Leadership Team

Our Team


Our leadership team is responsible for overseeing the organization and its various departments. The leadership team includes: Executive Director, Director of Development, Director of Shelter Operations, and the Finance and Office Manager.

Jamie Tavano

Executive Director

Jamie Tavano joined the staff of Lake Humane Society in September of 2022 as the Executive Director. Jamie comes to LHS with a background in law enforcement, education and has extensive experience working with donors and programming.

Mr. Tavano is a retired Sergeant from the Kirtland Police Department. He was later an Adjunct Professor and Police Commander at Lakeland Community College, and most recently served as the Director of Public Safety Training Center-Law Enforcement for Cuyahoga Community College. Mr. Tavano has more than 25 years of experience working with nonprofits. He has been Vice President for both the Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial Society and the Andy Nowacki Memorial Scholarship. He also spent a year on the Lake Humane Society Board of Directors.

Mr. Tavano lives in Mentor with his two children, his wife Kim and his rescue pup.

Email Jamie

(Photo courtesy of the News-Herald)


Elizabeth Johnson

Director of Development

Elizabeth Johnson joined the LHS team in 2020 and was promoted to Director of Development in 2022. Elizabeth attended Youngstown State University and earned her bachelor’s degree in Education.

Her desire to help others led Elizabeth to working at several local non-profits, where she gained years of experience in community outreach, program development and grant writing. Her passion for helping animals was sparked at a young age, when she volunteered with her mom to walk dogs at a local animal shelter. Elizabeth is honored to spearhead fundraising efforts at Lake Humane Society to continue helping more animals in need. She also oversees fundraising events and the volunteer program.

In her free time, Elizabeth loves spending time with her family and friends – including her rescue companions, two dogs, three cats and a rambunctious ferret.

Email Elizabeth Call Elizabeth, Extension 108

Megan Newkirk

Director of Shelter Operations

Megan has always had a passion for animals and knew that she wanted to get into the veterinarian medical field to save as many animals as she could. While in college, she worked as a veterinary assistant at a private practice.

When Megan graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree, she decided to become a wildlife rehabilitation specialist. After nine years and two children later, Megan left the field to be a full-time mom and a part-time veterinary technician.

As Megan worked in private practice, she knew that she wanted to do more for those animals, whose owners could not afford treatment. In November of 2017, Megan joined LHS as the Animal Clinic Care Manager, and in 2019 became the Shelter Manager.

Megan’s compassion, leadership, and management style are an example for all staff members. Megan oversees all aspects of the shelter to include medical, animal care, adoptions, fosters, and humane cases. As recognition for Megan’s accomplishments and contributions to LHS, in December of 2022, Megan became Director of Shelter Operations.

In Megan’s free time she enjoys hiking, camping, and being outside in the river with her family and dogs.

Email Megan Call Megan, Extension 111


Alicia Opalko

Finance/Office Manager

Alicia Opalko joined LHS in January 2017 as the Finance and Office Manager. Alicia manages the daily financial operations of LHS. In addition to her financial duties, she handles Human Resources, payroll, and various other administrative duties.

Before joining LHS she worked for University Hospitals and the Cleveland Clinic. Alicia attended Lakeland Community College where she earned an Associate of Arts degree.

In her free time, she enjoys staying active, watching sports, spending time with friends and family, and keeping up with her adopted black lab, Macy.

Email Alicia Call Alicia, Extension 104


Pup Crawl!

purchase your tickets

Lake Humane Society’s 6th annual Pup Crawl bar crawl in Downtown Willoughby is upon us! This event takes place on June 3rd. Secure your tickets now!