Inspiring Inclusivity: Celebrating the Women Leaders of Toronto Humane Society on International Women’s Day 

| March 8, 2024

As we celebrate International Women’s Day in 2024 with the theme Inspire Inclusion, it’s a fitting time to shine a spotlight on the inspiring women leaders of Toronto Humane Society who play a pivotal role in shaping our mission of improving the lives of animals. In a world where diversity and empowerment are crucial components of progress, these women are breaking barriers and driving positive change in the field of animal welfare. 

Carol Boulding, CHRL

Director, People and Culture  

Carol Boulding is a dedicated animal lover and accomplished human resources professional who has been associated with us for several decades. Before her time with us, Carol was one of our many monthly donors who frequently participated in our engaging events. 

She started her career with us as the Human Resources Manager and now leads the People & Culture team, which includes Human Resources, Volunteer Services, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Carol holds many certifications and qualifications including a Bachelor of Psychology, Human Resources Management Certificate, and Leadership & Inclusion Certificate. Carol provides a high degree of professionalism and empathy as a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) with the Humane Resources Professionals Association (HRPA). Carol is no stranger to the adoption process here and has adopted several animals over the course of many years including her dog named Rusty, and two cats named Millie and Pudding. Her experience has been enjoyable, as we value and appreciate the role of human resources, which has made her journey with us even more fulfilling. 

Dillon Dodson, RSW, MSW

Director, Social Work       

Since childhood, Dillon has been passionate about the healing power of animals. She has always sought opportunities to bring people and animals together, whether through animal-assisted therapy or equine-facilitated therapy.

Dillon’s educational background in Social Work includes a Bachelor’s Degree from McMaster University and a Master’s Degree from University of Toronto. She has also obtained certifications relevant to her field of specialization, including the Clinical Traumatologist designation from the Traumatology Institute Training Curriculum, the Supervisors/Managers Certificate from the Hostels Training Centre, and the Understanding and Managing Aggressive Behaviour certification. Dillon is also on the board of International Association of Veterinary Social Workers. With over  fifteen years of experience as a clinical social worker, Dillon is committed to providing the best possible care in situations that require immediate assistance. Her extensive background in supporting marginalized communities led us to implement the Urgent Care program and Wellness Popup Clinics.  

Dr. Jacklyn Ellis, MRes PhD CAAB CSB-C

Director, Behaviour

Dr. Jacklyn Ellis is board certified by the Animal Behavior Society as a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, is Certified in Shelter Behavior – Cat by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, and is the Director of Behaviour at Toronto Humane Society. 

She earned her PhD in Animal Welfare at the Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, where she conducted research on methods for reducing stress in shelter cats. Her work has been published widely in peer reviewed journals and she has presented at many national and international conferences, particularly on feline stress and elimination behaviour. She has recently authored two chapters for a new edition of the leading textbook on the behaviour and welfare of shelter animals.

Dr. Karen Ward, DVM

Chief Veterinary Officer

Dr. Ward received her DVM from the Ontario Veterinary College.  She was an ASPCA UC Davis Shelter Medicine fellow in 2012-13 and continues to act as a mentor in the Maddie’s Fund University of Wisconsin/University of California Davis Shelter Medicine Fellowship.  She volunteers as a peer advisor with the College of Veterinarians of Ontario and a member of the Community Reference Panel.  She has also acted as an expert witness and a mentor. 

Her clinical work includes community-based wellness and surgical clinics, bringing accessible veterinary care to underserved First Nations and urban communities in collaboration with community partners. This work helps overcome barriers to access to veterinary care, and helps keep people and pets happy, healthy and together.  Dr.  Ward is passionate about improving the lives of animals, and is proud to be an Elite Fear Free Certified Professional, a Fear Free Shelter Graduate and Low Stress Handling Certified – Silver.  Dr. Ward believes that shelter and community medicine is the world’s best job, and she is privileged to work at Toronto Humane Society. 

Krista Bulmer

Board of Directors, Chair  

Krista’s journey with Toronto Humane Society began nearly three decades ago when she welcomed her first feline companion from us, and a few years later she adopted an extraordinary dog. Motivated by a desire to make a meaningful impact and give back to Toronto Humane Society, Krista has come full circle, now serving as a valuable member of our Board.

Krista has actively represented the interests of animal rights advocates, demonstrating her unwavering dedication to creating a world where animals are treated with compassion and respect. Krista’s extensive experience of sitting on boards, combined with her legal background and hands-on involvement in animal rescue efforts, uniquely positions her to contribute a valuable perspective to Toronto Humane Society’s Board. Her dedication to shaping the future of animal welfare is evident in her multifaceted approach, blending legal acumen with a genuine passion for the well-being of animals. 

Larisa Nagelberg, PMP 

Director of Strategic Initiatives & Mission Advancement

Larisa is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). Her academic background includes education from University of Toronto, namely an Honours BA in Environmental Geography & Human Geography and certificate in Project Management. Over her 10-year tenure at the Toronto Humane Society, Larisa has made contributions in various operations, ranging from Animal Care to Adoptions, Foster, and Transport.

Passionate about the Human-Animal Bond, Larisa initiated the Urgent Care program in 2020, offering vital temporary animal housing to individuals facing crises. In her most recent role, she applied her keen interest in program development, partnership-building, and volunteer coordination to oversee the care for 1000+ animals each year. Larisa is currently on maternity leave and learning about the world of parenthood. Upon her return, she will take on the role of Director of Strategic Initiatives & Mission Advancement. She looks forward to making a meaningful difference for animals and their caregivers through implementing key initiatives that align with and propel our mission.

Lauralee Dorst, RVT

Director, Community Animal Welfare  

Lauralee’s passion for animal welfare and vast industry knowledge has allowed her to understand the challenges faced by communities when accessing veterinary care. Lauralee joined Toronto Humane Society in 2012 as a frontline Registered Veterinary Technician, bringing with her experience varied skillsets from the veterinary industry

Throughout her years with us, she’s achieved success and has held many positions, gaining knowledge in our Foster Program, Rescue Transport, and Admissions. In 2023, she became the Director of Community Animal Welfare where she continues to use her expertise to support and educate the public while providing quality veterinary services to animals in our care.

Dr. Linda Jacobson, BVSc MMedVet (Med) Ph.D

Senior Manager, Shelter Medicine Advancement  

Dr. Linda Jacobson is a passionate and accomplished veterinarian at our organization. She has adored and cared for the natural world all her life. Linda studied veterinary medicine in South Africa, completed a residency in internal medicine, and obtained a Ph.D. on a canine tropical disease.

She completed the shelter medicine certificate course through the University of Florida and has published 45 papers in peer-reviewed journals and has written a chapter about infectious diseases in community cats. She is the President and co-founder of the Ontario Shelter Medicine Association which has now become a national organization under her leadership, the Canadian Animal Shelter and Community Medicine Association (CASCMA). Linda’s experience and accomplishments have allowed her to include shelter and community medicine perspectives during important conversations that are engaged in regularly. She started as a volunteer at Toronto Humane Society and later positioned herself into her current DVM role where she can make a difference, continuously learn and grow, and work with an amazing community of staff, volunteers, and animals alike,

Melissa Shupak, CSB-D, CPDT-KA

Director, Animal Sheltering  

With a background in social work and experience in various animal fields, Melissa found her calling in sheltering and pursued her certifications as a Certified Shelter Dog Behaviour Consultant and Certified Animal Trainer. She has published internal articles on animal behaviour and has played a key role in developing our behaviour and training programs.

Melissa’s career with us began as an Animal Care Worker in 2015, and she has since moved up to become the Division Manager of Shelter Programs, and is now the Director of Animal Sheltering, overseeing multiple teams dedicated to Improving the Lives of Animals. Her commitment to animal welfare and extensive experience in behaviour training make her a valuable expert in the field. In her personal life, Melissa enjoys spending time with her rescue pets and promoting animal welfare in her community. 

Nabila Tisha

Board of Directors, Vice President  

Nabila is a distinguished fundraising executive with a profound commitment to philanthropy, boasting a career that spans over a decade. Throughout her professional journey, she has been unwavering in her dedication to developing robust revenue streams for numerous non-profit organizations. 

With a strategic and insightful approach, Nabila has become a trusted expert in the field, harnessing her skills to drive sustainable and diversified fundraising initiatives. Her passion for making a positive impact on the lives of animals has been a constant driving force in her career. As a lifelong animal advocate, Nabila brings a unique perspective to her role as she strives towards a future where animal shelters are no longer a necessity. Leveraging her wealth of experience, she plays a crucial part in steering the organization through innovative and effective fundraising strategies. Her aim is to ensure that Toronto Humane Society becomes a benchmark in the animal welfare sector, continuously evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of the animals under its care and, ultimately, leaving a lasting impact on the broader community.

Tegan Buckingham, CFRE, MSA

Director, Integrated Marketing and Development  

Tegan Buckingham is a passionate animal lover who’s devoted to giving back in honour of the animals that she has been surrounded with her entire life. Tegan’s Master’s Degree in Spatial Analytics from TMU (formerly Ryerson University) planted the roots for her career to blossom.

She started her career at Toronto Humane Society as an administrative assistant and grew to the position of Director of Integrated Marketing and Development. Tegan is a Certified Fund Raising Executive and outside of Toronto Humane Society, sits as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Precious Minds Support Services. Tegan has also written several publications while at Toronto Humane Society, including an organizational paper on estimating the population of community cats. Tegan is passionate about the work we do as a collective organization every day to help animals and loves seeing the direct impact the organization has on their lives. Ever since she was young, Tegan has always been passionate about animal welfare.  Working at Toronto Humane Society allows her to fulfill her lifelong passion and make a real difference in the lives of animals in need. Tegan finds it incredibly rewarding to be a driving force behind our success to Improve the Lives of Animals every day. 

Beyond the leadership roles, women across different functional areas within Toronto Humane Society are making significant contributions. Whether it’s in animal care, education, research, or advocacy, these women are on the front lines, working tirelessly to improve the lives of animals and promote a more inclusive and compassionate society. 

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we applaud the incredible women of Toronto Humane Society. Their dedication, passion, and tireless efforts, often behind the scenes, do not go unnoticed, and they make a profound impact on the lives of both animals and the community we serve.