Harry P. Lynch, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Harry P. “Hank” Lynch brings more than 20 years of executive leadership experience in the nonprofit sector to Farm Sanctuary. As a nonprofit leader, Hank has successfully helped organizations fulfill their missions, increase their attendance and supporter bases, expand earned revenue, and make lasting contributions to the constituents they serve.
Hank holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in horticulture and has served as CEO for leading public horticulture institutions, including more than 12 years with Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in northeastern Ohio. Prior to joining Farm Sanctuary, Hank served as the executive director and CEO for The National Maritime Center in Norfolk, Virginia, where he led nearly 100 staff members, recruited and directed more than 1000 volunteers, managed and promoted a variety of programs related to public spaces, and oversaw annual operating and capital budgets exceeding $10 million dollars.
Hank’s personal and professional life has been deeply informed by his early experiences with farm animals and agriculture. As a young man, Hank grew up working on a variety of farms with and around farm animals and learned of their plight. This instilled in him a lifelong understanding and commitment to supporting change in behaviors and attitudes towards these emotional and intelligent beings. Working on these farms, Hank also developed an abiding love for agriculture and farmland, which inspired his long and successful career in horticulture.
Personally, Hank has been committed to animal protection and compassionate living for more than 20 years. He and his wife, Paula Moran, practice a vegan lifestyle and have rescued or fostered more than 70 dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, and birds including countless songbirds, cockfighting roosters, injured crows, and one very moody macaw. While Paula was a member of the board of directors of Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary in Ohio, Hank worked as a volunteer. Using his executive experience, Harry assisted Happy Trails with their governance, board composition, and strategic planning. He also assisted with external communications by inviting the organization to participate in a host of public events at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, where attendance surpassed 100,000 annual visitors.
At Farm Sanctuary, Hank continues to integrate his excellent leadership skills with his passion for animal protection to improve our operations, further our mission, and maximize our impact for farm animals.
Gene Baur, President and Co-Founder
Gene Baur has been hailed as “the conscience of the food movement” by Time magazine. Since the mid-1980s, he has traveled extensively, campaigning to raise awareness about the abuses of industrialized factory farming and our system of cheap food production.
A pioneer in the field of undercover investigations, Gene has visited hundreds of farms, stockyards, and slaughterhouses, documenting the deplorable conditions that exist. His pictures and videos exposing factory farming cruelties have aired nationally and internationally, educating millions about the plight of modern farm animals.
Gene has also testified in courts and before local, state, and federal legislative bodies, advocating for better conditions for farm animals. His most important achievements include winning the first-ever cruelty conviction at a U.S. stockyard and introducing the first U.S. laws to prohibit cruel farming confinement methods in Florida, Arizona, and California. His efforts have been covered by top news organizations, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2008, Gene’s book, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food, became a national bestseller. As a guest on The Martha Stewart Show’s first-ever “vegan show,” he inspired viewers to eat in alignment with their values of compassion.
Gene began his activist career selling veggie hotdogs out of a VW van at Grateful Dead concerts to fund farm animal rescues. Today, he serves as president of Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, with shelters in New York and California. Providing rescue, refuge, and adoption for hundreds of farm animals each year, Farm Sanctuary shelters enable visitors to connect with farm animals as emotional, intelligent individuals. Gene believes these animals stand as ambassadors for the billions of factory farm animals who have no voice, and he has dedicated his career to advocating on their behalf.
Gene holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from California State University, Northridge, and a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Cornell University.
Susie Coston, National Shelter Director
Susie Coston joined the Farm Sanctuary staff in March 2000 after six years of working for a veterinarian and at a sanctuary in West Virginia. Susie holds a master’s degree in special education and has worked with humans with disabilities, but she felt her calling was to work with animals. She has been a mentor to many peers who have started their own sanctuaries throughout the United States and leads Farm Sanctuary’s annual Farm Animal Care Conference, which provides valuable resources and hands-on training for people interested in caring for farm animals. She also shares her deep understanding of farm animals with a wider audience by bringing the stories of Farm Sanctuary’s rescued animals to the public. Susie oversees a full department of caregivers, feeders, cleaners, and project workers, ensuring that the hundreds of animals residing at Farm Sanctuary’s New York and California Shelters are given the best possible care throughout every stage of their lives. When she is not at the shelters, she shares her home with nine cats, two dogs, and any number of farm animals who may need special care.
Bruce Friedrich, Director of Policy and Advocacy
Bruce Friedrich leads Farm Sanctuary’s policy and litigation efforts and has introduced the world to who farm animals are as individuals through the Someone, Not Something project.
His articles on farm animal issues appear regularly in The Huffington Post, and Bruce has penned opinion pieces for USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, and many other publications. Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals features a contribution from Bruce on whether there is such a thing as “humanely raised meat” (spoiler: the answer is no). Bruce co-authored The Animal Activist’s Handbook with Matt Ball, executive director of Vegan Outreach, about which Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer raves: “Rarely have so few pages contained so much intelligence and good advice. Get it, read it, and act on it. Now.”
In addition to writing on the subject, Bruce has discussed farm animal issues on a number of television programs, such as the Today show and CBS Evening News, as well as a variety of programs on MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN. He has also participated in debates on the topic of eating meat at most of the top colleges and universities in the country, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell, and MIT. In 2008, his animal protection efforts earned him the title of the meat and poultry industry’s second “biggest enemy” in the country (the CEO of The Humane Society of the United States took the top spot) by the editor of Meat & Poultry magazine.
Before joining Farm Sanctuary, Bruce worked at PETA for 15 years, including as vice president for international grassroots campaigns. Bruce also spent two years working as a public school teacher in inner-city Baltimore where he was named “teacher of the year” for his school and six years at a Catholic Worker homeless shelter and soup kitchen in Washington, D.C. He earned degrees from Grinnell College, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Johns Hopkins University.
Bruce shares his life with his wife, Alka Chandna, Ph.D., and three perfect cats named Rena, Tigger, and Angie.
Leila Melody, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer
Leila joined Farm Sanctuary as its chief financial officer in 2012 and took on an expanded role as chief operating officer and chief financial officer in 2014. In this capacity, Leila leads financial planning, analysis, and reporting; manages IT and administrative processes; oversees visitor experience and merchandising; and enhances and initiates new earned income opportunities.
Prior to joining Farm Sanctuary, Leila worked as an independent consultant, advising various for-profit and not-for-profit startups on business plans, growth strategies, and market analyses. Previously, Leila worked in the private sector as director of finance and administration for a financial services startup. She joined the firm as part of its senior leadership team shortly after the business was founded and helped to foster its growth from a regional operation to a national player in the industry, securing the 28th spot on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing private companies in 2006.
Leila earned a bachelor’s degree in statistics and psychology, cum laude, from Northwestern University, and she holds an MBA with distinction from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management with concentrations in management and strategy, social enterprise, international business, and management and organizations.
Leila has volunteered her time to several nonprofit organizations with a wide range of missions but has contributed most extensively to Tree House Humane Society, a cat rescue and rehabilitation center in Chicago, where she worked with the development office and served as special events manager.
In addition to her work as an animal advocate, Leila’s interests include travel, cooking, gardening, and entertaining her two cats, Dracula and Luna.
Drew Alexis, General Counsel and Chief People Officer
Drew joined Farm Sanctuary as part-time General Counsel in November 2011 and became full-time General Counsel in December 2013. In his current role as General Counsel & Chief People Officer, he oversees all in-house legal matters and manages the personnel responsible for Farm Sanctuary’s volunteer and intern programs and human resources administration. Drew also works with Bruce Friedrich, Farm Sanctuary’s Director of Policy and Advocacy, on various policy-related matters. Prior to joining Farm Sanctuary, Drew worked as volunteer General Counsel for Animal Acres, Inc.
Drew has been an attorney in California since 1995. Specializing primarily in employment law, he has worked as a litigation attorney at various law firms and as in-house senior counsel at a major financial institution. In 2009, Drew was selected as a “Rising Star” in the field of labor and employment law by Los Angeles magazine.
Drew is a Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of Colgate University. He holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a Senior Professional in Human Resources certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute.
An advocate for animals since his college days, Drew founded a student animal rights group at Colgate and volunteered as an intern for Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) during law school. Over the years, he has been involved in various local and national animal protection organizations as a volunteer, donor, and supporter. Drew is delighted now to be devoting his full-time career to animal protection.
In addition to his work for Farm Sanctuary, Drew teaches courses in Animal Law as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles and the University of California Irvine School of Law.
Outside of work, Drew enjoys spending time with his husband and their two beloved cats, cooking gourmet vegan meals, and playing the fretted dulcimer.
Samantha Pachirat, National Director of Education and Partner Relations
Samantha joined Farm Sanctuary in 2000 after visiting an organic, “humane” dairy farm and witnessing firsthand the plight of the farm animals there. During her 14 years with Farm Sanctuary, she has directed both the Development and Education departments and now combines her expertise in these two areas as Farm Sanctuary’s national director of education and partner relations.
While Samantha’s work involves a range of responsibilities, she is most passionate about bringing the transformative experience of meeting and forming relationships with farm animals to broad audiences and raising awareness about the ethical, health, and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet. As director of partner relations, Samantha also seeks to inspire individual and institutional partners to join Farm Sanctuary in creating a more compassionate and just world for all beings.
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Samantha holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, Timothy, as well as 15-year-old Parker, 11-year-old Mia, a rescue dog named Barnaby, a quartet of rescued felines named Neko, Chaang, Rusty, and Mango, and two rescued fish named Bob and Dan.