About HALO

About HALO

Learn more about HALO's dedicated team.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Heather Allen

Heather and Ava

Heather Allen is the President and CEO of HALO Animal Rescue and is also the co-founder.  She has held this position since 2001.  She has worked in every position and has helped create each element of its existence up to this point.  Her job is overall management of HALO's operations, fundraising and strategic/financial planning.

Heather is a Phoenix, Arizona native.  She graduated from Shadow Mountain High School in 1991 and graduated from ASU in 1999.  She has a B.S. in Psychology, and a minor in family studies.   Her mother, Michel Herstam and Heather started HALO in 1994, after working with a cat-only rescue that dissolved.  Heather also worked as an office manager at a vet hospital for several years.

Married to her high school sweet heart since 2001, they are proud parents of a son and daughter.  Their family also includes a menagerie of pets including several dogs, cats, a bird and snake.  Heather feels fortunate to be able to mix her family life, her passion for animals and also earn a living all at once.

When asked where she saw HALO in the future, Heather said, "I am hopeful that HALO can continue to grow and grow to cast our safety net further in to the community to help even more animals.  The needs are tremendous in Maricopa County alone.  My goal for HALO is to grow and partner with like-minded agencies in the community to stop the killing of homeless animals and provide the services our community needs to make it happen".

Co-Founder and Thrift Store Manager, Michel Herstam


Michel Herstam is the co-founder of HALO Animal Rescue. Michel was born in Michigan, but was raised in Phoenix starting at age five.  Michel was a graduate from Arizona State University with an English degree.  Michel worked in Corporate America for 35 years as a customer service manager for Salt River Project.  This job fed her family of three girls, but not her soul.   So while working fulltime and raising a family she dedicated her nights and weekends providing shelter and love to wayward dogs and cats.

Michel began her rescue work while volunteering with Kitty Love, a local cat group, in 1992.  Kitty Love dissolved, but not before Michel had begun to realize the extent of the pet homelessness problem in Maricopa County and was volunteering every weekend at the PetSmart Adoption Center and fostering hundreds of animals in her home each year.  In 1994 Michel's house became HALO Animal Rescue Headquarters where she and her daughter volunteered their time to HALO's operations which was much smaller in scale than it is today. By 2006, HALO had a handful of staff working full time from Michel's home to provide for the animals that she selflessly gave her home to.  In July 2008, Michel finally got her home back as HALO moved in its first physical shelter facility on 35th Avenue and Camelback Road.  Michel opened up the HALO Thrift Boutique in 2006 and is the full-time mamager (as a volunteer), with all profits going directly to the shelter.

Michel feels, "through respect, honor, sacrifice and commitment HALO, can be part of the solution so that all homeless animals have a loving home".

Director of Finance and Administration, Karl Meinhausen

Karls pic updated

Karl Meinhausen is the Director of Finance & Administration at HALO Animal Rescue.  He began working for HALO in 2008.

Karl grew up in Tucson, Arizona, but has lived in the Phoenix area since 2000. His formal education is in Culinary Arts. He enjoys designing furniture, hiking, and cycling in his spare time.  He is an advocate for all animals and is vegetarian. Karl has a beautiful daughter, two rescued cats and a Golden Retriever.

His hope for the future of HALO is for "one day, to come in and have Heather say, 'Sorry, we are no longer needed, there is no one to rescue'.  Then maybe we can take a guilt-free vacation".

Director of Operations, Kim Zikmanis


Kim Zikmanis is the Director of Operations for HALO. Kim has worked for HALO since 2005.

Kim was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona.  She graduated from Shadow Mountain High School in 1990.  Kim was a manager at PetSmart for several years before joining HALO's team.  Kim is married and has two children, a boy and a girl.  Among the family pets are several dogs, pythons and a bearded dragon. As a child, Kim was involved in the 4-H program for dogs and wanted to learn all she could about their care.

When asked what she loved best about her job, she replied, "being able to make a life-saving difference every day for animals that may not have otherwise had a chance at love".

Outreach Manager, Erin Denmark

Erin Denmark

Erin Denmark started as a HALO volunteer in 2010 when she and another volunteer were the sole caregivers for all the animals in CEO Heather Allen's foster house for about 9 months. She was working in the corporate world but decided that working in an environment where she could combine her organizational, administrative and communication skills with her love for animals would make her happiest. "I'd rather be happy than rich." Denmark said.

Erin started at HALO in 2011 as an Animal Care Specialist on HALO's cat team. From there she moved into Customer Service at the front desk, then onto HALO's Development Department as the Outreach Manager.

Erin is married and has a wonderful son along with three kitties, one of which was a "foster failure" - or a success, depending on how you look at it. When asked about the future of HALO she states, "I believe that HALO has an important role in the community and I'm glad to be a part of something so great! My hope is that all the rescues can come together to help the animal homelessness and overpopulation problem."


Offsite Animal Care Manager, Anita Garcia

Anita Bio

Anita is the Offsite Animal Care Manager for HALO, managing our Metrocenter Mall Pet Adoption Center and the PetSmart Everyday Adoption Centers at Deer Valley and Old Town Scottsdale. Anita began her career with HALO in 2015.

Prior to working with HALO, Anita spent 21 years with PetSmart and PetSmart Charities managing the in-store adoption program both nationally and regionally. During her tenure more than 6 million pets were adopted through the program by more than 3,000 adoption partners, including HALO.

Anita takes her passion for pets home, too. She and her husband Arturo are pet parents to 7 dogs, one of which was a "foster failure" and a wonderful addition to the family. Anita loves being able to make a difference in pets lives through adoption; the bond between pets and their new pet parents is amazing.

Animal Care Manager, Samantha Jaques


Samantha was born and raised in Northeast Ohio and has worked for HALO since 2013. Sammie completed two years of college for physical education. When Sammie made the move to Arizona she took time off school and later started work with HALO. Sammie knew from the first day of work with HALO that rescuing animals is what she wants to do in life. Growing up, Sammie had an assortment of pets, from dogs and cats to turtles and rabbits. Among her pets now are two English Bulldogs, three cats, an Argentine Tegu, and two birds.

Sammie hopes that shelter medicine continues to grow and advance. Sammie loves her job with HALO and enjoys being able to grow with them.

Animal Care Manager, Trey Amor


Trey Amor started as an Animal Care Specialist with HALO in 2014. He then moved on to become one of the Assistant Animal Care Managers in early 2015. He is now part of the management team as one of HALO's Animal Care Managers.

Trey was not born in Arizona but has lived here a majority of his life. His hobbies include going on adventures with his two dogs (Both HALO pets), snowboarding, and fitness. Trey has always had a soft spot for animals. After working in a variety of different fields, Trey is confident that he has found his calling.

Trey has known about and appreciated the work that HALO has done for quite a while before his employment started, but is happier now more than ever to be part of a team that does such amazing work for shelter pets in need.


Volunteer & Foster Coordinator, Sydney Frandsen

Syd bio pic

Born and raised in Arizona, Syd has grown up with a variety of pets including horses, dogs and cats. She is currently an online student at Arizona State University for a degree in criminology, but is confident she will never leave the animal care world. Syd loves the work she does with HALO Animal Rescue. She has grown from an Animal Care Staff to Animal Care Manager now to the Volunteer & Foster Coordinator and wouldn't trade her job for any other.

Outside of HALO, Syd spends most of her time either with her pets at home or out seeking new adventures. She currently has three cats: Snickers, Baby Ruth, and Vira (rescue from HALO).

You can usually find her doing something crafty such as putting together new cosplays or making new decorations. Syd is always finding new and exciting things to do in life, so the adventure never stops. She hopes that one day there are more criminal justice aspects to the animal care world to better protect pets from abuse and neglect.

Development Coordinator, Laura Jensen

Laura website photo

As the Development Coordinator at HALO Animal Rescue, Laura helps animal lovers support HALO's mission through philanthropy. She loves sharing rescue pet stories and feels so humbled to work together with some of the kindest, most generous people in our community.

Laura got her start in animal rescue in 2011 as a cat foster and kitten nursery caretaker for Austin Pets Alive! In 2013, she moved to Phoenix and was overwhelmed by the animal welfare problems in the community. She joined HALO's team to be part of their innovative and progressive approaches to solving pet homelessness.

Laura's vision for our community is that every pet will have a loving family who will welcome them into their heart and their home.

Customer Service Manager, Sharon Jaques


Sharon was a school bus driver for almost 20 years in Ohio. Upon moving to Arizona in 2012, she couldn't believe the amount of animals in need of loving homes.

In 2013, She began volunteering and fostering kittens for HALO. She has helped almost 100 kittens find forever homes.

Sharon and her husband, Rudy, have three amazing children, an American Staffy, Chihuahua, and four wonderful "foster failure" cats. For Sharon, the greatest thing is watching animals and people walk out the door with smiles on their faces.