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.

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.

Dr. Marie-Anne Woolley, Medical Director

Dr. Marie-Anne Woolley graduated from Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1992. After graduation, she completed an internship in Large Animal Medicine and Surgery. She practiced in Delaware until moving to the East Bay in 2005.

Dr. Woolley has been a veterinarian at Providence Veterinary & Clinic since 2006. Her special interests include surgery, dentistry, senior care, behavior issues, pocket pets and shelter medicine. She is a past president of the Alameda County Veterinary Medical Association and a past member of the California Veterinary Medical Association’s Board of Governors.

In 2019, Dr. Woolley joined the staff of Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter as medical director.

When not working, Dr. Woolley enjoys spending time relaxing with her wife, Cecile, and also likes walking, playing with and chasing their two dogs, French bulldog Tortue and Boston terrier Mon Amie, adopted from a rescue three years ago.

Carla Thornton, Marketing, Communications & Development 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 was a senior editor at several consumer technology publications 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.

Nanou Ballou, Volunteer Engagement and Training Coordinator

Nanou grew up in rural France with a great respect for nature. Her family had lots of pets including dogs, cats and guinea pigs and took in "every stray that found its way to our gate." Nanou emigrated to the U.S. in 1990 with a degree in international business and taught at her daughters' Alameda preschool for 10 years. She began volunteering at FAAS in 2012 working with dogs and cats and eventually began teaching FAAS's volunteer orientation classes as well. She became a full-time FAAS staff member in August 2017. At home, Nanou and her husband have two Chihuahua mixes and four cats adopted from FAAS, two outside cats that have adopted them, and a chicken named Boo. 

Harry Toigo, Community Support & Adoptions Manager

Harry has loved animals for as long as he can remember, and believes in applying the latest in behavioral science knowledge with positive reinforcement to strengthen the human-animal bond. As a boy, he dreamed of being a scientist, and entered graduate school with the intention of becoming a research scientist. However, he was diverted into a career as a software developer, with stints as a teacher. In the meantime, Harry maintained his interest in animals and learned clicker training in the early 1990s. He also became a volunteer at FAAS and the East Bay SPCA. He loved the work so much that when FAAS created a new position with him in mind, he jumped at the chance to join the staff. Harry's goal is to bring the latest developments in understanding animal behavior to as many people as possible, through community education and support, both pre- and post-adoption. In his spare time, Harry loves reading, listening to music, traveling, skiing and exploring all of the wonderful nature in the Bay Area. He lives in Alameda with his wife, Michelle, and their rescue dog, Sophie.

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