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Meet AWA’s Staff

Our staff oversees award-winning and innovative programs including adoptions, foster care, pet clinic and rehoming that help more than 15,000 community pets in South Jersey

Adoption Center and Shelter

Nanci Urban - Senior Shelter Services Manager

Nanci directly manages the shelter services which includes intake/rehoming programs, animal care, shelter veterinary care, adoptions, animal transport, shelter/public training and behavior programs, foster care program, temporary boarding program and retail shop. She has 25 years of shelter experience under her belt. And can be guilty of taking her work home with her, which is how she has Daisy (transported up from LA), Lolly (transported in from TN), Peanut (rescued from a pet shop Nanci helped to close down over 10 yrs ago), Akira (transported from NC and an official foster fail in 2021) and 2 cats, Maggie and Bugs (AWA alumni). She is extremely excited to be a part of the new shelter construction and the growth of the organization that will soon follow.

Elizabeth Stanley-Reicherter CPDT-KA, ABCDT - Behavior Coordinator

Liz is a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) with a degree in Anthropology from New York University.  She specializes in finding solutions for behavioral challenged dogs and cats.  Liz designs and implements effective behavior modification plans to achieve behaviorally health animals within the shelter environment.  Ensuring the animals at AWA stay mentally and physically healthy is critical to AWA’s work.  To this Liz also teaches community workshops and public dog training classes.

The topics covered in AWA’s community workshops are diverse:  Listening to Your Dog for Girl Scout to Zoom sessions at Medford Leas about Clicker Training Cats to Proper Leash Walking and At Home Enrichment Toys 101 for the public.  The love of teaching others has helped Liz in her designing AWA’s staff and volunteer training program as well as in developing a future dog trainer mentoring program for college students.

Before joining AWA in 2015 Liz was an independent dog trainer focusing on problem behavior solving at the Dog Lady Dog Training.  She also volunteered and assisted with behavior modification at an open-admission high volume animal shelter on Long Island, NY.  With a strong focus on behavior and behavior modification she was able to increase the number of animal lives saved and lower animal relinquishments to that animal shelter.

Liz is currently studying and passing examinations for her behavior consulting certification.  Liz loves learning.  Her goal is to eventually secure the title of “Behaviorist,” a title reserved for only a few hundred trainers in the US.

When away from AWA Liz enjoys time on her farm with her son, husband and a house and barn yard of animals.

Leah Jackson - Foster & Transport Coordinator

Leah got her sociology degree from Rowan University which is where she graduated from in 2020. While going to school full time she also started in career her at AWA as a full-time worker. First starting in 2016 as a volunteer for two months, her dedication and commitment displayed got her into a full-time position. She has worked her way up through the ranks at AWA first starting as an animal care attendant for two years,  from there she progressed to our animal care lead position where she was responsible for training new staff to our high animal care standards, and then transitioning to where she is today as a transport and foster care coordinator. With her diligence and organizational skills, she proved to be a natural fit for the foster/transport coordinator position. When Leah has free time, she enjoys practicing guitar, working out, training for competitive boxing, and writing some books.

Katie Nelson - Adoption & Customer Service Supervisor

Having always loved animals, and after thriving as a dog walker and pet sitter, Katie joined the AWA in September 2016 as an Adoption Counselor, eventually growing into the role of Adoption and Customer Service Supervisor.  She loves benefitting both people and animals by making quality adoption matches.  She is excited to support the continued progressiveness and growth of the adoption program, as well as the AWA’s other programs and services.  Katie’s furry family include her dog Kado, who can smell a dropped treat from a mile away, and her cat Kelby, who loves to jump on Katie’s shoulders when she’s least expecting it.

Ashley Prem - Veterinary Technician Supervisor

Ashley is our Veterinary Technician Supervisor and has been a Veterinary Technician since 2012. Ashley has had experience in multiple areas of the veterinary field including Emergency Care and General Practice as well as a Surgical Technician. Ashley joined our facility in 2021 as a part time surgical technician and has since moved into the Vet. Tech. Supervisor position. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys spending time with her animals: dog (Zuko), guinea pigs  (Boo & Biggie) and her turtle (Penelope). She also enjoys hiking and playing video games when she can.

Pet Clinic

Dr. Emily Seidl - Staff Veterinarian

Dr. Seidl received a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Prince Edward Island Atlantic Veterinary College. She became interested in veterinary medicine while working and volunteering in a shelter. The important mission, community involvement and unique case load kept helped solidify her career path. She was recently became an editorial advisory board member for DVM360, the No. 1 multimedia platform in the veterinary industry. In her spare time, Emily enjoys reading, hiking and bouldering with some cross stitch thrown in!

Nichole Hall - Clinic Manager

My love for animals started when I was a little girl, and I would spend any money that I received on pet food and treats to bring to our local animal shelter in Dubuque, Iowa.  From that point on, I knew I wanted a career in Veterinary Medicine.  I attended Mount Ida College (now UMass Amherst) and obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science/Veterinary Technology and passed my Certified Veterinary Technician Boards back in 2007.  I have experience in small animal, laboratory animal, shelter medicine, and management and am excited to be a part of the AWA family. When not at work, you can usually find Nichole in an ice rink watching her two young sons play ice hockey.  She has 2 kittens at home and loves to go hiking and camping with her family and dog Remi.

Administration and Development

Please Note: The Development Team, Volunteer Coordinator, and Executive Director offices are temporarily located at 701 Cooper Road, Suite #11 (next to Rite Aid and across from Hope Church)

Maria Giorla - Director of Finance and Administration

Maria Giorla comes to AWA with more than 25 years of experience in financial management, which includes accounts payable, payroll, banking, financial reporting/forecasting and cash management. She also has experience managing and directing human resources activities.

Marian Conicella - Development Manager

Marian took on the role of Development Manager in fall of 2021 and have been a long time supporter and advocate of AWA. You may have met Marian at one of our many fundraising events, shelter farewell tours, or new shelter hard hat tours.

Alicia H. – Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator –

Kerry – Website & Digital Communications Coordinator –

Tracy – Donors Relations Communications Coordinator –

Sue – Database & Donor Relations Associate –

Ann – Human Resources & Accounting Coordinator –

Lauren – Database & Donor Relations Administrator –

Meggin – Development Associate & Gift Processor –

Ron – Special Projects Coordinator –


Maya Richmond - Strategic Director / Former Executive Director of AWA

After a decade of tireless work to further AWA’s mission and vision, Maya Richmond will be departing from her 13 year role as Executive Director and will be taking on the role of Strategic Director of AWA.

During her tenure, Maya has been the driving force behind AWA’s growth and success as an organization including:

  • Designing and overseeing construction oversight of AWA’s new Adoption and Education Center slated to open in 2022
  • Spearheading the construction of the Public Pet Clinic in 2013.
  • Creating the Vets on Wheels program to provide veterinary outreach in the City of Camden, NJ.
  • Partnering with other agencies like Bancroft and Kingsway or VNA to launch programs designed to help people and pets.
  • Leading and raising 100% of AWA’s first capital campaign for $2,500,000 for the new building.
  •  Facilitating over 27,000 adoptions and 96,000 spays/neuters.

Maya’s passion, skills and drive elevated AWA’s services and programs. She has worked with foundations and donors to grow support to fund significant expansion of our programs while simultaneously building the foundation for the AWA we have today which is physically manifested in the new Adoption and Education Center. Maya designed the entire project for the new Adoption and Education Center, developed the vision, and raised 85% of all the funds received for AWA’s Capital Campaign.     Click here for Maya’s goodbye letter to donors and AWA stakeholders