Board of Directors and Staff


Heather Owen

Executive Director

Heather Owen is an Illinois attorney who recently left her law firm to help One Tail at a Time launch their new Adoption Center. Heather enjoys keeping up to date on progressive animal welfare policies and new studies in best practices and applying them to OTAT. Heather also co-founded the Hold Fast Community Foundation, a group that provides support and services to grassroots non-profits in Chicago. When not rescuing dogs, Heather is usually with her sidekick Rude Dog.

Anna Friedman

Shelter Director

Anna Friedman has worked as a Humane Educator in local shelters for the past five years. Her favorite part of being the Shelter Manager for OTAT is watching the transformation in the dogs that come from horrific conditions and end up in loving adoptive homes. When she’s not saving dogs, Anna prefers to be in Door County with her husband and three dogs.

Melissa Fisher

Associate Board President

Melissa Fisher is a mortgage underwriter with a business degree from Northern Illinois University. She began volunteering with OTAT as a photographer and foster home but quickly became an integral member of the team. Melissa now runs the Associate Board while sharing her home with OTAT alum Sport Chicken, Bogart and rescues Higgs and Kobe the cat.


Cara Schwalbach

Development Team

Cara promised her husband she’d wait one year after moving to Chicago to adopt a dog, and within a year had adopted two. Shortly after, she grew her own list of dog walking clients and became active in Chicago’s rescue community. Cara’s favorite part about fundraising and development is helping people help dogs, and she finds that pretty easy to do at OTAT! Before diving head first into fundraising, Cara performed professionally in Musical Theatre and managed a a bridal boutique in the Gold Coast neighborhood!


Adrienne Sheely

Rescue Manager

Adrienne holds dual Bachelors degrees in Business Administration and Marketing. After deciding that the corporate world wasn’t for her, she launched a dog walking service that she operated for four years in metro Detroit. When she moved to Chicago in 2013, she knew that she wanted to continue working with animals, so she joined One Tail as a Placement Coordinator before moving up to Rescue Manager a few months later.


Kerry Panzone

Adoption Specialist

Kerry Panzone has worked in various shelters in the Chicagoland area for the past 14 years. In her most recent position as Rescue Coordinator for an Animal Control shelter, she worked with dozens of rescue groups in the area and decided One Tail at a Time was the one she wanted to become more involved with. Kerry started out as a foster home, then joined the associate board, and is now employed as an Adoption Specialist. When she’s not at the shelter, you can find Kerry hiking across the country, going to local shows, or bartending on the weekends.


Diana Ozimek


Diana has many years of experience working with dogs of all ages and temperaments. She also has years of experience volunteering with dogs at the Chicago city shelter, rehabilitating them in her home and finding them forever families. Throughout her years of training, Diana combined her dog training experience and background in fitness to create Bow~Wow Boot Camp, a workout combining basic dog training commands and basic agility with human exercise. She has also taken this concept to the shelter for volunteers to work with the dogs, providing extra enrichment and exercise. The recurring theme of dogs being turned into the shelter for behavioral issues that could have been easily avoided with some basic training encouraged her to make a career change from fitness to dog training.

Melissa Fisher (chair)
Jared Honn
David Blakeman
Andrea Juracek
Mark Vanderhoff
Cara Schwalbach
Stephanie McCutcheon
Laura Slivka
Kim Theobald
Elizabeth Hermann Smith
Madeleine Minton
Jessica Nepomiachi
Jessie Biondo
Alli Rooney
Eunice Oh
Brandi Kuchan Morris
Ann Hinterman
Chelsea Carbary
Johanna Bertini
Christopher Louis
Shelby Green
April Muller

Our 2016 Associate Board Members