President and Chief Executive Officer, Heather Allen, CAWA
Heather Allen is the President and CEO of HALO Animal Rescue and is also the co-founder. She has held this position since 2001. She has worked in every position and has helped create each element of its existence up to this point. Her job is overall management of HALO's operations, fundraising and strategic/financial planning.
Heather is a Phoenix, Arizona native. She graduated from Shadow Mountain High School in 1991 and graduated from ASU in 1999. She has a B.S. in Psychology, and a minor in family studies. Her mother, Michel Herstam and Heather started HALO in 1994, after working with a cat-only rescue that dissolved. Heather also worked as an office manager at a vet hospital for several years while HALO was growing.
Married to her high school sweet heart since 2001, they are proud parents of two children. Their family also includes a menagerie of pets including several dogs, cats, a bird and snake. Heather feels fortunate to be able to mix her family life, her passion for animals and also earn a living all at once.
When asked where she saw HALO in the future, Heather said, "I am hopeful that HALO can continue to grow and cast our safety net further in to the community and surrounding areas to help even more animals. My goal for HALO is to grow and partner with like-minded agencies to stop the killing of savable homeless animals and provide the services our community needs to make it happen". Heather has earned her CAWA certification, making her part of an elite group of Animal Welfare Administrators committed to excellence in the management and operation of local animal welfare and control organizations.
Co-Founder and Thrift Boutique Manager, Michel Herstam
Michel Herstam is the co-founder of HALO Animal Rescue. Michel was born in Michigan, but was raised in Phoenix starting at age five. Michel was a graduate from Arizona State University with an English degree. Michel worked in Corporate America for 35 years as a customer service manager for Salt River Project. This job fed her family of three girls, but not her soul. So while working full time and raising a family she dedicated her nights and weekends providing shelter and love to wayward dogs and cats.
Michel began her rescue work while volunteering with Kitty Love, a local cat group, in 1992. Kitty Love dissolved, but not before Michel had begun to realize the extent of the pet homelessness problem in Maricopa County and was volunteering every weekend at the PetSmart Adoption Center and fostering hundreds of animals in her home each year.
In 1994 Michel's house became HALO Animal Rescue Headquarters where she and her daughter volunteered their time to HALO's operations which was much smaller in scale than it is today. By 2006, HALO had a handful of staff working full time from Michel's home to provide for the animals that she selflessly gave her home to. In July 2008, Michel finally got her home back as HALO moved in its first physical shelter facility on 35th Avenue and Camelback Road. Michel opened up the HALO Thrift Boutique in 2006 and is the full-time manager (as a volunteer), with all profits going directly to the shelter.
Michel feels, "through respect, honor, sacrifice and commitment HALO,
I can be part of the solution so that all homeless animals have a loving home".
Director of Finance and Administration, Karl Meinhausen
Karl Meinhausen is the Director of Finance & Administration at HALO Animal Rescue. He began working for HALO in 2008.
Karl grew up in Tucson, Arizona, but has lived in the Phoenix area since 2000. His formal education is in Culinary Arts. He enjoys designing furniture, hiking, and cycling in his spare time. He is an advocate for all animals and is vegetarian. Karl has a beautiful daughter, two rescued cats and a Golden Retriever.
His hope for the future of HALO is for "one day, to come in and have Heather say, 'Sorry, we are no longer needed, there is no one to rescue'. Then maybe we can take a guilt-free vacation."
Director of Operations, Kim Zikmanis
Kim Zikmanis is the Director of Operations for HALO. Kim has worked for HALO since 2005.
Kim was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. She graduated from Shadow Mountain High School in 1990. Kim was a manager at PetSmart for several years before joining HALO's team. Kim is married and has two children, a boy and a girl. Among the family pets are several dogs, pythons and a bearded dragon. As a child, Kim was involved in the 4-H program for dogs and wanted to learn all she could about their care.
When asked what she loved best about her job, she replied, "Being able to make a life-saving difference every day for animals that may not have otherwise had a chance at love."
Outreach Manager, Erin Denmark
Erin Denmark started as a HALO volunteer in 2010 when she and another volunteer were caregivers for the animals in CEO, Heather Allen's, foster house on her property. She was working in the corporate world but decided that working in an environment where she could combine her organizational, administrative and communication skills with her love for animals would make her happiest. "I'd rather be happy than rich." Denmark said.
Erin started at HALO in 2011 as an Animal Care Specialist on HALO's cat team. From there she moved into Customer Service at the front desk, then onto HALO's Development Department as the Outreach Manager.
Erin is married and has a wonderful son along with three kitties, one of which was a "foster failure" - or a success, depending on how you look at it. When asked about the future of HALO she states, "I believe that HALO has an important role in the community and I'm glad to be a part of something so great! My hope is that all the rescues can come together to help the animal homelessness and overpopulation problem."
Animal Care Manager, Alannah Goetzenberger
Born and raised in Arizona, Alannah has grown up with a passion for animals. Throughout her life she has had a variety of different pets including dogs, cats, reptiles, and birds. She began volunteering and fostering with her mom when she was a teenager to lend a hand with all of the different kitten litters over the years. Alannah joined the HALO team in 2017, starting out as an Animal Care Specialist. From there she joined the Transport Team as an Animal Resource Coordinator before becoming an Animal Care Manager. Alannah hopes to continue the amazing work HALO has accomplished over the years in saving animals from many different communities.
Animal Care Manager, Jordan Chester
Jordan was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, and moved to the Phoenix area in December of 2019. Jordan joined the HALO team in January of 2020 as an Animal Care Specialist. Shortly afterward he joined the Dog Inventory Team and he also joined and led the Dog Evaluation Team before becoming an Animal Care Manager. In Jordan’s spare time he enjoys working with his 5 dogs (3 of which are from HALO), reading, and playing video games. Jordan looks forward to helping HALO fulfill its mission of helping homeless pets find loving furever homes.
Animal Resource Manager, Emma Nichols
Emma Nichols was born in Bend, Oregon but grew up in North Phoenix. As a child, Emma spent her time riding horses and playing with her three rescue Greyhounds. Emma Joined the HALO team in 2022 as an Animal Care Specialist before becoming an Animal Care Manager. Since Emma can remember she has had a habit of finding lost or stray animals and getting them to safety. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding and hanging out with her dogs Tito, Princess, and HALO alumni Rory. Emma has shown a strong love and passion for animals her entire life and is excited to grow with the HALO team and continue saving and protecting animals.
Animal Resource Manager, Scott Peterson
Scott started his journey with HALO in the fall of 2018 as an Animal Care Specialist and moved into his role as the Animal Resource Manager.
Scott was born in Texas and moved to Arizona in 2004 where he currently resides with his dog Beo-Woof and cat Toki. His formal educations are in Psychology and Animal Science from the University of Redlands. During his time at the University of Redlands, Scott would arrange volunteers from his Fraternity, Kappa Sigma Sigma, to help walk and socialize dogs for one of the local rescues in the San Bernardino area. Scott has grown up and worked with dogs, cats, and chickens for most of his life. He is a fan of professional basketball and football. Scott hopes to continue the amazing work HALO is doing for the community and the animals.
Volunteer & Foster Coordinator, Abby Hebert
Abby Hebert is our Volunteer and Foster Coordinator at HALO Animal Rescue. Abby started at HALO as an Animal Care Specialist in 2018 and joined the management team in summer of 2019. Abby is a daughter of an Air Force veteran and was born and raised on a military base in Japan before relocating to Luke AFB in 2006. Abby graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2015 with a B.A. in Film, Television and Theatre with a concentration in theatre acting and costume design.
After graduating college, Abby initially worked in the insurance industry for 3 years before making the career shift into animal welfare. Working in animal care has been more rewarding than the insurance industry and she knows she made the right choice moving to HALO because, it is true, money can't buy happiness.
Abby has had rescue animals her whole life and currently has 4 rescue cats at home. In her spare time, she enjoys going to concerts, traveling and trying new, delicious food when she can. She looks forward to continue helping improve animals' lives and helping the community by living by and educating others on HALO's mission.