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 8 years. Early in her career Ms. Finch worked with Doctors of the World, assisting survivors of torture seeking political asylum in the United States, and later moved on to the Red Cross, helping families who were affected by natural disasters. Ms. Finch has also worked with dually diagnosed clients at FEGS and survivors of torture at the International Institute of New Jersey, providing both with individualized and culturally appropriate psychotherapy. For the last four years Ms. Finch has been working with New York Harm Reduction Educators, first as Social Worker and currently as the Coordinator of various programs. 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 has experience volunteering with a therapeutic horseback riding program as well as 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 mixed breed dog who was rescued from a high-kill shelter. Emmylou adopted Ms. Nydick in 2013 and quickly settled in to a life of hiking, napping and eating.
Liz DeSimone, 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.
Daisy Gil, Intake Coordinator, grew up with dogs all her life and always understood the incomparable bond between people and animals. Ms. Gil graduated with a BA in Psychology from the City College of New York with goals of helping individuals on a therapeutic level. She spent some time as a Substance Abuse Counselor in a medication-assisted treatment program working with individuals from all walks of life. Wanting to incorporate her passion for working with animals, she transitioned to positions at the ASPCA and PAWS NY where she can assist in strengthening the therapeutic bond between people and animals interpersonally. She shares her own special bond with her rescue Yorkie mix, Brownie.
Ashley Miller, Pet Pantry Coordinator, worked in advertising and marketing at Animal Planet before joining PAWS NY in 2017. She graduated from the College of Charleston in 2012 where she spent time volunteering at a local shelter after missing her family dog who lived in VA with her parents. Her passion for helping animals in need continued when she moved to NYC, where she became a foster mom with Puppies Behind Bars, helping to foster service dogs in training, and also got involved with several local animal rescues. Ashley has one pup named Folly, a 3-year old pit mix that she adopted from the ASPCA. She looks forward to helping PAWS NY increase pet food donations and develop partnerships through our Pet Pantry Program!