HSUS National Council: Member Biographies
The Humane Society of the United States
Suzy Smith Bennitt, Ojai, California (2016-)
Suzy Bennitt is former President of Friendship Force International, a non-profit cultural exchange organization that promotes global goodwill through personal friendships in over 70 countries. Suzy also worked as Executive-Administrative Affairs Manager for The Yosemite Fund, ABA certified paralegal, and mental health crisis specialist. She completed her B.S. in Political Science from Presbyterian College, a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from John F. Kennedy University, and was awarded an International Fellowship Scholarship from American University in Washington, D.C. A lifelong animal advocate, Suzy was actively involved in the Prop 2 Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act in California. She served as Board member of Lifeline for Pets, volunteer with Fix Our Ferals and Humane Societies in Pasadena and Marin County, California. Suzy is Publisher of Pink Moment Press, and is currently writing a fantasy adventure novel with a kindness to animals theme. Suzy and her husband, Bob, serve on the Council of Directors of The Yosemite Conservancy. They live in Ojai, California with their five cat friends.
Howard M. Berk, Scarsdale, New York (2008-)
Howard Berk joined MSD Capital, LP, as a principal in 2002. From 1998 to 2002, he was managing director of TG Investments, LTD, an investment group managing the capital of a single family, which acquires and invests in both public and private companies. From 1995 to 1998, he was with The Stenbeck Group, acquiring and managing businesses in multiple countries. Prior to that, Howard was with Goldman, Sachs & Co. in the Principal Investment Area. In 1987, he began his career at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in the Mergers and Acquisitions Department. Howard received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1991 and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Texas in 1987 with a B.B.A. in finance.
James D. Berwind, West Palm Beach, Florida (2011-)
James Berwind is a director and trustee of the Berwind Group, a family-owned investment management company which counts among its partners Wellpet, a manufacturer and marketer of natural and holistic pet foods sold through pet specialty stores throughout North America. He is also a director of Main Line Animal Rescue in Chester Spring, Pa.
Jennifer Fagá, D.V.M., Montauk, New York (2008-)
A commercial real estate investment consultant with Robbert Gaarlandt Inc. since 2001, Jennifer Fagá is an equestrian and founder of Beshraka Egyptian Stud, a breeding program dedicated to the preservation of rare straight Egyptian Arabian horses. Although Jennifer is a veterinary school graduate, she does not practice. Jennifer actively lobbies for animal protective legislation in Florida and New York.
Linda Goddard, Essex, Connecticut (2011-)
Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, Linda Goddard completed a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from New South Wales University. She came to the United States In 1992 to work at Special Olympics International in Washington, D.C., obtained an MBA at Yale University, and joined Pratt and Whitney's management program. During her 10-year career with Pratt and Whitney, Linda was based in the United Arab Emirates, France, Singapore, Australia and the U.S., working in both the military and commercial divisions. She is currently president of the board at Pine Point School in Stonington, Conn. Linda is a life-long lover of animals and has supported animal-protection groups in both Australia and the United States.
Frances Hayward, East Hampton, New York (2008-)
Frances Hayward divides her time between The Bahamas, Palm Beach, New York and East Hampton, where she is very involved in animal welfare projects and issues. She is an active member of the board of The Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons as well as honorary chairman of The Humane Society of Grand Bahama where she lived for over 30 years. Frances is known as one of the leading proponents of animal welfare throughout The Bahamas.
Christian Keesee, New York, New York, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (2012-)
A lifelong animal lover and long-time grant maker in the field of animal welfare, Christian Keesee is the chairman of the Kirkpatrick Foundation, a family foundation headquartered in Oklahoma City. The Foundation recently launched its Safe & Humane initiative whose vision is to make Oklahoma one of the safest and most humane places to be an animal by elevating the standards of care and welfare, improving the lives of Oklahoma's animals and those who care for them. Christian is chairman of the Kirkpatrick Bank (Okla. and Colo.) and the Kirkpatrick Oil and Gas Company (Okla., Texas, Colo.) and is engaged in the support of numerous civic and cultural endeavors.
Stacey Dorfman Kivowitz, Dallas, Texas (2012-)
Stacey Dorfman Kivowitz was the founder of Sheers The Bodywear Bar, a trailblazer in the fashion lingerie world. She is an active leader in animal welfare issues including serving as the North Texas chapter president for the Texas Humane Legislative Network, board member of the SPCA of Texas and involved in The Street Dog Project. Stacey was Learning Chair for Young Entrepreneurs Organization and is widely known for her far-ranging civic involvement with the North Texas Food Bank, Johns Hopkins Alumni Association, World Affairs Council, School Year Abroad, Vogel Alcove and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Stacey worked for Ed Rollins post-Reagan White House, with Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) in the House and Senator Chic Hecht (R-NV) in the Senate. She is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, Owner/VP of the Dorfman Production Company, a pilot, a vegan, political junkie, a Francophile (fluent in French), working on her Italian and Spanish, and fosters animals at The Kivo Humane Halfway House (their penthouse on Turtle Creek). She also directs the Stacey and Don Kivowitz Charitable Foundation. Stacey and Don have two grown daughters (both in the entertainment business) and one grandson in LA. In Dallas, they have 5 four-legged children.
Jennifer Laue, Kansas City, Kansas (2016-)
Jennifer McCausland, Seattle, Washington (2016-)
Ardath B. Rosengarden, Boca Raton, Florida (2009-)
Ardath Rosengarden has been a philanthropic leader and volunteer with Florida's animal care and rescue for many years. Living in Boca Raton, Ardath has been an integral member of the Board of the SPCA Wildlife Care Center, which is now an affiliate of The HSUS, and has assisted in numerous projects at the center. She is especially known in southeast Florida as an active proponent of feral cat and feline issues.
Richard Schechter, Wellington, Florida (2013-)
Richard Schechter is chairman, CEO, and managing principal of the Bainbridge Companies LLC, a major national multi-family housing developer, owner and manager. He has been active since childhood in the support of animal welfare organizations and causes, and as an adult has extended that support to medical and veterinary colleges and research. An avid equestrian, Richard's Bainbridge Farms show program includes hunters and jumpers, and he also owns reiners and cutters. The Bainbridge Companies is the Wellington Winter Equestrian Festival's longest continuous sponsor, supporting the horse show as it has grown and progressed. Richard is a member of the New York State Bar, D.C. Bar and Florida Bar and holds a B.S. in chemistry from Clarkson University and a J.D. from the Syracuse University College of Law. Richard resides in Florida with his 17 horses, seven cats, and two dogs.
Breanna Schultz, New York, New York (2014-)
Jordan Schultz, New York, New York (2014-)
Cheri Shankar, Beverly Hills, California (2008-)
Cheri Shankar is a member of the Board of Directors of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. She is a full-time animal rights activist and fundraiser for animal protection and other progressive causes.
Alanna Tarkington, Solvang, California (2013-)
Alanna Tarkington is a licensed psychotherapist with a private practice in Malibu and a long history of helping animals and people alike. Since 1998 she has been on the board of directors of the Pet Adoptions Fund in Los Angeles and has also served as a board or council member for Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center, which was set up to become a role model for the state of California's shelter system; the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Council; the President's Advisory Council of the National Wildlife Federation; and the Women's Clinic of Beverly Hills, where she also volunteered her services as a psychotherapist to help abused women and children. A graduate of Union College with a master's degree in clinical psychology from Antioch University, Alanna is also a former vice president of Variety International Pictures and the author of Now It Is Our Turn, a book about environmentalism and how women can change their lives and save the world.
René Tatro, Wilsonville, Oregon (2013-)
Natalie Trahan, Hillsborough, California (2016-)
Steve White, Los Angeles, California (2016-)