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Founder/Executive Director 

Driven to help vulnerable and “unwanted” populations of animals, Ashlynn founded Paws and Claws in 2020. She wakes up every day excited to face the challenges of directing an organization that so perfectly focuses on the one thing in life she cares about most. A wearer of many hats, Ashlynn is often spotted viciously cleaning with her head in a cat carrier or in the driver's seat of a van packed with screaming cats and dogs—constantly doing whatever she can to improve the lives of the animals in our care while they wait to be matched with their forever homes. She believes strongly in community and strives to push Paws and Claws to grow while maintaining the close knit feel of a small supportive organization.



President of Rescue Relations

An animal lover at heart, Catherine has always been interested in the healing power of the human animal bond.  Too scared to be a veterinarian, but enthralled by her relationship with her canine best friend, Nikki, Catherine knew from a young age that she wanted to help animals and people live their best lives together. Catherine is Executive Director of Evanston Counseling, a clinic that offers counseling and pet therapy. She is delighted to be part of Paws and Claws, finally combining her passion for helping both people and animals. 



Senior Director

Lauren is thrilled to join the Paws and Claws team. After rescuing her first dog with her family at age 11, she knew the “adopt, don’t shop” mantra would stick with her for life. With more than 13 years of non-profit experience ranging from events, marketing, social, and recruitment to operations, logistics, sales, fundraising, and more, she’s always eager to dive in to help organizational strategy, growth, and optimization. Aside from her passion for non-profit strategy, she loves exploring Chicago, checking off destinations from her food and travel bucket list, writing, and live music! 



Cat Care Manager

As our Cat Care manager, Sean runs the rescue's physical space in Evanston and manages the invaluable volunteer program. He holds a B.S. in Human Services from Colorado State University, coupled with nearly ten years of veterinary experience. A fascination with nature and animals has been central to Sean's life since he was an inquisitive and often poison ivy-covered kid growing up in Cleveland, Ohio. He could always be found cataloging woodland bugs, feeding stray cats in the neighborhood, or nursing sick animals back to health. This compassion for animals and their welfare has only grown with time, and he could not be more proud and motivated to help develop a rescue as meaningful as Paws and Claws.


Outside of the rescue, Sean is an avid runner and cyclist, completing his first 100-mile ride last summer! He spends his time exploring Chicago and beyond (occasional run-ins with poison ivy still included) with his partner McKinzie, his running buddy Piper the beagle, and three wonderful rescue cats Margot, Rene, and Herriot.



Adoption Coordinator 

With firsthand experience living with cats and working in an Evanston pet store, Jeffrey is dedicated as the Cat Adoption Coordinator to finding the perfect forever homes for our adorable kitties. He holds a B.A. in Humanities from Shimer College. His passion for knowledge has always been paired with a cat curled up next to him. Always ready to provide cat advice to the community, Jeffrey has been the go-to expert in helping find the right solutions to behavioral issues and cat nutrition for everyone in his social circle. 


Outside of Paws and Claws, Jeffrey spends his time with his library of books and records, playing role-playing games, and going to films with his partner Liz. Jeffrey loves to travel and always looks for the best pour-over coffees to drink while cozying up with his cat, C'ne. 


Adoption Application Screener

Connie has had pets since the day she was born. From the toughest mutt, to the meanest Siamese, to the sweetest Jack Russell Terriers, pets have always been in her life and she hopes always will be. Although slightly partial to cats, her husband is allergic, so they've had dogs for the past 32 years. After retiring 8 years ago, Connie decided it was time to get cats back in her life, so she began volunteering with organizations such as PAWS Chicago and Orphans of the Storm and has been both an adoption counselor and cat socializer at various shelters. Paws and Claws has provided the purrfect opportunity for Connie to work with both cats and people, connecting them to each other through adoption counseling—truly her passion. 



Communications Specialist

Hayley's role at Paws and Claws merged her passion for communications with her ambition to rescue every cat she encounters. She received her bachelor's degree in Journalism from Florida Gulf Coast University and is currently pursuing her master's degree in Mass Communication, Public Interest Communication from the University of Florida. She’s recently moved to Chicago with her partner, Tim, and their two cats, Eloise (pictured) and Einstein. When she's not writing postcards to Paw Print Club members, she can be found engrossed in a new book, missing her five family cats back home in Florida or binge-watching her current favorite TV show!

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Despite being new at the shelter, Angelique has been surrounded by Paws and Claws her whole life! Her love for animals started when she asked her parents for a sibling, and instead, they gave her a cocker spaniel puppy named Tuffy. After her surrogate "brother" passed on (16 fun-filled years later!), she wanted to give other animals a happy home. She and her partner, (in life and in animal puns) Justin are a blended family of two humans and four fur babies. Her firstborn is Sir Pippin, a kitten and her second is a syrian hamster named Mawu. Completing their family, Justin introduced his two older twin cats, Kirby Sinclair and Ellie Louise. Angelique's other hobbies include couponing for kitty litter and practicing martial arts at her local dojo.



Grant Writer

Ellen’s introduction to the feline world took place many years ago when she was introduced to a friend’s very substantial black cat named Beau. Described as “such a gentleman” by his family, Ellen was completely smitten with his charm, glossy black coat, and tendency to visit the neighborhood bar down the street. A rather spicy black kitten came home with Ellen shortly after, heralding the beginning of an exclusively
black cat household. She is very grateful to be part of Paws and Claws which is unique, she feels, for both its wonderful people and endless supply of black cats.

Ellen’s professional career focused on the classical music industry and higher education. Based in New York City for 20 years, she specialized in marketing/communications and image development for both performing arts organizations and recording companies. She was subsequently a faculty member at the IU-Bloomington Jacobs School of Music
and came to Chicago via Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music where she was tasked with creating an international composition competition.

Now retired, Ellen has volunteered as a grant writer for an area museum and currently helps raise money for women’s education. Other interests include yoga, antique reproduction embroidery, improving her baking prowess, and finding money for the cavorting felines of Paws and Claws.

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