Leadership and Program Support

Heather Gehrke

Executive Director

Heather graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a Bachelor of Business Administration, majoring in Finance and Real Estate.  She has also taken non-profit management courses through UW-Milwaukee. Most of Heather’s career has been in the non-profit sector.  It is Elmbrook Humane Society (EBHS) who moved Heather to become involved in animal welfare.  After adopting Teki from EBHS in 2000 during the first ever “Scratch and Dent Sale” of 2000, she was moved by the great work our team at the time carried out each and every day and became a volunteer.  She spent time with our dogs, volunteered at Wag Walk (now Wagfest), and served on our Board of Directors before moving to Onalaska, WI.  Heather was the Executive Director of Coulee Region Humane Society from 2004-2012.  She took a short break from animal welfare and joined the EBHS team once again in April 2013. When Heather thinks about the work we do every single day to positively impact the lives of animals and humans, she can’t imagine anything more rewarding!  Heather is very lucky to have parents who involved pets in her life since childhood!  She has currently been adopted by a 7 year old Siberian Husky who is deaf and super smart, knowing sign language and working to become a pet therapy dog. She also has an 8 year old DMH feline who found his way into her life first as a foster as the result of being a burn victim and then permanently as a result of adoption. Heather enjoys traveling – returning from time to time to a few of her favorite spots as well as exploring new places. When not traveling, working, or volunteering, she enjoys sticking close to her home spending time with her dog and cat, family and friends, and relaxing in her backyard. Choosing a quote is tough as there are many quotes Heather finds inspiring; one of her favorites is, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou

Anita Alfaro

Annual Giving and Special Events Manager

Anita attended UW-Whitewater with a BA in Communications and a minor in Recreation. Before working at EBHS, Anita’s family fostered cats and kittens through another organization for four years.  Anita has worked in development and event planning in the non-profit sector for over seventeen years and she loves it!  Anita’s family has three cats (Nacho, Sweetie and Callie), two cockatiels (NeNe and CoCo), and five goldfish that have all been won at area church festivals by Anita’s son. In her free time, Anita loves spending time with her family and friends, crafting, reading, shopping, being active at her son’s school, and watching Brewers games.  She and her husband also enjoy watching their son swim, playing video games with him, and watching him play percussion in his Middle School band. Two of Anita’s favorite sayings are “You Rock” and “Always Smile”!

Doreen Brecheisen


Doreen handles the finances for EBHS. Over the years she has worked as a pharmacist and in finance. She was drawn to EBHS because she believes in the health benefits of pet ownership and thought this was a great way to help promote that aspect. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, quilting, and playing fetch with her dog, Inga. One of Doreen’s favorite quotes from a woman she admires is, “One thing life has taught me: if you are interested, you never have to look for new interests. They come to you. When you are genuinely interested in one thing, it will always lead to something else.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Stephanie DeSwarte

Customer Relations Manager

Stephanie attended University of Wisconsin Green Bay and University of Wisconsin Whitewater. Her field of study was elementary education and history. She joined EBHS in September of 2017. Stephanie has always had a passion for animals. She has had dogs all her life and used to breed guinea pigs. She currently has a dog named Sabrina who is a former resident of EBHS. When Stephanie is not at work she enjoys going hiking with her dog, traveling especially on cruises, shopping, and spending time with family and friends. One of her favorite quotes is “Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.”- Einstein

Natalie Hoskins

Director of Special Projects

Natalie is a graduate of Winona State University. She majored in Mass Communications. In addition, Natalie attended East West Healing Arts Institute to become certified in Massage Therapy. Natalie has been a member of the Elmbrook staff since 2009, and through her time here she has been an essential part of our team in several capacities. She got her start as an Animal Caregiver and got her certification as a Humane Officer. Natalie was promoted to Shelter Operations Assistant Manager, moved to Customer Relations Manager, and in April 2016, became our Director of Animal Care and Field Services. Natalie has three pets of her own;  Lt. Dan is a one year old Siamese mix from EBHS, Stormageddon is an eight month old Siamese mix, and Nightwing is handsome three year old brown Tabby from EBHS. Natalie enjoys most outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, kayaking, and paddle boarding. The only outdoor activities you won’t catch Natalie trying are hunting or fishing since she is a vegan. In addition to enjoying the outdoors, Natalie loves watching her son’s sporting events. When it comes to a favorite quote, Natalie does not have one!

Nicole Latus

Volunteer Coordinator

Nicole graduated from Madison College in May 2014 with an Associate Degree in Applied Science. Before joining EBHS in 2021, Nicole worked as a Certified Veterinary Technician at a small animal hospital. Nicole has always felt a strong connection with animals and knew from a very young age they would play an important role in her life. Nicole shares her home with four rescue animals; a no-eyed Boston Terrier named Jovi, a mixed breed dog named Elliot, an orange tabby named Bob and a dilute calico named Juno. Nicole enjoys spending time with her husband and two young kiddos. You will often find them outdoors playing in the mud, dancing in the rain and soaking up all that nature has to offer. In her free time Nicole loves reading, cooking and upcycling antique furniture. One of Nicole’s favorite quotes is, “To live will be an awfully big adventure.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Sheila Postotnik

Humane Educator

Sheila graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with degrees in English and Film Studies. After many years with the Milwaukee YMCA directing a variety of education and youth development programs, Sheila joined the EBHS team in December 2015, leaving for a short time to pursue another opportunity and returning in November 2018. Over the years, Sheila has volunteered for several rescues and shelters through fostering, community outreach, dog walking, and animal care. She was on the first Friends of MADACC board, helping to raise funds for various shelter improvement and outreach initiatives. One of Sheila’s passions is dog training and behavior and playing a variety of canine sports with her pups. Sheila has three dogs: Frankie, a senior poodle mix rescued from MADACC; Sailor, a havanese and certified therapy dog who joins Sheila at various EBHS humane education visits; and Ro, a young whippet who is loving life! Sheila’s hobbies include running, reading, and classic films/TV. In April of 2020, Sheila earned the Certified Humane Education Specialist (CHES) Certification from the Academy of Prosocial Learning, becoming one of four Humane Educators in the state of Wisconsin with this distinction. Her favorite quote is,
“Only the educated are free.” ~ Epictetus

Carol Sumbry

Dog Training and Behavior Manager

Carol attended Parkland College and the University of Illinois. Her field of study was Management/Personnel psychology. She joined the team at EBHS in 2007. Carol now loves the study of dog behavior and is an Associate Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (one of only four in the state of Wisconsin certified by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer with almost 2 decades of experience. She does Behavior Assessments, Treatment Plans and Behavior/Training Protocols for dogs who exhibit problems or behaviors due to lack of early socialization, temperament, training or other issues such as aggression, anxiety or fear. She also teaches classes and does private consultations to help clients raise a great dog.

Carol also fosters dogs and has fostered hundreds of dogs over the years, most with behavior issues. She has two foster “failures” from EBHS.  Leine and Timber were puppy mill dogs rescued by EBHS. When she isn’t working Carol loves to paddleboard, walk/run, do therapy work with her dogs, do yoga, and spend quality time with her dog and human family.  Carol’s favorite quote is “Be the change you want to see in the world”. ~ Ghandi

Becky Tetzlaff

Volunteer Program Director

Becky graduated from American InterContinental University in the winter of 2013 with a degree in Business Administration with a focus on Management. She joined the EBHS team in March of 2014. Becky has always had compassion for animals and discovered this was her passion shortly after graduating High School. With that, she has volunteered for the San Clement/Dana Point Animal Shelter and was an active foster parent and Cat Foster Coordinator for the Okinawan-American Animal Rescue Society while living overseas with her husband. She has also fostered several litters of kittens for EBHS. She has three rescued feline furbabies at home; Maverick, Freckles and Nacho. In her free time, you will find Becky enjoying her family and friends. She loves bird watching, being outdoors, and quiet nights at home with her husband and daughter.  A quote that is meaningful to Becky is ”There isn’t enough room in your mind for both worry and faith. You must decide which one will live there”. ~ Author Unknown

Beth Twaddle

Director of Animal Care and Field Services

Beth graduated from MSU-Mankato with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Zoology. Beth also graduated from RCTC in Rochester, MN, with a certification in Animal Health Technology. While attending college, Beth interned at a veterinary clinic in Rochester, MN, Jardin Zoo in La Marina, Costa Rica, and Zollman Zoo in Byron, MN. After graduating, Beth spent 6 years working at the Pine Grove Zoo in Little Falls, MN, starting as a seasonal staff member and working her way to Assistant Director/Curator. Beth has 7 adopted pets of her own: 5 cats including Maige (DSH Tortie), Zero (Orange Tabby), Warlow (Brown Tabby), Neville (Gray Tabby), and Godric (deaf heterochromic White DSH) and 2 dogs, Bru (Rottweiler/Lab mix) and Daenerys (Siberian Husky). In her free time, Beth enjoys spending as much time as possible with her pets and family, watching movies, listening to music, rock climbing, and making essential oil perfumes. Beth’s favorite inspirational quote is “Make your life a masterpiece; imagine no limitations on what you can be, have, or do.” ~ Brian Tracy

Animal Care

Shelby Adkins

Counseling and Environmental Teams

Shelby volunteered for about two years as a cat socializer at EBHS before she became part of the team. Before this she worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant at an Assisted Living facility for seven years. She loved taking care of the elderly almost as much as they loved her. As hard as it was to leave, she decided to change her path and help animals and people as an Animal Caregiver. She has always loved animals since she was a little girl and her aunt always told her she’ll either be helping animals or people. Shelby hopes for a program that she can help out with that includes animals and the elderly as it is very therapeutic to them. During her free time, she loves to be at home with her two cats, Callie and Tweet who were adopted from EBHS, visiting her past residents, camping, being around family, and enjoying life as it is. Shelby’s favorite quote is advice from her father, “If it scares you or it’s out of your comfort zone, do it anyways, it will almost always be the change you needed”

Sylvie Armstrong

Behavior Team

Sylvie has loved animals as long as she can remember. She started volunteering extensively in animal welfare while working on a degree in Art at Lawrence University. Since then, she has worked in veterinary clinics, animal shelters and rescues, and dog daycares. She became a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) in 2016. Sylvie lives with her husband, 3 quirky and lovable rescue dogs, and a cat named Spooky (who is a registered therapy animal) – and often shares her home with foster animals as well. One quote she finds inspirational is from Albert Schweitzer- “Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”

Laura Hagenauer

Medical Team

Laura has always loved animals but grew up in the Air Force, moving a lot, so didn’t get a chance to have many. She always threatened that she’d grow up to share her home with as many animals as she could, and she and her partner Patrick are really working towards that goal! They moved from Arizona with 5 cats and a cat-loving hound dog named Hannah, all rescues (and some foster successes who moved in and made themselves at home.) Laura has worked in wildlife biology for years and companion animal rescue and medicine for 6 years. She loves fostering cats and kittens and is passionate about continuing to provide gold-standard veterinary care for rescue animals here at EBHS. Laura loves working with wildlife and companion animals and has a special place in her heart for feral and undersocialized cats. She’s also discovered a new love for small companion animals, like reptiles, birds, ferrets, guinea pigs, mice, rats and especially rabbits at EBHS. She’s grateful to be with the EBHS family, caring for the animals and people who love them in this area.

Jessica Horvath

Cat Behavior Manager

Jessica graduated from Milwaukee Career College in 2016 with a Veterinary Assistant Certificate. Jessica spent one year volunteering with shelter cats at EBHS as a Cat Socializer. Jessica has one dog named Lacy. Jessica enjoys running, hiking, practicing yoga, reading, writing, painting, and drawing in her free time. Jessica’s favorite quote is, “This, too, shall pass”.

Paighton Kreckel

Medical Team

From a very young age, Paighton knew she wanted to work in an animal related field. Paighton graduated from Milwaukee Career College in 2018, earning her Veterinary Assistant Certificate. She has worked in a few veterinary clinics and one doggy daycare facility. She is the proud “mom” of four cats: Lola, Boots, Ridic, and Minnie. A gecko named Gecky also is a huge part of her life. In her free time, Paighton enjoys spending time with her family and friends, shopping, and watching movies. A quote that resonates with her is “It takes nothing away from a human to be kind to an animal”. ~Joaquin Phoenix

Rena McCormack

Behavior and Counseling Teams

Rena graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences. From a young age helping animals has been a passion of Rena’s; throughout the years, Rena’s jobs have had a focus on caring for animals, which ultimately brought her to EBHS. While Rena loves all animals, she holds a special place in her heart especially for cats. Because of this passion, Rena volunteered at EBHS as a cat socializer for four years before joining the behavior and counseling teams.  In her free time, Rena enjoys reading and taking pictures, with her best models being her two cats. One of Rena’s favorite quotes is by the author Dean Koontz- “No one can grant you happiness. Happiness is a choice we all have the power to make.”

Asja Richman

Environmental Team

Asja is continuing her education to achieve her veterinary assistant certificate and a BA within the animal field. Asja has volunteered for local shelters including Wisconsin Humane Society and Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission for the last 8 years helping with animal care, adoption counseling, special events, animal behavior, and administrative duties. She has rescue cats of her own as well as mice, neither of which are named Tom or Jerry. While not at work she enjoys spending time in her butterfly garden, bird watching, hiking in state parks, and spending time with friends. A quote that she admires is “I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful – an endless prospect of magic and wonder.” ~ Ansel Adams.

Lauren Shortreed

Environmental Team

Lauren attended UW-Whitewater and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Performance and a minor in Recreation. Before joining EBHS in 2021, Lauren worked for six years in the hospitality field as a Guest Service Specialist. Lauren has always had a love for four-legged friends and their unwavering friendship. After losing her childhood pup Herbie of 17 years, Lauren knew she wanted to shift her career focus from guest services to animal services. When Lauren is not at work, she enjoys training for 5k runs, hiking State Parks, traveling, enjoying family time, and giving much love and attention to her family’s therapy dog Bailey and overzealous puppy Teddy. One of Lauren’s favorite quotes is “Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe

Shannon Steiner

Environmental Team

Shannon is currently a student at Carroll University with a major in Spanish and a Pre-vet emphasis. Prior to joining the Elmbrook Humane Society (EBHS) team in May 2021, Shannon volunteered at EBHS as an environmental team member where she fell in love with the organization. Along with volunteering, Shannon has interned at multiple veterinary clinics as a vet assistant. Even though most of her time is spent with domestic animals, she has a passion for wildlife, especially opossums, and hopes to pursue vet school in order to become a wildlife veterinarian. While home from school, Shannon spends most of her free time with her two rescue dogs, PeeWee and Cujo. She is grateful for the opportunity to work at EBHS and loves every minute she is able to spend there. A favorite quote of hers comes from the author of Winnie the Pooh, “Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.” ~ A.A. Milne

Starr Vigo

Environmental Team

Starr joined the Animal Care team on January 13, 2020, and has since been cross trained to help in the Customer Relations Department.  In addition, she jumped at the opportunity to become the go to staff member for wildlife related questions and assistance and joined our Humane Officer team in the Summer of 2020.  Starr knew joining the EBHS team was the perfect fit for her given her love of and desire to help shelter animals and sick and injured wildlife.  Before joining the EBHS team, Starr worked at a local doggy daycare for 5 years and loved every single dog she met.  She holds a veterinary assistant degree and interned at a local veterinary clinic.  She has also volunteered at Scout Camps and enjoys working with children.  In her spare time, Starr enjoys watching “nerdy” movies, reading, spending time with family and friends, but her true passion is being with her animals.  She adopted Leo (cat) and Ricky (dog) from EBHS and adores them both!  Her family shares her love of animals having adopted a stray puppy, Nyx, from New Mexico.  She notes that Nyx and Ricky are inseparable.  An inspiring quote for her is “Every single day of our lives involves wildlife education.  We must teach, spread the word, the wildlife gospel.” – Steve Irwin

Nicole Williams

Behavior Team

Nicole graduated from Western Illinois University with a degree in Zoology. She then found a love for training working at Petsmart as a dog trainer. She moved to Texas to train at The Downtown Aquarium-Houston with tigers, macaws, and a sloth. Nicole moved back to Milwaukee recently and fell in love with EBHS. In her spare time, Nicole enjoys spending time with her two dogs, two birds, and four sugar gliders. A quote that resonates with Nicole is “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” – Anatole France

Customer Relations

Morgan Gourley

Customer Relations Assistant Manager

Morgan’s two loves in life are art and animals. She’s grown up with dogs but likes all different kinds of animals from cats and dogs to snakes and turtles and most anything in between. She has volunteered at EBHS since she was 16 years old starting with general housekeeping and for the past two years has volunteered as a cat socializer and graphic designer. Morgan graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor’s in Graphic Design and Media Arts. In 2018 she also graduated from Waukesha County Technical College with a dual Associates degree in Graphic Design and Web and Digital Media Design. In her spare time, she enjoys activities like writing stories, drawing, watching movies, listening to music, and spending time with her dog, Joey, who was adopted from EBHS. A quote that guides Morgan in life is “Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile.” ~ Mark Twain

Heather Davis

Bio coming soon.

Stephanie Park

Bio coming soon.

Amy Shelton

Amy studied nursing at Waukesha County Technical College and psychology at Ottawa University. She has worked in many office roles throughout her career and is Office Manager for a small sales office full-time. She also has many years working in the hospitality industry. She loves making people happy, whether it being as a server or bartender, hosting dinners at her home, or helping out family and friends in need. Amy has always loved animals, having cats, dogs, gerbils, and lizards as past family members. She is also a frog lover! Amy joined EBHS as a volunteer in 2019 and was very excited to join the staff team part-time in September of 2020. She currently has two cats; Albus, adopted from EBHS in 2019, and Adso. In her free time Amy enjoys cooking, reading, video games, bowling, and spending time with family and friends. Two quotes Amy is inspired by are “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” ~ NKJV, Philippians 4:13 and “If God sends us on stony paths, he provides strong shoes.” ~ Corrie ten Boom.

Building and Grounds Maintenance

Glen Lauersdorf

Glen’s time at EBHS began in 2017 as a volunteer, transporting injured wildlife to Wildlife In Need Center from our organization. As he thought more about retirement from HP as a Datacenter Hardware Specialist, he thought he better find something to do to stay busy. So the Maintenance Associate position became available, he felt this would be the perfect fit and indeed it was! He has always enjoyed being a handyman around the house, plus he has assisted with many others with projects. he also volunteers with BRATS (Badger Rescue Animal Transport Services) transporting animals in WI between shelters to increase their chance at adoption. Over the years he has had many cats and dogs, however at this time he does not have any pets other than fish. His goal is to start taking in senior Great Pyrenees dogs that cannot find homes. Glen’s favorite quote is “Never give up – never surrender.” ~ Jason Nesmith