Board of Directors

Sara Blagg,

For Sara, adopting a cat from SAFe Rescue was only the beginning! One thing led to another: her new kitty’s story inspired Sara to begin fostering… Fostering led to a “Foster Triumph” and another adoption… And these two additions to Sara’s family inspired her to give back by joining the SAFe Board of Directors. As Sara explains, “It’s always touching when the rescue can find a home for a cat who was otherwise ‘unadoptable’ or in danger of being euthanized. Two of my cats came to Seattle from California and I’m so thankful for the programs and partnerships that brought them to us… Serving the rescue is a way to give back to SAFE because we are so appreciative of what they have given us.” When she’s not busy rescuing felines and working as an attorney at the University of Washington, Sara enjoys spending time with her husband, pursuing her crafting hobbies, and caring for her cats: Martha, George and Socks.

Katherine Baer,

Katherine’s commitment to animal rescue leadership began after she adopted one of her kitties from SAFe. “When I decided I wanted to give back to the place that had given me my best friend, I recognized that my background in accounting might be something helpful I could share.” As someone who was already on the Finance Committee, her love for cats inspired her to take on fostering as well. The perspective Katherine developed in both roles is what motivated her to join the Board of Directors. Although Katherine adores all cats, vulnerable kitties who are ill and scared hold a special place in her heart. What inspires her the most about this work is giving cats and kittens the opportunity to heal and grow until they’re ready to find their new families. She especially enjoys, “Hearing from the families of my former fosters about their new wonderful lives, as well as lending my knowledge as SAFe looks forward to a new, big future supporting even more cats and their families.” Katherine cherishes helping directly and in a higher-level capacity. When Katherine isn’t being a rockstar for the Rescue kitties, she loves training in Olympic Weightlifting and usually competes a few times a year. Katherine is also a cat mama to two lovely former SAFe cats adopted in 2017 and 2019, Ollie who is a complete sweetheart, and Theodore who is quite the goofball.

Emily Dolan,

For Emily, helping animals in need is both a passion and a career. As a Director of Research in the Research and Strategy Department at the ASPCA, Emily works to find the most effective ways to advance the field of animal welfare. Emily holds a PhD in Public Health from the University of Washington and brings compassion both for animals and the people who love them to her work. Because of her commitment to research and best practices, Emily especially appreciates SAFe Rescue’s open-minded approach: “I like our commitment to evidence and to keeping our eye on the right outcomes for the cats instead of doing things a certain way because that is what we have always done. This sort of forward and expansive thinking is why we are so successful and why we are going to be able to do so many amazing things in the future.” When she is not busy serving homeless animals as a researcher, Board Member, and kitty foster parent, Emily—a black belt Nia instructor—teaches holistic fitness, farms her little garden, and enjoys the company of her two cats: a brown tabby named Buddington Friday and a black and white kitty named The Colonel.

Kaitie Coghlan,
Board Member at Large

In her two and a half years of involvement with SAFe Rescue, Kaitie has been most inspired by feline resilience and the humans dedicated to their care. She says: “The best part of working with SAFe is seeing all the kittens and cats in terrible situations survive and thrive. The intervention and incredible care by SAFe employees, volunteers and donors who support the organization is nothing short of amazing.  Organizations like SAFe are community staples, and an integral asset to society.” Kaitie herself shares a life with a 15-year-old rescue kitty named Phyllis, whom she describes as “full of cattitude and cuddles.” Kaitie splits her time between her West Seattle home and work trips to the East Coast, though her happy place is snuggled up with Phyllis watching Bravo reality TV or a cheesy Lifetime movie. She’s excited to expand her time and knowledge with the Rescue as it celebrates its tenth anniversary: “I look forward to SAFe’s 20th Year!”

Julie Edwards,
Board Member at Large

Julie finds inspiration in SAFe Rescue’s values and respect for each feline life: “I love that SAFe works to find good outcomes for even the most difficult to place kitties.” As a foster, Julie and her family have given temporary shelter to many such felines over the years. Two of these harder-to-place cats have found a permanent place in Julie’s family, as well! Leo received treatment for ringworm at SAFe, before capturing Julie’s heart, and Robin faced multiple challenges before he became a foster triumph. “Robin is an absolute blessing for us. He was rescued from wildfires and near starvation, as well as suffering from multiple health conditions that some shelters would euthanize for.” For Julie, animal welfare is both rewarding and uplifting: “I get a lot of joy from seeing cats and humans brought together… My cats enrich my life so much that I can’t imagine it without them, and I love helping other people find that joy.” When Julie isn’t busy saving kitties, you can find her folding origami, dancing, and styling bonsai trees.

Elizabeth Holtfreter,
Board Member at Large

Elizabeth found her way to SAFe’s Board when her beloved senior kitties passed away in 2023. “I was looking for a way to fill the void until I was in a position to commit to another cat (or cats) long-term. I was also looking for a meaningful way to give back to something bigger than myself.” As a CPA specializing in nonprofit auditing, Elizabeth brings a valuable perspective to the table. She’s also a member of our foster community, which involves, in her words: “Helping these sweet souls get a leg up in life.” In addition to her rotation of foster friends, Elizabeth cohabitates with a 15-pound chihuahua mix named Wally and hopes to add a horse to the mix soon! Outside of animal welfare and horseback riding, Elizabeth can be found gardening, hiking and birdwatching.

Shelley Lawson,
Board Member at Large

A former SAFe staff member of nearly a decade and the caretaker of three SAFe alums at home (Odin, Baldr, and Hades), Shelley says: “Seeing the ways that SAFe has grown its impact for cats and the humans who love them means so much. The wonderful cats and the wonderful people are both my favorite!” Now Director of Development & Communications for Refugee Artisan Initiative, Shelley also keeps herself busy volunteering as Fundraising Advisor for JJoy Foundation, running her own piano teaching business, and participating in volunteer adventures across the globe. She has a soft spot for watching shy cats come out of their shells: “Helping them build up the courage to trust humans is so rewarding!” In addition to her three SAFe graduates, Shelley shares her home with an ancient dog, Persephone, two chickens (She-Hulk and Diana the Wonder Chicken), some feral fish in the backyard pond, and her husband, Erik.

Ashutosh Pandey,
Board Member at Large

Ashutosh’s passion for animals inspired him to join SAFe’s community as both a Board Member and foster. “I want to be a voice for cats and help provide them with the best lives possible,” he says. “I’m all about giving cats a brighter future and getting that heartwarming validation from them.” Outside of animal welfare. Ashutosh enjoys hiking, playing pickleball, and whipping up delicious meals. But there’s one hobby in particular Ashutosh has been getting off the ground: “I’m also a student pilot with dreams of soaring the skies soon!”

Quinn Sanderson at Greater Tacoma Convention Center, on Monday, January 31, 2022 in Tacoma, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear)

Quinn Sanderson,
Board Member at Large

Quinn’s involvement with SAFe spans back to 2017, when she started as a volunteer. “I love the community SAFe has built and the focus not just on getting cats into homes, but also supporting the humans who love and care for them,” she says. “It’s been so cool to see the growth of the organization: moving to a bigger space, expanding services, increasing fundraising goals, etc.” One of Quinn’s previous roles was front desk volunteer, where she developed a self-proclaimed “soft-spot for tough sells” (cats that took a little longer to get adopted due to age, behavioral, or medical needs). “Seeing any cat get adopted is great, but it was extra special when it was one of those cases.” Quinn shares her home with two cats: Luna, a grumpy, fluffy girl, and Penn, a sweet but mischievous Devon Rex. Her non-cat hobbies include playing board games with friends, reading, enjoying the outdoors, visiting bookstores and coffee shops, and fiber crafts like crochet and embroidery.

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