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Heather Owen One Tail at a Time Executive Director

Heather Owen


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.

Sarah Gaziano


Sarah Gaziano is a professional dog trainer with an MBA in accounting. She started volunteering with OTAT shortly after the adoption center opened. In June of 2016, OTAT decided to pull more dogs from our city shelters and asked Sarah to help, thus launching the ISO foster dog program. You can often see her hanging out at our shelter diversion program (CRISP), helping train our foster dogs, and doing temperament tests at CACC. She lives in Chicago with her husband and infant daughter and her two dogs Moriarty and Eddy.

Kerry Panzone


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 an OTAT foster home, then joined the associate board, and now runs our intake and foster programs! When she’s not at the shelter, you can find Kerry hiking across the country, going to local shows, or bartending on the weekends.

Alli Rooney


Alli Rooney grew up loving all dogs, but it wasn’t until she adopted her own rescue mutt that she truly valued the importance of no-kill shelters and all the hard work that goes into keeping pets safe. After volunteering with One Tail at a Time for two years as an Adoption Center volunteer, Associate Board member and foster home, she officially became the Adoption Center Manager. She takes great pride in watching the dogs transform from intake, to foster home, and to finally finding their forever home. When she is not at the Center caring for the adoptable dogs, she is likely at home petting her dog, Swayze.

Cara Schwalbach


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!

Jennifer Rogers


Jennifer was in the catering and events industry for over 15 years before coming to OTAT. Jennifer began looking to volunteer with a non-profit after her children went to college, and with her love of dogs quickly settled in as OTAT’s volunteer coordinator. She fell head over heels in love with rescue and recently left her job to join the staff full time as an Adoption Coordinator. When not making matches for OTAT dogs or driving them around the city, Jennifer spends her time cooking for friends and family or relaxing with her husband + two dogs, Violet and Otis.

Anna Johnson


Anna Johnson has worked with dogs for over 20 years, beginning as a kennel worker and veterinary technician before spending 8 years as manager of Chicago Canine Rescue, where she fell in love with the Chicago rescue community. She loves working with vets to create meaningful partnerships to benefit animals in need, and finding creative solutions for providing rescue dogs with high quality vet care. When she’s not poking dogs with needles, Anna can be found at the barn with her horse, out for a run with her dogs, or eating all the pastries with friends.

Kathy Ihlenfeldt


Kathy is a KPA certified dog trainer with more than 8 years of rescue experience. She came to One Tail at a Time in 2017 as a foster. 16 foster dogs later, she is thrilled to dedicate her talents towards the entire community of rescue pups. When not guiding dogs to be their best selves, Kathy spends her days living the suburban dream with her wife and far too handsome dog, Cooper.

Amber Severance

ISO Coordinator

Amber is a serial OTAT foster and volunteer turned staff member. She loves advocating for special needs animals and prides herself in hands-on handling. You’ll find her around town with her pack of pups or hanging around the Isolation House with the newbies. Her favorite thing at OTAT is playgroups, but temperament testing newbies at the city shelters is a close second.

Amelia Stephens


Amelia joined the board of directors in 2017, bringing her knowledge of finance and business strategy to the group. As a Chicago resident all of her adult life, she is honored to be a part of One Tail at a Time and its commitment to the Chicago “underdogs.” Amelia has an MBA from Northwestern University, and her day job is in marketing for Charles Schwab. She also previously held a board position on the Junior Council for Children’s Memorial Hospital. She and her husband, Chris, spends lots of time giving belly rubs and treats to their dog, Maddy.

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.

Tyler Schehl


Tyler Schehl is a CPA at a financial services company in Chicago. He adopted OTAT alums Ewok and Yoda with his wife, and joined the Board in 2017 to help manage the organization’s finances. Tyler loves volunteering with OTAT so that as many dogs as possible can find their forever homes. Outside of work and OTAT, Tyler is currently an MBA candidate at Chicago Booth and loves to travel!

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.

Jill Terralavoro


Jill adopted OTAT alum Morgan in 2013 and has been a volunteer and foster ever since. She joined the Board in 2018 bringing years of corporate development and non-profit fundraising experience. Not only is Jill passionate and active in the animal rescue community, she is an advocate for many organizations in the Chicago philanthropy community through her company’s CSR program.

Associate Board Members

Alli Rooney, Allison MacGregor, Ann Hinterman (AB Secretary), Anna Carli, April Muller, Ashley Gear, Brandi Morris (AB Co-Chair), Bri Roan, Britt Calvert, Cara Schwalbach, Carrie Burnett , Christina Bottis, Daniel Kovalsky, David Blakeman, Elizabeth Smith, Emily Panci, Fran Federman, Francisco Maia, Gia Weber, Hilary Desmond, Jessica Biondo, Jillian Braun, Jon Davis, Julie Ihlenfeldt, Julie Schultz, Kaity Blackburn, Keelin Billue, Kim Theobald (AB President), Lindsay Bentley, Liz Lurie-Moroni, Madeleine Minton, Megan Walendzinski, Mollie McSherry, Natalie Ruzgis, Pam Bursch, Rachel Zak, Rebecca Zak, Shelby Green, Stephanie McCutcheon, Tiffany Tan, Varisa Lertburapa

OTAT Committed Club

Congratulations to our Committed Club volunteers who have each dedicated more than 120 hours to our pups!

Anne Lombaer, Crystal Rosales, Dani Poplin,  Geneviève Snyder, Jessie Kremer, Jim Seiler, Holly Anderson, Kaitlin Obermeyer, Katie Seddon, Lindsay Bentley, Lindsay Biagi, Tiffany Tran (with Jupiter, the dog)

Not pictured:
Brenda Ramirez, Danielle Holtz, Erin Pierzynski, Katrina Mata, Misako Yancey

Andy McDermott, Emily Speelman, Jon Davis, Kaitlyn Selser, Laura Johnston, Misako Yancey, Monica Niemczewski, Natalie Deschaine, Perla Sanchez, Rochelle Miller, Shannon Friziellie (with Mikey, the dog)

Not pictured:
Bob Fisch, Brandi King, Katie Hartmann, Meradey Berger, Monica Michalski, Stephanie Genta

Alex Claiborne, Alli Dumphy, Alli MacGregor, Christy Corbin, Hilary Nieman, Jillian Braun, Lisa Tuszl, Maggie Hudson, Melissa D’Lando, Melissa Kula, Olga Bernad, Rebecca Overman (with Champ, the dog)

Not pictured:
Iris Santiago, Jahn Marie Parise, Jane Higgins, Julie Schultz, Lauren Rice, Megan Gilbert, Michelle Nacheman, Shelby Bertness

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