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ARF Programs
Programs & Services

Please click here  for the most up-to-date information on operations during COVID-19.

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Work for ARF
Careers

Bring your expertise and love for animals to ARF! As ARF continues to grow, so does the need for talented, enthusiastic team members in a variety of roles.   Click here to view ARF's current job listings.

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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 2020, she secured a four-star rating for ARF for the 13th 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, bringing 18 years of non-profit experience to ARF's team. 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, bringing 18 years of non-profit experience to ARF's team. 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. Stephanie grew up in California's 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). For media inquiries, please submit a media inquiry

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Rebecca Katz
Interim Director, Community Programs

Rebecca is a licensed attorney who has devoted her life and career to public interest, social justice, and advocacy for vulnerable communities.

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Rebecca is a licensed attorney who has devoted her life and career to public interest, social justice, and advocacy for vulnerable communities. She was a Deputy City Attorney for San Francisco, where she drafted animal welfare legislation that has since been replicated across California and the United States.

From 2008-2014, Rebecca served as the Director of Animal Care and Control (ACC) for the City and County of San Francisco, where she pioneered new policy initiatives and programs. This includes their highly successful WOOF program, which paired formerly homeless residents with difficult dogs requiring special training and attention.

In late 2014, Rebecca was hired to oversee the transition of Oakland Animal Services (OAS) into a standalone department under the City Administrator's Office. She and her team made huge strides in advancing the quality of care for Oakland's animals and people. Under her leadership, OAS saw great improvement in outcomes, including a jump in the live release rate from 56% to over 86%. The average length of stay for animals decreased dramatically, from an average of 31 days to 19 days. With better-trained, more knowledgeable staff along with an ever-growing pool of dedicated volunteers, OAS now operates well above industry standards.

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Robert Lutz
Animal Programs Director

Bob has over a decade of animal welfare experience with shelters and nonprofit organizations across the country.

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Bob has over a decade of animal welfare experience with shelters and nonprofit organizations across the country. In 2014, he joined the ASPCA as an anti-cruelty behavior consultant for a federal, multi-state dog fighting case where he helped implement a comprehensive behavior program. Bob then advanced to become the Shelter Manager for Animal Alliance of New Jersey. He has strong experience in dog training and behavior modification, with a passion for positive reinforcement, reward-based training. As an ARF employee since 2016, Bob's most recent Shelter Manager role involved leading the organization's largest department and overseeing intake, behavior, and daily care.

Bob strongly believes in ARF's "educator spirit" and has completed Fear Free Shelters, Koret Shelter Medicine's Capacity for Care, and PetSmart Charities' Rescue Waggin' programs. As a lifelong animal advocate, Bob is committed to strengthening community partnerships and serves as an alum for Leadership Contra Costa.

When he's not working, Bob likes to spend his time hiking and exploring the Bay Area with his wife and pit bull rescue, Carmela.

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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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Wendy Taylor-Tanielian
Chief of Staff

Wendy's background as a marketing and communication strategist includes creative engagement work for brands such as AT&T, DIRECTV, Tenet Healthcare, and a roster of political clients.

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Wendy's background as a marketing and communication strategist includes creative engagement work for brands such as AT&T, DIRECTV, Tenet Healthcare, and a roster of political clients. A born storyteller, aka a Texan, she also is a dedicated problem-solver and passionately committed to ARF's mission. When her nose isn't in a pile of market research or animal statistics, she's often puzzling her teammates with obscure lyric references. Wendy and her husband share their Bay Area home with ARF rescue dog, Max, and rescue cats Bella and Vougie.

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Erin Jones
Leadership and Legacy Giving Manager

Erin Jones has more than 20 years of experience in advancement, fundraising, and communications, serving in leadership roles at UCSF, De La Salle, Athenian, and other independent schools.

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Erin Jones has more than 20 years of experience in advancement, fundraising, and communications, serving in leadership roles at UCSF, De La Salle, Athenian, and other independent schools. She's helped organize and successfully implement numerous fundraising campaigns ranging from $10M to $530M, and launched her early career working in an East Coast fundraising consulting firm advising independent schools and social service clients.

When not at work, Erin enjoys cheering on local Bay Area sports teams, keeping up with her two children, and her ARF cat, Snuggles, and ARF lab mix, Maisy.

For development inquiries, contact Erin at [email protected] or (925) 296-3149.

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