Our Board of Directors protects Heartland Animal Shelter’s mission.

The Heartland Animal Shelter Board of Directors is comprised of nine members, including our Executive Director, and is vested with the full power to promote Heartland’s welfare. The Board is elected annually by voting members including active volunteers and employees. The Board meets regularly to discuss the concerns, direction, and management of Heartland’s affairs.

Current Board Members:

Larisa Bazan (Director) has been a Heartland Animal Shelter volunteer since summer of 2018 (dog walker) and joined the board in early 2022. She is passionate about animal welfare, providing for their physical and mental needs. She has an MBA from Lakeland University and is also a CPA. She works for AbbVie (biopharmaceutical) as a finance manager (corporate FP&A). Her expertise is in accounting and financial planning and analysis. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, travel, skiing and biking. Her cat is kind enough to let Larisa live with her.

Tom Bohn (Treasurer) retired after working for 40 years as a Statistical Analyst/Accountant for Allstate Insurance Co. in the Home Office. He was also very active with the Mid-America Horse Show Association for 20 years, in managing American Saddlebred Horse Shows. He graduated from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin and resides in Glenview, Illinois. His interest in Heartland Animal Shelter stems from his lifelong passion for the humane treatment of animals, especially the homeless. He has been an active volunteer with Heartland since 2007, has served several terms as a board member, and has both a dog and granddog from Heartland.

Amy Downey (Director) is a CPA and CFP® and the founder of Downey Advisors, LLC, a company providing tax consulting and financial planning, primarily to high net worth individuals, estates and trusts. Prior to founding Downey Advisors, she ran a multi-generational family office in suburban Chicago, and prior to that was with Ernst & Young Chicago. She received her BA in Economics and Managerial Studies from Rice University in 1993 and followed up with her Master of Accounting from Rice University in 1994. She has fostered cats and kittens for Heartland since 2018 (currently at 79 and counting) and joined the Heartland Board in 2021. Her love for animals dates back to growing up on a farm in North Central Illinois. She lives in Glenview with her husband, 2 daughters and 3 cats (2 from Heartland), and usually 2-3 fosters.

John Fairbairn (Director) is a retired mechanical engineer, with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Technological Institute at Northwestern University. Following undergraduate studies, and an unsuccessful attempt at earning an MBA, John switched to the EIT program at Illinois Institute of Technology, and earned his State of Illinois license as a Professional Engineer in 1970. Following a 16 year career in systems and process engineering with a major forest products firm, John and a fellow engineer founded SSI Technology, a firm specializing in the design and implementation of chemical process systems. The company grew and (mostly) prospered, and John retired after 30 years. John and Anne have 2 adult children, and 3 grandchildren, and have spent much time at grandchildren’s athletic events, mostly in inclement weather. They reside in Northbrook with their dog, Patsy, but have lived in Seattle, Washington DC, and NYC, following John’s first career. John is a serious amateur photographer, an American History buff, and a crossword puzzle geek. He has been a volunteer at Heartland since 2016, walking dogs, driving the transport van, mentoring volunteers, on the board of directors, and, most recently, acting as Interim Executive Director.

Scott Hargadon (Vice President) is a commercial real estate attorney with the Chicago law firm of Meltzer, Purtill & Stelle, where he heads the firm’s commercial leasing practice. He was previously a longtime board member of the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. He joined the Heartland board in 2020 to advise the organization on real estate matters which culminated in the purchase and renovation of the new building. He also recently signed on as a dog volunteer and has a special affinity for hounds because he and his wife have three coonhounds.

Chris Proesel (Secretary) is an in-house general counsel with over 14 years of experience providing legal and business advice to business managers and senior executives, offering practical guidance and solutions to advance their business and strategic objectives. Since 2017, Chris has worked for a North American affiliate of Continental AG, a German multinational technology and manufacturing conglomerate providing various goods and services with automotive and industrial applications. Chris joined Heartland’s board in 2021. He and his wife live in Wilmette with their three children and dog, Gus.

C.J. Sultz (President) has been a dog walking volunteer for four years and adopted her “challenging chihuahua,” Dexter, from the shelter. She runs her own marketing firm after working for 25 years in brand management, customer marketing, and business insights for Fortune 500 companies, but gets the most joy from applying her business skills to non-profit organizations. She received her M.B.A. from the University of Michigan and resides in Glenview with her husband and two daughters. She has been on Heartland’s board since 2020 and also serves on the board of ALDEA, a non-profit organization in Guatemala working to reduce chronic childhood malnutrition among the indigenous Maya. 

Samantha Vircol (Director) is a former Program Director for the YMCA (YMCA of Greater Worcester and YMCA of Metro Chicago) where her focus was on Youth and Family Programing, Community Outreach, Non-Profit Management and Educational Programing. Samantha works as a Preschool Teacher and Educational Program Developer in the Chicagoland/North Shore area. She is married and has two children and her own Heartland dog, Oakley.  They say, “You get the dog you need, not the dog you want” and raising Oakley has been a wild adventure. Oakley gets all the credit for bringing Sam back to Heartland as a volunteer.  Because of him, she wanted to be more involved with working with dogs and understanding dog behavior and felt her experience would be of value to the dogs of Heartland and potential adopters. She joined the board in early 2022.

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When you adopt from a no-kill shelter, you save two lives. The animal you adopt and the one that replaces him.

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