Leadership and Staff
Rachel Herman, Founder and Executive Director, worked in Development at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) for several years before transitioning to PAWS NY full-time in January 2012. She also served as Secretary on the Board of Directors for Young Nonprofit Professionals Network. As founder of PAWS NY, Ms. Herman brings her vision to the Board as well as her passion for protecting the welfare of animals. Ms. Herman has two cats, Wylee and Milo. Wylee, whom she adopted from the ASPCA in 2004, enjoys playing soccer and fetch, and he does not enjoy sharing Ms. Herman with others. Milo is a stray cat Ms. Herman rescued off the street in Brooklyn, and despite her initial decision to find him a home, hasn’t parted with him since. Ms. Herman received her B.A in Political Science with a minor in Crime and Justice from the University of Michigan and her Master of Public Administration from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, where she specialized in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy.
Carrie Nydick Finch, Program Director, is a licensed Clinical Social Worker and native New Yorker who has been working in the social services field for almost 14 years. Early in her career Ms. Finch worked with Doctors of the World, and later moved on to the Red Cross. Ms. Finch has also worked with dually diagnosed clients at FEGS, survivors of torture at the International Institute of New Jersey, and active drug users at New York Harm Reduction Educators, providing individualized and culturally appropriate psychotherapy as well as overseeing program development and implementation. Ms. Finch holds a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University and is certified in Animal-Assisted Activities, Therapy, and Learning from the University of Denver. She is certified as a Therapeutic Horseback Riding Instructor with PATH International, and has experience fostering cats and dogs. Ms. Finch believes strongly in the power of the human-animal bond and the immense benefits that animals bring to our lives. She currently shares her home and life with Emmylou, a rescue mutt. Emmylou adopted Ms. Finch in 2013 and quickly settled in to a life of hiking, napping and eating.
Liz DeSimone, Senior Program Manager, is a native New Yorker who believes in the power of community and the love shared between humans and animals. She graduated with her BS in Psychology from St. Joseph’s University where she participated in and coordinated several community service projects in Philadelphia. Wanting to fully engage in a year of service, Ms. DeSimone joined AmeriCorps after graduating and spent a year in Denver assisting homeless and low-income community members with accessing healthcare and other needs. After her AmeriCorps year she continued working with this population at a community resource center. During this time Ms. DeSimone noticed how her clients would go to any lengths to protect their pets and how much that bond of true friendship made a difference in their lives during times of struggle. She began volunteering at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, started working at an animal hospital, and brainstormed ways to keep people in difficult circumstances and their pets together. Ms. DeSimone now lives back in her home state where she hopes to meet a dog she can adopt and in the meantime likes to visit farm animal rescues where she befriends cows, sheep and other friendly creatures.
Ashley Miller, Community Outreach Manager, worked in advertising and marketing at Discovery Inc. and Animal Planet before joining PAWS NY in 2017. She graduated with her BA in Communications and Media Studies from the College of Charleston, where she first began volunteering at a local shelter helping to socialize and exercise adoptable dogs. Her passion for helping animals continued when she moved to NYC, where she became a foster mom with Puppies Behind Bars and also got involved with writing content for and volunteering with several local shelters. In 2015, Ashley adopted Folly, a sweet pittie mix from the ASPCA. As the Community Outreach Manager she looks forward to increasing awareness about PAWS NY and developing partnerships to support and grow our programs.
Cristina Nieves Quinn, Program Manager, has loved animals her whole life. From the rescue animals she shared her home with growing up, to her sweet cat, Yogi, that she found on the street as a sick kitten in 2016, caring for and appreciating the love that animals can give has always been an important part of her life. She lived upstate while getting a BS in Human Development and a BA in Sociology. During this time, her drive to connect with and support underserved communities was strengthened as she worked with multiple nonprofit organizations. After graduating, she stayed upstate to work at a Center for Civic Engagement with the nonprofit Promise Zone Community Schools to support the needs of K-12 youth who face various academic, emotional, and financial obstacles to success. She also cofounded in 2016 and then directed a volunteer-run organization, Binghamton Food Rescue, that meets a critical need in the food insecure regions of New York's Southern Tier and they continue to do great work to this day.