Bringing comfort and love to NYC shelter animals.
Jo started her career in the financial industry working as a portfolio assistant at Milbank Winthrop & Co.; a boutique investment firm in New York City. Later as an account manager at CheckFree Investments Services; a leading provider of investment management services to financial institutions, she was able to use her knowledge and skills to provide guidance and support to many investment firms by analyzing their needs and recommending the appropriate solutions.
In 1995, while still employed in the financial industry, Jo helped her husband establish Avalon Restaurant Renovations, Inc. and discovered she had a passion for business and wanted to help other entrepreneurs with their start-ups. A year later, in 1996, she began her own business; OutSource Bookkeeping. As Jo learned working in “Corporate America,” sound financial systems are the backbone of all successful businesses. Jo lives with her husband, 2 children and their rescue dog, Nova.
Jo Duer -Treasurer
After graduating from Oklahoma State University with a BS degree, Cheryl enjoyed an eighteen year career with TWA as a flight attendant and made NYC her home. She grew up surrounded by lots of domestic animals and wildlife, and she always had special pets in her life. Through Bide-A-Wee, Cheryl found her Wilbur, her present, constant loving companion. She also learned the need for Cage Comforters at Animal Care & Control. In 2009 she began sewing and delivering these cage comforters to AC&C. In 2012, She spent the summer as a volunteer at AC&C and discovered Pillows for Paws. She was happy to join this passionate animal- loving group and be able to continue helping shelter animals on a larger scale. She loves that Wilbur wakes her up early every morning so they can sew comfort beds for the shelter animals. Cheryl's wish is that the animals in the shelter could know just how much they are all loved!
Jen Halpern - Founder, President,/CEO
BOARD MEMBERS AND VIP BIOS:
Lindsay Freda - Board Member/Secretary
Cheryl Gungor - Sewing/Craft Team VIP
As a current volunteer, foster and former employee of Animal Care Centers of NYC, Lindsay brings a boots on the ground perspective to Pillows for Paws. As a member of the board of PFP, she serves as a liaison to the AC&C shelter staff and offers feedback that helps PFP better provide comfort and enrichment items that meet the needs of the animals in the shelter. She also puts her Columbia MBA to good use by contributing marketing and business development ideas including encouraging the group to bring their handmade products to the public for sale. She is thrilled to be working with the PFP team whose hard work, creativity, and loving commitment to caring for the City's homeless and abandoned animals is a tremendous inspiration. It is Lindsay's dream for all the shelter animals to receive the love and proper care they deserve on their way to finding forever homes. She currently lives with her husband, Dan, two tabby cats, Linus and Snoopy and a tuxedo cat named Jerry, who was a foster and now has been officially adopted from AC&C. She cannot thank them enough for the endless joy and unfailing love they provide.
In the 11th grade, Jen's mom took both her children to see "Live Aid" which was a charity event given by musicians to raise money for hunger relief in Africa. Jen was so inspired by their selflessness to come together as a like-minded community for a cause, that she decided she wanted to do the same back at home. Her vision was to join High School students in NYC for a cause and run it completely by kids without any adult supervision. Jen formed a big street fair for The Make A Wish Foundation which grants children with cancer a wish come true. She coordinated and managed the students of 25 independent schools in NYC to participate in this huge and complex venture. This was the beginning of her experience with learning managerial and organization skills which ultimately took her into a career in film and television production. The Fair raised thousands of dollars for the Foundation and was run by Jen in her junior and senior year. Jen went on to receive a Bachelor or Science degree in Film from Boston University and after many years of working as a producer, she now works as a Casting Director.
While Jen never stopped giving throughout the years, her love for animals started to take center stage again. While she was looking for volunteer options to help animals in some way, she found the Cage Comforter program on Animal Care Center of NYC's website. Her reaction to the skill requirement was "I don't know how to sew, but I can make this happen! And indeed she did! She decided to take all her previous experience and create a group that met monthly to make cage comforters for shelter cats and dogs. As the dedicated volunteer base grew in number, so did ideas and creativity. The group began making toys and various other items along with the beds, not only for cats and dogs but rabbits too. This is how Pillows for Paws was created!
Jen feels so honored and privileged to be part of this wonderful community of loving, kind and compassionate people who have chosen to expand and support this effort. Jen's aim is to help our furry friends in need at the shelters - and her big goal is to spread the word to adopt never shop and find all our furry friends FOREVER homes.