Who We Are

Meredith Ayan, Executive Director

Meredith thinks she has the best job. Meredith Ayan is the Executive Director of SPCA International. Ms. Ayan joined the organization in 2010 and spent four years improving organization operations and developing the Shelter Support Fund program before stepping into her current role in 2014.

During her time with SPCA International, she has run numerous Operation Baghdad Pups: Worldwide missions on the ground in Iraq and the Philippines; personally overseeing the rescue of U.S. service member’s beloved patriot pets.

In April 2014 she had the honor of testifying before the Congress of Deputies in Spain on the issue of stricter enforcement of laws pertaining to the abusive treatment of Spanish Greyhounds used for hare coursing. Ms. Ayan has led field work in Brazil, Guatemala, Iraq, The Philippines, Romania and Tanzania; saving animals, building global partnerships and initiating innovative new animal care campaigns.

Under Ms. Ayan’s management, SPCA International has set and achieved extraordinary goals; programs have expanded to serve more animals, grant distributions have significantly increased and SPCA International is active in more countries than ever before.

A graduate of Marymount Manhattan College, Ms. Ayan lives in New York City with her husband and her dog, Lilah.

Lori Kalef, Program Director

Lori thinks she has the best job (ever). From the moment she made her way across the street to pet the neighbor’s dog at age 2, Lori’s life has been all about animals. As an avid advocate for the welfare of all creatures great and small, Lori started volunteering at local shelters in her teens. Her career experience includes being veterinary assistant, managing an animal hospital and saving countless unwanted furry lives in the process.

As the program director for all SPCA International programs, Lori leads rescue efforts around the world and builds partnerships with innovative shelters and rescue groups. By holding hands with strangers across the world, Lori has witnessed thousands of animal lives saved. Lori lives in Victoria, BC, Canada with 3 rescue dogs, Bosco, Duckie and Tavi.

Anne Abbot, Development Director

Anne thinks she has the best job. With over 25 years of non-profit fundraising experience, Anne joined the SPCAI team in 2014. She has the great opportunity to speak with SPCA International supporters on a daily basis; serving their needs, sharing SPCAI’s success stories and forming strong bonds with the individuals who make SPCAI’s work possible. She oversees direct mail fundraising and works closely with her colleagues to support SPCAI’s work on behalf of animals worldwide. Anne lives in southern NH with her husband Jim and their cat, Charlie.

Emma Kronish, Content Marketing Manager

Emma’s happy motor is always running because she has the best job. As the content marking manager, she strives to share SPCA International’s missions and stories through multiple platforms. She is responsible for social and digital media, content building and database integration for SPCA International’s programs, engaging email subscribers and ensuring that SPCA International is on-track with their mission to advance the safety and well-being of animals.

With a bachelor’s in Veterinary Technology and 5 years of experience as a certified veterinary technician in emergency and general practice, Emma is always ready to dive into a challenge. She lives in New York, NY with her husband, Sam, and their Shiba Inu, Kuma.

Abia Cartagena, Operations Coordinator

Abia thinks she has the best job. She has worked in animal welfare since 2010 when she started volunteering at local shelters in New York. Since then she has studied lemurs in Madagascar, pursued a bachelor’s in Animal Science with Canine Concentration at SUNY College at Cobleskill and she began her career working at an animal shelter with a focus on surrender prevention.

She enjoys working with Military families and assisting with the transport of soldier’s animals through SPCA International’s Operation Baghdad Pups: Worldwide program. She has a deep knowledge of many animal-related resources for families and individuals in need. She is responsible for providing support to the executive director, communicating with all staff members and assisting with long-term and short-term projects. She lives in Hudson County, NJ with her boyfriend, Jose, their rescue dog Austin, and their bearded dragon Kuzco.

Jayme Busser, Digital Marketing Strategist

Jayme thinks she has the best job. With over 9 years of marketing and nonprofit experience, Jayme joined SPCA International in 2019. As the digital marketing strategist, she loves digging into data and finding creative new ways to engage supporters. She is responsible for spearheading innovative digital marketing projects from inception to final product, establishing strategic partnerships and acquiring and engaging recurring donors.

Jayme has always had a fondness for animals. Her earliest memories include rehabbing birds that accidentally flew into the window, playing with her rescue cocker spaniel Simon, naming every beetle she saw and kissing frogs. Jayme brings that same empathy and compassion to the team everyday. She currently lives in Western Washington, with her boyfriend, and loves to go visit her best cat Meouw Meouw in her free time.

Ariel Lefkovits, Donor and Program Coordinator

Ariel feels so grateful because she has the best job. She has always been drawn to animals, which led her to pursue and obtain a Bachelor’s in Animal Behavior at Franklin & Marshall College in 2013. Her subsequent job as an animal caretaker at the ASPCA inspired her current interest in animal welfare advocacy. This interest brought her to Tufts University, where she recently graduated with a master’s degree in Animals and Public Policy.

As the Donor and Program Coordinator, Ariel has the opportunity to hear directly from our donors and appreciate how passionate they are about animals. She is also responsible for providing support to the Program Director, assisting with long and short-term projects as well as researching new directions for SPCAI programs. She lives in northern New Jersey with her husband, Andrew.

Pierre Barnoti, Board President

Pierre Barnoti has been a dedicated animal activist for over 20 years. Now retired, he served as the executive director of the Canadian SPCA for twelve years. During Pierre’s tenure there, CSPCA grew into the leading animal shelter in Quebec and Canada. Under Pierre’s management, CSPCA reduced euthanasia rates drastically, radically increased adoption rates, and built a clinic offering free spay and neutering to every adopted animal. Pierre also pioneered an extensive foster family program that allowed sick animals to be treated outside the shelter by volunteers; ensuring that healthy animals in the shelter stayed healthy. Pierre founded SPCA International in 2006 and has served in a volunteer role as president of the Board of Directors since. As an independent, voting member of the board, Pierre has supported the organization through a period of wonderful growth. During his tenure, SPCAI has received recognition and accolades including the Pedigree Certificate of Recognition honoring Operation Baghdad Pups and the Top Rated Great Non-Profits Award for years 2013- 2018.

Maude Pellerin, Board Member

Maude has been passionate about animals since her early childhood and joined the board in 2019. For several years, she has been helping local shelters by fostering furry victims of neglect and abuse as well as supplying much needed medical care to them. With a degree in Marketing and Sales, Maude worked in marketing agencies before embarking on a 15-year career in the pharmaceutical industry. Throughout her pharmaceutical career, Maude enjoyed developing her scientific acumen as a sales representative at multiple fortune 500 companies. She currently has five cats of her own, continues to foster felines and helps find perfect forever homes for each one. She is as optimistic as she is passionate. She hopes her time on the SPCA International board as an independent, voting member will have a positive and long-lasting impact on the destiny of animals worldwide.

Michel Poulos, Board Member

Michel brings over 25 years of experience to SPCA International’s board. Before retiring, he enjoyed a rewarding career as Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Crown Life. He also served as the President of the Board at CSPCA for many years and has lent his expertise as a board member of SPCAI for over 10 years. Michel has tirelessly advocated for animals through his service at SPCAI. Since its inception, Michel helped build and strengthen the organization’s programs as an independent, voting and founding member of the board. A lifelong animal lover, Michel and his wife have three cats and one horse.

Jean-Pierre Robillard, Board Secretary

Jean-Pierre Robillard is the owner and lead attorney at Robillard Avocates, a Montreal, Quebec based law firm specializing in criminal and juvenile defense. A graduate from McGill University, Jean-Pierre attended law school at Ottawa University. Jean-Pierre practiced law for 5-years as a public defender before opening his own law firm in 1988, where he still practices today. Being very involved in his community, Jean-Pierre has been active on many non-profit boards serving youth, low-income families, and the elderly for the past 25 years. Jean-Pierre joined the SPCA International board in 2015 as an independent, voting member.

Howard Sholzberg, Board Treasurer

Howard is passionate about animals of every kind. He worked as the Executive Vice President of Finance for Riviera, a large clothing manufacturing company, for thirty-three years before retiring in 2008. He has been involved in animal welfare for over twenty years as a volunteer at his local SPCA and with SPCAI. He has served on numerous boards and holds the distinction of being a voting and founding member of the SPCAI board. Howard has three cats, is an active caretaker for a number of cat colonies and regularly saves, rehabilitates and homes injured and abandoned cats.