Leadership

Board of Directors

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Amy Harrell, President


Amy began volunteering for CVA in 2010, became Secretary in 2011, and President in 2012. She is dedicated to advocating for animals in the political and legislative arena, and is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Public Policy. She is a vegan and promotes cruelty free and environmentally friendly lifestyle choices. She currently works at Trinity College in Hartford, and shares her life with 3 cats: Chester, Maxine, and Teddy.

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Eva Magnuszewski, Vice President

Eva began volunteering with CVA in February 2014. She joined the Advisory Committee, then Board of Directors and became Vice President in 2016.

Eva served on the New Britain City Council from 2007 - 2015, as Majority Leader & Assistant Majority Leader. While on the Council, she started the Humane Animal Commission. Eva is a Head to Toe Vegan! Currently she runs VeganIAm.org, a website for Spiritual Vegans. She contacts companies about their product lines and asks them to label products that are vegan and cruelty free. She also contacts grocery & retail stores to include vegan & cruelty free labeling.

She lives with rescue cat Lulu Ginzu. She is also a Justice of the Peace and loves to create custom wedding ceremonies with readings, poetry  & musical interludes. She also feeds and cares for neighborhood feral cats, birds and squirrels. Eva works as an Account Executive at a Bristol manufacturing company. In her spare time, she loves to travel to New York City to visit museums, visit vegan restaurants and vegan retailers and see Broadway shows. She also loves to cook vegan food and deserts. 

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Elizabeth Abbe, Secretary

Elizabeth Abbe’s career focused on marketing and development. Prior to her retirement in 2014 she was the Director of Public Outreach at the Connecticut Historical Society. For the past 30 years she has also been heavily involved in Protectors of Animals serving in leadership capacities, hands-on rescue, and  dog placement. She also “inherited” a companion dog from a dear friend who had multiple sclerosis and passed away from the disease. “Leeta,” a black lab was so well trained that she and Elizabeth breezed through therapy dog training for Pet Partners and now they are a team who visit schools, colleges, Assisted Living Centers and people in Hospice. Elizabeth feels that her involvement in CVA rounds out her deep concern for animals. Preventing animal cruelty and reducing the homeless animal population starts with good laws.

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Jennifer Wynn, Treasurer


Jennifer Wynn has volunteered for Connecticut Votes for Animals since 2014, and joined the board in 2016. She has a lifelong passion for animals, and has been involved in companion animal rescue over the last decade. Jennifer recently has fostered dogs, testified at the State Capitol in favor of pro-animal legislation, served on the Host Committee of Farm Sanctuary, and supported multiple animal-related organizations.
Jennifer has previously served on non-profit boards, and has over a decade of management and analytics experience in the corporate world, which suits her role in CVA as Treasurer. She earned her Bachelor's and Master's degrees at The University of Tulsa and is a Senior Manager for a Fortune 500 company.
Residing in Farmington, she enjoys volunteering, running, yoga, spending time with her adopted canine companions, and cooking delicious plant-based meals with her husband.
 

Amy Gagnon

Amy joined the ranks of CT Votes for Animals in 2013 and presently serves on the board of directors and chairs the programming committee. She is active in animal rescue in her local community and is a long time volunteer with Protectors of Animals. When she is not championing for animals, she is championing for our historic past as an independent history consultant and historic preservationist. She also serves as co-director for the Center for Teaching and Faculty Development at Central Connecticut State University. She lives in New Britain with a little black pit bull named Apple, three cranky cats, and a never-ending supply of foster cats and kittens. 

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Karen Laski

Karen has been an animal advocate since the late sixties starting with the CT Animal Welfare League followed by the CT Animal Rights Front and then Animal Advocacy CT, the first political animal advocacy group in CT. Karen worked for 25 years at Manchester High School helping kids with truancy problems. A lifetime of volunteerism began with Children’s Literacy Hartford, and continued with Manchester Committee for Peace and Justice, Manchester Shelters for the Homeless among many other local and national groups. She founded “Compassion in Entertainment”, a group that educates the public about the plight of animals used for circuses and traveling shows. Karen met the Beatles!

Joining the Board of CT Votes for Animals in 2011, Karen’s role involves legislative planning and citizen lobbying for animal welfare bills.

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Susan Linker

Susan Biella-Linker founded Our Companions Animal Rescue, a nonprofit organization in 2002. Susan also serves as Connecticut’s representative on the Humane Society of the United States’ Companion Animal Advisory Council and is a Trustee of the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation.

Susan is the past Vice President of Connecticut Votes for Animals and the former President of the Animal Welfare Federation of Connecticut, a partnership of no-kill animal welfare organizations. Prior to establishing Our Companions, Susan worked in various capacities in the field of animal welfare including an eight year career with the Connecticut Humane Society and its subsidiary, Fox Memorial Clinic.

Susan also spent some time outside the animal welfare field where she pursued financial development experience with the American Red Cross fundraising team. 

Susan lives with her husband Mitchell who serves as Our Companions’ Development Committee Chair, her rescued dog Darla and too many cats to mention and not sound crazy.

   



Advisory Council

  • Mark Bailey
  • Ruth Cutrone
  • Kristan Exner
  • John Gagnon
  • Krysia Kaminski
  • Maria Llanos Martell
  • Kennedy Munro
  • Henry Petrofsky
  • Caitlin Reese
  • Jessica Rubin
  • Jim Sargent
  • Kathleen Sullivan
  • Marlene Wilhelm