Meet our experts

Our US office has a team of experienced individuals with knowledge on a wide range of subjects. To find out more or schedule an interview, please contact Jeanne Turkheimer (Communications Manager).

Alesia Soltanpanah, Executive Director

Since joining World Animal Protection in 2018, Alesia has directed all U.S. programs to end animal suffering. With several decades of international and domestic non-profit leadership experience, she provides strategic direction for the organization’s campaigns, communications, fundraising and finance.

Areas of expertise: Animal welfare issues, animal sentience, factory farming, exotic pet ownership, wildlife used as entertainment, World Animal Protection research and investigations.

See Alesia in the news...

  • The Cheap and Shady Business of Taking Selfies with Tigers (Vox)

Gerardo Huertas, Director of Disaster Management

Gerardo has worked at World Animal Protection since 1982. He has worked in some of the world’s fiercest disasters from warzones to natural, such as Haiti, the Japan tsunami and typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Areas of expertise: Disaster risk reduction, preparedness, emergency response, humane education/slaughter, population control

See Gerardo in the news...

  • Every Living Creature (Medium)

Ben Williamson, Programs Director

As programs director, Ben oversees our five campaign areas: Wildlife. Not Entertainers, Wildlife. Not Pets, Raise Pigs Right, Change for Chickens, and Meat Reduction.

Areas of expertise: Animals in entertainment, exotic pets, farmed animals, cruelty to animals 

See Ben in the news...

  • Opinion: The ban on feeding animals in city parks is smart policy (City Limits)
  • Think of an elephant: People who love animals often wind up doing them the most harm (NY Daily News)
  • Report: Turkish carrier is ‘poacher’s airline of choice’ for parrot trade (Mongabay)
  • Marine mammals traded and exploited for tourist entertainment (Travel Pulse)

Cameron Harsh, Farming Campaign Manager – Raise Pigs Right

Cameron works to improves the lives of farmed pigs in the United States working with producers, farmers and suppliers to improve conditions. Prior to joining World Animal Protection in 2018 he worked on food safety policy.

Areas of expertise: Pig welfare, improvement of health, sustainability, and equity of our food system, food and farming policy 

Julie Cappiello, Wildlife Campaign Manager – Wildlife. Not Entertainers

Julie works to protect wild animals from the abuses of the entertainment industry. She has been an animal rights activist and vegan for nearly a decade and has worked in numerous grassroots, political, and international animal rights organizations.

Areas of expertise: Wildlife, animals used for entertainment with strong focus in animals used in circuses, elephant riding, animal-friendly travel, and marine mammals in captivity

Ethan Wolf, Wildlife Campaign Manager – Wildlife. Not Pets

Ethan works to protect wild animals targeted by the exotic pet industry. He has been an animal advocate for more than two decades, working with small grassroots organizations and international organizations.

Areas of expertise: Wild animals used as pets, exotic pet industry, wild animals used for traditional medicine

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