Board of Directors

The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter Foundation is governed by an eight-person volunteer board representing a diverse cross section of Santa Cruz County. Each board member is actively involved in some aspect of the Shelter’s operations, enabling them to be effective advocates for the range of work that the Shelter performs.


Since 2011, Ben Winkleblack has been the Shelter Manager at the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, overseeing the staff and programs of both the Santa Cruz and Watsonville locations. From 2006 until his promotion to Shelter Manager, Ben was the veterinary technician overseeing surgery and medical care of the Shelter animals. Under Ben’s leadership the Shelter has launched key programs such as Planned Pethood and dog playgroups. Ben also led the charge to expand low-cost spay/neuter services and has secured multiple grants in support of clinic outreach. Ben has received the county’s highest award three times and also received special congressional recognition for his work in the community. Ben lives in San Jose with his wife and their family of Shelter alum dogs (the poodles are Ben’s favorite!) and one cat.


Brett Hennie has been an animal lover for as long as he can remember. Originally from Cincinnati, he moved to Santa Cruz County in 2017 to take a position with a local company and began volunteering at the Shelter. He quickly became interested in using his combined experiences as an officer in other nonprofits and 20 years as a CPA to help on the financial side. He is committed to ensuring that the Foundation operates with the highest levels of integrity and transparency while expanding the community’s base of financial support for the Shelter.



Pamela Lowry has been an active supporter of local animal welfare organizations and regional conservation efforts since moving to Santa Cruz in 2008. Before retiring, Pam headed a consulting firm in Boston specializing in political campaign administration, fundraising and election law compliance. She has authored three novels under the pen name Lee Lowry, has volunteered with the SC County Animal Shelter since 2012, and was honored by the SCC Board of Supervisors as an Outstanding County Volunteer. She lives in Pasatiempo with her husband Allen and an aging cat.



Peter Cliff started volunteering at the San Francisco animal shelter shortly after graduating from college in the mid 1980s. A highlight of this period was successfully and safely escorting a loose dog across the entire span of the Golden Gate Bridge during morning rush hour traffic. All of his family’s many past and present pets were rescued or came from local shelters. His latest addition, Frida the Chihuahua, came from the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter. When not looking after his own pets or enjoying time with his wife and two adult sons, Peter spends part of his free time walking the dogs at the Shelter.


AT-LARGE: NANCIE NEWBY (San Lorenzo Valley)

Nancie Newby is an office administrator at Design Octaves in Soquel. She began volunteering at the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter in 2016, first as a dog volunteer and then helping with events benefiting the Shelter. Nancie is part of the volunteer team promoting adoptable pets, events and the Shelter's philosophy through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and was key in the SCCAS Foundation's First Place finish in the 2018 Santa Cruz Gives county-wide fundraiser. Recently honored by the SCC Board of Supervisors as an Outstanding County Volunteer, Nancie lives in the San Lorenzo Valley with her husband Brian (also a Shelter dog volunteer) and their Shelter alum dog, Rosa.



Kathy Helmer became a volunteer at the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter in 2010. Her life-long passion for animals was enhanced by opportunities to help the neediest animals of her community through the programs and camaraderie found at the Shelter. She is a strong advocate for the Shelter and has organized and led several fundraising activities and silent auctions at many of the Shelter’s most successful events. She is a mentor for new volunteers and embraces new ways to find loving homes for the animals in the Shelter’s care. Prior to volunteering, Kathy worked for local government agencies including three elected officials. Kathy lives in Ben Lomond with her husband Jim and their family of three adopted dogs and two rescued cats.


AT-LARGE: SALLY WING (Boulder Creek)

Sally Wing has been co-owner of Blue Heron Design Group, a Santa Cruz graphic design business, since 1998. She previously served on the board of directors of the Friends of Santa Cruz County Animals. She is an active dog volunteer, serving as a trainer for new dog volunteers in addition to her dog walking duties. Both she and her business partner Jenny Sandrof have contributed extensive pro bono design work for the Shelter, including logo design, website design, informational materials, and promotional materials.


Nga inherited her deep love of animals from her mom, and carries fond memories of her first shelter dog "Chicken" who was named so due to his fear of people when first arriving home. She began volunteering for the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter in 2010 and is particularly interested in Humane Education with children, understanding that transformational relationships with animals can lead to positive personal, social and systemic change. Nga has engaged with nonprofits and public agencies for almost 30 years in varied roles including executive director, coach and consultant, and board member throughout the Bay Area. She has a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and Masters in Public Administration from San José State University. Nga currently works with students K-12 in the Live Oak School District and Santa Cruz City Schools District. She is proud to be mom of two boys, Milo and Khai, dog Maverick, cat Sweetie, and six chickens.