BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Kristen GeraliFounder and President
As a child, Kristen spent time on her uncle’s farm in Wisconsin, where she developed a lifelong love for animals. When Hurricane Katrina hit, she went to New Orleans to help the rescue effort. The week she spent there changed her life and led to more rescue volunteer work in Chicago; and ultimately the founding of ALIVE Rescue.
Greg RaymondCo-founder and Vice President
Greg helped to found ALIVE Rescue and serves as our Vice President on the Board of Directors. We are also fortunate to have him as the unofficial Director of IT/Building Maintenance/Infrastructure. His prior experience with the Furry Friends Foundation, history as a business owner/executive for more than 25 years, and overall patience provide priceless direction for ALIVE.
Jackie Groberski, CFADevelopment Director
Jackie has always had an unparalleled love and passion for animals. To her, joining ALIVE Rescue is an extremely rewarding experience, and a chance to help those who can’t speak for themselves. She has two dogs – Hustler (American bulldog) and Diana (Lab-mix), as well as two cats – Pharah and Nova. Jackie grew up with an akita (Sinbad) in the house and loved him deeply. One of Jackie’s favorite things about ALIVE Rescue is the team’s love for the unloved.
Sam GrzeskiewiczAdoption and Foster Director
Sam has always had a passion for helping animals in need. She worked with dog and horse rescues when she was growing up, volunteered with multiple animal outreach programs in Latin America, and most recently served as an adoptions coordinator, foster, and full-time snuggler at a rescue in D.C. She has always gravitated to the more challenging “troublemakers” of the bunch and loves working with them and showing them unconditional love.
Laura KrillMedical Director
Laura grew up with pets and has always shared her home with dogs, cats, and even a rabbit. When she began volunteering for ALIVE in 2012, helping others find a special addition for their family seemed like the logical thing to do with her free time, not to mention rewarding. Laura wears a few hats at ALIVE and is always looking for more. She serves as a foster home, an Adoption Coordinator, a Home Visit Coordinator, a Barn Leader, and a member of the Associate Board.
Ashley BarnaAshley found ALIVE in 2017 when she adopted her dog Jack. She met him at an adoption event, and although she wasn’t looking for another dog at that time, she completely fell in love! Ashley started volunteering a short time after and was blown away by everything ALIVE does for rescues in Chicago. Every year she tells herself she wants to get more involved with the rescue community, and when the opportunity to join the associate board presented itself, Ashley knew she had to do it.
Brad SmithFundraising Coordinator
Brad grew up in San Francisco, went to college in Arizona, and recently relocated to Chicago for work. After relocating to Chicago he adopted his own rescue, a goofy 65 lb. lab mix named Fish. His experience with Fish is what prompted him to get involved with a local animal rescue. Aside from volunteering, Brad has an active career in the tech industry and enjoys working with his clients. Outside of work Brad enjoys golfing, wakeboarding, and reading a good book.
After leaving the corporate world in April of 2018 I started volunteering at ALIVE Rescue. I have always been very passionate about wanting to help animals and a big advocate for rescues like ALIVE. After volunteering for a couple months, I was inspired to do a complete career change and go back to school to become a Veterinary Technician. When I’m not spending time at the little barn, you can find me running to raise money and awareness for the ALIVE and Running team.
Jessica BukovacAdoption Event Coordinator + Fundraising Coordinator
Jessica’s animal rescue career started in August 2017 when she and her now-husband rescued their first dog—a 7-pound senior Chihuahua they named Fiona. After Fiona joined their family, Jessica knew she wanted to do more to help the animals of Chicago. A quick Google search led her to ALIVE Rescue and would forever change her life. She started out volunteering at the Little Barn and progressively got more involved.
Johanna NewcombJohanna has always been an animal lover for as long as she can remember bringing strays home from a very young age. This love of pets led her to help develop the concept for Paradise 4 Paws, of which she is the Chief Operating Officer, now with 13 locations nationwide under the Pooch Hotel, AnimalSense, and Paradise 4 Paws Resorts brands. She has utilized this platform to raise support and awareness for animal organizations across the country.
Kathy is a retired pediatrician and has always loved children and animals. She grew up in an apartment in New York City with a cat who thought he was a dog named Cinnamon. She has lived in Chicago for 25 years and is now the proud mom to two Portuguese Water Dogs — almost-11-year-old Tucker, and six-year-old Phoebe. Kathy has been volunteering with ALIVE Rescue for over two years, mostly doing transports, and she wants to continue supporting ALIVE and their mission as best as she can!
Keelie has a Master’s in Nonprofit Administration with a special focus in fundraising from North Park University. Throughout her career, Keelie has organized many events to benefit causes she is passionate about, including a 5k for Nothing But Nets, a benefit for The Haiti School Building Project, and an Awards Gala for Casa Central.
When she is not raising money or planning events, Keelie enjoys spending time with Loretta Lynn, her Pomeranian-Dachshund.
Alexis SteinardFundraising Coordinator
Alexis Steinard is an IT consultant by day and animal lover by night! She has always had a passion for animals and rescuing/helping them. Growing up Alexis had adopted snakes, guinea pigs, dogs, bunnies etc. A few years ago, Alexis and her husband adopted a cat from the Michigan Humane Society (Sullu) and another from Planned Pethood Toledo (Ella). After she started volunteering for ALIVE, she met and fell in love with her family’s newest addition - Mickey.
Amanda BarnsFood Donation Team
I have always been an animal lover. I was the kid who tried bringing home every stray cat or dog in Detroit. By high school my mom finally caved and allowed me to start fostering cats and kittens. We added two foster fails to our family from that experience. I have been fostering with various rescues ever since.
Amy DreibelbisFundraising Coordinator
Amy believes that working with ALIVE Rescue has really taught her a lot about animal welfare and rescue. She has been part of the “front line” participating in CRISP - a coalition that ALIVE Rescue is a founding member of. Additionally, she is on the fundraising committee. Aside from working on a team, Amy fosters for ALIVE Rescue. Amy has commented that ALIVE Rescue has provided her the opportunity to make a difference and meet a lot of new connections along the way.
Angela VitzthumResearch Coordinator
Angela started volunteering with Alive in November of 2018 by being a handler at an adoption event. This quickly expanded into volunteering at the Adoption Center, doing transports, fostering with Alive’s Introvert for Life program and most recently spearheading a new Research initiative for ALIVE.
Anita MettilleAdoption Coordinator Lead + Open House Lead
Anita got involved with ALIVE Rescue after spending a year volunteering at Chicago Animal Care and Control walking dogs and working events. She learned, that without foster homes, many of the dogs just won’t make it out alive. She asked CACC staff who their top 5 rescue partners were. After researching, ALIVE Rescue was her choice. She and her pit mix, Stella, started fostering for ALIVE Rescue in 2014.
Anne PlanicBarn Leader
Anne started volunteering at ALIVE when she moved to the city, and it was the best decision she ever made! Growing up, she was always the girl dogsitting instead of babysitting. Anne’s first introduction to animal rescue was her brother’s dog Klifford, a big black lab. The love of black dogs led to the adoption of Rhubarb from ALIVE Rescue! She loves all the work that ALIVE does especially for dogs that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Berkley CameronFundraising Coordinator
Berkley credits her passion for saving animals to her dad. Growing up in Iowa she and her dad would save stray cats, turtles, birds, and just about anything that they came across on the farm.
She got involved with volunteering and fostering animals over 10 years ago and eventually adopted her two dogs, Duddley and Lucky, as well as her cat, Winky.
Brad ObermeyerBarn Leader + Webmaster
Brad greatly enjoys spending time with the animals in the Little Barn and getting to help them on the road to their new lives. His love of animals started at a young age, growing up with a menagerie of assorted pets–cats, fish, turtles, a hedgehog, lizards, a tree frog, and the occasional snake found in his parents’ garden. Prior to discovering ALIVE, Brad was an employee and volunteer Adoption Counselor at Chicago Canine Rescue.