About Us

Our Leadership

Board of Directors

The Gateway Pet Guardians Board of Directors oversees and supervises the activities of Gateway Pet Guardians.  

Angela Schaefer – Board President
Angie Schaefer  

Angie began volunteering for Gateway Pet Guardians in 2014 after adopting from GPG. In addition to fostering, training shelter volunteers, being a shelter guardian and helping at events she joined the Advisory Board and then became a member of the Board of Directors. Currently serving as President, Angie has a strong background professionally in HR management and in non-profit governance. Angie has served as President of multiple professional non-profits, and was an executive member and member for over 10 years with the Saint Louis Zoo Association Board of Directors and Young Zoo Friends Board of Directors. Angie and her husband Collin share their home with their cat Remy and their pups Elwood, Milo, Daisy, and Truman (three of the pups are GPG alumni!). As President of the Board of Directors for GPG Angie is focused on ensuring that GPG achieves its mission and operational goals in a fiscally responsible manner, adhering to all legal and ethical business standards.

Laura Nelson – Board Vice President
Laura Nelson

Laura joined the Board of Directors in 2018 after she began her work with the ASPCA. Prior to the ASPCA, she was the first Program Director for GPG. Laura currently works on the transport team for the ASPCA and has done disaster relief after East Coast flooding. Laura has an incredible asset on the animal welfare industry on a national level and brings her expertise and professionalism to the Gateway Pet Guardians board.

Jen Dolce – Board Treasurer

Jen DolceJenny has been involved with Gateway Pet Guardians since 2009. In her previous board term, she served as the Board Treasurer for many years. Jenny is also a part of one of our most supportive corporate partners and philanthropic families, Metro East Industries. Their family business is located in East St. Louis. They bestow giving and compassion on all of their employees and clients. Jenny’s background as the Controller of her company has been vitally important in the financial growth of GPG over the past nine years.

Kristen Burger – Board Member
Kristen Burger

Kristen has been involved with Gateway Pet Guardians since 2017 when she and her family began fostering. With a fifteen year career in non-profit development, Kristen brings fundraising acumen and insight to the board. Kristen has been engaged in the animal welfare community in St. Louis for many years; she and her husband Gary, their four children and two dogs love fostering puppies and educating their friends about the benefits of choosing pet adoption.

LaKeisha Coleman – Board Member
LaKeisha Coleman

LaKeisha has had a passion for helping animals since she was a child and even dreamed of opening her own facility to help strays in her local community. Being a part of GPG’s expansion to East St. Louis is one of the many reasons LaKeisha is excited to be serving on the Board of Directors.  LaKeisha’s non-profit experience includes fostering and starting a non-profit organization that specializes in mentoring young girls in the Metro East area. In keeping with her desire to help animals in her local community she recently opened an event planning business just for pets. LaKeisha currently works in the healthcare industry as a Hospital Services Specialist. She attained her academic experience from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville. She is a Navy veteran and currently resides with her two fur babies Miranda and Pepper who are both rescue pups. LaKeisha is excited to bring her passion for helping animals in need, her ties to the East St. Louis community, and her experience with non-profits and policy to the GPG Board.


Gateway Pet Guardians employs a powerful team of staff to execute day-to-day operations. 

Jamie Case – Executive Director
Jamie Case

Jamie Case is the executive director of Gateway Pet Guardians. GPG’s work is concentrated in the East St. Louis, Illinois, metro community, where almost half of the residents live below the poverty line. Since she became the executive director in 2010, the organization has grown exponentially. Jamie leads a strong team of volunteers and staff to create community change on the ground level through outreach efforts. In 2014, she worked with East St. Louis city officials to eliminate breed-specific verbiage and update outdated inhumane verbiage in the city ordinance. This is one of the many steps Jamie and her team have taken to reduce the number of strays wandering the community’s streets. The East St. Louis area is a resource desert, with one animal control officer dedicated to more than 64,000 residents. In 2012, Jamie and her rescue team began transferring animals from the county’s high kill animal services euthanasia list. The euthanasia list was full of animals from the GPG service area because of the lack of resources. Since that time, Jamie has been dedicated to reducing the number of animals killed each year in St. Clair County. She pushed for integration of Illinois organizations into the local St. Louis animal welfare coalition, bridging the gap between Illinois and Missouri welfare initiatives. She also led the charge to put pressure on county officials to improve conditions and procedures at St. Clair County Animal Services. To further improve the county’s dedication to its animals, the St. Clair County Animal Abuse Task Force was created with the help of Jamie and her team in 2015. In 2016, Jamie and other citizens led the charge to pass to the county’s no-kill resolution. And in 2018, the St. Clair County Animal Welfare Coalition was formed to bring together all welfare groups working toward lifesaving. This is the first county-wide coalition in the state of Illinois. St. Clair County plans to be no-kill by 2021.

Jill Henke – Development Director
Jill Henke

Jill Henke stepped into the Development Director role in January 2020 after serving as the Program Director for 2.5 years. As Development Director, she oversees all aspects of fundraising, development, marketing and PR. She focuses on program and funding strategy, improving efficiency, improving communication and utilizing data to evaluate program effectiveness. Jill has been working and volunteering in animal welfare since 2006. She has two dogs of her own, Moose and Gus, and two cats, Jada and Carlton. In addition to being the Development Director for GPG, she also has a small dog sitting business called Aunt Jill’s Dog Sitting & Walking. Needless to say, dogs (and cats!) are her life! She has fostered over 300 dogs since 2006, mostly bully breeds. She’s been in love with GPG’s mission since she did a ride-along with PJ feeding strays in East St. Louis in 2012 and her love for GPG’s mission has only grown with an increased focus on community outreach efforts.

Alisha Vianello – Program Director
Alisha Vianello

Alisha Vianello grew up on a farm and has always been passionate about animals. She has experience working in both animal welfare and HR Management. In September 2019, she made the leap from corporate America to her dream job with GPG. She’s been fostering with GPG since 2016 and started volunteering with the adoption team in 2017. As the Program Director for GPG, she oversees the animal care (shelter, vetting, foster), intake/rescue, adoption and volunteer programs.

Sara Cordevant – Intake, Networking & Diversion Manager
Sara Cordevant

Sara Cordevant joined the Gateway Pet Guardians family as a volunteer in 2014. She became the organization’s first Intake, Networking and Diversion Manager in January 2019. She is the mother to a wonderful 3-year-old son Alec and a foster mom to many doggies & kitties.

Brittany Fleming – Behavior & Placement Manager
Brittany Fleming

Brittany Fleming is the Behavior and Placement Manager for Gateway Pet Guardians. She has been with the organization since 2015. Animal rescue is her passion and behavior dogs are her speciality. Seeing an animal’s progression from shy, scared, or aggressive to confident, happy, and social dogs means everything to her and is why she loves to give every animal a chance no matter how they act on intake. She also oversees the placement of animals in foster homes.

Cara Dambach – Office Manager

Dr. Ed MignecoCara Dambach joined the Gateway Pet Guardians family as a volunteer in 2019. After fostering several kittens, she quickly began managing the Cat Placement and Cat Foster programs. She enjoys overseeing the journey that every cat and kitten takes…starting as a frightened feline at intake, to placing them with amazing fosters and then watching them grow to become ready go to loving homes. In October 2020, Cara decided to get more involved and join the GPG team as the Office Manager. She continues to do all things cat related, but has added some bookkeeping and property management to her role. Cara is a wife and mom to two teenagers, two cats and many foster kittens!

Shaun Case – Animal Care Attendant
Shaun Case

Shaun Case was the first animal care attendant hired when Gateway Pet Guardians moved into our first shelter in St. Louis in 2012. He was brought on to care for the animals that were staying at the facility temporarily. Shaun has been caring for the animals in our care since that day. His passion for large dogs and calm demeanor has been vital to socializing adoptable dogs while at the shelter. He was the first to start playgroups at the shelter for long-term residents which dramatically increased their fosterability and adoptability. Shaun is married to Jamie Case and they have two children, three dogs, three cats and one bunny. Shaun and Jamie have fostered hundreds of animals in their home since making GPG their life’s work in 2008. He has been a critical part of the GPG team since that time and is excited to see the work impact more lives as the journey continues in the new facility.

Amanda Loellke – Animal Care Attendant

AmandaAmanda Loellke joined the Gateway Pet Guardians team in January 2020 as we made the historic move to our East St. Louis facility. A passion to care for animals and find their forever homes drove her to our organization. Previously, she was an investigator for the Missouri Department of Transportation, where she investigated fraud, waste and abuse allegation including equal employee opportunity complaints. Her favorite thing about work is watching the transformations homeless animals experience from their first day in the shelter to when they go to foster and then get adopted. Amanda has two cats named Larry and Little Larry.

Dr. Ed Migneco – Veterinarian

Dr. Ed MignecoFrom GPG’s inception in 2004, Dr. Ed Migneco has been a part of our mission. He is Gateway Pet Guardians’ veterinarian, providing veterinary care for all rescued pets and also owned pets through our public clinic. His shelter medicine expertise is vitally important to our daily medical decisions.

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