Heaven on Earth Board 2017-05-19T00:57:44+00:00

Heaven on Earth Board

Ritchie Geisel

Chair

Ritchie was the only member of his Stanford Business School class who had his eye (and heart) on the nonprofit sector. A graduate of Princeton University, he has served in executive and fundraising capacities in the education, human services and animal welfare fields, including 25 years as CEO of several nonprofit organizations. Ritchie joined the Heaven on Earth board in 2003, has been its chair since 2004, and is now also its unpaid executive director since retiring from Bienvenidos Childrens Center in August, 2016. He and his wife, Pamela, are parents to five rescue cats: Bravo, Abby, and Heaven on Earth alums Fiyero, Ruby and Dilly.

Suzanne Lofland

Vice Chair

Originally from Alabama, Suzanne fell into animal rescue several years ago when a malnourished pregnant cat emerged from a dumpster one afternoon near her apartment. Unable to look the other way, she took Sheeba in and it was through seeking homes for Sheeba’s six kittens that Suzanne and her wife, Leandra, realized a shared passion for helping cats. As facilities director at Heaven on Earth, whose board she joined in 2011, Suzanne combines a love of cat rescue with her hobbies of home repair and generally “making things work.” She lives in Van Nuys with Leandra, Sheeba, Mr. Bo (Sheba’s son) and various fosters as the need (often) arises.

Jennifer Parsignault

Secretary

By day collections supervisor for a union trust fund, Jennifer is also an artist and singer/songwriter with several independent albums to her credit. She grew up with cats and horses and ultimately found her way to the rescue community through a colony of feral cats in her neighborhood and never turned back. Jennifer, who is still recognized with gratitude by local ferals, has served on the Heaven on Earth board since 2006 and lives in the San Fernando Valley with her husband, Bob Wynne, rescue cats Beenes, Bailey, Simone and Heaven on Earth alum Christopher, along with an ever-changing census of fosters.

John Gregory

Treasurer

In the world of animal lovers, John says he’s aligned himself with the feline folks, having come to appreciate cats’ curious, independent and mysterious natures and uncanny ability to make their agenda everyone’s agenda. John is retired from Sony Pictures Entertainment, where he worked in finance, and was introduced to Heaven on Earth in 2010 during a project to relocate a dozen feral cats from the studio lot to temporary safe harbor at Heaven on Earth’s sanctuary. He and his wife, Kathy, live in Westchester with their four rescue cats Rocko, ZZ, Tuxy and Tiny. John joined the Heaven on Earth board in 2011.

Melissa Godlash

Melissa’s interest in animals began while growing up on a farm in rural Texas and followed her to the East Coast, where she interned at various animal rescue organizations while a student at Boston University. Now working in the financial services industry, she has happily found her after-hours niche as volunteer director for Heaven on Earth, whose board she joined in 2010. Melissa also has served on the event committees for Heaven on Earth’s last three fundraising galas. She and her husband, Fred, live in the San Fernando Valley with their spoiled rescue kitties Felix and Lady, a Heaven on Earth alum.

Lisa Medwid

A lifelong animal lover, Lisa combined this passion with her work in the film industry by creating a grassroots group to successfully manage the feral colony living on a motion picture studio lot, achieving zero population growth through the humane practice of TNR (trap/neuter/return). Along the way, she discovered Heaven on Earth and joined the board in 2012. When not trapping, rescuing and/or fostering cats (and the not-so-occasional dog), she pursues a varied career that has included everything from legit stage manager to voiceover actress to goat shepherdess. (Really.) Lisa lives in Los Angeles in a home full of happy former strays.

Jacklin Rad

Jacklin has had a deep connection with and a love for animals since childhood. She learned from her father and grandfather to care for and rehabilitate injured and abandoned neighborhood cats, dogs, rodents, and birds by the dozens. As a teenager she visited local shelters to adopt as many ‘unwanted’ occupants as she could. Joining the board of Heaven on Earth in 2016 marks a turning point in Jacklin’s evolution from animal lover to animal advocate. Jacklin works as an attorney and lives in Los Angeles with her family.

Robin Wohlford

Robin’s interest in cats began in the early 70’s when her godfather taught by example—leaving food in allies, trapping and transporting for spay and neuter while the 7-year-old Robin watched. Fast forward to today, as Robin now drives all over the Valley in support of area cats, spending most Saturdays working adoption events and every day caring for her own feline houseful. She has fostered for Heaven on Earth since 2004 and is a registered foster parent for Los Angeles Animal Services, specializing in bottle feeding and weaning litters of kittens. Robin makes her living as a controller and brings that skill set to the Heaven on Earth board, which she joined in 2012.

Monika Zimaniova

Monika grew up in a small town in Slovakia and moved to this country at the age of 19, becoming a model two years later. That left just one more dream to pursue—helping animals. It was a video on animal testing that prompted her to take action, so in addition to changing her purchasing habits, she began to volunteer at area shelters. Monika lives in the San Fernando Valley with rescue dog Meryl, pulled from the pound on the day she was to be killed, and rescue cats Maly, Mini and Dusty. She joined the Heaven on Earth board in 2011.

Sophie Brooks-Ames

Sophie’s love for felines sparked at age 3 when she got Oatio, her first cat and foremost companion for the next 21 years. Throughout her Texas childhood, she could often be found caring for feral cats, a practice that followed her to California and ultimately led her to Heaven on Earth’s SpayShip program, which she contacted for help with a pregnant stray living under a dumpster. The day she first visited Perry’s Place, she knew she had found her personal nirvana. Sophie works as a financial consultant and lives in West LA with her rambunctious rescue cat, Lila. She joined the board in 2016.

Katie Ioffe

Katie’s love for animals began when she was growing up in Santa Cruz, CA, where she would watch deer, bobcats and mountain lions wander in and out of her yard from nearby Nisene Marks State Park. After attending Sonoma State University, she started a marketing career in the East Bay, then eventually made her way to the Los Angeles area and deep-dived into the media aspect of marketing. Katie now lives by the beach with her husband, son and three rescue cats, Lucky Man, Holiday Moose and Duke the White Walker, plus one rescue dog, Lady Liberty. She joined the Heaven on Earth board in 2017.

Eunice Hwangbo

Eunice is an animal lover by birth and cat lover by choice. A native of Southern California, she learned early on the importance of protecting companion animals from the perils of outdoors and was drawn to Heaven on Earth to take a more active, impactful role in creating a better world for homeless cats. Eunice lives with Nacho, her 8-year-old rescue cat (aka ruler of the house), in Los Angeles, where she runs a tech startup and provides public relations marketing consulting for entertainment organizations. She joined the Heaven on Earth board in 2017.