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Our Team

Meet our senior leadership staff

Our staff is full of dedicated, caring people who go above and beyond every single day to help the pets and people in our community. We are thrilled to introduce you to our Senior Leadership team!


The Humane Society of Southern Arizona values and champions diversity and inclusion. These values are part of who we are.

Together, we will continue to build an inclusive culture that encourages, supports, and celebrates the diverse voices of our HSSA team  and the communities we serve. 

Kristin Barney, Chief Executive Officer - 2024

Kristin Barney knew that she was destined to work with animals. Growing up with a service dog as part of her household, she saw early on how important the human-animal bond is. While her career has included working in behavioral and public health, she found a way to turn her passion for supporting the human-animal bond into a profession, first as a professional dog trainer working with pet dogs and service animals, and then finding her love for animal welfare. Most recently, she served as Senior Director of Lifesaving Programs with Best Friends Animal Society, a national non-profit animal welfare organization. Through this work, Kristin engaged with shelters and organizations throughout the United States to implement best practices for animal care and lifesaving initiatives.

 She holds an EdD in organizational leadership from Pepperdine University and a master’s degree in administration from Northern Arizona university. She is also a frequent national speaker on animal welfare leadership.

 Originally from Wisconsin, Kristin has called Tucson home for over two decades. She and her husband share their lives with three dogs who love hiking and exploring, and three cats who enjoy being pushed in their stroller.

Jose Ocano, Interim Chief Programs Officer - 2023

Jose Ocano has spent more than 18 years working to preserve and promote the human-animal bond. Self-awareness, personal accountability, and relationship cultivation have been foundational as Jose navigates his career and life outside of work. At his first job with one of the largest animal shelters in Arizona, Jose learned the importance of developing emotional intelligence, communication, and people skills to build meaningful relationships that inspire and motivate people to work better together. In 2017, after a decade of working to transform that organization, Jose joined Best Friends Animal Society, a national nonprofit organization where he served as the first Senior Director of People and Culture.

At Best Friends, Jose was responsible for leading dynamic teams, including Human Resources, Learning and Staff Development, Employee Experience, and Organizational Culture initiatives, and served as a strategic advisor to the Chief Executive Officer and Senior Leadership Team. Through collaboration, thoughtful change management, and innovation, Jose and his team stewarded a workplace culture that was employee- and value-centric. These efforts positioned Best Friends to win multiple Top Workplace Awards since 2020.

In 2023, Jose launched Hatching, a purpose-driven company aimed at fostering a more compassionate world by helping people and organizations develop the skills and mindsets to #LiveBetter and #WorkBetter.

José currently lives between Tucson and Los Angeles with his husband and two dogs, Zoe and Nugget.

Karen Hollish, Chief Development Officer - 2024

Karen has spent over 15 years telling and celebrating the stories of animals and people who love them.  

A former daily newspaper reporter who covered every animal story that came her way, Karen began her philanthropy career in Tucson in 2012, when HSSA hired her as development coordinator. In 2014, she was recruited by Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) to build its fundraising and communications program as its first director of Development and Marketing. During her tenure as a core member of PACC’s leadership team, PACC went from having animals in a tented facility and a reputation as a “pound,” to becoming a nationally recognized lifesaving leader. Most recently, Karen served as Director of Development at the University of Arizona’s College of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences, where she focused on fundraising for faculty and students who are working to conserve wildlife and the wild lands they call home. She holds a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health and Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Arizona; and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Ohio University.

She lives in midtown Tucson with her pup Max, a PACC alum, her pup Stanley, an HSSA alum, and a rescued desert tortoise named Rhonda. 

Inge Koopman-Leyva, Director of Education and Outreach - 2003

In 2003, Inge Koopman-Leyva moved from Brooklyn, New York to Tucson, Arizona, and started her official career in animal welfare as the Children’s Programs Specialist at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. Inge received her BS degree from Hunter College in Anthropology while working as a veterinary assistant, professional dog walker, and pet sitter in New York City before relocating.

In her field, Inge was able to create a space to incorporate those areas she was most passionate about, helping people within her community, empowering youth, caring for animals and the environment, and providing equitable programming and services for community members most underserved.

As a Humane Educator, she has worked in various levels of the field from the frontline staff to her current position as Director. Inge’s career has focused on working within diverse communities developmentally, ethnically and culturally to encourage and instill humane philosophies and care of animals and people.

Over the course of her career, Inge has worked with the Arizona Department of Corrections and Juvenile Courts, to bring humane education and therapeutic animal visitation into the Ajo Juvenile Detention Center. Additionally, she worked with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe to develop youth programs incorporating interactions with domesticated companion animals. She also established long-lasting professional relationships with a multitude of teachers and educators in Pima County through the HSSA’s school-based education programs reaching thousands of school-aged children a year. Inge has been an active member and past Board Member of the Animal Cruelty Taskforce of Southern Arizona and more recently she has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Humane Educators and as board president from 2021 – 2023.

To balance and ground herself, Inge loves traveling and investing time with her husband and two daughters. She can also be found snuggling one of her rescued pets, Valentino her tripod Staffordshire Terrier, Azul her German Shepherd or one of her four cats, Oliver, Fat Mama, Juan Carlos or Chilendrina.

Kelley Smith, Director of Finance -2013

Kelley Smith has worked for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona since 2013 and was a volunteer before that. She has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Accounting and Economics. Animals have always been an important part of the family growing up, and all of her current animals have come from HSSA. She has two bunnies, Zero and Peanut Butter, and a Pit Bull, Mika, who’s afraid of them.

Danielle Brady, Director of People and Culture - 2024

Danielle is an experienced and collaborative leader who leads with empathy and compassion.  She is a strategic partner with more than 30 years of Human Resources experience integrating people strategies with organizational strategy.  She is passionate about creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive work environment where employees feel valued, respected, and heard, and a work environment where employees have a high level of psychological safety.   Her breadth and depth of experience crosses several industries including high tech, defense, healthcare, and architecture & design.  She is a skilled and trusted HR leader and consultant, leadership coach, change agent, employee champion, and business partner.  Her past experience includes leadership roles at Raytheon, Intuit, TMC Healthcare, and CannonDesign.  She is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), and she holds a bachelor's degree in public administration and a master's degree in business administration.

Danielle has a 70-pound mixed-breed talking dog named Penney.  Penny has the sweetest disposition-she actually thinks she is a lap dog which is fine with
Danielle and her husband.