Tamara has been the Executive Director of Beautiful Together since co-founding it in 2014. An advocate for children waiting for families, she saw the extraordinary connection between children and animals through six years of tangible project work. She envisioned the Beautiful Together Animal Sanctuary as a natural bridge between these worlds, linking two vulnerable populations to benefit the other. Finding land, creating partnerships, building a team of like-minded advocates and witnessing amazing outcomes affirmed this decision.
Tamara is also a professional photographer, Nikon Ambassador, and show host for PBS NC Chasing Frames. She has delivered presentations at Google, Disney, Harvard Law School and more, speaking on the power of photography and storytelling to affect real change. She and her husband, Steve, also own Coco, a plant-based bistro & bar in Chapel Hill that also supports the work of Beautiful Together. They, their children, and their many pets are excited for the continued growth of this sanctuary – and all the hope it represents.
Jane-Howard joined Beautiful Together to help implement and run the animal rescue project. Her role includes overseeing the dog adoption program and foster caregiver operations, field services, as well as the animal behavior and rehabilitation program.
Jane-Howard has worked in all areas of animal rescue since 2015: fostering, transporting, training, and volunteering at local animal shelters. As a Certified Dog Trainer, she has a passion for helping animals live their best lives. To her, rescue is more than just saving a life— it’s also making sure that the animal has a happy life. She will be directing training classes at the sanctuary (for kids and adults) as well as working with animals who may need behavioral modification before finding their forever homes.
Jenn has been a middle school science teacher for the last 22 years, and she loves watching the joy of discovery in her students. Being home with virtual teaching, she got the pleasure of sharing the world of animal fostering with her students - and they got to watch puppies and kittens grow. But the best part of her life, by far, is her son. He was adopted when he was one year old from Ethiopia, and it was then that she realized how much more love can grow each day. She discovered how healing and calming the pets in their house were to him, and in the midst of the COVID pandemic, they decided together to foster for Beautiful Together. During the process of finding foster pets homes, she saw such a healing transformation in her son - he had come full circle to helping another living creature that needed to be adopted find a forever home. The wisdom that came from his mouth with each adoption proved how important the mission of Beautiful Together is for this world. They went on to foster two pregnant mom cats, helping them deliver kittens, and Jenn became a key part of the team.
Jenn helps to find forever homes for all the cats and kittens in foster care, while also getting to spend time caring for the people who are entrusted to foster these sweet, amazing animals.
Steve is the co-founder of Beautiful Together, and he has been working on related non-profit projects and funds since 2014. As a long-time animal rescue advocate, he often finds himself surrounded by a number of foster pets on a day-to-day basis, whether he actually knows they are in his house or not!
Steve is responsible for helping to realize the on-the-ground vision of the animal sanctuary. He oversees development and coordination with all general and subcontractors, managing communication with builders and fielding county requirements. His efforts include ensuring compliance with all permitting requirements and overseeing and participating in the build-out of all utility infrastructure onto the property. He also manages new sanctuary development roles and volunteer coordination efforts. And he now finds himself driving a tractor, something he'd never expected to do.
He and his wife, Tamara, love to run their dogs on the property as much as possible while building everything from the ground up (and both pups rate the sanctuary land a 10 out of 10).
Leslie has spent the last twenty years in a variety of youth counseling and advocacy roles. A long-time supporter of UNC Athletics, her background also includes mentoring a number of college athletes over the years, as well.
Leslie is a passionate volunteer and advocate for the Hargraves Community Center in Chapel Hill, and she understands the challenges children in our community face as it relates to an inequity of opportunities. She is excited to help build out and lead this major part of The Beautiful Together Animal Sanctuary as its Director of Youth Programming.
Leslie lives in Chapel Hill with her husband and their family, which includes three teenagers, two chickens, three dogs, and a myriad of basketball hoops.
Brenda’s interest in animals started early with volunteering in a marine education center on the Gulf - taking care of sea animals and reptiles, giving tours, and assisting biologists in collection trips. A published author during undergraduate years at Tulane University, she studied and presented work on synthesis and steric considerations in organometallic carbonyls at national
meetings of the American Chemical Society. At California Institute of Technology, she studied biochemistry, molecular biology, and immunology: interactions between antigens and IgG antibodies that activate the complement cascade in the immune system. Her work involved delicate sample collection from lab animals, from mice to rabbits. Research necessitated proficiency in cell culture, viral culture, protein and DNA labelling, DNA synthesis and sequencing. After her M.S., Brenda became the Senior R&D Scientist at a biotech firm that encapsulated chemotherapeutic drugs into lipid vesicles. Her work there even involved government-supported creation of a supercoiled DNA plasmid meant to measure penetrating radiation in space, but that experiment was aboard the ill-fated Challenger space shuttle.
Retired from a successful career in senior management in corporations that supply research instruments to pharmaceutical, academic, environmental, and forensic clients, Brenda now fosters and rehabs neonatal kittens, advising on rescue health issues. She is passionate about utilizing her technical expertise in chemistry and molecular biology to help animals recover and thrive after their difficult lives before rescue. She develops and trains on protocols and procedures to help our fosters keep our animals healthy and created and oversees our Triage program, addressing animal health issues before they progress to a need for veterinary assistance when possible. Brenda also strategizes purchasing and inventory management for Beautiful Together Animal Sanctuary's animal wellness supplies.
Kristan joined Beautiful Together to help develop the Foster Support Program. For the past six years, Kristan has been training and supporting volunteers with Girls Scouts North Carolina Coastal Pines. In addition, she coordinates community outreach programming throughout the Triangle and has a knack for problem-solving with volunteers and finding positive solutions to challenging situations.
After earning a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, Kristan co-developed an academic support skills curriculum at the Duke Child and Family Study Center. In 2016, she published a book about teaching problem-solving skills to girls. Her most recent publication was a memoir about her dog Smooch and her life with the family. Kristan is also very excited about the Youth Programming aspect of The Beautiful Together Animal Sanctuary and hopes to use her background in Curriculum and Instruction to help create programming that is meaningful for youth coming to the sanctuary. Kristan lives with her husband, two teenagers, and a lot of animals in the woods outside of Chapel Hill.
Melissa's lifelong love of animals led her to start fostering in 2016, and she quickly discovered her purpose in the world. Rescue has become a huge part of her life and she has made the most wonderful friendships over the years meeting so many like-minded people. She has fostered many dogs and has a soft spot for the shy, nervous ones and the moms with puppies! Over the years, she has gotten more involved with the behind the scenes aspects of rescue.
Her love of detail and spreadsheets works well for her current role managing dog rescue operations for Beautiful Together. She handles record management and medical care coordination for dogs, as well as supporting fosters in any way she can. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends, family, and her pack of rescue dogs!
Nina Drumgoole is a mother, entrepreneur, and farmer from Durham, North Carolina. Her passion for local and organic produce began seven years ago when she found out she was expecting and became obsessed with her eating habits. She started learning all about GMO vs. non-GMO, got a job at a health-focused cafe, and after seeing the difference between store-bought and local produce, was inspired to completely alter her diet. With only a few years of gardening and farm experience and a deep love for organic produce, Nina began experimenting with her own garden and had so much success that she began to offer gardening services to her friends and family. She landed a position working for a local organic food distribution company, Eastern Carolina Organics, allowing her to cultivate relationships with local organic farmers, and giving her the inspiration to start her own CSA, Local Love Produce, which has been bringing local, quality produce that she knows is grown, harvested and packaged with love directly to customer’s doors successfully since its opening in April 2020. Along with her extensive farming background, Nina has several years administrative management and vet tech experience, making her a great addition as our Cat Rescue Operations Manager.
C.D. joined Beautiful Together with the intent to help with onsite operations after hearing about the sanctuary. In the meantime, though, he began to implement the vetting process for dog adoptions, connecting approved applicants to fosters and the pet they desire to meet.
C.D. has been involved in dog adoptions and dog socialization since 2015, through local shelters, and he enjoys working with dogs in all areas of care and rehabilitation. C.D. has also worked with a national dogfighting prevention group and remains active in that area, identifying prospective suspects and helping to expose their operations.
Being a part of Beautiful Together is a lifelong dream come true, and he is thankful and anxious to see it evolve.
Lisa is originally from upstate New York where, in spite of weekly shots for allergies to animals and the outdoors, she convinced her parents to bring a dog into their family, send her to horse camp, and spend a summer doing wildlife rehabilitation. Her passion for animal rescue began when she adopted retired racing greyhounds in early adulthood and has been an "adopt don't shop" advocate ever since.
She moved south in search of more sunshine, far less snow, and the ability to spend more time outdoors. She's been working for an RTP tech company for 23 years. In her "free" time, she enjoys running outdoors, watching college sports and, of course, spending time with her three rescue pups.
Michele joined Beautiful Together after 18 years in account management, sales, and sales management. For most of her career, she worked in the incentive industry helping Fortunate 5000 clients design, promote, and operate group travel and sports events. For years she worked as the PTA Cultural Arts Representative, bringing shows and artists in residence to a Chapel Hill elementary and middle school. Within the community, Michele and her two children volunteered at HomeStart for 7 years, a non-profit that provides housing and services for families experiencing homelessness. They began a weekly afterschool recreation program for children called "Make Your Mark!" and found a Mother's Day Fundraiser that generated over $25,000 in revenue.
A long-time animal lover and a vegetarian since age 7, Michele feels at home coordinating events for Beautiful Together and finding forever homes for dogs and cats. During her free time, Michele enjoys hiking with her adopted dog, road and Peloton bike riding, and working out.
Tammie's background is in business development in the Pharmaceutical industry, for some 25 years. After that, she was the PTSA treasurer for six years, a CHHS Career Information Center volunteer, coordinated and provided support for several SPARCS (Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescences Responding to Chronic Stress) groups for the high counseling group as well as other support for high school events She's been a coach for Girls on the Run, ski coach and fundraiser coordinator for Special Olympics and has been very involved with a local Pony Club as camp coordinator, sponsorship fund raiser coordinator and also as treasurer. She started volunteering working the front desks at SECU Family House for the last 1 1/2 years.
Tammie live on a small horse farm in Chapel Hill with her husband, their daughter who goes to Elon University, their 5 horses, 2 mini donkeys, 2 cats and 4 dogs!
Carol became passionate about animal rescue after she and her husband adopted their first-ever foster, Maya Angelou Saunders Bouchner (full name only used under exceptional circumstances) almost seven years ago. She joined the team at Beautiful Together when she learned that she could contribute not "just" as a foster but also as a lawyer, policy advocate, and government relations professional, skills she honed over the course of many years since she graduated from law school.
Carol's focus at Beautiful Together is on building out a framework that ensures that we build relationshops with animals we rescue AND with our amazing fosters and adopters. Carol will also lead Beautiful Together's adovacacy efforts at the local and national levels - working to implement laws and regulations that further our mission.