Prior to coming to Tree House, Raissa served in leadership roles with the Center for Economic Progress (CEP) for twelve years.
Raissa most recently held the Chief Operating Officer role, overseeing the agency’s administrative operations and direct services and serving as a member of the organization’s leadership team. Prior to joining CEP, Raissa served as a vice president for a Chicago museum and developed and managed communications campaigns for major non-profit clients as an account executive for a public relations firm. Raissa earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Humanities from the University of Chicago. Raissa, her husband and two sons live in Berwyn, IL with their two beloved orange tabbies.
Director of Operations
Jamie Gay is the Director of Operations at Tree House. She graduated from Purdue University in 2013 with a Bachelors of Science focused in Animal Sciences.
Since graduating Jamie has devoted her career to the non-profit animal welfare industry. In her previous role she served as Director of Intake and Foster at PAWS Chicago. With over 10 years of experience in the industry Jamie has developed a knack for saving lives.
When Jamie isn’t tending to the garden or rock climbing, she’s typically surrounded by her animals. With a full house of 3 dogs, 2 indoor cats and 3 outdoor cats there is rarely an empty lap.
Dr. Emma Klein
Director of Veterinary Services
Dr. Emma Klein graduated from Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2014. Following graduation, she moved to New York City to complete a rotating internship with graduate training in shelter medicine at the ASPCA Animal Hospital.
She remained in NYC working in private practice and as a per diem shelter veterinarian. In 2017, she joined the ASPCA’s Community Medicine department where she practiced high volume, high quality spay/neuter surgery and provided veterinary care to underserved communities. She developed a passion for community engagement and training other veterinarians in spay/neuter surgery. She has performed over 10,000 spay/neuter surgeries to date. Originally hailing from the Midwest, Dr Klein is thrilled to return to the Chicago area where she can raise her young son closer to family. She also has 3 cats, all of them foster fails: a senior from the Bronx named Busy and two new Tree House cats, Smudgey and Pastel.
Dr. Jesse Navatta
Veterinarian - VWC
Jesse Navatta, DVM, received his doctorate from Cornell University in 2017. While in school, his focus moved from zoo and wildlife medicine to shelter and community medicine.
Taking many opportunities to reach underserved populations, Dr. Navatta worked abroad in many countries including Bulgaria, Mexico, and Brazil. After graduation, he continued to pursue this passion by working with community members on the Southside of Chicago as well as teaching veterinary students high volume, high-quality spay/neuter techniques through FARVets, an outreach program through Cornell University.
Born and raised in New York, Dr. Navatta has lived in Chicago since graduating from veterinary school. He enjoys exploring the city with his husband as well as gardening at home with their two cats and box turtle.
Associate Director, Technology & Administration
Brian received his B.S. in Computer Science from Loyola University Chicago in 2007. He spent 12 years working for Center for Economic Progress (now Ladder Up) managing their entire technology infrastructure as Senior Innovation Manager.
Most recently he was at the non-profit All Chicago, as a Senior Manager, managing their homeless database help desk system. In his spare time, Brian is a professional-amateur photographer and volunteers his time working with first-generation college students.
Ross Mahowald, DVM, President
Ginger Dusek, Vice President and Secretary
Steve Homrich, Treasurer
Kat Hindmand, LCSW
Colleen Currigan, DVM, Board Emeritus