Heather Owen One Tail at a Time Executive Director

Heather Owen

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Heather Owen co-founded One Tail at a Time in 2008 while attending law school. She helped run the organization while practicing litigation in Cook County until 2015. That year she left her career to help One Tail open the Adoption Center and begin to reach its potential. Since then she has served as the Executive Director where she has been passionate about implementing progressive programming to address the problem of needless euthanasia. Heather is passionate about social justice, good books, and finding the best veggie tacos in the city. She is almost always accompanied by her One Tail alum and adventure buddy Trout.

cara schwalbach one tail at a time

Cara Schwalbach

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Cara loves connecting with other dog lovers who are eager to make Chicago a No-kill city! Her number one priority is making sure that each and every OTAT supporter can see the important difference he or she is making. Before being bit by the fundraising bug, Cara was a Musical Theater performer and can still be known to break into song and dance when OTAT meets a fundraising goal. Please say hi to Cara anytime you’d like!

Fran Federman


Fran joined the Board in 2018 to focus on development and fundraising and also helps out with the Associate Board. She was drawn to OTAT by its dedication to programming, community outreach, and efforts to make Chicago a no-kill city. A lifelong animal lover, Fran grew up with rescued dogs and cats and became more involved in the community after she and her husband, Mike, rescued their first dog. Fran has an MBA from Harvard Business School and leads treasury and capital markets for a real estate investment trust. When she’s not at work or helping out with OTAT, Fran can be found at the dog beach with her two rescue dogs, Louise and Rufus.

Rachel Rader


Rachel joined the Board in 2018, bringing her knowledge of business strategy and analytics to the team. She discovered One Tail in 2014 and “failed” with her first foster dog Lulu. She is passionate about One Tail’s mission and ensuring that all the other Lulu’s out there get their second chance. Rachel has an MHSA from University of Michigan School of Public Health, and works on improving the health insurer experience for both doctors and consumers.

Hilary Orler


Hilary joined the Board of Directors in 2020 to help manage the organization’s finances. After adopting OTAT alumn Luna with her husband in 2018, she knew she wanted to help save more lives. Shortly after, Hilary began fostering, volunteering at the Adoption Center, and joined the Associate Board in 2019. Hilary is a Finance Analyst for one of the largest liquor companies in the US. When she isn’t working or volunteering, she enjoys travelling with her husband, rock climbing, and pampering Luna.

Brandi Morris


Brandi joined the Board in 2020 to focus on development and also serves as the President of the Associate Board. Brandi’s involvement with One Tail at a Time started in 2015 when she and her husband Bob adopted their dog Ada. She is drawn to One Tail at a Time’s vision and relentless dedication to make Chicago a no-kill city. Brandi has a degree in environmental sciences and manages a number of volunteer boards for a large environmental non-profit organization. She loves traveling the world with her husband, live music, and photography.

Beth Naccarato


Beth joined the Board in 2019 to assist as One Tail grows. Beth has over ten years of employment law experience representing both employees and organizations. Beth’s passion is helping workplaces be inclusive, fair, and just environments where individuals can cultivate their talents and organizations can achieve their goals. As an OTAT adopter, foster, and volunteer Beth is very excited to continue to be of service as a Board Member. No matter where she is Beth’s OTAT alumni Miami is usually not far away.

Melanie Villanueva Rodriguez


Melanie joined OTAT’s Finance Committee in 2020 and is very excited to serve on the Board of an organization with an amazing mission! Melanie was drawn to OTAT’s community, accessibility and impact they have on people and dogs alike. After adopting her first dog in 2017, Melanie realized the positive impact dogs have on a person’s life. Melanie currently works for a non-for-profit in the Loop focused on social sciences and is a Certified Public Accountant. Melanie and her husband reside in Lakeview East with their sassy pup, Aya.

Associate Board Members

Brandi Morris (President), David Blakeman (Vice President), Britt Calvert (Secretary), Allison Gast, Andrea Wendlandt, April Muller, Arianna Maggio, Ashley Gear, Bri Roan, Britain Young, Cameron Ross, Christy Corbin, Eleanor Blackmer, Elizabeth Smith, Emily Gil, Emily Lowe, Emily Sanders, Francisco Maia, Gia Weber, Hilary Orler, Jamie Kratowicz, Jennifer Munsayac, Jennifer Pstrong, Jessica Biondo, Jillian Braun, Jillian Grachan, Jillian Rice, Jon Davis, Julie Schultz, Katya Shcherbakova, Kayla Brackett, Kelley Gerding, Kristen Sabiston, Lindsay Bentley, Liz Lurie-Moroni, Lynne Styles, Margaux Joelson, Matthew Stroh, Megan VanParis, Megan Walendzinski, Melissa Burel, Monique DeZarn, Moriel Daniel, Nette Martino, Nicole Sopko, Rachel Nissley, Rachel Zak, Rebecca Meyer, Rebecca Zak, Sam Karp, Stephanie Grohovsky, Tabitha Dosch, Taryn Parker, Tiffany Tran, Tony Smith, Victoria Nieto, Wade Coffin

Thank You to our Volunteer-Based Program Managers!

April Muller, Twitter Manager
Laura Slivka, Team One Tail Manager
Lauren Scalzo, CRISP Manager
Samantha Loochtan, Kitten Coordinator
Shannon Friziellie, Webmaster