Leanna Taylor is responsible for the vision, strategy, marketing and fundraising efforts for The Arizona Pet Project as it works to reduce euthanasia in Valley shelters by supporting pet owners in need.
“Saving lives by focusing on proactive, data-driven programs is my passion. Solving pet homelessness through compassionate care of the entire family, including pets—and most importantly, without judgment—is more rewarding than I could have imagined.”
Leanna took on the role of Executive Director in 2013 after a long and storied career in sports, with a specific focus on increasing revenues and streamlining operations. In her spare time, Leanna spends time with her family, including her son Kieren, their two birds (Delta & Hercules), two dogs (Pippen & Bandit), and foster dog, Du Jour.
Director of Culture and Community
Michele Soto oversees The Arizona Pet Project’s spay and neuter program and is responsible for community engagement, event planning, and volunteer coordination, along with day-to-day operations for our organization.
“Working directly with people and pets is my passion. To assist with people who are trying their hardest to solve pet homelessness is not only rewarding, but an honor.”
Michele was in animal welfare for over a decade with both the Arizona Humane Society and AAWL, before transitioning to human services with the Sojourner Center. She returned to her original passion by taking on the role of Administrative Coordinator for The Arizona Pet Project in 2014. In addition, Michele serves as the Training Supervisor for our local RAINN Victim Service Management Team and Safe Helpline staff. In her spare time, Michele enjoys reading and spending time with her family and pets, including her three cats (Henry, Edgar, Tyrion), and dog (Walt).
Director of Marketing and Communications
Catharine is responsible for directing all marketing and communication strategies and oversees our customer relationship management software, website, ads, and social media. She develops, monitors, and evaluates the marketing budget and advertising performance, and implements all marketing and communication campaigns and materials for The Arizona Pet Project.
“Sharing stories is a passion of mine, and my goal is to share the story of how The Arizona Pet Project serves our community by supporting families and saving pets.”
Before joining the team, Catharine spent 10 years working as a digital marketing manager and professional blogger. She is an Arizona State University graduate living in Phoenix with her husband and their dog (Bowie).
Daniel establishes and executes fundraising and events for The Arizona Pet Project. He seeks opportunities for community events, cultivates relationships and partnerships, and raises critical funds to support people and pets in need.
Crisis and Shelter Intervention Counselor
Working with the Maricopa County Animal and Control Center, Luis is able to provide services and interventions to those in need and keep pets and families together.
“There is a need to understand the relationship people have with their pets and the value they have in their lives. Keeping these relationships is important and helping families maintain them is a great thing!”
Before joining the team, Luis had experience working in the social work field and serving multiple populations. Luis is currently working on his Masters in Social Work from Grand Canyon University and spends his free time enjoying sports and looking at dog videos.
Crisis and Shelter Intervention Counselor
As a shelter intervention counselor, Janet supports clients in The Arizona Pet Project Resource Center and at Lost our Home Pet Rescue.
“I have a passion for helping others in need, and I’m excited to be able to work with an organization that ties human service together with animal welfare.”
Janet has over 8 years of experience in the human services field working with the domestic violence population and with clients struggling with substance abuse. In addition, she has over 2 years of experience working in animal welfare and has a big soft spot for animals. When she’s not working, Janet is spending time with her dog, Callie, as well as her 4-year-old son. She enjoys movies, traveling as much as possible, and checking out local coffee spots.
As Community Organizer, Patty leads The Arizona Pet Project’s partnership with Pets for Life, a special program of the Humane Society of the United States. In this role, Patty spends her time connecting with low-income families with pets in South Phoenix to address resource gaps caused by structural and systemic inequity and injustice. She also harnesses the energy and knowledge that exists in this special community to engage volunteers and inform the organization’s programs.
“I believe that everyone is deserving of companionship. I can’t wait to learn from the community we’re in and figure out all the ways that we can help.”
Patty recently received her BSW from Arizona State University. She fuels her zest for life by spending time in nature, reading, and creating art. As a dedicated dog mom, she understands just how crucial it is to keep pets and their families together. Before Patty came to The Arizona Pet Project she interned at Social Spin Foundation where she worked directly with the unsheltered population and implemented services based on needs analysis from their customers. Transitioning to The Arizona Pet Project meant that she would be able to continue making a difference in the lives of the underserved.
Homeless Community Counselor
Through street outreach and collaboration with experts in housing and homelessness, Erin works to remove barriers and stigma against our unsheltered neighbors with pets.
“I’m passionate about creating systems that make housing and wellness accessible to all creatures, and I’m excited to help expand the bridge between animal welfare and human services!”
Erin returned to Phoenix in 2022 after spending six years in Philadelphia, where she worked as a program manager and data specialist for agencies that serve people experiencing homelessness. She holds a Master’s degree in Social and Cultural Pedagogy from Arizona State University, has worked closely with harm reduction efforts in the Valley, and played bass in a local band. She is happy to be back in the desert, re-discovering the area with her two pups and finding new seltzers to enjoy.
Board of Directors