Since childhood, Nicole has always wanted to help those who could not help themselves. She’s always had a fondness for animals and at a very young age began rescuing animals in need, bringing them to our local humane society to receive care and find a loving home. As she got older it became more apparent to her that there are so many animals that need a voice.
Nicole was named the Executive Director of the Erie Humane Society in 2015 and has been living its mission every day since. “I am here to advocate for all of the needy animals and help bring purpose to their lives,” she shares.
As Executive Director, Nicole efficiently manages all aspects of the shelter ensuring all pets receive care and compassion. She works closely with her staff to develop programs, fundraise and foster relationships with adopters and supporters, promoting our mission of rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming the homeless animals of our community. Working at the shelter impacts Nicole’s life daily and is a constant reminder of the many pets that need us.
“I wake up knowing that we are saving lives each day and making love connections — matching hundreds of people with their best friends.”
Nicole received two Bachelor’s degrees, one in Political Science and one in English, as well as a minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Dayton. She earned her Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management and Business from Walden University, and is currently working on her Doctoral Degree.
When Emily joined the team at the Erie Humane Society in 2015, she had no idea how life-changing it would be. Combining her marketing talents with her love of animals was the perfect opportunity to make an impact on the lives of animals in need.
As the Business/Marketing Manager, Emily manages the marketing, public and community relations for the shelter, creating effective, creative messages and calls to action that promote the mission of the Humane Society, its services, and the wonderful pets that are searching for loving homes.
Emily enjoys forming connections with animals that need a little extra help thriving. “Spending little bits of time helping these animals is truly a heart-warming experience,” she says, “Watching them make progress and helping them connect with the perfect family is one of the greatest rewards of this job.”
Emily believes wholeheartedly in the mission of the Erie Humane Society and is proud to work for such a reputable organization, with such a passionate team. “These animals have become my purpose; I do what I do for them,” she says. “They say if you truly love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.”
Emily earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication/Media Studies from Edinboro University and has been working in the nonprofit sector for 13 years.
Michele values the rewards of her position as Adoptions Manager on a daily basis. As a seasoned member of the staff with 12 years at Erie Humane Society, she and her team work diligently to match dogs and cats with the best fitting family by screening potential adopters and educating them on specific animals they are interested in, including medical care, safety and the importance of basic training.
Accuracy and efficiency are what keeps this “central hub” of the organization running so well, resulting in the countless successful adoptions we see day to day. “The most rewarding part of my job is seeing how the adoption of a homeless pet changes not only the pet’s life, but the adopter’s as well,” she says. “Whether the pets arrived neglected, starving or abandoned, nothing is more fulfilling than seeing them in the arms of their new owner.” Every time a pet departs for their new home, she is reminded that she has been a voice for them.
A graduate of Great Lakes Institute of Technology Veterinary Technician program, Michele strongly believes in the mission of Erie Humane Society and says knowing she can make an immediate, positive change for an animal keeps her heart and soul involved in her work, which is why she loves coming to the shelter each day.
For Lisa, helping animals has been part of her life since she was a small child. She is very grateful to have forged a career stemming from a passion that sparked her at such an early age.
Lisa has worked for the Erie Humane Society Animal Cruelty Division since 2003 — now serving as the Chief Investigating Officer. She is dedicated to and embraces her role daily, investigating claims of neglect and abuse toward animals, and ensuring any violations of the PA Animal Cruelty Laws are corrected.
Lisa firmly believes in the mission of the Erie Humane Society and says she is honored to work for an organization that has been vital to the Erie community for 125 years. Lisa will be the first to tell you that her job is not glamorous. She has been subjected to despicable actions of humans who inflict unnecessary pain and suffering on animals but says what makes it worthwhile is to see victims of cruelty learn to trust again and find a home deserving of their love.
Lisa is a graduate of Edinboro University and has extensive training in her field. She is amazed daily by the staff at the shelter who go above and beyond for the animals in our care. Lisa expresses, “I truly know this is where I am meant to be.”
Brian is passionate about helping animals that do not have a voice to stand up against abuse and mistreatment.
Just over two years ago, he was compelled to make a career change and focus his energy on giving animals a better life. In May of 2016, Brian completed all training and was certified as a Humane Officer by the Federated Humane Society of Pennsylvania and has been serving as an Investigating Officer with the Erie Humane Society Animal Cruelty Division for the past 9 months.
The cruelty division’s main goal is to enforce PA Animal Cruelty Laws and protect the welfare of animals, whether it be through education, or in extreme cases, removal of the animal and taking legal action against the accused. Though his job can be difficult, it has opened his eyes to many situations that take place in our community. Brian says “by helping animals and educating people, it makes me want to be a positive member of the community.”
Rob is well-versed in animal husbandry and behavior. He actually grew up raising chickens, pigs, sheep, and rabbits and also spent a number of years observing young dogs who were training to become police dogs.
In his 10 years at the Erie Humane Society, Rob shares that there is a long, emotional journey attached to working in animal welfare. As the Facilities Manager, Rob is a jack of all trades, and he makes sure that the shelter is running like a well-oiled machine.
When he isn’t managing the properties and facilities, Rob loves to help with behavioral modification plans and clinical assessment for pets that need a little extra help. He expresses that working with the shelter pets is such a pleasure. “There’s a lot to be said about the rewards of second chances for pets,” he shares. All in all, though, Rob strongly believes in the mission of the Erie Humane Society and is proud to be a part of it.
Kennels Team Leader
Cattery Team Leader
Sean Weese joined the team at the Erie Humane Society in 2014 as one of our Kennel Attendants. In 2016, he was promoted to Assistant Shelter Manager, but Sean's true passion was canine behavior and training. Our Executive Director recognized Sean's aptitude and potential, and successfully secured grant funding for Sean to pursue his Canine Behavior Certification, as well as his Training certification.
In Sean's role as Canine Behavior Specialist/Trainer, he works with dogs who need specialized help including socialization, basic obedience training, and behavior modification for certain types of aggression. For the past several months, Sean has completed his course work to become a certified dog trainer, and has worked along side his mentor for field training and observation.
Prior to working at the shelter, Sean expressed that he didn't have a clear path on what he wanted to do with his career, but now, he can't imagine working anywhere else. Sean is passionate about canine behavior and training because he is able to devote time to helping dogs that others may not have the skills or knowledge to be able to help these special needs.
Sean is also training our very first Shelter to Service pup, Scout. Once his training is complete, Scout will be awarded to a qualified, local veteran as a Service Dog. During the course of training, Scout will live with Sean's family and make regular appearances at the shelter.
Contributing Guest Blogger (Volunteer)
Ryan Hughes is a writer and pet lover local to Meadville, PA. He holds an English Writing degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and has written for Living Pittsburgh and the Philadelphia City Paper. Ryan has a passion for animal rescue, education, and making a better world for pets and their loving families through his writing.
Ryan is volunteering his time and talents to the Erie Humane Society as a Contributing Guest Blogger.