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.
Stephanie Marx, Vice President
Stephanie Marx is a digital marketing professional with more than 15 years of experience, most recently with a focus on social media and previously in web marketing and design. She has had a lifelong passion and affinity for animals and supports a number of non-profit organizations through donations, volunteering and advocacy. Stephanie grew up in the UK and loves to travel. During several trips to Africa (Botswana, Tanzania, Rwanda), she has had the gratifying and unforgettable experience of seeing mountain gorillas and other wild animals in their natural habitat. Stephanie and her husband, Kurt, have been supporters of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest since 2008.
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.
Caitlin Hawks, Esq., Secretary
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.
Bruce Wagman, Esq., Board Counsel
Bruce Wagman is a partner at the San Francisco law firm Schiff Hardin LLP. His practice focuses on animal law, with a special interest in chimpanzee issues. Bruce works tirelessly as an advocate for animals, and has won major victories for shelter dogs in Georgia; chimpanzees in Hollywood, California; and nearly 1,000 dogs in hoarding situations in North Carolina. He is also the co-editor of the Animal Law textbook used in law schools across the country. Bruce graduated from University of California - Hastings Law School, and has undergraduate degrees from Columbia and Cornell.
Karen Bachelder has worked with primates - human and non-human - for almost 40 years. She served as Executive Director of four nonprofit human service agencies in the Seattle area and most recently managed international partnerships for a nonprofit providing educational programs to schools around the globe. In 2001 she fell in love with chimpanzees while volunteering at the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center in Africa. Since then, she’s returned for part of each year to help manage the Center and spend time with its 74 residents. In addition she’s assisted on research studies with orangutans in Sumatra, manatees in Costa Rica, and recently volunteered at the PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynnwood, WA. Karen holds a B.A. degree in International Relations & French from the University of Delaware and a Master’s degree in social work from Hunter College, City University of New York.
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.
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.