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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 2-stars to the highest 4-star rating on Charity Navigator, the nation’s premier independent charity evaluator. In 2016, she secured a 4-star rating for ARF for the ninth consecutive year, an acheivement obtained by only 1% of charities rated.

Elena is a predominant 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 with her husband and ARF rescue dogs, Mia and Jax.

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Sara Bragg
Community Programs Director

Sara Bragg’s diverse career in animal welfare spans 16 years and includes leadership roles at the Berkeley Humane Society and East Bay SPCA in shelter operations, education, and community support services.

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Sara Bragg’s diverse career in animal welfare spans 16 years and includes leadership roles at the Berkeley Humane Society and East Bay SPCA in shelter operations, education, and community support services. She joined ARF as Marketing Manager in 2012 and managed organization-wide branding and communications before her extensive background in non-profit program development led to her promotion in 2016. Sara holds a degree in Sociology and is a graduate of the Leadership Contra Costa program. Her passion is preserving and promoting the human-animal bond to the mutual benefit of people and pets in the community.

Sara resides in her beloved hometown of Martinez with her husband, daughter, two ARF cats, and an 80 pound puppy named Otter.

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Elaine Durkin
Finance Director

Elaine Durkin is originally from Scotland and earned her BA in Accounting from Glasgow Caledonian University. Prior to joining ARF in 2011, Elaine held the position of Controller for the YWCA of Contra Costa County.

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Elaine Durkin is originally from Scotland and earned her BA in Accounting from Glasgow Caledonian University. Prior to joining ARF in 2011, Elaine held the position of Controller for the YWCA of Contra Costa County. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Elaine shares her home in Concord with her husband, twin daughters, and rescue dog, Ginger.

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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.

Stephanie makes her home in Alamo with her husband, son, and four rescued cats.

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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 now makes her home in Antioch, California with her husband Mike and their three dogs Jazz, Gabby, and ARF rescue dog, Logan.

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Erin Jones
Development Director

Erin Jones brings more than 20 years of experience in advancement, fundraising, and communications to ARF serving in leadership roles at UCSF, De La Salle, Athenian, and most recently, Bentley School.

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Erin Jones brings more than 20 years of experience in advancement, fundraising, and communications to ARF serving in leadership roles at UCSF, De La Salle, Athenian, and most recently, Bentley School. 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 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 teenage children, and her ARF cat, Snuggles, and labradoodle, Kona.

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Gaye McDuff
Volunteer Services Director

Gaye McDuff joined ARF in 2003 and has more than 15 years of experience recruiting, hiring and orientating staff and 13 years of experience in community outreach.

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Gaye McDuff joined ARF in 2003 and has more than 15 years of experience recruiting, hiring and orientating staff and 13 years of experience in community outreach. She obtained her BA in Psychology from San Francisco State University and completed graduate work in Human Resources at UC Berkeley. Gaye is a graduate of the 2010 Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce Leadership Contra Costa program and holds a Certificate in Fundamental Human Resource Management from the Northern California Human Resource Association. She also holds an AA in Early Childhood Education/Child Development.

Gaye and her husband (also an ARF volunteer) live in Concord with their ARF rescue dog, Simon, and cats, Dusty and Mitzi.

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Sally Wortman
Clinic Director

Sally Wortman has more than 17 years of experience in animal welfare, and worked at the San Francisco SPCA and Pets Unlimited before joining ARF in 2014.

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Sally Wortman has more than 17 years of experience in animal welfare, and worked at the San Francisco SPCA and Pets Unlimited before joining ARF in 2014. Her roles have included hospital administration and executive leadership with a focus on charitable veterinary care programs. Sally especially enjoys fostering a collaborative, team-based culture that focuses on the client experience. Sally has a degree in foreign languages from Lewis and Clark College.

Sally shares her home in San Francisco with her husband and two rescue dogs, and enjoys spending her free time riding her horse on the trails in the beautiful East Bay hills.

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