Meet Compassion Over Killing Staff

ERICA MEIER: Executive Director TwitterFollowMe

Erica-chicken-webErica has served as COK’s Executive Director since 2005, after being an active volunteer starting in 2000. Since taking the helm, Erica has 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

cheryl-bioSince 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.


LisaWAfter 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.

LIZ HALLINAN: Director of Public Policy

image003After 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.


JAYA BHUMITRA: Campaigns Director TwitterFollowMe

jaya-bioAs Campaigns Director, Jaya develops COK’s national outreach efforts such as our We Love Subway and US VegWeek campaigns, while also expanding our reach in other cities around the U.S. Previously, she acted as our LA Outreach Director for nearly a year, and led the LA Volunteer Chapter the year before that.

Jaya has an academic background in marketing and psychology, and a professional background in public affairs. She’s also a Fellow (2011) and former Co-Director (2012-2013) of the LA chapter of New Leaders Council, a national association that develops emerging leaders. Jaya shares her home with dogs Tin Tin and Midge, and Cupcake the cat.

NICOLE FURLAN: Web Developer TwitterFollowMe

StaffPageHeadshotNicole 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.S.E. in Software Engineering. Nicole previously worked as a software engineer while spreading animal rights awareness to family and friends. She officially became vegetarian during college, and after watching “Factory Farming in 60 Seconds”, she became vegan and has been spreading the pro-vegan message ever since. She also advocates for “dangerous” dog breeds, and volunteers with a wildlife organization and a political action committee to help get animal-minded officials elected into office. Nicole shares her home with her husband Billy and two loving rescued pit bulls named Brady and Bruno.

BURNS FOSTER: Communications Manager

snip 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.

CECILIA OCHOA: Outreach Coordinator TwitterFollowMe

Cecilia As Outreach Coordinator, Ceci maintains our presence in the DC area as well as nationwide through outreach and volunteer engagements. She also assists with nationwide campaigns and projects. Ceci has volunteered with various organizations all across the country, ranging from affordable housing in Maine to disaster relief in Alabama. After spending a summer at Farm Sanctuary in southern California, she decided to devote her future to animal welfare organizations. Since, she has volunteered with COK at numerous events in the DC area prior to landing this sweet gig. She currently shares her home with her dog, Puppy.


CHARLEE BOONE: Office Manager TwitterFollowMe

smallpicAs Office Manager, Charlee performs various administrative duties within our DC office. She joined COK to help educate others about animal industries and 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.


ELENA JOHNSON: Special Events Volunteer TwitterFollowMe


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.


Harris PictureAs Editor, Sarah writes and edits much of COK’s content, including its publications and websites. She has eight years of professional writing and editing experience and has written on a variety of topics, including food and agriculture policy. Vegan since 2012, Sarah is passionate about making the world a kinder place for animals. Sarah received an M.P.P. from the University of Chicago and a B.A. from Colgate University.



Compassion Over Killing’s Offices

Washington, DC – Headquarters:

6930 Carroll Ave Ste 910 Takoma Park, MD 20912 301-891-2458 | info@cok.net

Los Angeles, California:

310-217-1519 | info@cok.net