Our Board Members
Shelley Blessing was once a little girl who loved animals, especially kitties. Unlike most children, she actually preferred eating vegetables and fussed & cried when she was forced to eat meat. She would rather play with kitties, puppies, and chickens then dolls and barbies. She would take kitties everywhere with her and tried very hard to give them rides on her swing and doll stroller. Much to her dismay, the kitties would jump out and try to run away. Shelley didn't realize that catching them would train her for rescuing on a much larger scale later in life. As a multipotentialite, she was destined to become a functional medicine nutritionist/vegan which to her, was more rewarding than her corporate, entrepreneurial, author and other medical accolades. She felt that it was wrong to hurt and kill her friends and be forced to eat them. She would often bring in stray kitties and sneak them under her blankets at nap time. Shelley did not know the difference between wild nor tame as all animals were gentle with her. This little girl vowed that when she grew up that she would help all the animals in the world be happy, safe, loved, fed and made all better. This little girl grew up to become the Meow Matriarch.
Dr. Judy Jarecki-Black, Esq is a doctor of medicine, holds a PhD and is a research scientist. Judy is Global Head of the Intellectual Property Department at Merial Limited‚ the Animal Health Division of Sanofi, which produces products and vaccines for domestic pets, wildlife and farm animals. Dr. Jarecki-Black is admitted to the state bars of Georgia and South Carolina‚ and is admitted to practice before several federal courts including the United States Supreme Court. Her background includes over 20 years' experience as a researcher in developing human and animal vaccines against infectious diseases‚ including developing and licensing the recombinant Lyme (OspA) vaccine. It was her work on the recombinant Lyme vaccine that first introduced her to patent law and inspired her to get a legal degree at the Georgia State University‚ College of Law. Since 2002‚ Judy has been responsible for the maintenance and enforcement of Merial's global patent portfolio. Her department obtains patent protection‚ generates patentability and freedom-to-operate opinions‚ and conducts due diligence for a variety of licensing opportunities. Judy is also responsible for global patent litigation and leads the trial team on all patent cases, but always makes time to help and even take in many unfortunate animals to her heart and home. She is owned by several kitties and adored by many species.
Nancy C. Everitt, B.S, M.B.A, is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of HEOPS, Inc. based in Nashville, TN. With over 25 years of experience in both the healthcare provider and payor arenas, Nancy is recognized as a thought leader in helping to create access to healthcare. She annually chairs a national Medicaid Managed Care Conference with a focus on healthcare innovation. Nancy has also worked in a senior capacity for Fortune 500 companies and serves as CEO of the CENTIPEDE Health Network which is the first national home and community based services provider network designed to help people age in their own homes. Mentoring emerging leaders and entrepreneurs is one of Nancy's greatest passions. She is an active Angel Investor and also serves on the Board of Nashville Capital Network and a founding member of the Arkansas State University Women’s Business Leadership Center Founder’s Circle and a past Board member of Arkansas State University Foundation. In her spare time, you can find Nancy giving belly rubs and scritches to her five rescue kitties!
Staci Kellen describes herself as a combination theatre/database/puzzle geek. She also proudly wears the "crazy cat lady" moniker and has done so for many years. When she's not busy with the care and feeding of the management information systems at her job in Federal law enforcement, she enjoys sharing her home with her current "Fabulous Four" rescue kitties... the youngest two of whom were rescued from a high kill shelter in Memphis and transported to Staci in Virginia by KPOH! She is a supporter of many charitable giving organizations, both animal and human, and volunteers with her local food pantry when she can, but the biggest part of her heart belongs to helping kitties with KPOH.
Catherine Zidell is a retired flight attendant turned NASM certified personal trainer. She has been competing for 21 years and at 63 years-young, is an IFBB Professional in the Women's Physique Division! Catherine spends time with her Arabian horses, riding and showing in dressage. Memberships include AHA and USEF. She also cares for elderly family members in hospice, loves being involved in animal charity work and rescuing, but spends the majority of her time trying to convince herself that she is not being bossed around by her two senior kitties...