our team

karen sacks, esq.

Meet our Founder

Karen Sacks isn’t just our founding leader; she’s the embodiment of PAW’s core values. With an illustrious career that spans decades, Karen’s experience in both nonprofit management and animal welfare positions her perfectly to spearhead PAW’s initiatives. 

Karen holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and earned her law degree from the prestigious New York University School of Law.

Beyond her professional achievements, Karen’s personal life also revolves around her love for animals. She lives in NJ with her cherished family, which includes her husband, two sons, and four beloved rescue dogs.

Animal Welfare Advocacy
  • Began her journey in animal welfare as a volunteer at the Montclair Township Animal Shelter.
  • Served as trustee and Chair of the Friends of the Montclair Township Animal Shelter board.
  • Currently chairs the Montclair Township’s Animal Welfare Advisory Committee.
  • Recognized by the Humane Society of the United States and appointed as a New Jersey Humane Policy Leader in 2021.
professional highlights
  • Founded a nonprofit in 2000 with fellow NJ lawyers to increase legal representation for NJ’s underserved. Grew the organization from a nascent concept to a renowned statewide model that serves over 4,000 indigent New Jersey residents annually.
  • Honored with numerous accolades for her impactful work, with the “2021 Community Visionary Award” at VLJ’s 20th Anniversary Gala standing out as a recent testament to her dedication.

Maxine Hughes


Maxine is the Global Head of the New Business Group for Markets, JP Morgan Chase & Co. where she has been employed for the past 8 years after holding similar positions at BNP Paribas and Goldman Sachs, both in NY and London. Maxine’s work in animal welfare includes volunteering for shelters in Chicago and New Jersey and serving ​as a Trustee for FOMTAS since 2016. Maxine currently serves as Secretary of the FOMTAS Board. 

Robyn Mait Levine


Robyn is an experienced marketing and communications professional with deep expertise in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. She currently works as a consultant for nonprofit organizations including the Reed Foundation for Autism and HealthyWomen.org. Prior to becoming a consultant, Robyn was Vice President of Sales Development for WebMD and held similar positions at Hearst and Time Inc. earlier in her career. Robyn volunteers her time creating marketing materials for shelters in both New York and New Jersey. 

​​​Karen Moreira


Karen manages in-house litigation at a global Fortune 100 company based in NJ. As a volunteer passionate about animal welfare, she is a Humane Law liaison at the Monmouth County SPCA. ​There, as part of her efforts, she works on strengthening animal cruelty laws. Initiatives include “Ban the Crates,” which addresses the cruelty and the health dangers created by extreme confinement of pigs and calves.  She is also an avid dog walker at the Monmouth County SPCA. Karen serves on the Board of Directors for Mid-Atlantic English Springer Spaniel organization. Karen also volunteers for a local rescue, Wag On Inn, where she helps to counsel owners and rehome dogs.

Stacey Bussel


Stacey is one of the Founders and Current Directing Attorney for Legal Service of New Jersey’s (LSNJ) Medical-Legal Partnership called LAMP.  When not working for LSNJ, Stacey spends time with her family including her rescue dog, Darwin, and rescue cat, Tiki.  A vegetarian since the age of 16, animal rights and animal welfare have played an integral role in her life since childhood.  As an attorney in Miami, Stacey was one of the founding members of UWAG, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of animals throughout Miami-Dade County.  Prior to volunteering for UWAG, Stacey also served as an intern for the Humane Society of Greater Miami, Inc. working with their cruelty investigators and providing legal research on animal welfare laws throughout the state.

AJ Albrecht, ESQ.

AJ is the Managing Director, US and Canada, for Mercy For Animals (MFA). A licensed attorney, AJ is the 2020-2021 Chair of the American Bar Association’s Animal Law Committee and a past Chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Animal Law Committee. Prior to joining MFA, AJ was a legislative attorney with Best Friends Animal Society and before that, she practiced family law at a boutique law firm in NJ. AJ is the founder of the East Orange Animal Alliance, a nonprofit that supports the City of East Orange in effectively caring for its at-risk animals and the people who are dedicated to them.

Elissa Frank, ESQ.

Elissa is the New Jersey State Director for the Humane Society of the United States. Previously, Elissa served as the Director of Legislative Affairs for a member of the New Jersey General Assembly in Trenton, where she worked with stakeholders and elected officials on a wide range of animal welfare issues. A law school graduate, Elissa is the former Editor-in Chief of her law journal, is a published writer, and a NJ LEEP mentor.

Brian Hackett

Brian recently joined Associated Humane Societies in Newark, New Jersey and Director of Government and Community Relations after serving as Legislative Affairs Manager at the Animal Legal Defense Fund and before that, as New Jersey State Director for the Humane Society of the United States. Brian has also worked as a political consultant and operative. Brian currently serves as board member for People for Animals, Inc., a New Jersey-based network of low-cost spay/neuter and veterinary wellness clinics. Brian has been repeatedly recognized by Insider NJ’s OUT100 List as one of the most successful advocates in the state.

​​Claire Sterling


Claire is the Chief Operating Officer at HEART, a New York-based nonprofit offering PreK-12 humane education programs and teaching resources. She previously served as Director, Grant Strategies at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). While at the ASPCA, Claire was Board President of the national funder affinity group Animal Grantmakers and she also established the first national funding collaborative dedicated to assisting animals impacted by natural disasters. Prior to her tenure at the ASPCA, Claire worked in the fields of fundraising and web design at the Foundation Center (now Candid), the world’s leading source of information on institutional philanthropy.

​​Nancy Willis


Nancy is the Vice President of Strategic Growth for the Humane Society of Silicon Valley. Nancy has more than two decades of leadership experience across a wide range of nonprofit and for-profit organizations, including the Maui Humane Society, Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation, and the Major League Baseball Players Association. Nancy has fostered many dogs (and a few cats) and she has a soft spot in her heart for senior animals. 

Partners in Animal Welfare, Inc. © 2023. All Rights Reserved.

Partners in Animal Welfare, Inc. © 2023
All Rights Reserved.