• Pet Gazette

Asheville Humane Society adds six board members

The Asheville Humane Society (AHS) appointed six new members to their board of directors in October, expanding the board to thirteen members.

The newcomers are Bryan Smith (Treasurer), Sergio DeLaGuera, Chad Halliday, Dawn Marie Klug, Dr. Jill Vargo and Elly Wells. Returning board members include Jacqui Friedrich (Chair), Carla Henry (Vice Chair), Nan Cole (Secretary), Kristen Collins, Bray Creech, Anne Peden Symonds (DVM), and Theresa Trebon.

"I am excited to start a new Board year with this special group of people," said Jacqui Friedrich. "Their hard work and dedication on behalf of Buncombe County’s animals is greatly appreciated." Jody Evans, AHS Executive Director, said she was "thrilled to be working with this diverse and talented group of professionals and animal welfare advocates.”


Bryan Smith is a C-level executive and consultant who has successfully worked with global teams, reformed underperforming organizations, and led many initiatives from inception to implementation. He has more than 20 years of executive leadership with P&L responsibility plus project and program management experience. He previously served on the board of Riverlink and was board chair of Blue Ridge Public Radio (formerly WCQS). Bryan lives in Asheville.

Elly Wells is the fourth generation of a family of women entrepreneurs with deep Western North Carolina roots. She grew up working in her mother’s printing business – and has been busy organizing projects and campaigns ever since. She is president of the eponymous Elly Wells Inc. marketing and project management firm. Her clients include the Great Smoky Mountains Association, the eight-center Mercy Urgent Care, and the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts.

Chad Halliday is an attorney with McGuire, Wood and Bissette. His practice focusses on closing commercial real estate transactions and resolving commercial real estate and real estate title issues for clients. Chad’s community involvement includes work with Give to the Music, Real Property Section of the North Carolina Bar Association, Buncombe County Bar, and Asheville Humane Society.

Dr. Jill Vargo earned her M.D. degree from Marshall University School of Medicine, did her residency training in Internal Medicine at West Virginia University in Charleston and her fellowship training in Rheumatology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. She is the past president of the North Carolina Rheumatology Association and a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine. Dr. Vargo previously served on the board of Friends for Animals.

Dawn Marie Klug is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC), has a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling, and is also a Certified Employee Assistance Professional (CEAP). Dawn’s specialty areas include critical incident stress management, diversity in the workplace and development of leadership skills.

Sergio DeLaGuera, a ten year Asheville resident, is a tireless advocate for animal welfare and a tremendous proponent of adoption and rescue. He anticipates becoming involved in the community and helping to improve the lives of animals and animal lovers. Sergio and his rescued dog live in West Asheville. .

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