If the cats could talk, they’d tell you it takes a group of dedicated, compassionate people to run a rescue organization. We’re very proud of our amazing group of staff and volunteers. From the folks on the front lines to our Board of Directors, here are the humans behind MEOW Foundation.
Social Media Specialist
Amy Lewis is a freelance journalist and writer with a passion for environmental and animal welfare issues.
Originally from Ireland, she relocated to Calgary in 2019 with her beloved cat Pud in tow. In March 2020, on the brink of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amy and Pud returned to Ireland and we are thrilled to have Amy working with us from across the pond.
Animals have always played a huge role in Amy’s life and when she isn’t writing or playing with her cat, she can usually be found bird-watching or wandering in the great outdoors.
Intake Assistant - Flex
Breanne joined MEOW in 2018 as a summer student and has been with us in progressively more responsible roles. Breanne is also a student in the Olds College Animal Health Technician program. She is due to complete the program in 2021 following her practicum. Breanne is currently working as an Intake Assistant.
Chelsea has been volunteering and working at various animal shelters across Alberta for 12 years. She is a huge suck for animals and will love and try to pet any species presented to her. She grew up with cats, dogs, snakes and fish; she has always had a strong connection with pets and wildlife. Chelsea loves to spend time with her cat, Simon, who she adopted as a kitten. Simon loves to cuddle and gets into anything and everything he can.
Director - Treasurer
David Quach is a Chartered Accountant and has volunteered with numerous organizations in Calgary and is looking forward to the challenges and fulfillment of volunteering with MEOW. David is the proud owner of one cat aptly named Sass Quach, plus Ninja and Samurai.
Director - Operations
Debbie Nelson is a founding member of MEOW Foundation and currently manages MEOW’s cat programs: Intake and Adoption, SNAP, and TNR. Her life is enriched by the feline companionship of Mort and Toe. Debbie spends her free time with her family and hiking on Alberta trails and beyond.
Dr. Terri Brannen
Veterinarian Dr. Terri Brannen is a former Iowa farm girl and continues to be one at heart. She obtained her Veterinary degree from Colorado State in 1986. Terri practiced in Homer, Alaska for three years and then moved to Calgary in 1989 to practice emergency and small animal medicine. She has been a valued MEOW team member since 2001, when she adopted her first two Canadian cats, Licorice and Blaze.
Emma is originally from the UK and relocated to Calgary in 2012. She works as a Senior Account Manager within the recruitment industry and also has a long background in Veterinary Nursing. Emma loves animals which stems from helping with her parents’ veterinary practice starting at an early age. She has two adorable rescue cats Boris and Merlin.
Indra Maharaj is a lawyer with over 25 years of broad-based legal, regulatory, management and leadership experience. She supports a variety of different community based charities, including the Duke of Edinburgh Award Program, Soup Sisters, and the Sunflower Spirit Project which creates hand-knitted hats and scarves for women’s shelters.
Indra, and her two elderly cats – Tazo Chai and Princess, are thrilled to be part of the MEOW Foundation Team.
“Time spent with cats is never wasted”. ~ Sigmund Freud
Director - Human Resources
Jan Weir has a 27 year background in Human Resource Management. Jan has had general leadership and management roles in Human Resources in corporate, subsidiary and field operations. She is the happy caregiver to two cats, one feral from Yemen and one from MEOW.
Adoption Specialist - Part-Time
Jodi joined MEOW in February 2020, just prior to the COVID-19 lockdown. Jodi is a graduate of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and has a great passion for cats.
Jodi works part-time in our Adoption Department
Kerry joined MEOW in July 2020, as our part-time Bookkeeper. Kerry brings to us several years experience with Calgary Stampeders Football Club in their Accounting office.
Full-time Intake Assistant (Level 2)
Lara Chisa is a lifelong animal lover and cat caretaker who moved to Calgary in 2004. She started as a MEOW volunteer in 2017 then moved quickly into a temporary part-time position. In January 2020, she accepted a permanent full-time position on the MEOW team. She shares her home with three MEOW cats: Alex, Sophie and Fern.
Lorie Abernethy, MA, CFRE
Lorie joined MEOW in June 2019 as Executive Director. Lorie has over 20 years experience in fund development and communications, primarily focusing on education. She has work in several areas of the non=profit sector, arts, education, social services religious organizations and now animal welfare. Lorie has served as Executive Director/CEO of two other non-profit organizations. She served as president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Calgary & Area Chapter and was named 2019 Outstanding Fundraising Professional by AFP Calgary & Area chapter. Lorie has served on several non-profit boards. In 2008 she completed her Master of Arts in Philanthropy & Development from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
A long-time pet owner, she is excited to be part of MEOW and the compassionate people the surround the great work of this organization. Currently, Lorie owns a 13 year old female Beagle named Wilson.
Margaret Martini has been involved with MEOW as a foster home provider since 2002 and served as MEOW’s Information Administrator from 2007 until 2015. She currently provides administration of the Spay Neuter Assistance Program. Her first love is caring for bottle fed orphan rescue kittens with her supportive family of 6. Her 2 dogs and 3 cats also play an integral part in socializing the foster cats that pass through her home.
Meg joined MEOW in October 2019 as Volunteer Coordinator. She comes with 4 years experience in Volunteer Coordination. She currently has one dog Moki and no cats (don’t hold it against her). She has grown up around animals her whole life including cats, dogs, and fish.
Shannon McDonald just graduated University of Calgary with a bachelor of science, major zoology. She loves all animals and is an advocate for wildlife conservation and animal welfare. She interned with a wildlife rehabilitation facility and is now very excited and honored to work as an Adoption Specialist for the MEOW Foundation. She is also the proud mother of a little black rambunctious kitty named Odin and two beta fish, Poseidon and Aurora.
Shelley Purdy joined MEOW as a bookkeeper. Shelley is a CPA CGA by profession and worked at a senior level in the oil and gas industry. She is a young retiree, who wants to keep her hand in the profession. Shelley is a former volunteer, foster home and a longtime supporter of MEOW. She is delighted to have a part time job supporting our efforts.
Flex-time Adoption Specialist
Stephanie Chamberlain is originally from Newfoundland, and relocated to Calgary in 2007. She started volunteering with MEOW on Saturdays in 2018 and immediately wanted to get more involved. In 2019, Stephanie joined the team and is proud to be an Adoption Specialist. She loves getting to know all of the cats at the foundation, and helping them on their journey to find a forever home. Theo and Penelope, her rescue cats, don’t want her to bring any new friends into their home, but it’s a struggle. When Stephanie’s not wrangling cats, she’s wrangling kids as a Grade Three French Immersion Teacher.
Stephanie recently retired from Shell Canada with over 25 years’ experience providing leadership and mentorship for large project start-up and operations, governance, joint venture negotiations and relationships, risk management, business development, strategic planning, portfolio optimization and global/local organizational redesign and change management.
She joined the MEOW board in 2012 and has served as our secretary for two years. Stephanie has also given countless hours making crafts for sales events. She and her husband, Bob, add spice to their lives with their furry family member, Nutmeg – a MEOW rescue.
Director - fund development
Travis has over 20 years of experience in marketing and communications and is currently the general manager for a charity consultancy. His focus is on marketing strategy, operations, project management, and fundraising. He’s the dad of a terrier who was born a grumpy old man, but has a special place in his heart for all the kitties who took care of him growing up.