Board of Directors
Lisa Carrier Baker
President and Founder
Lisa Carrier Baker moved to the DC area from New York after almost a decade of performing in numerous national tours, regional opera and musical theatre houses, and off-Broadway. While in the Washington area she has performed at The Kennedy Center, The Atlas Theatre, American Century Theatre, Washington Savoyards, Adventure Theatre MTC, Arts Centric, Round House (Silver Spring), Toby’s Dinner Theatre, and Ganymede Arts. Lisa is an adjunct professor of voice at American University and Montgomery College. Her students can be heard singing in Broadway shows and national tours, and are Helen Hayes Award nominees and winners. Lisa is the Managing Director and Music Supervisor at Summer Dinner Theatre at Montgomery College, and served as their stage director for many seasons. She is the former Director of Education and pre-professional ensembles director for Adventure Theatre MTC. Her work to help animals in need has, and always will be, motivated by her own rescue fur kids. This year’s Beltway Barks is dedicated to Stella, Esme, and the memory of dear Nola, a Hurricane Katrina survivor.
Valerie Leonard is honored to be a Board Member of DC Artists for Animals (DCa4a) and also the political action committee, Maryland Votes for Animals (MVFA). Valerie is a professional artist who has performed on Broadway, Off-Broadway, on National Tours, Regionally and Locally. In this area she has performed at Arena Stage, The Shakespeare Theatre, Signature Theatre, Theatre J, Roundhouse, Adventure Theatre, and Olney Theatre. She is privileged to be an Associate Artist at the Olney Theatre and is a proud member of Actor's Equity. Valerie has rescued too many cats to count and has had the tremendous pleasure of living with many of them. Today she and her husband, Nigel, share their home with their cats, Raven and Rebel.
Laurie Newton has been a performer, educator, and choreographer/director for over 20 years. She holds a Masters degree in Dance from American University and a Bachelors degree in Integrative Arts from Penn State University. She was on the dance faculty at Montgomery College and ATMTC for 10 years. In addition to teaching, Laurie has performed both professionally and with local community theaters and has also directed and choreographed a number of shows in the DC area for professional, educational and community theaters. Being on the board and volunteering for DC Actors for Animals brings her two passions together - performing arts and animal rescue. As a proud vegan, she participates in many local animal rights and welfare events to raise awareness of the abuse of all animals; domestic and farmed. In 2018 she started Bee Their Voice, promoting cruelty-free living, veganism and animal activism.
Kathy Moore Wilson (Graphic Designer)
Kathy Moore Wilson has worked as an artist and graphic designer for over 30 years. She started as a cartographer right out of college, including working as a freelancer for the National Geographic Society. She worked for 20 years in the Graphic Design department of Westat, a research and consulting company in Rockville, MD. At Westat, she worked as a graphic designer, illustrator, animator, and video & audio editor. While continuing to work full time for Westat, she attended graduate school in an online program with the Savannah College of Art and Design. And in 2015, she earned her Masters Degree in Motion Media Design. In 2016, Ms. Wilson was accepted at a local art gallery, Artists & Makers Studios, as a resident artist. She currently works full time for her own company, Pendragon Art Studios, as a painter and illustrator of wildlife and pets. When she is not painting, she spends time with her husband and their dog Maisy, a very spoiled but very wonderful border collie mix.
Pamela Black Townsend (Photographer)
Pam is a writer, editor, and photographer, whose work has appeared in various educational, corporate, and commercial publications, including National Geographic Traveler; the Huffington Post; Liberty: The Statue and the American Dream; Such Courage, Such Heart: A Centennial History of the Washington Animal Rescue League, and The Pit Bull Life: A Dog Lover’s Companion. Pam has been active in the animal rescue world for more than 20 years, first as a volunteer and officer with the SPCA/Humane Society of Prince George’s County (pgspca.org), where she and her husband fostered 17 dogs over the years, and later as a media/communications specialist with the Washington Animal Rescue League and Humane Rescue Alliance, photographing adoptable animals and special events and producing the quarterly magazine. Pam has exhibited her photos in several DC-area venues, and has self-published four books, including Black is Beautiful: A Celebration of Dark Dogs, A is for Angel: A Dog Lover’s Guide to the Alphabet, Seeing Spots/Brindled Beauties, and Fetching Art: Murals Graffiti, and Man’s Best Friend (available on Amazon).
Jenni Chase (Emcee/Host)
Jenni Chase joined the team at WASH FM in 2014 and considers it such an honor to be folks' workday companion. She really looks forward every year to the station's Radiothon, which raises funds for Children's National Hospital in DC. And she's a huge fan of WASH's annual holiday music! She also loves animals and has always been an advocate for them as a foster mom, volunteer for rescue groups, and supporter of humane societies. At one point, Jenni was a Furmom to 3 adopted dogs and 4 rescued cats...and along the way she's also raised chickens, goats and alpacas. Today she lives with her adopted pup Bing (named for her obsession with the show "Friends"!), who's an Australian Shepherd mix, and Fluff, a Domestic Longhair.
Lynn Sharp Spears (Volunteer Coordinator)
Lynn Sharp Spears is an award-winning Director, Actor, and Artist, whose work has been seen in professional theaters, national touring companies, TV and film since 1987. She has always enjoyed the company of animals and presently has the pleasure of Bridie, an extremely patient, intelligent and funny Airedale. And Milo, a very large cat/dog who helps Bridie develop her patience. She is on the Board of Directors for The International Center for Sustainable Development and is also the resident artist for Sustainable Design Group. She is very excited to be joining DC Actors for Animals to help find homes for as many of these wonderful four-legged beasties as possible!
Evan Glass (Guest Speaker)
Evan Glass is President and an At-Large member of the Montgomery County Council. He is the first openly LGBTQ+ individual to serve on the Council.
Since his election to the County Council in 2018, Evan has passed the Montgomery County Pay Equity Act, the Housing Justice Act, the LGBTQ+ Bill of Rights, and the Oversight and Small Business Investment Act. As an environmental and social justice leader, he successfully led the initiative to make public buses free for all children under the age of 18, expanded food composting for residents and restaurants, and amended the county charter to add two additional council districts.
Evan is Chair of the Transportation & Environment Committee and serves on the Economic Development Committee. He previously served as the Council’s lead for Homelessness and Vulnerable Communities.
Prior to joining the Council, Evan spent 12 years as a CNN journalist, where he covered the U.S. Congress, presidential campaigns and national politics. He also served as the executive director of Gandhi Brigade Youth Media, an innovative after school youth development organization dedicated to empowering immigrant and low-income students.
Raised in a New York home by a single mother, he came to the Washington area to attend American University. Evan and his husband Jason live in Silver Spring with their two rescue beagles, Daisy and Poppy.
from our Founder:
A note from our Founder: In July of 2007, I was part of a team of animal lovers who were called into action and traveled to West Virginia to help with a cruelty case led by The Animal Law Coalition’s Tracey Smith. Over 100 animals who had been abandoned and forgotten, some near death, were stacked in crates to the ceiling and in dire need of help. I went into that situation a volunteer, but came out an activist. As I have grown into the DC theatre scene, I have been amazed by the amount of actors I’ve met who tirelessly volunteer, foster, transport, rescue and adopt animals in need. Being inspired by the work of Broadway Barks, it seemed a natural culmination of my two lives: theatre and rescue.
And now, after 5 years of helping the animals of the DC Metro area, DC Actors for Animals is officially a 501c3 organization. We are so thankful to Harvey Schweitzer of Schweitzer and Scherr LLC, and Darcy Shoop for their support through this process.
Thank you for your support. I look forward to seeing you again at next year's Beltway Barks!
-Lisa Carrier Baker