Leadership

Advocating for Animals

The leadership staff of Heidi’s Village brings over 100 years of collective experience in animal welfare to serve our most vulnerable population.
Virginia Jontes

Virginia Jontes

Founder

Virginia (Ginny) Jontes has always believed in providing a helping hand to those in need. Her philanthropic interests include animal welfare, domestic violence, homelessness, adoption programs, and medical intervention for humans and companion animals. She created the Virginia B. Jontes Foundation whose mission is to strengthen communities by supporting social services for at-risk human and companion animal populations. She envisions a world where nonprofit organizations are empowered to end homelessness, prevent domestic violence, provide affordable medical intervention in human and companion animal populations. There is no better example of Ginny’s generosity than her support of Heidi’s Village.
Ellen Clark

Ellen Clark

Chief Executive Officer

Ellen Clark has over 30 years’ experience in nonprofit management. Twenty of those years were dedicated to animal welfare. While at the Wisconsin Humane Society, she spearheaded a capital fundraising campaign to raise funds for and build a 22,000 square foot animal shelter in Grafton, WI. After moving to Phoenix, Arizona, she led the team at Altered Tails, a low-cost spay/neuter clinic for cats and dogs. She was responsible for expanding an existing spay/neuter clinic from providing 7,000 surgeries per year to becoming Arizona’s largest nonprofit spay/neuter clinic by providing over 23,000 surgeries per year. Her leadership has been integral to major successes for the animal welfare community.
Dr. Tess House, DVM

Dr. Tess House, DVM

Chief Veterinary Officer

Dr. Tess House grew up showing dogs in various obedience, agility, and showmanship events through her local 4-H club. She pursued her love of dogs into college, obtaining her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Master of Public Health degrees from the University of Minnesota. She has experience in small animal private practice, high volume spay/neuter, and teaching. Dr. House has volunteered on First Nations lands in the Midwest and served on five trips to Central and South America to provide vaccinations and spay/neuter surgeries. She is also a certified Human Animal Bond practitioner and a Certified Compassion Fatigue Professional.
Lisa Evans Johnson, CFRE

Lisa Evans Johnson, CFRE

Chief Development Officer

With more than 20 years in the non-profit development profession, Lisa is passionate about aligning individual and corporate advocates with the causes that are important to them in order to impact the advancement of our community. An animal lover who has taken in numerous rescues, Lisa currently attends to every whim of a 14-year-old chihuahua, “Jimmy”.
Kaitlyn Wright

Kaitlyn Wright

Director Of Operations

Kaitlyn comes to Heidi’s Village with an education background that she uses to lead growth in every position she tackles. She previously worked for Altered Tails, Arizona’s largest non-profit spay and neuter clinic and enjoys volunteering with various animal welfare groups around the valley.
Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson

HR/Volunteer Manager

Karen has an extensive background in animal welfare dating back to 2002 when, through an employee volunteer program, she began volunteering at several animal welfare organizations. Since then has volunteered at MCACC, Arizona Humane Society, Arizona Animal Welfare League, Animal Defense League of Arizona, and through the FixAdoptSave initiative. She has volunteered in all facets of animal welfare. The bond between humans and animals and being able to provide much-needed services to both continues to drive her passion in this field.
Dan Rasmussen

Dan Rasmussen

Environmental Services Manager

Dan brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Heidi’s Village with over 28 years in facilities management. Dan’s team ensures that Heidi’s Village campus is in tip-top shape and operating efficiently and effectively. Dan is cat dad to a cat named Stormie, a recent rescue from Arizona Humane Society!
Danae Smith, CPDT-KA, FFCP, CTDI, CCC

Danae Smith, CPDT-KA, FFCP, CTDI, CCC

Animal behavior Manager

Danae is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed and Fear Free Trainer. Previously, she created and led the Arizona Humane Society’s Public Pet Training programs  and during her time there, developed a socialization plan for litters in foster care and a Canine Good Citizen program to help pets learn great behavior before going into their new homes. She uses science-based, force free training methods so animals can be at-ease during their stay and acclimate quickly to a loving home. Danae enjoys advancing her education and has studied advanced learning theory, socialization in kittens and puppies and behavior modification.  She has a home filled with a variety of animals that get to enjoy learning tricks, but also be couch potatoes.

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