The Humane Society of Union County’s mighty Boarding of Directors shares a common bond that transcends any differences:
A Deep Love of Animals
As we meet the challenges of saving lives and running a successful nonprofit organization, our goal is to always nurture respect, resourcefulness and good humor.
From the time she was a toddler, Barbara has loved animals and even her hometown bears an animal’s name: Buffalo, NY. Barbara’s favorite books were dog-related, and her first job at 17 was at a boarding kennel, where she continued to hone her dog and cat expertise for 32 years. She joined our board in 1990 and continues to be one of our most vital and valued volunteers and foster Moms. (We still can’t figure out how someone who looks 25 years old has been on the board for 29 years!). Barbara claims that “Fostering is my heart and soul. I still feel a great excitement every time a new critter is coming. “I love helping them blossom into the cherished pets they were meant to be!” Barbara prides herself on being “the only human in my home, surrounded by my 4 cats, 3 dogs, and the assorted cast of foster characters as I prepare them to be the stars of their own shows.”
If it leaks, streaks, creaks or is weak, Mike Como shows up to help make it right, usually with his Golden Retriever Jack riding shotgun. Our Adoption Days yard, Pet Food Pantry, and Monroe Spay Neuter Clinic fall under Mike’s watchful eye. Additionally, Mike is wading through the permitting, plans and processes for our future expanded clinic. Mike is also a Town Councilman for the town of Wesley Chapel, where he resides with his family.
Ed Faulkner, DVM
We’re still pinching ourselves that Dr. Ed Faulkner is on our board; we’ve added the letters “RNG” (Really Nice Guy) to the top of his long list of veterinary credentials. Dr. Faulkner moved to Union County two years ago and owns Weddington Animal Hospital. After attending Belmont University in Nashville for his undergraduate degree, Dr. Faulkner attended North Carolina State University and was president of his veterinary class. He is a member of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association, the North Carolina Academy of Small Animal Medicine, and the American Association of Feline Practitioners. Dr. Faulkner has special interests in soft tissue and orthopedic surgery, infectious diseases, and internal medicine. When he’s not spending time with his human and fur family, Dr. Faulkner can be found rooting for his favorite team in just about any sport or taking off for the mountains and rivers of North Carolina to hike and indulge his love of trout fishing.
Heather Finn is our Board Treasurer and Director of the Monroe Low Cost Spay-Neuter Clinic. She first learned about the Humane Society when she and her husband were shopping for paint in Lowe’s one evening, and saw someone walking a dog with an “Adopt Me” vest. That dog stole their hearts and, as Heather says, “Our lives haven’t been the same since”. Heather became a committed volunteer, then a committed Board Member, and then an invaluable Clinic Director. Heather oversees a staff of 9, and under her direction, the clinic has grown an average of 20% each year. Since that first adoption of Charlie, Heather and her husband have adopted a dog named Bonnie, and Petey, both earning the distinction as “foster failures”.
As a real estate broker, mother of twins, a passionate equestrian, rescuer, and lover of all animals, Lisa Giovanniello has expanded her very full life to bring her fundraising and event planning expertise to the HSUC. Born in Rhode Island, Lisa went to college and worked in Boston, and then moved to the Charlotte area 20 years ago. She and her husband Tim and 10-year-old daughters now live in Waxhaw and “share our home with a 7-pound Chihuahua named Lily, an HSUC Chihuahua named Enzo, two guinea pigs named Eli and Max, and a beautiful white cat named Elsa. We also have 4 horses named Mark, Rhett, CC, and Ella and a miniature pony named Rosie. “Lisa loves riding and training her own horses and showing them at Arabian horse shows. What made Lisa choose to become part of the HSUC? “I am just floored by all the good that the HSUC does in the community to help dogs and cats. The HSUC shares my belief that pets should be part of a family.”
Nicole Moore-Johnson has owned and operated a premier pet care facility in Union County, NC since 2000. Charlotte Kennels in Indian Trail has a devoted following of clients for their boarding, training, grooming and doggie daycare facility; they also board cats and exotics. Her love of dogs started at a very young age when she learned the training and breeding of retrievers for field trial. Nicole received a BS in Nursing, and became a Vice President for a large dialysis corporation, overseeing 13 outpatient chronic centers and 4 inpatient acute centers. While she excelled at her career and found it rewarding, Nicole opened her own business in order to have more time closer to home and family. She has two grown children and two grown stepchildren. Nicole lives in Union County with her husband and 5 rescue dogs including Texas, a timid German Shepherd, Wiley Coyote, a clownish shepherd mix, Lillee, a diva poodle mix, Jill the road warrior, a Jack Russell mix, and “balanced” Lucy, another Jack Russell mix. Nicole has been an animal rescuer for over two decades and has greatly increased the Humane Society’s kitten and cat adoptions through her efforts.
DIRECTOR OF FOSTERS AND ADOPTIONS
While most of us are still hugging our pillows, hours away from a ringing alarm, Kim Siewert hits the ground running by 4 a.m. most days and continues for 14-16 hours. She’s truly an on-the-frontlines gem who oversees every aspect of rescue, from intake to adoption. A “day in the life of Kim” includes countless veterinary runs, “Freedom Rides” from near-death at animal control, bottle feeding kittens or puppies, delivering foster animals and supplies to homes around Union County, reviewing applications and speaking to potential homes, fielding phone calls, and attending every adoption event. This tireless volunteer is originally from Rochester, NY, Kim and her husband Brad moved to NC and became dog foster parents in 2015—and, as they say, the rest is history. Kim and Brad have a special love for black dogs which are harder to adopt; Bo and Mo are their personal rescues, the latter a very senior boy that they fell hard for last summer when he was abandoned by his owner.
Laurie Smith exchanged a career in Advertising in NY City to start a new adventure in North Carolina. She was a VP and Creative Supervisor for Grey Worldwide, and a promotion writer for Sports Illustrated Magazine. Almost as soon as they arrived in Charlotte, Laurie was able to fulfill one of her lifetime dreams: to own a shaggy dog, which then led to another shaggy dog. Her love of the long-haired canines lured Laurie to pursue a new career as a professional dog groomer. After five glorious years as a pet stylist, carpals tunnel forced her to abandon the grooming business she loved. Laurie returned to studies and became certified as a Business Coach in 2008. Currently, Laurie shares her skills from three successful careers with the Humane Society. She and her husband Harvey live with what she describes as “only” 2 dogs and 3 cats.
Laura Sur has taken on many roles in her years with the Humane Society while raising two daughters and working for an accounting business. Laura served as the Humane Society’s Board Treasurer and Secretary and continues to contribute her accounting skills to monthly financials. Her volunteer work over the years has included welcoming approximately 100 foster animals into her home. Laura is now a grandmother and dog Mom to Ruby, Willy, and Deuce. Growing up, Laura was an “IBM brat”, and lived in Alabama, New York, Kentucky, and Charlotte before settling in Monroe, NC
Marcie is our longest-serving Board member, as well as Past-President from 1983-1993. This Charlotte, NC, native pursued a career in Human Resources with two notable Charlotte companies: the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center and Ivey’s Department Store. When Charlotte’s first holistic veterinary practice opened, it was Marcie who greeted clients and helped build the practice with her Customer Service and Front Desk skills. Marcie says that “Helping animals and people are in my DNA”. After 13 years, Marcie decided to spend more time finding her joy on the golf course and enjoying her family. She is a mother of 2, grandmother of 3 and has one great-granddaughter. Marcie and her husband live in Charlotte with their rescue poodle Peaches.
Deborah Zappa is President of the all-volunteer Board of Directors of the Humane Society of Union County. Deb was always an animal lover but didn’t become a pet owner until she moved to Charlotte from Michigan. She and her husband Marc have opened their home to nearly a dozen dogs and cats, and sponsored medical treatment for countless others. This successful entrepreneur and business owner had a previous career as a Special Education teacher; these roles have contributed to Deborah’s ability to juggle any organization’s daily challenges with skill, humor, and grace. After serving as the Humane Society’s Vice President, Deborah stepped into the role of President in August of 2018. Deborah welcomes opportunities to speak at local groups, sharing her vision for the Humane Society and her passion for animal advocacy. Each year, Deborah looks forward to gaining new inspiration and insights at the national conference for the Best Friends Animal Society.