MEET THE BOARD

Indra Lahiri

Indra Lahiri, PhD is the founder of Indraloka Animal Sanctuary as well as a speaker, author, consultant, and executive coach. She has over twenty years of experience rescuing thousands of animals of a wide variety of species, in countries around the world. In addition, she has taught, mentored, coached and keynote addressed more than 10,000 people on a range of topics that are always, at their core, based on ethical leadership and compassion for all. Her award-winning blog is followed by nearly 20,000 subscribers on every continent.. Indra has been a featured speaker at both the National and International Animal Rights Conferences for the last several years.  Indra is co-founder and co-organizer of the newly formed Global Coalition of Farm Sanctuaries, which creates a safety net for animals in sanctuaries, a support system for those running sanctuaries, and a simpler means for sanctuaries to communicate and coordinate with one another.

In addition to her work with rescue animals, as the founder of Global Inclusion Strategies, Indra provides expert coaching and support on communicating across differences. She is the author of an academic book chapter, a critically acclaimed manager’s guidebook, several research reports, and numerous articles on cultural competence and leadership. Having experienced firsthand the benefits of close friendships with animals, Indra has expanded her focus to helping other humans reap the same rewards. Indra is now combining her two loves by offering inspirational keynote talks, one-on-one coaching, workshops, and retreats to help humans and other animals communicate.

The sanctuary is not named after Indra, but rather she is named after the Hindu God Indra who created Indraloka (Sanskrit name for the heaven for the Gods). She has dedicated her life to helping traumatized animals rediscover joy, love, and trust.

 

Johnny Braz

Johnny is a documentary filmmaker, environmentalist, and yogi. He began his filmmaking career in 1996 working as a camera operator with Clint Eastwood on “The Monterrey Jazz Festival: 40 Legendary Years.” Most recently, he has released “Play it Again,” a film about a legendary basketball tournament, “Peace, Love & Animals,” a documentary film that has been called “a lyrical message of hope” that premiered to rave reviews in Scranton and at the International Animal Rights Conference 2013 in Luxembourg, and “Truckin’”, an uplifting glimpse into the lives of animals rescued moments before their demise. Truckin’ premiered this year at both the National and International Animal Rights Conferences and is currently being translated into three languages. In 2016, “Truckin’” was awarded an Impact DOC Award of Recognition. Additionally, he has produced several short animal rescue films that have garnered a worldwide audience and has also directed a number of episodes of “Yoga Journeys,” a children’s program on PBS TV station WVIA.

Johnny holds a deep reverence for the earth. His years of experience designing and installing alternative energy systems for homes and businesses culminated in touring twice with Bonnie Raitt as her environmental spokesperson.

For the past five years, he has brought these gifts together, creating film and still portraits that reveal his reverence for all life and the earth herself, telling the story of Indraloka’s many rescues through his art. Braz is a teacher at heart. All of his work, whether it be mucking stalls, filming a rescue, feeding a once-traumatized chicken by hand, or teaching others how to meditate, is mindful, kind, and filled with lessons through example. Johnny is honored to put his skills to work raising awareness about animal sentience worldwide.

 

Sheila N. Cutler

Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Sheila studied Respiratory Therapy at Columbus State University and has been employed by numerous veterinarians. She has served on the Board of The Montessori School of Scranton and is founding Vice President of The Calligraphers Guild of Northeastern Pennsylvania. She currently sits on the board of The Jewish Family Service and was chosen volunteer of the year for 2012.

Animals, their care, and well-being have always been priorities for Sheila.

 

Chad Gorman

Chad Gorman is the President and CEO of GasSearch Drilling Services Corporation (GDS), a subsidiary of Cabot Oil & Gas.  Mr. Gorman is from Windsor, New York and graduated from Roger Williams University with a degree in Environmental Engineering. Chad’s work experience consists of over 11 years of environmental remediation efforts at project sites ranging from New York to Florida. In addition to his environmental remediation experience, he served as Water Resource Coordinator for Cabot Oil and Gas prior to accepting the position of President at GDS. Chad has been an integral part of the restructuring and growing GasSearch Drilling Services to maximize benefits and services provided to Cabot while meeting profit margin goals and growing revenue by 75 percent. 

He brings his love for animals, an engineering background, and expertise in protecting the environment to his involvement at Indraloka. Chad serves as a key team member bringing a variety of ideas, thoughts, and past experiences to the organization in an effort to create more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.  

 

Laura Ducceschi

Laura Ducceschi is President & CEO of the Scranton Area Community Foundation (SAF), which is the community foundation serving Lackawanna County. In her role, she administers over 175 charitable funds and helps guide the philanthropic initiatives of those in our community. In addition, she oversees grant funding, which through the years has provided over $18 million to support educational, human service, environmental, civic, arts & cultural organizations, and to improve the quality of life in our region.

In addition, Laura also serves as Administrator of the Northeastern PA Health Care Foundation, a public foundation which provides grants to support community health and community wellness initiatives, and which since its inception in 2011 has provided funding to Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Wyoming counties. In addition, through the Scranton Area Community Foundation, Laura serves as Administrator of the Robert H. Spitz Foundation.

Since taking over at SAF in 2012, Laura has instituted the Foundations first strategic plan; instituted the organization’s first community-wide open forum for non-profit organizations; Redesigned the grant-making cycle to respond to community needs and to drive collaboration amongst service providers; Implemented the Center for Community Leadership and Nonprofit Excellence, a capacity building arm of the Foundation focused on providing nonprofit organizations with the technical training to help them meet their critical missions; and developed a Medallion Partners Program which allows the Foundation to partner with external advisors to increase charitable giving opportunities.

Under her leadership, the Women in Philanthropy (WIP) initiative was conceptualized. This collective philanthropy model of over 100 members and 25 community partners has raised over $1 million to impact women and girls in Lackawanna County. WIP educates and challenges women to be visionary leaders and philanthropists, and through this process, to make a difference in the local community.

Prior to taking the role at the Scranton Area Foundation in May 2012, Laura spent 15 years in the Philadelphia area where she managed non-profit organizations and programs, conducted public policy research, and administered grant-making initiatives which provided funding for both domestic and international projects. An avid animal-lover, Laura led the education division of the American Anti-Vivisection Society.

Laura serves as a trustee on the Schwartz-Mack Foundation and on the steering committee of NCAC Grantmakers. She is a board member at Indraloka Animal Sanctuary, MetroAction, Scranton Tomorrow, and she serves on the Geisinger Advisory Board. She is a member of the Older Industrial Cities (OIC) working group, a collaboration of The Funder’s Network (TFN) and the Federal Reserve Bank.

Laura has an MBA in Organizational Management from Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business; an MA in Communication from the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania; and BA in Communication from the University of Scranton, where she graduated summa cum laude.

In her spare time, Laura loves to travel and is involved in animal rescue. Laura is the proud mom of 8 rescue cats.

 

Kate O’Connor

Kate O’Connor is an Assistant Professor at the Marywood University School of Architecture in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelor of Architecture from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC with a concentration in Design, and Master of Architecture II at Tulane University in New Orleans. She is the Director of the design your future high school immersion program and develops and teaches Studio and Statics and Strength of Materials in the second year curriculum in the Marywood University School of Architecture.

Kate strongly believes the role of the architect can have an influential impact on society and challenges the profession to become leaders who can solve the complicated problems of society today. Socially responsible architects must serve as a bridge across borders, to develop architecture that responsibly serves people and their communities, and understands real human needs, including economic stimulation and social consciousness. As part of an innovative course, “Farmitecture” taught by Kate and offered through Marywood’s School of Architecture, Kate and her students have designed and built sustainable structures for Indraloka, and have designed plans for the sanctuary’s expansion. Kate presented a TEDx Talk in August 2014 regarding the Farmitecture partnership with Indraloka.

 

Lisa Starr

Lisa Starr, a licensed psychologist and devoted animal activist, earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Pennsylvania State University and Master’s degree in Psychology from Marywood University. Her family, longtime residents of northeast Pennsylvania, established a tradition of philanthropic and civic responsibility. Lisa’s father served as a county commissioner for 16 years.

Her husband, Sam, is a prominent local businessperson. Lisa formerly served on the boards of the Scranton Counseling Center, United Cerebral Palsy of Lackawanna County, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council, Temple Israel and Temple Israel Sisterhood.

 

Bren McClain

Bren McClain says in her heart, you’ll feel her love for animals. And in her hand, you’ll see a pencil. Always a writer through and through. Bren was born and raised in Anderson, South Carolina, on a beef cattle and grain farm. She has a degree in English from Furman University; is an experienced media relations, radio, and television news professional; and currently works as a communications confidence coach.

She is a two-time winner of the South Carolina Fiction Project and the recipient of the 2005 Fiction Fellowship from the South Carolina Arts Commission. McClain won the 2016 William Faulkner –William Wisdom Novel-in-Progress for “Took” and was a finalist for the 2012 Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Award for Novel-in-Progress for “One Good Mama Bone.” “One Good Mama Bone” was released in February 2017 to rave reviews. Just recently, it made the list of upcoming Fall/Winter books in “Deep South” magazine. This novel features another farm animal, chickens. “One Good Mama Bone” is her first novel.