Staff Favorite: Hennessey!
Lisa LaFontaine is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA), this region’s premier animal welfare organization. In 2019 Lisa oversaw the merger of the Humane Rescue Alliance with St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center of New Jersey to create the first regional, community-based, multi-state animal welfare organization in the nation. In 2016, Lisa oversaw the merger of the Washington Humane Society (WHS) and the Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL)—who came together to form a single more powerful voice for animals. The result was the formation of the Humane Rescue Alliance, the first unified organization in a major urban area to provide all the animal welfare programs and services to the community.Lisa’s experience and accomplishments in the animal welfare field are a testament to her compassion and commitment and have prepared her well for the challenge of heading up such a unique organization. She left a successful career in communications after having what she describes as a personal epiphany. Her young daughter, who was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, had trouble sleeping at night. A counselor advised having one of the family cats, to whom Lisa’s daughter was very attached, sleep with her. This cat, who had never been interested in sleeping on anyone’s bed, willingly curled up with her, helping bring her the sense of calm she needed to sleep. Lisa recalls thinking first that there had never been an animal like this cat and then that perhaps other people felt the same sense of connection with their companion animals. Her commitment to animals and their well-being was born.As CEO of New Hampshire’s Monadnock Humane Society, Lisa spearheaded a successful capital campaign that resulted in construction of a new, state-of-the-art animal welfare facility and an expanded endowment fund for the organization. In 2007 she was hired as President and CEO by the Washington Humane Society, where she significantly increased the live release rate for animals from one of the lowest to one of the highest in the country. She also advocated for greater animal protection through innovative programs and changes in law and built critical relationships with DC’s diverse interests and communities on behalf of animals in need.Lisa worked closely with the senior staff and Boards of Directors of both WHS and WARL to lay the groundwork for a new, combined organization that would not just be larger but would also be more powerful, one that could accomplish more for both animals and people. The Humane Rescue Alliance is the result of that collaboration. Given her personal and professional devotion to animals, Lisa is dedicated to the vision of a community where there is a loving home for every unwanted animal, affordable medical care for every sick and injured animal, an end to animal abuse and cruelty, and stronger bonds between animals and people through education and training. She believes that the Humane Rescue Alliance can bring that vision to fruition.When not advocating for the animal community at large, Lisa shares her life and home with her husband, Matt Kayhoe; Sazzy, their pit bull; Harold, their cat; and an ever-rotating and always welcomed family of foster animals. She also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement.
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