Marie Wenzel

Executive Director

Marie Wenzel, LSW, the executive director of Hand2Paw, brings fifteen years of social service experience to her position. After earning her Masters in Social Work from Temple University, she spearheaded initiatives to increase access to innovative programming for underserved populations. Marie is dedicated to promoting positive social change and improving systems that perpetually harm people from marginalized communities.

Marie understands the healing power that animal assisted interventions have with humans. That propelled her into expanding opportunities for youth to heal through helping rescue animals at Hand2Paw. Marie’s passion is on addressing the violence crisis in Philadelphia by offering paid internships to youth interested in developing work skills in animal well-being and veterinary spaces, and expanding Hand2Paw’s impact, offering creative humane education workshops and pet pantries in the community.

Megan Hannah

Director of Operations

Megan is a certified School Counselor who received her graduate degree from Eastern University. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Megan has worked with our city’s youth in various capacities throughout her career, and connected with H2P through a partnership she formed while working in an educational setting specifically for youth involved in the foster care system.

Daisha Pierce

Program Director

Daisha has extensive experience working at animal well-being organizations where she has worked in various positions and supervisory roles. Daisha has a deep knowledge of the landscape of animal well-being in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas having worked at many local animal shelters such as ACCT Philly, BCAS, PSPCA, WHS, UPenn Veterinary Hospital and the Philadelphia Zoo. Most recently, Daisha worked in Behavioral Health with the PA Dept. of Human Services. While working as a Manager at ACCT Philly, Daisha oversaw several departments including but not limited to; veterinary services, surrender prevention and the hiring of new staff. Daisha trained and managed staff, formerly incarcerated interns, and young adult staff members (ages 16–24) in entry-level veterinary positions.

Jade Askew

Program Facilitator

Jade has experience working with youth in child welfare, crisis case management and as a therapeutic counselor for justice-involved youth. Jade held previous positions at Elwyn Seeds, CHOP’s Homeless Health Initiative, PHMC and Mathom House. Jade has a wide range of facilitation experience with youth ages 12–21 running groups and workshops on healthy boundaries, trauma, wellness and girls mentoring. This fall, Jade will be starting her final year of her MSW program at Widener University.

Sara Schwartz

Director of Development

Sara Schwartz is a Licensed Social Worker with 20 years of experience working with adolescents in foster care and experiencing housing insecurity, Latine immigrant communities and survivors of domestic violence. Sara previously worked at Women Against Abuse, Juntos and Valley Youth House. Sara was one of the early leadership team members at C.B. Community Schools, a small high school in Philadelphia for young people in the child welfare system. Sara joined the Hand2Paw Development team in 2021 helping to grow the organization and expand its impact.


Penny C. Ellison, Esq.

Board President

Penny Ellison has been the Executive Director of Hand2Paw since 2012. Penny is an Adjunct Professor at University of Pennsylvania Law School teaching Animal Law and Ethics. Penny also supervises the Animal Law Project, a student run group that performs pro bono services for nonprofits serving the interests of animals and serves as Co-Chair of the Board of the Pennsylvania SPCA. She is also an attorney and mediator.

Angela Marcus


Angela Marcus is the co-founder of GetYourPet.com, an online community that helps pet owners rehome their animals without going to a shelter. Angela was formerly Director of Operations for the Pennsylvania SPCA.

Colleen Landy-Thomas


Colleen has spent her career working to improve outcomes for youth experiencing homelessness. She has served as a Director at both Covenant House PA and Valley Youth House. She is currently a Director with the School District of Philadelphia where she is responsible for education for all children and youth experiencing homelessness for the District.

Melanie Jumonville Cataldi

After a long career tackling food security as part of the senior management team at Philabundance, Melanie now runs Hygieia Consulting LLC, which links diverse partners from all sectors to generate purpose-driven impact in the community.

Shawn Mack

Shawn has worked with Valley Youth House since 2014, previously serving as a job developer and mentor program coordinator. He currently holds the position of Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Elizabeth Olsen

Beth is an attorney with Sullivan and Cromwell in New York City. She has also saved many animal lives through fostering dozens of dogs until they could find their forever homes.

Robert Zindell

Robert is the Project Manager for the Office of Climate and Culture with The School District of Philadelphia. Previously, he spent over 16 years working with youth at Covenant House Pennsylvania, starting as a Youth Advisor and most recently serving as their Associate Director of Development from 2019–2021.

CARE REDI Certified

All board members have completed the Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) training offered by Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity (CARE) and have achieved a bronze certification.

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