Our Employees

Featured Employee:

Sam, Program CoordinatorSam

 Joined IHA: May 2015

I love all animals, feathered, scaled, and furry, and was taught to respect all life at a very young age. Growing up, my family pets were my companions and my best friends. I knew early on that I wanted to spend my life helping the creatures I loved. Like many other children, I was going to grow up to be a veterinarian. That direction changed gradually through my education and experience, which lead me to Iowa Humane Alliance (IHA).

IHA’s mission, vision, and core values align with my own personal ethics and outlook on life. Animal welfare advocacy is simply in my nature and I feel extremely honored to work with a group of people who are as excited and dedicated to making a positive impact as I am! Hands down, the favorite part of my job is being part of the solution of pet over-population and being able to help people take care of their pets. In my position, I have the ability to be the voice for those who have none; including community cats and families with pets living in under-served areas.

 Being a relentlessly optimistic idealist, I have big dreams of helping to fulfill IHA’s vision to create a state where all companion animals have safe long-term homes, where feral cats are valued and protected, and where euthanasia is no longer used as a form of population control.

My work experience covers a wide range of genres; from being a vet assistant and adoption counselor, to doing Mad Science after-school enrichment for children, to interning for Henry Doorly Zoo working with rhinos and sea lions. My educational path has covered a broad spectrum as well; my degrees include an A.S. in Pre-Vet Medicine, a B.S. in Animal Ecology (with an emphasis in pre-vet medicine), and I just finished a graduate program earning an M.A. in Philanthropy and Non-Profit Development. Being the program coordinator, I serve many functions for IHA; I coordinate events for our outreach programs; including our transport program, Spay Iowa, Love for Pets, and Iowa-Trap-neuter-Return Assistance Program (I-TRAP). I also often do morning check-in and help our medical team when needed.

I am pictured with Molly, my 9 ½ year old Newfoundland. I adopted Molly from Cedar Valley Humane Society. I had never adopted a senior dog before, but I fell in love with her the moment I saw her. I knew we needed each other and so nearly a week later, I brought her home. She was instantly part of our family. She has been simply a joy, and has even helped our cats become less afraid of large dogs! I am so grateful that we found each other.


Sarah, Veterinary AssistantSarah

 Joined IHA: February 2017

I love my job at IHA. I first heard about them when we found our calico kitty Tasha and were looking for an affordable place to get her spayed. I found out that they were able to offer a lower price than most clinics since spay and neuter is all they do, and since they are a non-profit organization.

In the picture with me is our Tasha. My daughter and I found her nearly starved outside our apartment building a couple of years ago. She is one of the sweetest cats I’ve ever known.


Jennifer, Staff VeterinarianJennifer

 Joined IHA: January 2013
Growing up I always had an affinity for animals.  I LOVED doing chores and getting messy, much better than housework, which my older sister was stuck doing. I was attached to the cats and dogs, and their babies. I can’t explain why I am drawn to animals. I can go all week working with them, but end up seeing a dog at someone’s house and insisting on saying hi or petting him. Animals are honest. I appreciate that. I love pretty much any animal.

My favorite part of my job is knowing the more wild, or barn cats, will be healthier at this same time next year. When I had the mobile unit I loved seeing the crazy, scrawny cats of the year before, now much mellower and thriving.

There are many things which prepared me for my role at IHA. I already did regular private practice Veterinary medicine for 8 years outside Seattle, WA. I also have done years of work at shelters where euthanasia of healthy animals happened almost daily during the heavy puppy and kitten season. I was part of it at one shelter, euthanizing a mom cat, then her kittens, broke my heart. That is when I decided I would do what I could to make euthanasia of healthy animals unnecessary.

Lisa, Veterinary AssistantLisa

 Joined IHA: January 2013
I have loved animals for as long as I can remember. When I was young, I was very shy and quiet. I found animals much safer and easier to be with than people.

I remember going to friends’ farms and seeing all the kittens…most of them sickly and thin. It made me so sad and frustrated. Wasn’t there some way to prevent this suffering? There was…spay and neuter. Then about 5 years ago, I agreed to foster and bottle feed some newborn orphaned kittens from a friend’s farm. I thought, “No problem, I’ll find homes for them. They are adorable kittens!” That’s when the reality of overpopulation became obvious to me. No one wanted a kitten. Why? Because there were kittens everywhere! The shelters were overflowing, strays were everywhere. So now I have the foster kittens that I wasn’t sure I could find homes for. One of them is Georgia (who is pictured with me). I love them very much, but they were a huge reason I reawakened my passion to try and do something about pet overpopulation and suffering.

Lori, Office ManagerLori

 Joined IHA: October 2014
I like all aspects of my job with IHA, from entering animals, to invoicing the animals to the phone appointments.

I enjoy working with people to help them get their pets spayed, neutered and vaccinated and to see the smile on their face knowing that their pet will be healthy. I love working with animals and with clients to give them an understanding of vaccinations and the importance of spaying and neutering their animals to keep them healthy.

Shelby, Veterinary TechnicianShelby

 Joined IHA: July 2015
My favorite part about my job is knowing that we are able improve the quality of so many animal’s lives through spaying and neutering. It is an amazing feeling to be a part of a hardworking team that is able to make such a big impact for animals in our community as well as the communities that we are able to reach out to.

Kathleen, Development DirectorKathleen

 Joined IHA: September 2011
There are so many reasons why I LOVE working at IHA! Our work here is making a positive impact for animal welfare in the community and it is extremely rewarding to be able to actually have solutions to offer animals and their people. 

Every day I work for the thing that I am most passionate about! My days are rich and full.

Stacy, Executive DirectorStacy Dykema

Joined IHA: January 2013
During my career in animal welfare, I had worked at two municipal shelters and saw the full spectrum of animal care. I held the role of veterinarian technician, volunteer coordinator, humane investigations officer, adoption counselor, natural disaster rescuer, and cared for thousands of cats and dogs.

I was working in Upstate New York when Mary phoned and asked me to come work at Iowa Humane Alliance. Mary said that the clinic was scheduled to open in 8 weeks and that 5,000 surgeries would be performed in the first year. I thought, WOW, how amazing. I did a little research on high quality, high volume, low cost spay/neuter clinics and everything suddenly became so clear. Somewhere around 12,000 surgeries performed, I became the Director of Clinic Operations. Currently I am the Executive Director of IHA, overseeing all—and we’re just over 31,000 operations.