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HSUS National Council: Member Biographies

The Humane Society of the United States

National Council

Suzy Smith Bennitt, Ojai, California

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

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.

Brian Borg, Park City, Utah

Brian Borg has over 20 years of professional experience in real estate. Brian graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 1996 with a degree in economics and started his career in investment banking at Montgomery Securities in San Francisco. He subsequently worked with Westbrook Partners on the investment team in San Francisco and Singapore and was a partner at Rockpoint Group in Tokyo and London, with responsibility for the company’s international business including activities in Europe and Asia. He is currently the chief investment officer of FREO Group, an independent pan-European investment manager and developer.

Gloria Butler, Los Angeles, California

Biography forthcoming

Andrew Currie, Boulder, Colorado

Andrew C. Currie is a successful entrepreneur and former CEO who is passionate about helping endangered wildlife and people coexist peacefully. His work includes impact investing to help endangered wildlife including land conservation and technology, pro-Nature advocacy and election work, democracy reform, engaged philanthropy and business consulting for wildlife NGOs. Andrew formed and led a small impact investment team that worked with a land trust in partnership to create a 5,000 acre prairie wildlife preserve in southeast Colorado. He is senior advisor to the Impact Finance Center and leads the Environment track of their CO Impact Initiative. He serves as a board member and strategic adviser to Wildlife Protection Solutions - an innovative 21st century wildlife NGO. Andrew is the founder of E2 Rocky Mountains (www.E2.org) and former Chair of Colorado Conservation Voters. He co-founded and served as Chair for Social Venture Partners Boulder County. Andrew has a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Southern Mississippi and is an alumnus of YEO. For more info please see his TEDxBoulder video at AndrewCurrie.info

Jennifer Fagá, D.V.M., Montauk, New York

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

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

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

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

Biography forthcoming.

Jennifer McCausland, Seattle, Washington

Jennifer Ashton McCausland applies bold leadership, boundless energy and fearless commitment to her passions: a better future for animals, better healthcare for all, and better joy through classical music. In Seattle, where she lives today, Jennifer worked tirelessly to protect elephants held in captivity; she also served on the Board of Directors of the Seattle Humane Society. She strove to make music more accessible worldwide through her roles as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Seattle Symphony, CEO of the Bellevue Philharmonic and a producer and manager for the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra’s 12 Cellists. Jennifer also served as a cardiac care nurse in her native Australia, as deputy insurance commissioner in Washington State and as an executive and champion for legislative, worker and corporate healthcare initiatives. She’s worked to improved domestic violence coverage in the media, launched successful advocacy and education campaigns to fund teenage gambling prevention and treatment, and developed a national blood donor recruitment program. Jennifer holds multiple graduate and post-graduate degrees and credentials in public policy and management, in health economics and healthcare administration, and in sports medicine and telemedicine. Two passions close to home: her adopted Harlequin Great Dane Gretta, and Rocco, her senior-citizen Lab.

Heather Mycoskie, Topanga, California

Biography forthcoming

Ari Nessel, Ross, California

Biography forthcoming

Ardath B. Rosengarden, Boca Raton, Florida

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

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

Biography forthcoming.

Jordan Schultz, New York, New York

Biography forthcoming.

Stacey Seltzer, New York City, New York, New York

Stacey Seltzer currently serves as a director of Aimmune Therapeutics and Promentis Pharmaceuticals, as Partner at Aisling Capital and as a Board observer of Prolacta Bioscience. Ms. Seltzer received her M.B.A. from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a Palmer Scholar. She received her M.S. and B.S. from Yale University, awarded cum laude in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry.She began her career as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company and has previously served in business development roles at Schering-Plough, as the Director of Business Development for Akceli, as a Director of Miramar Labs, and as a Board observer for Agile Therapeutics, Durata Therapeutics and ZELTIQ Aesthetics. Her work has included the structuring and negotiation of billion-dollar deals, the development of licensing deals and commercialization alliances, and determining sound investments for companies specializing in biotechnology.

Cheri Shankar, Beverly Hills, California

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

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.

Natalie Trahan, Hillsborough, California

Biography forthcoming.

Steve White, Los Angeles, California

Steve White is the regional head of Angelo, Gordon’s Los Angeles office, and is responsible for the firm’s real estate activities in the western U.S. Prior to joining Angelo, Gordon in 2004, Steve worked in the real estate investment-banking group at Goldman where he participated in the disposition and recapitalization of office, retail, hotel, and multi-family properties. Previously, Steve was a partner and co-founder of a private real estate investment company in the Los Angeles area. Steve holds an A.B. degree from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. degree from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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