Katherine Shenar

Chief of Staff

Katherine McGowan Shenar currently serves as Chief of Staff at San Diego Humane Society.

Prior to joining the nonprofit community, Katherine began her career working in the media and transitioned to an advertising agency before realizing her animal welfare calling.

Her advocacy work started more than 20 years ago when she led the public relations and marketing department for the Humane Society of Missouri. After seven years, she continued working in animal welfare as Executive Director for the Animal Protective Association of Missouri, followed by three years as the Animal Welfare Issues Consultant for The Humane Society Of The United States. She then spent nearly six years in North Carolina and served as President and CEO of Asheville Humane Society before accepting her role at San Diego Humane Society.

Katherine is a frequent speaker at national animal welfare conferences on the topics of business model expansion, marketing communications, leadership and culture, coalition building, fundraising, and nonprofit management. In addition to having several feature articles published in Animal Sheltering magazine over the years, Katherine is the author of the book Coalition Building for Animal Care Organizations, a how-to guide for animal advocates to work collaboratively in communities.

She has received numerous awards ranging from Public Relations Professional of the Year to having St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay proclaim “Katherine McGowan Day,” honoring her animal welfare advocacy work with the City of Saint Louis.

Katherine holds a Masters of Arts in Media Communications and served as an adjunct professor for the School of Communications at Webster University. Katherine lives in San Diego with her husband, three dogs, two cats, and a continuing stream of foster kittens.