Leadership Team


John L. Lipp, Executive Director

John L. Lipp is a nationally known leader in the nonprofit sector with comprehensive experience in fundraising, executive leadership, governance, community engagement, and program development. A passionate advocate for the power of the human-animal bond, John served on the board of directors of FAAS from 2011 to 2017 before joining the staff in March 2017. John has worked with a variety of organizations over the last 30 years and has served as a trainer and keynote speaker for local, national and international audiences. He was CEO of Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS) in San Francisco from 2004 to 2011, and most recently served as associate vice president, volunteer engagement for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s (JDRF) national leadership team. John’s book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Recruiting and Managing Volunteers, was published in October 2009 by Alpha/Penguin. In 2015, he was a featured contributor to the anthology Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World from Jossey-Bass. As an advocate for people living and thriving with Parkinson’s disease, John is also an active volunteer fundraiser for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. John and his husband, Peter, share their Alameda home with two wonderful rescue dogs, Lucy and Chance.

Cindy Shelby, Community Outreach Coordinator

Cindy specializes in fostering pets with special medical, mental or emotional needs and making them healthy. Her love of special-needs pets led Cindy to volunteer with the Oakland SPCA, which quickly turned into a paid volunteer management position. After several years, Cindy left to join the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society as  its volunteer and special events manager. When budget cuts eliminated her position, Cindy decided to donate time to her own community and joined the board of the newly formed nonprofit Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter. When FAAS assumed responsibility for operating the Alameda Animal Shelter in January 2012, Cindy left the FAAS board to become the shelter's first volunteer and special events manager. She currently serves as community outreach coordinator.

Steve Ferguson, Operations and Facilities Manager

Steve hails from South Dakota. Growing up as a “military brat," he lived in many other places as well, including London and Frankfurt. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in Norman and went on to a successful career in technology that eventually brought him to the Bay Area. Thanks to his background as a manager for a Fortune 500 company and owner of his own retail store, Steve came to FAAS with a strong customer service ethic. This experience combined with his compassion for animals and the people who love them makes him the ideal operations and facilities manager. He is excited to be in the position to help create a positive and supportive environment in which staff and volunteers are able to focus on the welfare of FAAS's animals. He already has received many kudos for his cheerful customer service and wicked sense of humor. Steve has three dogs, a cat, and one foster dog. A true geek, in his spare time he enjoys all things science fiction and superheroes.

Carla Thornton, Development & Communications Coordinator

Carla is a native Texan who moved to the Bay Area after receiving a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She worked for several publications on the Peninsula before embarking on a successful freelance editing and writing career. In 2014 she began helping FAAS with social media and graphics design and in September 2015, driven by her love for animals and homeless pets in particular, she made a lifelong dream come true by transitioning to a full-time career in animal welfare. She spearheads FAAS fundraising and communications efforts.

In her spare time Carla hangs out with her husband and their pets: Louie the macaw and three Chihuahuas named Phoebe, Lucy and Chester, all adopted from shelters.

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