Meet Compassion Over Killing Staff Members

ERICA MEIER: Executive Director

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Erica has served as COK’s Executive Director since 2005, after being an active volunteer starting in 2000. Since taking the helm, she’s taken the organization to new heights with continued growth and accomplishments for animals that include ending the egg industry’s use of the misleading claim “Animal Care Certified” and successfully persuading BOCA foods to stop using eggs.

Vegan for 20 years, Erica has been working in the animal protection field since college. In 2013, she was honored with the prestigious Animal Rights Hall of Fame award. Before working at COK, Erica spent several years as an animal control officer in Washington, DC where she rescued sick, stray, and homeless animals as well as enforced anti-cruelty laws.

CHERYL LEAHY: General Counsel

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Since 2006, Cheryl has served as COK’s General Counsel targeting large-scale abuse of farmed animals through proactive litigation and undercover investigations. Her work includes challenging cruel, yet standard, practices forced upon farmed animals as well as the misleading marketing of meat, milk, and eggs often found in grocery stores.

Cheryl received a J.D. from UCLA School of Law and a B.A. from the University of Chicago in Environmental Studies. She is a member of the District of Columbia, Maryland, and California bars and currently works in COK’s Los Angeles office accompanied by her dog Hermione.

LIZ HALLINAN: Director of Public Policy

After working as an animal protection litigator for COK, Meyer, Glitzenstein and Crystal, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Liz joined COK as the Director of Public Policy in 2014. Liz focuses on improving legislative, regulatory, industry, and corporate policies that impact farm animals.

Liz received her B.A. in Biology with honors from Harvard University, her M.Sc. in Psychology from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada and her J.D. from New York University School of Law. She is a member of the California Bar and lives in Washington DC with her cat, Piggy.

ERIN SCHANNING: Chief Strategy Officer

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Erin Schanning is the Chief Strategy Officer for Compassion Over Killing. She leads strategic planning, fundraising and development, finance, marketing and communications, operations, technology, and human resources for the organization.

Erin comes to COK from Google, where she drove strategy and operations projects for the senior executive team. Prior to Google, Erin practiced litigation at Munger, Tolles, and Olson LLP. She attended Stanford Law School, where she graduated with Distinction and served on the Stanford Law Review.

Erin is a lifelong animal supporter and a dedicated vegan. She lives in Austin, TX with her husband, Andrew, and her two rescue dogs, Remi and Hobie. She is a member of Chorus Austin, and an avid gardener and cook.


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After getting her start in Animal Law as a Litigation Intern for COK in 2010, Lisa joined COK’s Legal Department in 2013. She now works to challenge the widespread abuse of farmed animals and egregious agricultural practices through litigation and other legal avenues.

Lisa received her B.A. from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and her J.D. with honors from the American University Washington College of Law. She is a member of the California and Hawaii bars, and works out of COK’s Los Angeles office accompanied by her rescue dogs, Puna and Kui.

NICOLE FURLAN: Director of Technology

As Director of Technology, Nicole focuses on maintaining and updating COK’s family of websites, and supporting staff IT needs. Nicole has a B.S. in Computer Science and a M.E. in Software Engineering, and before joining COK, she worked as a software engineer while spreading animal rights awareness to family and friends.

Nicole officially became vegetarian during college after her dog saved her life, and after watching “Factory Farming in 60 Seconds”, she became vegan and has been spreading the message of compassion ever since. She also advocates for “dangerous” dog breeds, and shares her home with her husband Billy and two loving rescued pit bulls named Brady and Bruno.

CHARLEE BOONE: Office Manager

As Office Manager, Charlee performs various administrative, operations, and HR tasks within our DC office. She also manages our social media sites for DC VegFest. She joined COK to help educate others about impact their choices make and to help them find compassion. Charlee received her B.S. in Marketing and e-Business from Towson University with Chinese and Spanish language minors. After a teacher showed her the impact of animal products on our health she began to do her own research and has been vegan since 2012. She started a group on campus and volunteered for various animal organizations prior to joining COK. She shares her home with her cat, Toulouse.

BURNS FOSTER: Communications Manager

Burns comes from a rich family lineage of conscious eaters and environmentalists. Growing up in a supportive, nurturing environment to explore the ethics of where food comes from, how it interacts with the human body, and who (or what) is harmed in the process has been instrumental in her life choices that led her to Compassion Over Killing.

As Communications Manager, Burns is able to find new ways of spreading the one message all humans can relate to and thrive on: the message of compassion. Promoting conscious plant-based food choices through her position at COK fulfills what she considers to be her life’s purpose: to serve on behalf of those without voices. A vegan for five years, Burns shares her home with her dog Yoshi.

MIKE WOLF: Investigations Manager

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Mike became vegan in 2006 and spent almost 4 years working as an Undercover Investigator for PETA and HSUS, focusing on animal agriculture. His cases include hog farm suppliers to Smithfield and Hormel, both of which lead to criminal charges. Mike joined COK in 2014 as the Investigations Manager, and is advocating for public awareness, legislative change, and holding farm workers and corporations accountable for the atrocities they are committing.

Mike also has a strong passion for vegan fitness and hopes to help break the stereotypes that surround veganism as a member of PlantBuilt’s Powerlifting team. He shares his home with his wife Lindsay, dog Maddy, and three cats Molly, Boy, and Grey Matter.

ELENA JOHNSON: Special Events Volunteer

As Special Events Volunteer, Elena helps plan a variety of events—from fundraisers to volunteer trainings. Before joining COK, Elena worked on events and educational programs for a national cat protection nonprofit and for a retail corporation. She is now a vegan chef and caterer who uses her knowledge of vegan ingredients to offer cooking demonstrations to the public. She shares her home with 3 black cats: Azrael, Buster, and Lucy.

Compassion Over Killing’s Offices

Washington, DC – Headquarters:

301-891-2458 |

Los Angeles, California:

310-217-1519 |