Stephanie Nistler, Executive Director

Stephanie Nistler is the Executive Director for the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe. After volunteering for one year raising funds for the organization, she was hired as the first employee in 2004. She and her team are deeply committed to saving the lives of homeless pets in our community and beyond.

Steph has been working in animal welfare since 1996. She has held many positions including Volunteer & Education Director, Special Events Director and Development Director for organizations such as No More Homeless Pets in Utah, Best Friends Animal Society, and The Humane Society of Utah.

Steph received her bachelor of science degree from the University of Utah in 1998. She and her husband, Justin, are the proud parents of four HSTT alumni; Rosebud, Leroy, Wyatt & Catfish.

Dale Lawrence, Development Director

After a number of years volunteering for the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe, Dale jumped at the chance to join the organization's staff. A variety of experience, including many years as a graphic designer in Sacramento and for non-profits in the Tahoe area, combined with her time as the Membership Coordinator for the Truckee Donner Land Trust, made Dale a perfect fit as Development Manager for the Humane Society. Earning a degree in Humanities from Sacramento State University heightened Dale's awareness that an individual can make a difference in one's community and she has integrated that philosophy into her life here in Truckee.

Growing up on a farm surrounded by animals ranging from family dogs to turkeys, Dale's love for animals goes back as far as she can remember. Dale has spent many years fostering HSTT dogs and puppies and has a beautiful dog, Alyeska, a pure bred Siberian Husky and Scout an Australian Shepherd-Sheltie mix, both adopted from HSTT. Dale lives with her fiance and dogs and hopes to add a cat to the family soon.

Erin Ellis, Volunteer and Humane Education Program Director

Erin Ellis started with the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe in May of 2008 as the Volunteer & Foster Progam Manager. Her position has evolved to Volunteer and Humane Education Program Manager. She oversees volunteer programs including all shelter volunteers and the pet assisted therapy program as well as all Humane Education progams. She has had a love of animals and the desire to help them since she was very young. Over the years she has volunteered and worked as a Public Relations Intern for different animal welfare organizations.

Erin was originally from Sacramento, but came to the beautiful Truckee area in 2006 after graduating from the California University of Sacramento with a degree in Organizational Communication. She worked as a marketing manager before taking the position here at the Humane Society. She lives with her husband, Nate, daughter, Emma, and two dogs, Chloe and Joie.

Emily Holmes, Animal Programs Manager

Originally from the Chico area, Emily’s passion for the outdoors coupled with her love for adventure led her straight to the Tahoe Basin. Here she enjoys volunteering, hiking, biking, camping, swimming, and all that the Truckee area has to offer! Utilizing her love of animals and creativity Emily has the tools it takes to find you the perfect pet.

Emily lives in Spanish Springs with her husband, adopted cat moose and two adopted dogs Ruby & Murphy, all HSTT alumni.

Kara Carstensen, Outreach Programs Manager

Native to St. Louis, Kara received her BA from the University of Missouri - Columbia. Her goals within HSTT are to bridge the gap between intention and access to care for local pets, assist in the reduction of homeless animals through spay/neuter outreach, and continue to advocate for every pet in our community and beyond. Kara understands the importance and significance of pets to people from all walks of life, and seeks to support our community members in nurturing their animals, resulting in retention within their loving homes. Her hopeful wish is that every pet in our community is spayed or neutered and is given the opportunity to experience the loving bonds built through adoption!

Kara lives in Truckee with her shy, sweet & hilarious dog Johnny Thunders, and his aggressively affectionate cat adversary Sir Mazer Lazer, both adopted from HSTT.

Samantha Laroche, Foster Program Coordinator & Lead Adoption Specialist

Samantha grew up in a small farming town in California’s central valley, and has spent the majority of her life in Truckee.  Her love for the mountains and the outdoors led her to remain in the Truckee Tahoe area where she obtained her BA in Sustainability from Sierra Nevada College. She is driven to make a difference in the lives of the animals here at the shelter and hopes that her role with the Humane Society will make a positive impact in our community. Becoming part of HSTT’s amazing staff has been such a rewarding experience for her and she looks forward to growing with the organization.

Samantha loves to ski, hike, camp, water ski and is currently working on her fly fishing skills. She lives in Truckee with her husband Mike and their rescued dog Leo.

Maria Marsh, Adoption Specialist

Maria’s experience with animals includes nearly three decades of pet parenting, years of experience volunteering and fostering for local shelters, and a lifetime of trying to bring home every stray that crossed her path. She earned her B.A. in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, then spent six years in the international finance industry. She had great success in the financial world, but she’s enthusiastic to now turn her personal passion for animals into the start of a new career path. 

Though Maria spent a great deal of her childhood in Truckee, this is the first time she can call it home.  She enjoys hiking, biking, exploring new places, and no longer working in finance.

Tara Guerrette, Canine Enrichment Coordinator & Adoption Specialist

Tara was born and raised in the Lake Tahoe area, where she discovered her passion for animals at a very young age. Tara started volunteering at the Tahoe Vista animal shelter where she ended up adopting her first dog Leroy at the age of 16. It didn’t take long after that to realize how much a shelter animal can impact your life for the better.

Tara has recently joined the HSTT team to turn her passion for caring about animals into a career and help you find your new best friend. Tara lives in Tahoe vista with her HSTT rescue Norman and hopes to add another to their family eventually. 

Lori Fissel, Adoption Specialist

Lori hails from Danville, CA located in the East Bay.  Bay Area life was great but Lori's favorite part was being so close to Tahoe. Proximity to the majestic mountain playground that is the Sierra Nevadas meant that she spent summers at the lake and skiing down the mountain in the winter. After graduating from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Lori moved to Truckee for work and never left. She enjoyed a lengthy tenure at OB’s Pub & Restaurant for over 20 years until it closed.

Lori's love for animals and her community brought her to the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe where she is excited to work one on one with the animals and adopters. Lori loves sharing her home with her husband and her three HSTT alumni- dog Roxie and cats Petey and Layla. In her free time Lori enjoys hiking, camping, snowshoeing and spending time with her daughter who recently graduated from her alma mater.

Mariel Berei, South Lake Tahoe Program Manager

Mariel is the newest hire for HSTT as the Program Manager for South Lake Tahoe. She was born and raised in a rural, eastern Iowa farming community where caring for animals are a way of life. She graduated Arizona State University with a degree in Communications before heading to South Lake Tahoe in 2007. But not without her rescue from the desert, Jillian McGillicuddy. Hiking with her dog in the summer and snowboarding in winter are her favorite mountain pastimes. She is beyond excited to join our team and help restore the services that South Shore has been desperately in need of.  She still resides in South Lake with her husband, Stephen, and her now 11- year- old elderbull.