Leadership

 

CHRISTY SCHILLING

Executive Director

Christy joined Bark Avenue Foundation in August 2017 as its first full-time Executive Director. She oversees all Bark Avenue Foundation departments and programs, ensures the advancement of BAF’s mission, and leads organizational fundraising, operations, and marketing efforts.

Christy has always had a love for animals, people and giving back which is why she earned her BA degree in Sociology/Social Welfare from Cal State University Northridge. She worked and volunteered with pregnant and parenting teens, victims of domestic violence and low income housing recipients. Through this, her eyes were widely opened to the plight of animals so she shifted her focus to helping pets and people through humane education, legislation, mobile adoptions, coordinating fosters, volunteers and transports, and partnering with a variety of organizations. After 15 years in animal welfare volunteerism she co-founded the non-profit The Animal Protectorates (TAPS) with the mission to Teach, Advocate, Protect and Support. She was awarded 2014 Woman of the Year by Congressman Adam Schiff and the 2016 Animal Activist award from Animal PAC for her animal welfare work.

Board of Directors

RICHARD KRELSTEIN

Board Chair & President

 Richard has over 40 years of operations and financial experience with both domestic and international firms. Richard’s experience as a business visionary and leader with the ability to “look outside of the box” has led to numerous companies retaining him as their president and/or CEO. Richard prides himself on his ability to look at the long range goals of the company while keeping in mind that every company’s most important assets are its management and employees. Richard’s family’s Yorkies rule the house!

 

 

 

BRAD FORNACIARI

Vice President

Brad is Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University Graziadio Graduate School of Business, Founder/President of Lighthouse Branding, Co-Founder/Partner of RideWell High Performance Equine Products and he is a consultant to various investment and venture capital companies. Brad has a record of innovatively solving critical business, marketing, branding, & communications challenge and he has held leadership positions at some of the largest, most respected agencies in the world, including J. Walter Thompson (President) and Ogilvy & Mather (Managing Partner). Brad holds an MBA from Pepperdine University and a BA from the University of Colorado. He has served on numerous boards and is a frequent guest lecturer at universities as well as a judge at business plan competitions.

 

KATE SAWYER

Treasurer

Kate was born and raised in New York City but has lived in Los Angeles for the past 22 years. She graduated from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont with a BA in French and a minor in Spanish. For more than 18 years, Kate has worked for Cheesecake Factory, where she is Manager of Internal Audit. Kate has served as a Big Sister with Big Brothers/Big Sisters for eight years and is still in contact with her “little”. Currently, she is a bi-ped Mom to 2 quadra-peds, Ella and Charley.

 

 

 

HR Advisor

LAURA BRAGLIA

HR Advisor

Laura Braglia is based out of Chicago after growing up in Michigan and subsequently spending several years on the west coast.  Laura is graduate of Arizona State University with a B.A. in Human Communication and also recently obtained her Senior Professional of Human Resources certification.  She is the Senior Manager of the Accounting and Corporate Operations Support Team at The Cheesecake Factory, Incorporated, working as a bridge between the corporate center and restaurant units for Finance and HR matters.  In her spare time, Laura enjoys rooting for the Chicago Bears, leading walking tours for the Chicago History Museum as a volunteer guide and all things food and wine related.

 

 

Founder

MELANIE POZEZ

Founder

Galvanized into acting to better animals’ lives when a pitbull who lost a fight in the Chicago projects and was still living when she found him dumped behind her loft, Melanie founded Chicago Canine Rescue in 1997. When she moved to Los Angeles, Melanie founded Bark Avenue Foundation in 2004. More than ten years later, Melanie remains dedicated to empowering pet owners and local communities to reduce abandoned animal populations through spay/neuter, pet retention, pet reclamation and humane education.