UnChained Staff

Melissa Wolf

Founder/ Executive Director

Melissa has more than 15 years in the Social Service sector, developing and managing programs that serve people with developmental disabilities. After years of chasing stray dogs on the rural roads of Texas and California and fostering multiple litters of kittens and adult dogs in need, she became a Certified Humane Educator and founded UnChained in 2011.


Kristen Fletcher

Deputy Director

Kristen is an enthusiastic photographer as well as an Environment Attorney with a special interest in Social Justice. Kristen is a graduate of Leadership Monterey Peninsula and board member of The Coastal Society, as well as a volunteer with Animal Friends Rescue Project. Kristen and her Therapy dog Lady, volunteer with Central Coast Hospice.


Jen Walker

Operations Manager/ Program Trainer

Jen is a Humane Educator and Founder of Growing Kinder, Inc. She is a Certified Human Education Specialist and a member of the Association of Professional Human Educators and Association of Professional Dog Trainers. Previously, Jen was Programs Manager and Volunteer and Education Coordinator at the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter.

Diana Rapa

Program Trainer

Diana Rapa is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed and a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. In 2010, Diana founded The Perfect Dog rescue and since then, her rescue has saved, rehabilitated, and re-homed an average of 100 dogs per year from local animal shelters. Her passion is not only in rehabilitating shelter dogs, but also teaching pet parents the canine language, so that pet parents can better understand and communicate with their dogs and develop a great, compassionate, fun, and positive relationship with their dogs.

Felipe De La Cruz

Program Assistant

A firm believer in mindfulness and compassion, Felipe is a volunteer Foster with Peace of Mind Dog Rescue as well as a volunteer Leader with the Boy Scouts of America in Salinas, CA. Felipe believes in the power of community and the hope that springs from the hearts of children through the boundless love of our canine companions.

“Grab your leash and let’s change the world, WOOF!”


Karen Filice

Program Assistant

Karen is a certified Dog Trainer who also volunteers at the Salinas Animal Shelter. After training for 7 years, Karen now helps the next generation of humans train the pups of tomorrow with UnChained.

Walt Nagel

Program Assistant

Walt runs a professional dog training business in Santa Clara, CA and has been training dogs professionally since 1962. Walt loves cruising on his motorcycle, sailing,  playing the ukulele and his keyboard.

UnChained Board Members

Megan Moon

Board President

President and Founder, Humane Education Coalition


Debra Borden


Retired, Naval Air Warfare Center

Sarita Shannon


Certified Public Accountant, McGilloway Ray Brown & Kaufman

Sandy Ettinger

Board Member

Advocate for trafficked children and shelter dogs

Marlo Botello-Aepli

Board Member 

Apple, Worldwide Training Delivery & Development 


UnChained Advisory Committee

Catherine Hambley

Strategic Planning and Organizational Development

Lori Kearney

Elementary Education and former UnChained Board Member

Leslie Lynch

Commerce Strategy and Operations and former UnChained Board Member

Debra Malkin

Estate Planning, Trusts and Probate Law

Janee Moore

Dog Training and Dog Behavior

Roy Verley

Communications in Corporate, University and Philanthropic settings

Kaushal Patel

Human Resource Specialist with Business Develop and Marketing experience