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Executive Leadership
Elena Bicker
Executive Director

Prior to following her dream into animal welfare, Elena Bicker earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from St. Mary's College of California and spent 11 years with GE Capital.

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Prior to following her dream into animal welfare, Elena Bicker earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from St. Mary's College of California and spent 11 years with GE Capital. She joined ARF as a volunteer in 1993 and became an employee in 1998. In her first year as a staff member she generated more than $1 million in funding, and her marketing and strategic planning skills quickly led to her promotion to Marketing Director. She was promoted to Executive Director in 2006.

Her accomplishments include increasing adoptions at ARF's shelter by 23 percent, retiring the $3.1 million capital debt, and establishing an endowment for the first time in the organization's history. She has streamlined efficiencies while growing programs, elevating ARF from two-stars to the highest four-star rating on Charity Navigator, the nation's premier independent charity evaluator. In 2019, she secured a four-star rating for ARF for the 12th consecutive year, an achievement obtained by only 1% of charities rated.

Elena is a prominent member of the animal welfare community, developing long-term collaborative shelter relationships with national and local agencies. In 2007, she received special Congressional Recognition for Outstanding & Invaluable Service to the Community as a graduate of Leadership Contra Costa. In 2010, she was recruited by the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce for board membership and served a two-year term. In 2016, she was inducted into the Contra Costa Commission for Women's Hall of Fame for Women Demonstrating Leadership. 

Elena resides in Danville, California with her husband and ARF rescue dogs, Mia and Jax.

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Stephanie Chew
Development Director

Stephanie joined ARF in 2018 and has 18 years of non-profit experience. She began her career in community development and volunteer recruitment, and has 15 years of experience in fundraising and marketing.

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Stephanie joined ARF in 2018 and has 18 years of non-profit experience. She began her career in community development and volunteer recruitment, and has 15 years of experience in fundraising and marketing. Her development team coordinates all of ARF's marketing and fundraising campaigns, including our signature events and publications – Animals on Broadway, Wine & Whiskers, Stars to the Rescue, The Scoop, and Paws Press. Stephanie grew up in the Diablo Valley and earned her Bachelors of Arts in Photography from University of California, Santa Cruz.

For Development inquiries, contact Erin Jones ([email protected], (925) 296-3149) or Wendy Taylor-Tanielian ([email protected], (925) 296-3107).

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Stephanie Erickson
Operations Director

Stephanie Erickson's career began in the financial sector in key leadership and strategic business management positions, while volunteering extensively with local animal groups.

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Stephanie Erickson's career began in the financial sector in key leadership and strategic business management positions, while volunteering extensively with local animal groups. Inspired, she began her animal welfare career in 2007 and held roles as Director of Operations and Interim Executive Director at the Berkeley Humane Society and Wildlife Rehabilitation Director at Lindsay Wildlife Museum before joining ARF in 2014. Stephanie holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of California, Berkeley where she acts as an Academic Advisor, and is currently pursuing a master's degree in International Animal Welfare through the University of Edinburgh.

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Tracy Gimbel
Animal Programs Director

Tracy joined the ARF team in 2015. As Animal Programs Director, she supervises and coordinates the activities and operations of the animal shelter, adoption team, and behavior and training departments.

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Tracy joined the ARF team in 2015. As Animal Programs Director, she supervises and coordinates the activities and operations of the animal shelter, adoption team, and behavior and training departments. Prior to joining ARF, Tracy spent 25 years in the hotel industry, holding numerous positions including Director of Sales and Marketing and Corporate Director of Sales. In these roles, she managed large sales teams and a revenue portfolio exceeding $75 million.

Tracy grew up in a family owned business in Concord, California and attended Diablo Valley College. Tracy is a graduate of the 2018 Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce Leadership Contra Costa Program. Tracy now makes her home in Antioch, California with her husband and their two rescue dogs, Gabby and Logan.

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Cheryl McKenna
Chief Administrative Officer

Cheryl joined ARF in 2019, bringing with her 20 years of accounting experience. She spent 15 of those years as a CFO in the non-profit arena, cultivating strong financial, human resource, and information technology systems within her organizations.

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Cheryl joined ARF in 2019, bringing with her 20 years of accounting experience. She spent 15 of those years as a CFO in the non-profit arena, cultivating strong financial, human resource, and information technology systems within her organizations. She thoroughly enjoys providing leadership and has served on local, state, and national committees. Cheryl lives in Bethel Island, California with her partner, Jim, and their growing clan of canine kiddos.

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