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. Leo Egar, VMD

Dr. Leo Egar, VMD

Chief Veterinary Officer

Dr. Leo Egar graduated from The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. While studying at Pennsylvania Dr. Egar developed a passion for shelter medicine and humanitarian work. Post graduation Dr. Egar completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at a busy emergency and referral practice in Phoenix Arizona. Dr. Egar has participated in the veterinary medical response to major disasters including the 2004 Indian ocean tsunami and hurricane Katrina as well as many large-scale animal investigations. Dr. Egar has been an invited speaker at several national humane and disaster conferences as well as multiple veterinary schools. Dr. Egar has completed multiple training courses in shelter medicine, animal cruelty investigation and surgery.

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 her tiny chihuahua, “Baby”.

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson

Chief Operations officer

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!
Sheridan Shilling, FFCP

Sheridan Shilling, FFCP

Animal Care Team Manager

A Phoenix native, Sheridan has always been  passionate about helping the animals in her community. She spent most of her career working in various roles at the 2nd largest open intake shelter in the US, which is where she gained her extensive knowledge and skillset in shelter, rescue, and behavior management. While Sheridan shares a home with multiple dogs, the love of her life is her “little old lady baby”, Jedi.

William Dardon

William Dardon

Human resources manager

William grew up in Guatemala and talks about the great privilege he’s had to travel many places in the world. With that, unfortunately, he saw just how little attention is given to animal welfare and rescue in many other places including his home country. Will hopes to someday be able to take what he learns every day at Heidi’s Village back home and improve the situation for animals there. When he is taking a break or not at work Will can be found attending to every whim of his pup Horus.

Paige Wood, CBCC-KA

Paige Wood, CBCC-KA

Animal Behavior Manager

Paige earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2018, where she double majored in molecular, cell, and developmental biology and anthropology. Although Paige found a wealth of satisfaction in science and research, she has always been passionate about shelter animals. With a decade of hands-on experience in various animal care facilities, Paige moved to Arizona post-graduation to continue her career in animal behavior. She attributes her shelter animal knowledge to her work on the behavior team at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, one of the highest open-intake shelters in the nation, and in 2020 she received the advanced certification of Certified Behavior Consultant Canine – Knowledge Assessed (CBCC-KA) from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT). She shares her life with two dogs: Steve, a blind and deaf pit bull adopted in 2013, and Frieda Bones, a goofy mutt adopted in 2019. 

Traci Pepper

Traci Pepper

veterinary clinic manager

Traci has a diverse animal welfare background, spanning 20 years. After working as a clinic technician in HVHQ Spay/Neuter, she turned to field work and emergency response. Traci spent ten years as an animal cruelty investigator and disaster responder, deploying for animal rescue, sheltering and veterinary support during major disasters including the 2003 Cedar and Paradise Fires and Hurricane Katrina. She has also served as head of Field Veterinary Clinics for a global non-profit in Thailand. While Traci has a passion for travel, her best friend, a Great Pyrenees mix, keeps her closer to home these days.  

SCHEDULE A TOUR

Come and see for yourself how we care for our pets and the thought behind our new facilities

SUBSCRIBE

Become a subscriber to receive our monthly newsletter with all the latest on Heidi’s Village