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 Specialist - 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 Specialist.
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.
Supervising David at home are his three cats – Samurai, Ninja and Katana, along with their bodyguard Keeshond – Riot.
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 grew up on a farm in rural Alberta, and despite having a lot of animals to choose from, was always drawn to trying to tame the barn cats. They started their position as an Adoption Specialist in 2020 and loves helping find all of the cats at MEOW their forever homes. Jodi spends most of their time (when they aren’t snuggling cats) learning new fibre art hobbies, and trying to prevent their cat, Korra, from snoozing on their latest project.
Full-time Intake Specialist (Level 2)
Lara Chisa is a lifelong animal lover and cat caretaker who moved to Calgary in 2004. She started at MEOW as a volunteer in 2017 before joining the Intake Department later that year. She has adopted five MEOW cats over the years and currently shares her home with two – Fern and The Dude.
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.
Patty is a born and raised Calgarian. She works as a self-employed accountant, with a variety of clients including small businesses and non-profits. She serves and has served on several boards, including community and non-profit boards.
Patty has been a MEOW foster caregiver since 2018. She has also been a part of the sewing team, making masks for MEOW in recent months. She also keeps busy with her two kids, Emily (Grade 7 and name-giver to foster cats!) and Derek (Grade 6 and a bit of a cat-whisperer). They currently have two cats, Kole and Venom – both MEOW foster fails – and a beagle Rudy, who tries to befriend every foster kitty.
Patty is excited to join the MEOW board and brings with her a variety of expertise and experience, as well as a love of cats.
Born and raised on a hobby farm in Nova Scotia, Rebecca has always had animals in her life. Her passion for and knowledge of animals led her to pursue an Undergraduate Degree in Biology at Acadia University. Rebecca began working in the veterinary field in 1999. When she moved to Calgary in 2007, she continued to gain experience in various veterinary clinics. In 2015, Rebecca decided to undertake her RVT training at Thompson Rivers University.
Rebecca brings with her a wealth of experience including teaching, feedlot health, shelter medicine, emergency medicine and accounting.
In her spare time, she enjoys camping, hiking, travelling, gardening and reading. She has two sons and a new border collie puppy Echo and, while she doesn’t currently share her home with any cats, she hopes to adopt soon.
Sandra first came to MEOW as a volunteer at our Adoption Center in 2018 after retiring from a longstanding career in the insurance industry as an office manager and project coordinator. Prior to Insurance, Sandra held positions as a Customer Service Representative as well as retail and merchandising.
While volunteering at the Adoption Center, Sandra fell head over heels in love with Gomez. It was love at first sight between these two as Gomez was promptly whisked away to his fur-ever home. He now has a sister, Annie, who had been abandoned and found her way to Gomez’s house… the two are still working things out.
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 is our senior accountant (though she really does a bit of everything else). 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.
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.