Board of Directors

Jennifer Cadigan, President

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 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.

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 working at Amazon, 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.

Tony Dexter, Board Member at large

Helping felines find homes is what inspires Tony’s service: “The cats in my life have always been a key component of my home happiness and can only hope they feel the same way about me.” Tony joined the rescue’s Board of Directors with the goal of helping other and felines and humans find the same joy. Between work as a Regional Vice President at PRGX and rescue leadership, Tony stays extremely busy. When he does have free time, he enjoys travel, antique cars, and running. (He aspires to run another half marathon soon!) Tony’s family includes two adopted felines. Although they are siblings, you wouldn’t know it if you met them: black-haired Pepper is a little “fireball,” while laid-black Sassy resembles a ragdoll. 

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.

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.

David Recchia, Board Member at large

With the goal of helping kittens and cats who cannot help themselves, David was inspired to bring his experience as an HR professional to the rescue’s Board of Directors. “I believe my HR background can help the Board and the employees with many different issues, such as benefits, compensation, employee recognition, attendance, discipline, counseling, career path, and general working environment.” Although kittens are adorable, David is especially drawn to older cats: his family includes Karlie, a rescued kitty with three paws, no meows, and lots of love. When he’s not busy helping animals, you can find David working out or practicing his favorite hobby: prospecting for gold. As a member of a Prospector’s Club with five claims around the gold town of Liberty by Blewett Pass, David has one of the most unique pastimes of all the Board Members!  

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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