Meet the staffRachel McCrystal – Executive DirectorRachel came to Woodstock Farm Sanctuary in 2014 as the organization’s first Development Director. She led the campaign to move the Sanctuary to its new location in 2015 and has mentored and managed all of the external relations for the organization. Prior to that, Rachel served in senior leadership positions at Best Friends Animal Society and the Pennsylvania SPCA. Her move into the role of Executive Director in April of 2017 cements a decade long career in service to animal rights and rescue.Before her nonprofit career, Rachel was a journalist and a ballroom dancer. She volunteers with many rescue and vegan groups, including doing humane education alongside her adored rescued pit bull, Mazzy.Jeff Lydon – Managing DirectorJeff comes to Woodstock Farm Sanctuary with more than 20 years of senior management experience, previously serving as the Executive Director of Farm Sanctuary, VegFund Inc., and Tompkins SPCA. He served as the Interim Executive Director of the Sanctuary for a year and a half before taking on the role of Managing Director in April of 2017, managing all Sanctuary operations and continuing his career in animal rights leadership.Jeff is a certified leadership coach and consultant and holds a master’s degree in education with a concentration in humane education. He has published regularly on animal advocacy and other social justice issues and frequently presents at related conferences. Jeff lives with his wife, children, cats, and dogs, and enjoys playing the drums in his spare time.Hervé Breuil – Shelter ManagerA long-time animal lover, Hervé has been fighting for animal rights both in France and the United States for many years. Before moving to New York to join our team as an animal caregiver, he was the Campaign Manager for the French animal rights organization L214. He has lived in a number of places in both countries and when he hasn’t been employed in the animal advocacy field, he has used his bi-lingual talents for work – teaching English in France and French in the United States in both public and private schools. Hervé has also used his teaching experience to lead tours as a Humane Educator at the Sanctuary on the weekends.Since joining Woodstock Sanctuary in 2012, Hervé has developed a deep bond with our rescued residents. His love for animals is fulfilled by the hands-on time he spends tending to our residents, observing and understanding their behavior, researching and working with vets and prosthetists to create and implement the best care and treatment protocols, and overseeing our team of caregivers.Purvi Natarajan – Accounting and HR ManagerPurvi joined the Woodstock family in July 2015 as the Accounting and Human Resources Manager. She studied at the University of Albany and has more than 15 years of experience working as a CPA with companies like American Express, Goldman Sachs, and Tishman Speyer Properties. Purvi also lived in Europe for three years where she learned to speak French, adding to her language repertoire which includes Gujrati (an Indian dialect) and English. She came back stateside to spend more time with her family and now resides in Kingston, NY.Susan Mannella – Administrative ManagerA week before Thanksgiving 2012, Susan went to the Albany VegFest where she intended to learn about the health and environmental benefits of going vegetarian. While there, she ended up attending a lecture where her eyes were opened to the horrors of factory farming and the wondrous individuality of animals of every species (not just canines like her beloved dog, Zoey Belle). She was instantly transformed.Six months later, Susan experienced another talk about veganism and felt intensely motivated to begin making a difference in the lives of farmed animals. While perusing the Sanctuary website for volunteer opportunities, Susan stumbled across the Administrative Assistant position. Her previous experience in the field made Susan the perfect fit for the job, and she has become an indispensable member of the Sanctuary family.Susan is constantly busy with all the administrative details that keep Woodstock Sanctuary running and we’d be lost without her. She lives locally with Zoey and her two rescued cats, Zephyr and Mischief.Jess Davis – Programs ManagerJess has a background working in and for environment and social-justice focused nonprofit organizations, including PhillyCarShare in Philadelphia and Housing Works in NYC. She has always had a passion for working with animals and has volunteered at the Animal Refuge Kansai in Osaka, Japan all the way to the Wild Bird Fund in NYC.She went vegan back in 2004 when she was studying at Temple University — hers was a cerebral journey from vegetarianism to veganism through reading many of the hallmark animal-rights works by authors such as Carol J. Adams, and listening to the Vegan Freaks podcast with Bob & Jenna Torres.Jess was thrilled to join the staff of Woodstock Farm Sanctuary in the summer of 2015 and combine her nonprofit background with her enduring belief in the inherent worth and dignity of both human and non-human beings. She is constantly amazed at the ever-increasing variety of artisanal vegan cheeses!Chrissy Dinardo – Development ManagerPrior to joining Woodstock in 2015, Chrissy spent the first few years of her career in Finance and Consulting. She grew up loving all animals, so learning the truth behind the animal agriculture industry was a sobering shock that left Chrissy feeling increasingly unfulfilled in her corporate job. Knowing there is so much work to be done on behalf of animals, particularly farmed animals, she left the business world and to pursue a career doing just that. She’d been following Woodstock Farm Sanctuary for a few years, so a leading farmed animal sanctuary with an amazing team of passionate advocates that was also close to home was naturally the perfect fit.Outside of work, she loves to cook delicious vegan food for friends and family and opening their eyes to the ease and benefits of living a compassionate lifestyle.Ashley Nester – Marketing & Communications Manager Before joining the Woodstock family, Ashley held marketing positions in the publishing and higher education fields. Although great jobs, she continuously found herself feeling uninspired in her work. Growing up an animal-lover, she realized that she needed to work towards something she was passionate about, something that gave her purpose. That’s when she quit the corporate world to work at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary and pursue her true career path — making a difference in the lives of animals. She joined the team in 2016 and brings with her expertise in advertising, marketing, and public relations.In her free time, Ashley volunteers with therapy dogs and enjoys being outdoors with her rescue pup, Luka.Alexandra Shea – Development AssociateFrom the age of eight, Alexandra knew she wanted to dedicate her life to advocating for animals. Her professional career began in Nairobi, Kenya, where she interned for Kenya Wildlife Service to work with orphaned wildlife. After receiving her degree in environmental studies, Alexandra sought out a career that would allow her to combine her love of animals and the drive to inspire activism for them. Believing in the mission of sanctuaries wholeheartedly, she was so excited to join the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary staff in 2017.Alexandra has held a lifelong connection to animals, learning about different species, volunteering for rescues, and protesting circuses when given the opportunity. She is passionate about the synthesis of natural science and animal rights and hopes to earn her doctorate in animal psychology to advocate for the rescue and ethical conservation of animals everywhere.Outside of work, you can find Alexandra reading about elephants, running a trail, or watching re-runs of The Office.Dawnell Kilbourne – Animal CaregiverDawnell came to us with experience working for an animal refuge, as well as part-time in the library system for 20 years. She relocated all the way from Yellow Springs, Ohio to work at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. If you visit, you’ll recognize her as the tiny lady in the cap faithfully followed around by her dog, Maisy. All of the animals seem to appreciate her quiet grace and, if you take a moment to watch her with them, you can feel the love going both ways.On top of her job, Dawnell is an artist and sculpts and paints. She also enjoys exploring the area on her motorcycle.Todd Friedman – Animal CaregiverTodd has worked various jobs, everything from a snowboard instructor in Aspen to an owner of bagel shops in Connecticut and New York. It wasn’t until he moved back to his hometown in Northern New Jersey to open his own printing company that he heard of Woodstock Farm Sanctuary and realized his one true passion—animals.Todd began volunteering regularly at the Sanctuary in 2014. After managing his print shop all week, he would make the trip from New Jersey to spend every weekend with the animals. Shortly afterwards, he went vegan.When offered a Caregiver position, Todd sold his printing business without hesitation to pursue the job he truly loves. He now resides in High Falls with his dog, Lyle, and can often be found in the pig barn giving all the pigs lots of kisses.Laura Angerman – Animal CaregiverAfter earning her bachelor’s degree in fine arts, Laura came to intern at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary in 2016 and found her dream job. She has always held a strong commitment and desire to work with animals, but things really clicked for her when she discovered what a farm sanctuary was.In her free time, Laura enjoys drawing and painting her animal friends from the Sanctuary, as well as spending time caring for her own animal friends, Ingrid the parrot and Bernie the bunny. She also enjoys trying new vegan restaurants and generally orders at least two desserts…because who says you have to make a choice?Laura has a special connection with birds and hopes to someday start a sanctuary of her own for abandoned and neglected companion parrots.Stephanie Nardi-Cyrus – Animal CaregiverStephanie has preferred non-human animals since a young age. She made the connection between diet and animal welfare at 14 years old, when she became a vegetarian. At 19, after a talk at a college animals rights club, she was happily converted to veganism. Since that time, she has become a Registered Dietitian, and more recently, a Licensed Veterinary Technician, all to further the cause of taking animals off our plates and putting them into our hearts.Stephanie is a Connecticut native, now living in the Hudson Valley with her mate, Nate, and her two rescue animals, Bear and June. She dabbles in yoga, feminism, and environmentalism, but can often just be found reading a book in the grass.Andie Springirth – Animal Caregiver, Humane EducatorAndie has a background teaching English as a Second Language to immigrants, refugees, and foreign government personnel. Her love of languages and language-related issues inspired her to move to NYC to pursue her master’s degree studying linguistic anthropology and social justice activism.She has always had a passion for working with nonhuman animals, volunteering for various rescue groups and animal advocacy organizations over the years, and went vegan in 2015 after learning about the exploitation involved in modern agricultural practices. She was overjoyed to join the Woodstock team in 2017, where she gets to teach others about farmed animal issues and introduce so many people to our animal ambassadors.When she’s not speaking, reading, or writing about social justice issues, Andie is managing two feral cat colonies in the Bronx, where she resides with her husband and four rescue kitties: Harry, Lloyd, Miss Tilli, and Herman.Lila Weisbrot – Animal CaregiverFrom a very young age, Lila has been passionate about animal advocacy. She made the connection between diet and animal welfare early on and became a vegetarian at just 9 years old.Lila is a licensed veterinary technician and did her graduate studies in Animal Behavior and Conservation at Hunter College before joining the Woodstock Sanctuary caregiving team in 2014. Her previous work focused on companion animal advocacy but she always had a passion for farmed animals. She was thrilled to find a place where she could work with these species and help to give them a voice.When not on the farm, Lila enjoys hiking, rowing, and exploring the rich vegan cuisine of the Hudson Valley. She lives with her husband, Ryan, and two goofy cats.Isabel Fife-Cook – Animal CaregiverIsabel was born and raised in San Francisco, California and first went vegan in 2014 after watching the documentary, Earthlings. She moved to the East Coast to attend New York University, where she graduated in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental and Animal Studies and plans on continuing her education through graduate work in Animal Behavior Science.Isabel has a particularly fondness for chickens and is currently working on a research project exploring chicken communication and flock structure with the help of our residents. When she’s not out chatting with the them, chances are she is crushing the vegan stereotype at the gym, reading a Stephen King novel, or painting.She currently lives in Saugerties, NY with her partner and their elderly cat, Bonnie.Diana Martins – Animal CaregiverDiana was born and raised in Long Island, NY, where in 2004 she began her career in the veterinary field. Diana has always had a deep connection with animals and used to raise orphaned animals as a wildlife rehabilitator. By 2014, she had made a full transition to veganism after attending a vegan educational lecture.As a licensed veterinary technician, Diana knew she wanted to work with animals for the rest of her life, but to also be an advocate for them. Diana started in 2018 as an intern at the Sanctuary, and shortly after, she was hired as a full time animal caregiver.Although she loved working in a hospital setting with small animals, Diana’s lifetime goal was to end up at a sanctuary where she could take care of the animals that were effected by the food industries.Diana lives in a tiny house in Highland with her 2 cats. She enjoys listening to music, reading, writing, and art. When she’s not at the Sanctuary, you can find her out in nature, trying every vegan friendly restaurant out there, and practicing yoga.