Gentry Leonard, President of the Board: Gentry’s interest in SFWS began when he began serving the organization as an animal care volunteer. Through hard-work and dedication, he was selected to serve on the SFWS Board during a time blossoming with new change. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Texas A&M, and is currently pursuing his Masters’ in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences through A&M. He has worked, interned, or volunteered at multiple zoos and sanctuaries across the country including the Houston Zoo and the Saint Louis Zoo. While not striving to make St. Francis the best place for wolves and wolf dogs to live out their lives, Gentry is a HUGE Texas A&M football fan. He also travels quite often, most notably visiting zoos around the country (over 20 already!) and visiting Orlando annually for their Halloween festivities.
Ashley Woods, DVM: Chair of Animal Care and Coordination Committee: Ashley was born in Chicago, Illinois and spent a good portion of my early childhood living outside of the United States. She has lived in Texas for the last 25 years while going back and forth for school. Ashley has a BA in English, a Masters in Animal Science and obtained her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. She is a member of the AVMA and has worked in Houston as a small animal veterinarian for the last 7 years. Ashley is a Hospital Director for a new, non-profit clinic close to downtown. Serving on the SFWS Board of Directors allows Ashley to be involved in animal welfare outside of private practice. She hopes to make an impact in educating the public about the pitfalls of owning wolves and wolf-dogs (which she doesn’t recommend as pets!), while raising awareness for the needs these animals have. Serving on the board re-energizes her passion for animals and allows her a new avenue to work with these amazing animals. Ashley lives with her husband and three, very busy dogs! Her hobbies include travelling, running, and reading.
Kelly Hedges, Board Secretary & Relocation Committee Chair: Kelly Hedges graduated from Oklahoma State University earning both a BS in Business Management and a MBA. Kelly’s career started in default mitigation in the mortgage industry and later transitioned into large construction insurance where she has worked on the insurer, broker, and consulting sides of the business. In 2008, Kelly read The Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong and it forever changed the way she looked at the majestic animal. SFSW gave her the opportunity to protect these special creatures by serving as their Secretary on The Board of Directors. Kelly resides in The Woodlands, TX with her husband and two boys. She also owns a lab beagle mix who has been deemed “untrainable” by professional animal trainers; she suspects her children suffer the same affliction.
Jane Besser, Fundraising Committee Chair: Jane is a New Yorker and knows how to get the job done! As a seasoned insurance professional, she created a significant network of fundraising insurance professionals that raise money for nonprofit organizations. Now she is bringing that know how to SFWS! Jane’s favorite person is her 2 year old grandson who keeps her young at heart!
Jennifer Daily, Education &Outreach Committee Chair: Jennifer is from California, yet is a Texas girl at heart! She graduated from the University of Texas At Austin with a degree in Spanish and has a minor in Biology. She currently lives in Dallas and works at the Dallas Zoo in the Animal Education Department. Before coming to the Board, Jennifer volunteered as a lead keeper for SFWS. Jennifer’s main love is horses! If you want to find her, all you have to do is look for one of her horses and she’s bound to be nearby!
Tyler Thomas: Tyler’s involvement in the animal community began at very young age in northern New York where his family ran their own wildlife center. He majored in Zoo Technology and Animal Management at the State University of New York at Jefferson College. Throughout his years in the field, Tyler has worked with some of the largest and most well-known zoos in the country. While he invests as much time as he can into the sanctuary, Tyler is the director of Fragile Planet Wildlife Center and is also in the process of building his own zoological institution in south Texas. When he isn’t attending to board matters for the sanctuary or his own zoological collection, he is traveling the country visiting and working with other professional organizations in an effort to provide the best animal welfare for the animals under his charge.