Board of Directors

Jennifer Cadigan, President

Even before she joined the Board of Directors, Jennifer was active in rescue leadership: she organizes the cat behavior program at SAFe. Jennifer explains: “Providing positive reinforcement clicker training to the shy and scared cats so they learn to approach people has been the most rewarding part of my work… Seeing a scared cat transform into a social, happy cat who is adopted is the goal!” Jennifer was inspired to join the Board by the opportunity to create positive, lasting change for cats, kittens, and their people. When she’s not busy serving the rescue, Jennifer—who has a Ph.D. in psychology—carries out research at the University of Washington focused on developing prevention and intervention programs for adolescent and young adult substance use. In her spare time, she enjoys baking and traveling… And teaching her adopted kitty Emma how to high-five using the techniques from SAFe’s behavior training program!

Sara Blagg, Vice President

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 or handling probates, guardianships, and estate planning as an attorney at Anderson Hunter law firm, Sara enjoys spending time with her husband, pursuing her crafting hobbies, and caring for her cats: Martha, George and Socks.

Allison Gillespie, Treasurer

Allison dedicates her service on the Board of Directors to achieving one goal: making a big impact for animals in need! After starting out as a volunteer with the kitties, Allison was eager to put her expertise as an accountant to use: “This rescue may feel small, but we make a huge impact on the lives of cats and the community as a whole.” Watching shy cats blossom always warms Allison’s heart, and she shares her home with a grey tabby named Animal and a “tuxedo terror” aptly named Gremlin. When she’s not busy at work as a tax accountant for Getty Images, Allison has a penchant for adventure. She spends her leisure hours traveling and exploring new places around the world, hiking, practicing yoga or checking out local breweries. 

Monica Tackett, Secretary

Knowing that hundreds and cats and kittens will find a second chance at SAFe Rescue each year inspires Monica to serve on the Board of Directors. She has helped quite a few of those kitties, personally, too! Over the years, Monica has fostered a series of over 40 cats and kittens. She doesn’t shy away from opening her home to those who need a little extra help: “Fostering semi-feral kittens is hard, but when you finally can get one on your lap and it purrs and its little body relaxes to sleep… well it makes my day for sure.” Monica and her wife also share their home with three forever cats: Izzie, Ferris, and Della, a former foster kitten who brings a lot of energy to the household. When she’s not busy helping the rescue, you can find Monica at the Northwest Genomics Center at the University of Washington where her lab works on a project to sequence the human genome with the ultimate goal to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases.

Emily Dolan, Board Member at large

For Emily, rescuing 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 Colonel Ti.

 Lisa Hager, Board Member at large

Trained as a biologist, Lisa works in the field of public health education and research. Her career has inspired her interest in the biological development of cats and public health-related approaches to cat rescue. Bottle babies are especially close to Lisa’s heart, and she is dedicated to helping members of the community with TNR. (She finds the feline species’ ability to exist as both a feral animal and a loving human companion fascinating.) Lisa’s commitment to SAFe Rescue has deep roots: “As a volunteer—Board member, cage cleaner, medical update assistant, adoption counselor, foster, transporter, and more—with this rescue for over 15 years, I have particularly enjoyed being part of the truly amazing reorganization and growth of the rescue over the past 5 years.” When she’s not busy serving the kitties, you’ll find Lisa at the local Jane Austen book club or volunteering at a food bank. Lisa’s furry family consists of four cats, all ‘foster fails’ from SAFe Rescue.

Svetlana Popova, Board Member at large

By day, Svetlana—who has a Master of Science degree in Computer Engineering—works at Dynamic Signal, where she collaborates to build an Employee Communication and Advocacy platform. Then, after work, she puts on her kitty super hero cloak to champion the cause of felines in need! Svetlana’s volunteer experience as one of the rescue’s lead photographers inspired her to join the Board, and she uses her art to help place cats in homes: “It’s not only photography, it’s also convincing scared animals to relax and show their true sweet nature in front of the camera. I truly believe that a good soul portrait can help a homeless kitty find a loving family.” Svetlana has met and photographed rescue kitties of all ages and backgrounds, which motivates her work as a Board Member to raise awareness and help more animals and people find loving families and best friends. Svetlana takes her love for kitties home with her: her five cats are all SAFe Rescue graduates, including senior cat Wendell, special needs Manx kitties Halo and Pete, Manx cat Random, and their little friend Pixel. When she’s not busy serving on the Board or photographing kitties (or creating graphic designs and fostering, too), you can find Svetlana travelling, hiking, and taking landscape photographs of her adventures.

Lisa Reid, Immediate Past President

Lisa got started at SAFe Rescue as an “accidental volunteer” by helping fix the one and only computer while she was adopting a kitten. Lisa has seen a great deal of growth in all aspects of the organization since then—including the number of computers! When she is not busy serving on the rescue Board, Lisa manages the Transportation Group and Seattle office for a consulting firm called SCJ Alliance, focusing on arterial, highway, and sustainability transportation projects. Not surprisingly, Lisa’s all-time favorite rescue project was managing a group of volunteers to construct the new Adoption Center in 2014. Lisa’s heart goes out to the most at-risk cats, including seniors and kitties with skin infections: “I love knowing we truly are saving their lives.” She shares this dedication to animals with her family: her daughter’s interest in becoming a veterinarian inspires Lisa’s rescue work. Lisa and her family share their home with four cats and a boxer named Tesla, who keeps things interesting.

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