Gail Plewacki (Chair)
Gail Plewacki is a communications professional with more than 15 years’ experience in broadcast journalism as a reporter with KARE TV and KSTP. She also has nearly 13 years’ experience as a communications director.
Gail is currently the Executive Director of Communications for the Minneapolis Public Schools. Prior to joining MPS she was the Communications Director and a Senior Manager for Dakota County, the third largest county in Minnesota, for more than eight years. Before that, she was the Communications Director and an Assistant City Coordinator with the City of Minneapolis.
Gail is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and an alumnus of the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Executive Leadership Program.
Heather MacLeod (Vice Chair)
Heather MacLeod is the Director of Children’s Health Network Triage Services. Heather has a strong background in healthcare operations and a solid performance history in patient/client-centered and matrix-leadership environments. Heather also brings proven skills in employee and leadership management, client services, organizational strategy, and financial management.
Heather has a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of St. Thomas; and an M.S. in Organization Management from Capella University.
Melissa Cross (Treasurer)
Melissa Cross is employed in the financial services industry as in-house counsel and has served on multiple committees in that capacity, including regulatory compliance, human resources, and enterprise risk management.
Melissa earned a B.A. in political science and psychology from Minnesota State University-Moorhead, a J.D. from the University of South Carolina and M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas.
Ann Nelson (Secretary)
Ann Nelson has over 25 years of nonprofit fundraising and event planning experience. For the past seven years Ann has owned and served as the Senior Event Planner for Ann Plans, a small business providing event planning and consulting services for Minnesota nonprofit organizations. Ann has served on the Board of Trustees for her church, and has been an active volunteer with a number of organizations including the Animal Humane Society.
Dawn Isackson is an attorney and business partner experienced in a wide variety of legal areas including business litigation, contracts, real estate, employment and trademarks and is currently employed as Senior Corporate Counsel at an international, publicly-trade company. She has a proven history of solving complex legal and business problems and achieving excellent results. Dawn brings a commitment to detail and clarity to TWS and board processes in all forms. As a volunteer non-profit board member for two animal welfare organizations, she ably utilizes her legal and business acumen to assist the board and executive director in ensuring the sustainability of the organization.
Dawn earned a B.A. in Political Science from Hamline University, and a J.D. from the William Mitchell College of Law.
Robin Harris is a Human Resources and Labor Relations professional with more than 35 years of experience. Having experience in private, public and non-profit agencies, she spent most of her career working in the airline industry for 25 years at Northwest Airlines holding varies positions in In-Flight Services, Reservation Services and Human Resources. After leaving the airline she worked for the City of Minneapolis as the Director of Personnel and Administration for the Public Works Department. In August 2014 she accepted the position at Washington County as their Deputy Director of Human Resources. Most recently (July 2015) she has been appointed as the Director of Human Resources for the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority.
Robin’s education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, a Master of Science degree in Organization Leadership and an Executive Juris Doctorate.
Carlo Giacomoni is a board certified clinical psychologist with over 10 years’ experience providing therapy for depression, anxiety, trauma, and personality disorders and a current specialization in clinical assessments and forensic evaluations.
Carlo earned his Bachelor of Science at Beloit College, and Master’s and Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degrees from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
Tammy Thies (TWS Executive Director, non-voting Board member)
As the Executive Director and Founder of The Wildcat Sanctuary, Tammy Thies created TWS as a non-profit, big cat rescue with the goal of providing a natural sanctuary to wildcats that cannot live in the wild. Combining natural and spacious habitats with excellent care and a comfortable life free of exhibition, TWS allows all residents to live wild at heart.
With a marketing and journalism degree from the University of St. Thomas, Tammy was a full-time advertising professional who became aware of the need for such a facility through her exposure to big cats during photo shoots and advertising campaigns. Tammy learned that throughout the United States, tens of thousands of big cats are privately owned as pets, and used as performers or for-profit breeding.
A leading spokesperson and expert witness for the big cat crisis and protection nationally, Tammy and other TWS staff works with governmental agencies and private organizations to strengthen regulations protecting the welfare of big cats in captivity.