2022 Annual Conference Session Speakers
Charmaine Brett-Mills, Executive Director, Veterinarians Without Borders
Charmaine joined VWB Canada in June 2021 as Executive Director. Charmaine brings more than twenty years of expertise and experience in international humanitarian relief and development to her new role as Executive Director, after having lived for more than 10 years in Africa, Asia, Haiti, and the Middle East. During this time, she has worked with leading humanitarian organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, Medical Emergency Relief International, and Habitat for Humanity, developing sustainable programming and responding to numerous natural and man-made emergencies.
Prior to accepting the role of Executive Director, Charmaine spent approximately seven years as Program Officer for the Disaster Relief and Recovery domain at the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies. Immediately prior to joining the Philanthropies, Charmaine worked as Head of Programs with Action Against Hunger, where she was responsible for the strategic program leadership and overall management in Pakistan, Cambodia, and Nigeria. She also holds an honour's degree in international development studies from Trent University in Canada, and she has worked as an educator in South Korea and Taiwan.
Dr. Scott Weese, DVM, DVSc Guelph; Dipl ACVIM
Dr. Scott Weese is a Professor in the Department of Pathobiology at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), the University of Guelph and a Zoonotic Disease/Public Health Microbiologist at the University of Guelph’s Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses. He is also Chief of Infection Control at the OVC Teaching Hospital and holds a Canada Research Chair in Zoonotic Diseases. Dr. Weese has a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, a Doctor of Veterinary Science and a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
Dr. Weese is a leader in veterinary infection control. He has authored or co-authored over 250 papers in peer reviewed journals, edited two books and speaks extensively on infectious diseases topics. His lab is dedicated to infectious and zoonotic diseases, multi-drug resistant pathogens, and interspecies transmission of pathogens.
Michael Howie, The Fur-Bearers
Michael Howie is an award-winning journalist whose passion for nature and solution-focused communication led him to the non-profit sector. He is the Director of Communications at The Fur-Bearers, and host of the popular Defender Radio and The Switch podcasts. Michael's work for The Fur-Bearers focuses on education and strategic communication support for campaigns. Outside of The Fur-Bearers, Michael enjoys volunteering, participating in improvised comedy podcasts, and spending time with his family. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario, the traditional territories of the Erie, Neutral, Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Mississaugas.
Sareeta Lopez, Vancouver Humane Society
Sareeta (she/her) is a settler of South Indian, Hawaiian, Samoan, and Chinese ancestry. She is grateful to be living in so-called Vancouver on the stolen territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) & sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Sareeta joined VHS in 2022 as Program Manager of the Trauma-Informed and Culturally Safe Training Program. She is a queer racialized lifelong learner who lives with mental illnesses and has experience working with marginalized people and families. She taught English Language Learning to high school-aged Syrian refugees, worked at a trauma-sensitive elementary school, and taught alternative education in Burnaby. Through these experiences Sareeta has received training in trauma-informed practices and continues her education—she's currently enrolled in the Trauma of Money program. Sareeta has also personally experienced trauma, along with the nonlinear healing journey that follows. A natural communicator and masterful teacher, Sareeta is renowned for her empathic yet forthright ability to engage, unify, and motivate teams and clients of all ages. She holds a degree in Education and an Arts degree in Drama with an English minor from the University of Alberta. She is passionate about social justice and anti-oppression, including keeping structurally vulnerable people and their animal companions stay together through equitable, trauma-informed animal services. You can reach Sareeta by emailing
Emily Tronetti, MS, CTC, CPDT-KA, UW-AAB
Emily (she/her/hers) has a Master of Science in anthrozoology and a Certificate in Applied Animal Behavior. She’s currently pursuing her Doctor of Education (EdD) in Educational & Professional Practice with a specialization in humane education through Antioch University. Emily is a certified Fear Free Animal Trainer and a member of Fear Free’s Speakers Bureau. As a passionate advocate for positive animal welfare, Emily co-founded the Humane Alliance of Rescue Trainers, a nonprofit that matches shelter and rescue organizations with behavior support at no cost. She also founded the Coexistence Community, which cultivates compassionate coexistence between all beings and the natural world through humane education, consulting, and community.
Carol Tinga, PhD Candidate, OVC
Carol Tinga is a PhD candidate in the Department of Population Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC). Her research focuses on companion rabbit care and welfare, and the owner-companion rabbit relationship. Specifically, she is exploring the validity and reliability of human-animal relationship scales for use with companion rabbit owners; risk factors for thoughts of giving rabbits away or letting them loose outside; rabbit abandonment and relinquishment at the shelter/rabbit rescue level; and rabbit owners’ perceptions of the human-rabbit relationship, interactions, and key rabbit welfare issues. This research was inspired by Vespa, an extraordinary, lop-eared rabbit. Prior to joining Dr. Lee Niel's Companion Animal Behaviour and Welfare Lab for the PhD program, she completed a Masters in population medicine at the OVC where her research focused on veterinary technical and professional skills in Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) students and recent DVM graduates. She currently shares her home with a bonded pair of free-range, up-eared rabbits, Ellie and Coco. The duo, affectionately known as “the hooligans,” came to her from a foster family who took them in after they had been turned loose by their previous owners.
Calla James, Humane Society of KWSP
With an eclectic background of experience, Calla jumped at the opportunity to volunteer (and then work) for her local humane society over ten years ago. With a business degree and specialty in HR from Western University, and a post-graduate certificate in PR from Humber College, she has worked in a variety of industries including sports management, brewing, insurance, wedding and event planning and more. Calla previously managed the marketing and development department at the Georgian Triangle Humane Society and was Manager of the Orangeville Branch of the Ontario SPCA. She joined the team at The Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo & Stratford Perth in 2019. Outside of work, she shares her animal-filled life and home with her husband, son and daughter.
Alex Ranney, Humane Society of KWSP
A recent graduate of Media Production at Toronto Metropolitan University and animal lover, Alex was elated at the opportunity to work with The Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo & Stratford Perth. He has a plethora of experience in the digital media field, ranging from video & audio production, photography, podcasting, graphic design, website design, and social media marketing. Alex has worked with a number of organizations and clients during his time at University and on the side. Funny enough, he is allergic to animals but loves them so much he chooses to suffer from a constant stuffy nose while at work. When he is not at work, Alex loves to play and watch sports, hit up a local craft brewery and play video games.
Lisa Veit, Executive Director, Guelph Humane Society (GHS)
Lisa has been with GHS for over 7 years, having recently been promoted from the Associate Director role. From an early age, Lisa keenly understood the vital role of animals in our lives, and has committed her professional career to improving the well-being and welfare of animals in need. Over the past two decades, Lisa has worked in various aspects of animal care, animal welfare, and wildlife conservation, with experience in diverse issues affecting companion animals, captive and free-ranging wildlife, and species at risk. Her roles have focused on program development, leadership, and strategic planning at the local and provincial level within charitable, non-profit, and government sectors.
While at GHS, Lisa has championed a number of visionary programs, including their award-winning wildlife program which provides a second chance to sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife. Lisa graduated with a B.Sc. from the University of Guelph and an M.Sc. from Queen’s University. Lisa is the proud mom of 2 dogs, 2 cats, and 1 guinea pig (all adopted from GHS).
Chantal Theijn, Founder and Authorized Wildlife Custodian at Hobbitstee.
Angela started Hobbitstee in 2007 with the hope of caring for approximately 30 animals a year. Since 2007, Hobbitstee has grown into a facility which cares for over 2000 animals per year. Chantal's professional background and education are agriculturally based in animal reproduction, animal nutrition and animal health. Angela is passionate about leaving wildlife wild, habitat protection/restoration and is also passionate about young offender programs.