In February of this year, HeARTs Speak welcomed with open arms, our new President, Sarah Tomolonius. Sarah is dedicated and passionate, and we’re overjoyed to be offering her the seat at our steering wheel. She has been a supporter of HeARTs Speak since it was a seed of an idea, and her steadfast commitment to the ultimate success of our organization is no secret. Having Sarah on our side allows us to continue to power forward with our mission to enact positive change for animals.
We recognize that, as we grow, it’s important to remain thankful to those who have contributed to honing the HeARTs Speak mission and vision. Michael Bagley, whom Sarah replaces, will always have a special place in our hearts for this very reason, and the foundation he helped to build has enabled us to confidently transition to a new chapter.
A background as dynamic as Sarah’s begs for a little elaboration. We asked her to fill us in on some details so we could all get to know our new President better.
How did you come to learn of HeARTs Speak and what motivated you to serve as our President?
HeARTs Speak’s founder, Lisa Prince Fishler, and I share the same alma mater, Vassar College. I met Lisa when I worked with her at another non-profit she helmed. I’ve been a supporter of Lisa and of HeARTs Speak since it was a nascent idea that was sparked through the realization on social media that artists (at the time, specifically pet photographers) around the world were doing the same thing: photographing pets as a career and then volunteering at their local shelters and rescues to help place more animals into permanent homes. It was Lisa’s revelation that the power of people working together could exponentially increase the power of good that could be done and could help increase animal adoptions.
After Vassar, I spent time in the non-profit world and at a public relations firm before I decided to get my Masters degree, concentrating on international finance. I wanted to make sure that I developed the skill-set to be able to help build and support organizations in the non-profit world.
Post-graduation, I worked for a bank’s private equity group and currently work at a global food and agriculture investment firm, but my time outside of work is spent helping non-profits. My mother was the first female president of her college photography club and both my parents were artists and teachers, and I have been a passionate animal lover always. The global breadth of HeARTs Speak, the caliber of our artist members, the tremendous work of the shelters, the passion we all collectively share and the ability to work together in many communities — that plus knowing HeARTs Speak from its first spark as an idea — made me want to help continue to develop, grow and shepherd the organization.
Do you have pets of your own? Tell us about them!
If I had the time and space, I’d have a menagerie like my great aunt Marianna who, in addition to her many cats, dogs and birds, was known by all around her to take in any ailing or homeless pet or wild animal. But living in a New York City apartment, I just have one cat, T-Bone. With his larger than life cat-dog personality and insatiable appetite, I’m sometimes mislead into thinking we have more than one pet! He is a truly incredible and very loved family member; he fetches, whines, talks and has even introduced us to our neighbors (he met and befriended them before we did!).
Are you active with any other non-profit organizations and if so, which ones and how?
Yes. I’m on the Young Executive Board of iMentor, an organization that connects working professionals in one on-one mentoring relationships with students from low-income neighborhoods in NYC to increase success throughout high school and college. I’m also on the Management Committee of the New York Hedge Fund Roundtable, a non-profit organization committed to promoting education and best practices in the hedge fund industry. Additionally, I’m on the Executive Committee of the SIPA Alumni Council (SIPA is the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University), and I mentor with the Columbia Women’s Business Society and the SIPA Alumni Mentoring Program.
We’re so proud to call Sarah our President and we know there are wonderful things in store with her at our helm! Welcome aboard, Sarah!