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.

Amy Lewis
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.

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.

Ania Zaveleta
Intake Lead

Ania has spent over ten years working with animals and brings a breadth of experience as a Registered Veterinary Technician both here in Calgary and in Louisville, Kentucky. Ania is a graduate of Brown Mackie College in Louisville, where she earned her Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology. Prior to that she attended the Career College in Calgary and earned a diploma in Business Office Skills. Ania has a four-year old son, two cats, and a very special Pomeranian who was the impetus for her becoming a veterinary technician! She is bilingual in Spanish and English.

Candice Lee
Project Lead - Communications and Events

Candice has a lengthy history of advocating for people and their companion animals combined with 20+ years of non-profit marketing and communications experience. She’s passionate about reducing homeless cats and overpopulation and honoured to work with the MEOW team. Candice is currently mom to GiGi, a Shepherd/Husky cross and as an animal lover, she often cares for many friends’ animals, including cats, dogs and a bearded dragon lizard.

Chelsea Niekamp
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.

David Quach
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.

Debbie Nelson
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
Medical Advisor

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 Avery
Board Director

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
Board Director

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

Jan Weir
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.

Lara Chisa
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.

Margaret Martini
SNAP Administrator

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 Kominek
Volunteer Coordinator

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.

Nathalie Martel
Flex-time Adoption Specialist

Nathalie has felt a deep connection to animals early on, which has pushed her to volunteer in various areas such as wildlife rescue, dog and cat care, and humane education. A desire to be the voice for animal victims of abuse and cruelty pushed her to use her criminology education toward working at the legislative level to combat animal abuse. A deep connection to cats led her to pursue a position with MEOW and she is proud to be part of the adoption team. Nathalie’s home would not be complete without her two rescue kitties Bailey and Winston.

Shannon McDonald
Adoption Specialist

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
Part-time Bookkeeper

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.

Stephanie Chamberlain
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 Sterling
Board Chair

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.

Travis Wall
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.