Chimp Sanctuary

CSNW Board of Directors

Lisa McCurdy, Esq., President

Lisa McCurdy is a shareholder in the Los Angeles office of Greenberg Traurig, LLP. Her legal practice focuses on business litigation, trusts and estates litigation, real estate litigation, and animal law. In addition to her legal work, Lisa works with a number of animal rescues in the Los Angeles area and regularly volunteers her time to help reduce the population of homeless animals. As a result of this work, she was appointed by the Mayor of Los Angeles in March 2012 to serve as a Commissioner for the Animal Services Department of the City of Los Angeles, and served in that capacity and as Board president until February 2014. Lisa has a degree in psychology with a specialization in business and administration from the University of California – Los Angeles, and earned her law degree at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. Lisa enjoys traveling abroad, most recently on safari in Africa where she was blessed with, among many amazing experiences, the opportunity to trek with the mountain gorillas in Rwanda.  She is also involved in sponsoring children’s educational programs in Kenya with Miracle House Children’s Homes.


Caitlin Hawks, Esq., Vice President

Caitlin Hawks is an associate with the law firm of Savitt Bruce & Willey LLP in Seattle, Washington. Her practice focuses on complex business litigation, intellectual property litigation, and bankruptcy; however her true passion has always been in helping animals. She provides a broad range of pro bono legal assistance to various local and national animal protection organizations. Her work has ranged from assisting companion animal rescues in obtaining trademark protection to a major qui tam action against the owners of a slaughterhouse in California. Caitlin earned her law degree at the University of California – Los Angeles and her bachelor’s degree at the University of Puget Sound. She previously worked as an associate in the Los Angeles office of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP.


Sharon Burke, CPA, CGMA, Treasurer

Sharon Burke has worked in the nonprofit arena for over 20 years, serving in both financial and executive management positions for organizations such as the 5th Avenue Theatre, the Henry Art Gallery, the Bellevue Art Museum and Habitat for Humanity.  Sharon is currently the Director of Finance at The Mockingbird Society in Seattle, WA which advocates for reform in the foster care system and ending youth homelessness. She has served on the Board of Directors and volunteered at several arts organizations, including On the Boards, Seattle Choral Company and Theatre Puget Sound, as well as served on the Nonprofit Committee at the Washington Society of CPAs. Because she is passionate about protecting wild places and animals, in particular our primate cousins, Sharon is a long-time donor to many conservation and animal welfare organizations that support both local and international efforts to preserve a healthy and biologically diverse planet.  Like some of her fellow Board members, she has travelled to Africa and had the privilege of seeing mountain gorillas and meeting staff from the Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund International in Rwanda as well as visiting the orphan elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya.  Sharon is very proud to be part of the wonderful work being done at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest and never tires of following the adventures of the Cle Elum 7 on the CSNW blog.


James Douglas

James’ career spans hardware development, product and project management, sales and marketing, localization and software development. He has led large multidiscipline teams across the world and the development of supply chains with partners in India, Europe and East Asia. Having worked for Philips in the Netherlands and Microsoft in Ireland and the US, he is comfortable working in and with different cultures and environments. His keen interest and training in Organizational and Leadership Development, along with coaching, have been an asset throughout his career. James has an engineering degree from Trinity College in Dublin, is married with one daughter, and his wife, Jennifer, volunteers at the sanctuary. Although Smithy is their only permanent canine, they have enjoyed a regular stream of foster dogs, generally the older ones harder to place.


Matthew Gershman, Esq.

Matthew Gershman is a shareholder in the litigation and appellate groups of the Los Angeles office of Greenberg Traurig, LLP.  Matthew’s practice focuses on disputes involving real estate, family trust management, partnership disputes, copyright claims, and class-action claims in the areas of false advertising, unfair competition, and products liability.  He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland, majoring in marketing, logistics, and supply chain management.  Matthew has many years of experience serving on the board of directors for a homeowners’ association, as well as coaching a public high school’s mock trial team.


Elizabeth Dixon List

Elizabeth is a Philanthropic Services Advisor with Seattle Foundation, and spends her working hours building relationships and making strategic connections within and outside the Foundation. Prior to her time with Seattle Foundation, Elizabeth spent over ten years as a fundraiser for Seattle-based non profits, specializing in major gifts. Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Georgia and minored in Fine Art. In 2015 she published a children’s picture book, “The Potluck”, the story of a young girl who wants to protect her endangered animal friends. Animal advocacy has been a life-long passion for Elizabeth, with chimpanzees holding a special place in her heart. Elizabeth currently lives in Issaquah, Washington, with her husband, daughter, two dogs, and one cat who thinks he’s a dog.


Martha Faulkner, MA, LMHC

Martha’s life’s work has always been about healing, finding, and reuniting people. Her personal history of being adopted and own search for her birth family led her to attain a Master’s Degree in Applied Behavioral Science followed by a license as a Mental Health Counselor. She worked as a therapist helping adopted children, adults, birth parents, and adoptive families. She also served as a court-appointed Confidential Intermediary (CI) to facilitate reuniting families separated by adoption. Martha’s love of animals helped form the basis of her next adventure. With her Real Estate Broker’s license in hand she formed through RSVP Real Estate. Martha’s belief that everyone needs a home helped form the basis of her mission to help people with their real estate needs, while at the same time supporting the local animal welfare community. Martha donates 10% of her real estate commissions to animal welfare organizations that clients choose. Martha has served as a board member and Board Chair for Homeward Pet Adoption Center (HPAC) and continues to volunteer walking the shelter dogs there on a weekly basis.


Donna Mensching, DVM

Donna Mensching has had a long­standing passion for environmental conservation with a particular interest in non­human primates as charismatic megafauna. During her undergraduate years, she volunteered and worked at the Duke University Primate Center­ caring for bush babies, giving tours, and analyzing data for a study of intergroup dynamics among long­tailed macaques. She continued pursuing her passion for animals by going to veterinary school at Cornell. After practicing in general and emergency small animal practice for nine years, she followed her passion for conservation and attended a summer institute called Envirovet, a program designed to integrate veterinarians into multi­disciplinary solutions for environmental issues. The Envirovet experience led to a residency in veterinary toxicology at the University of Illinois.  After becoming board certified in veterinary toxicology, she became the Veterinary Medical Director of Veterinary Poison Emergency Treatment Services (VET PETS) at the Washington Poison Center. It wasn't long after moving to Seattle that her passion for non­human primates led her to CSNW where she volunteers and has helped develop a veterinary clinic for the Cle Elum 7.