature-lover her whole life and enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, exercising, and reading with her cat, Chester.

Tasnim Hedw

CRM Administrator

is pleased to administer the CRM tool of the HAP. She is French-Tunisian recently moved to Pittsburgh. She was working as clinical applications manager at a hospital in Paris. She is happy to put her skills to work helping animal and environmental issues with the HAP.

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.

Jessica Ho

Administrative Assistant

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.

Mark Hopkins 

Bookkeeper

Mark joined Humane Action Pittsburgh in early 2024 as the volunteer bookkeeper for the organization.  Mark was inspired by the mission of HAP and wanted to use his accounting background as a volunteer. Mark has volunteered for several different rescues including Kitty Queen Cat Rescue and is a foster and grant writer for Merlin’s Safe Haven Cat Rescue. Mark recently graduated from Pennsylvania Western University with a Masters degree in Business Administration.  He is also a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner, and has worked for large local banks and retailers. Mark lives in the Beechview area with his partner, their two dogs and two cats.

Morgan Kohler

Web Designer

Morgan has her BA in English and writing from Westminster College and MA in Professional Writing and Web Content Development from Chatham University. She enjoys reading historical fiction, watching Studio Ghibli movies, and being outdoors. She’s looking to make a difference in animal and environmental welfare. She often browses animal rescue sites, wishing to adopt them all.

Morgan redesigned web pages for HAP during her graduate program at Chatham and enjoyed the experience so much that she joined the team. She hopes to implement design strategies she learned in her coursework.

Mohit Kirange HAP

Mohit Kirange

Web Developer

Mohit is an experienced web developer with a passion for making a positive impact. Beyond his technical expertise, Mohit is dedicated to making a difference in the world. Mohit combines his technological proficiency with his love for animals, contributing to the organization’s efforts to create a digital presence that effectively communicates their vision and mission. Through his voluntary work, Mohit exemplifies the belief that technology can be a powerful tool for driving positive change in the world. 

Hannah Lewis, MA, M.Ed.

Grant Writer and 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.

Abhi Nadendl

Blog Contributor

Abhi is a student at the University of Pittsburgh pursuing a degree in molecular biology. She currently works as a blogger for HAP and is part of the Action Team. She joined HAP due to her love of animals, which she cultivated after working at an animal shelter for the past five years. Abhi is excited to join the HAP team and help prevent animal abuse while empowering individuals to take care of their environment. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies and spending time with her friends. 

Kaxandra Novales

Videographer

Kaxandra recently moved to Pittsburgh after graduating from Miami University of Ohio with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She currently works as a clinical research specialist, but loves to fill her free time with artsy activities such as drawing, sewing, and collaging to name a few. As someone who has always been fascinated by animals, she is very excited to volunteer with HAP and exercise her creativity while doing so!

Bob McGrogan

Walter Orange, Ph.D.

Candidate Outreach Liaison

Walter is a retired mathematics professor, having taught for 25 years at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. He holds B.S. and M.Ed. degrees in mathematics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and an M.A. degree in Statistics and a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from the University of Pittsburgh.

Currently, he teaches in the Pittsburgh area as an adjunct professor of mathematics. He has a longstanding interest in animal rights and animal welfare issues. Walter lives in the Shadyside section of Pittsburgh with his wife Anna and their schnoodle Sasha.

Elizabeth Ringler-Jayanthan

Jessica Pendrick

Graphic Designer

Jessica is a passionate graphic designer whose works have been seen by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Saint Vincent College campus, and surrounding community. A Western PA native, Jessica obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Art and Media from Saint Vincent College. She currently works as an Administrative Coordinator for the University of Pittsburgh and has recently moved to the Southside Slopes. Jessica loves all animals, but has a sweet spot for her orange tabby cat, Whiskers and one-eyed tuxedo cat, Mitsie. She also enjoys taking in nature while camping and hiking with her partner, Calvin.

 

Elizabeth Ringler-Jayanthan

Marianny Rosario

CRM Administrator

I’m Marianny, with a technical foundation in Salesforce and a current focus on advancing my skills in data analytics. I aspire to contribute my expertise in Salesforce to HAP and actively participate in crafting a durable CRM tool using Monkeypod.

 

Elizabeth Ringler-Jayanthan

Amrit Kaur Ramos

Web Developer

Amrit Kaur Ramos, a skilled web developer with a heart full of compassion for animals. By day, she crafts digital solutions with precision, seamlessly blending creativity with functionality. However, when the workday ends, Amrit’s world is shared with four dogs and two cats, whom she lovingly cares for at home. Her proficiency in coding languages is not just a testament to technical excellence but also a reflection of her commitment to creating user-friendly and visually appealing websites. Beyond the lines of code, Amrit envisions a future where her skills contribute to causes advocating for the well-being of animals.

 

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.

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Akanksha Satyarthy

Jisoo Shon

Graphic Designer

Jisoo has joined the HAP team as a Graphic Designer. She holds a Master’s degree in Design for Interactions from Carnegie Mellon University and has five years of experience in digital product design. Her diverse background also includes industrial design, which enriches her approach to creating impactful visuals. After moving back to Pittsburgh from London to reassess her life and career goals, Jisoo sought a new direction. Adopting her dog, Bunnie, from a rescue center became a turning point for her, deepening her commitment to animal and environmental protection. Now, she is eager to use her design skills and insights to champion these causes at HAP.

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Akanksha Satyarthy

Michael Steinfeld

Grant Assistant

Michael studied psychology at Rutgers University and the University of Vermont and is now looking to make a difference in the lives of animals. In his free time, he enjoys reading, hiking, and playing guitar.
Akanksha Satyarthy

Robel Tesfay

Website Developer

Robel is currently a student at Guilford Technical Community College, where he is honing his skills in the field of Web Development. Devoted to his craft, he is always eager to tackle new challenges and explore innovative solutions. He believes that learning is a lifelong journey, and he’s always on the lookout for opportunities to grow both personally and professionally.

Away from the academic and professional realm, Robel finds solace in the arts. Sketching has been a longtime passion of his, serving not only as a creative outlet but also as a form of meditation. The intricate lines and shapes he puts on paper often mirror the complex problems he solves in his digital projects.

Nicole Toney

Nicole Toney

Outreach Ambassador

Nicole has a BS in Microbiology, a BA in Anthropology, and a MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh. She is volunteering with HAP to support compassionate and healthy lifestyles, and to promote animal and environmental protections in our community. She loves to spend time outdoors in all seasons- biking, hiking, trail running, and camping. She lives in the North Side with her husband, their cat, and two pugs. 

Nina Wiebalk

Humane Educator

Nina lives in the South Hills with her nine cats and two dogs.  Nina has been working in social work for the past eight years and recently developed a program utilizing the healing nature of service dogs for children and families that have experienced trauma.  She is currently working on her doctorate in Humane Education after receiving her masters in the same subject.  Nina also fosters for Trash Cat Rescue in Pittsburgh, a local non-profit helping to reduce the overpopulation of cats living outdoors, finding them safe and secure homes.  She loves to travel and visits Disney World often.

Irina Zambrano

Web Developer

Irina is originally from Ecuador, a dedicated UX designer with a passion for making a positive impact. Currently volunteering at HAP, she channels her creativity and skills to enhance user experiences for a cause she deeply believes in. Beyond the digital aspect, Irina is an avid animal lover, actively supporting causes that aim to better the lives of our furry friends.

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