We are pleased to announce the addition of four new members to our Board of Directors. Bringing diverse and extensive communication, business, law and technical experience, the new Board Members share in our mission to champion a thriving pet welfare community in the East Side Pet District – East St. Louis, Cahokia Heights, Washington Park and Fairmont City.


MaryAnn Taylor Crate is the founder and principal of communications consulting firm Added Dimension, LLC in St. Charles, Missouri. Since 1992, she has worked in the St. Louis community, spearheading outreach and communication initiatives for a wide-range of public sector infrastructure projects and programs. Her experience includes designing engagement programs surrounding the development of feasibility studies, major investment studies, environmental assessments and remediation initiatives; trail, transit and rail-oriented project development and management; and growth management studies.


Laura Placio is a retired Business Manager for John Burroughs School in St. Louis. For over three decades, she established and maintained firm financial practices at John Burroughs School while taking time to mentor other business officers in the region. She is the recent recipient of the Will J. Hancock Unsung Hero Award, which is given to business officers who have made extraordinary contributions to their schools and exemplify exceptional integrity, knowledge and motivation.


Sophya Qureshi Raza is a founding partner at Raza & Jones, LLC, a female-owned law firm specializing in family law matters in the Greater St. Louis area. She was named “Best Lawyer of the Year” for Family Law Mediation in St. Louis and Collaborative Law: Family Law in the 2022 Best Lawyers report, which uses a rigorous peer-selection process to recognize top legal practitioners in their field. This is her eighth consecutive year receiving high accolades from her peers in her practice area.


Ann Scharenberg is a Senior Product Manager at Nestlé Purina North America (Purina) who has professional experience in the nonprofit sector. She is a St. Louis native with over 10 years of experience focused in product management, technology and user experience. In 2013, she began her career with Purina and for the past three years, she has been leading the technology transformation of Petfinder, an online, searchable database of animals who need homes.


Our Board members are responsible for establishing policy and strategic direction, as well as creating opportunities and cultivating relationships that advance our mission and cause. The role of Board member is a very important one. We welcome MaryAnn, Laura, Sophya and Ann to the Board and know that their knowledge, business experience and passion will be an immense asset to help our pet welfare community thrive.

Interested in joining our pawsome Board of Directors? We are always looking to transform and grow our board with individuals who are passionate about partnering with the community to spearhead innovative and comprehensive programming with the goal of keeping pets and people together. Click here to learn more.