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 a son and daughter. 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."
Customer Service Manager, Anita Garcia
Anita is the Customer Service Manager at our main shelter. Anita began her career with HALO in 2015.
Prior to working with HALO, Anita spent 21 years with PetSmart and PetSmart Charities managing the in-store adoption program both nationally and regionally. During her tenure more than 6 million pets were adopted through the program by more than 3,000 adoption partners, including HALO.
Anita takes her passion for pets home, too. She and her husband Arturo are pet parents to 7 dogs, one of which was a "foster failure" and a wonderful addition to the family. Anita loves being able to make a difference in pets lives through adoption; the bond between pets and their new pet parents is amazing.
Animal Care Manager, Trey Amor
Trey started as an Animal Care Specialist with HALO in 2014. He then moved on to become one of the Assistant Animal Care Managers in early 2015. He is now part of the management team as one of HALO's Animal Care Managers.
Trey was not born in Arizona but has lived here a most of his life. His hobbies include going on adventures with his dog (A HALO pet), snowboarding, and fitness. Trey has always had a soft spot for animals; he naturally gravitates towards dogs, but has loved honing in on his kitty skills since starting at HALO. After working in a variety of different fields, Trey is confident that he has found his calling.
Trey has known about and appreciated the work that HALO has done for quite a while before his employment started, but is happier now more than ever to be part of a team that does such amazing work for homeless pets in need.
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, Abby Hebert
Abby Hebert is one of the Animal Care Manager's 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.
Volunteer & Foster Coordinator, Cierra Lowder
Cierra started at HALO as an Animal Care Specialist at the beginning of 2019. After just a few short months, she moved to the Transport Team, and a few months later she transferred to the front desk and became a Customer Service Representative.
After 10 months of being with HALO, she received a promotion and is now the Volunteer & Foster Coordinator.
Cierra was born in Lake Havasu City, AZ and lived in Arizona for 10 years before moving to Redondo Beach, CA. She lived in California for 10 years before moving back to Arizona on her own. She has always had a deep love for animals and grew up with many, which included dogs, reptiles, and rabbits. She is happy that she has found a career and organization that has helped carry on her childhood dream of caring for animals. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, hanging with loved ones, and listening to music. Cierra is looking forward to her future at HALO and helping the organization with their mission in finding their furry friends forever homes!