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Get to know the Northern Oklahoma Humane Society's Board members.

Board President Justin Mathews

Q: Tell us about yourself(personally or professionally)

A: I graduated from PO-Hi in 2003 and returned to Ponca from Dallas in 2019. In 2021, I established my business, Paws On The Pavement, to have a more flexible schedule and spend more time with my dog, who was dealing with seizures at the time.


Q: What is your history with NOKHS? How many years have you been involved, and what roles have you held during that time? 

A: I started volunteering at NOKHS to align my free time with my professional interests. My first volunteer role was at the Petstival in 2021, where both the nonprofit and municipal shelters aimed to make Ponca City a No-Kill community by 2025. Inspired by the shelter's community impact, I joined the efforts. I became a board member in March 2022, contributing to event planning, fundraising, designing marketing materials, and participating in discussions on community support programs.


Q: How long have you served as President?

A: I assumed the role of board President in June of this year.


Q: Could you elaborate on the responsibilities associated with being the Board President?

A: The Board President significantly influences the shelter's direction and community engagement. They focus on guiding strategic decisions while collaborating closely with leadership to ensure effective operations, financial stability, and a dedicated commitment to animal welfare.


Q: What are your future plans for NOKHS, and what aspects excite you the most?

A: Our shelter has exciting plans ahead. As President, my aim is to foster a culture of compassion and creativity to reshape our approach to animal welfare. Despite the challenges faced by shelters and pet owners, embracing these qualities allows us to address issues with empathy and innovation, enhancing our organization's impact and effectiveness.


We intend to expand community outreach, raise awareness about pet resources, and develop educational programs for youth to promote empathy, kindness, and respect for animals. Additionally, forging partnerships with other organizations will create a comprehensive support network for those in need.


Q: Could you share your experience as President of the board or as a board member in general?

A: In the previous year, NOKHS successfully rescued 331 animals from unnecessary euthanasia at Ponca City Animal Control. Moreover, we funded over 1,000 spay/neuter surgeries for shelter and public pets and distributed more than 9,000 pounds of donated pet food to pets in need within the community. Despite our significant contributions to the community, we concluded the year with less community funding than anticipated. This financial shortfall presents a challenge to our sustainability as a nonprofit organization. Drawing from my experience as a former board member, I've gained insights into the operational complexities that now inform my leadership approach. This well-rounded perspective allows me to help guide the direction of the shelter toward a more financially stable future.


Q: What motivated you to take on this role?

A: My desire to contribute to a larger cause led me to the shelter. The joy animals bring and the importance of safeguarding their well-being inspired my involvement. Recognizing the value of my business administration skills, I offered my services without monetary compensation, benefiting the shelter and the community while minimizing labor costs.


Q: What aspect of working with NOKHS do you find most fulfilling?

A: Witnessing the positive transformations of animals under our care is incredibly heartwarming. Additionally, the sense of camaraderie and shared purpose among staff, volunteers, and board members is motivating. Knowing that we are collectively changing the lives of these amazing creatures makes it all worth it and I hope to establish a lasting pathway for animals in need to find loving homes and ensure NOKHS's ongoing success.

Stephanie Blum

Board Member Stephanie Blum


Q: Tell us about yourself (personally or professionally) 

A: I was born and raised in Ponca City and live here with my husband, Danny, and our three children, Catie, Luke & Ella.  I am Managing Director of Instruction for Epic Charter Schools, which is a public state-wide virtual charter school. I serve as the vice president on the Opportunity Center board in addition to serving on the NOKHS board. I love our community and like to help where I can. 

Q: What is your history with NOKHS? How many years have you been involved, and what roles, if any, have you held during that time? 

A: I have been volunteering for NOKHS for a year or two and joined the board this fall.  My family and I regularly foster orphaned kittens or puppies and assist in any of the events that I can.  

Q: What motivated you to become involved in the animal welfare cause? 

A: I grew up with a house full of animals and my parents instilled a deep love for them.  All animals deserve love, care, and respect, just like we do.

Q: What would you say to someone who’s thinking about donating to NOKHS? 

A: Your support helps these animals get the care, food, and love they deserve while they wait for a forever family of their own. Your kindness truly changes their lives, giving them a better chance at happiness. Your donation isn't just money, it's hope and comfort for these forgotten creatures. 

Q: What makes volunteering with NOKHS worth it? 

A: We have the best staff and volunteers!  NOKHS truly appreciates their volunteers! 

Jane Thomas

Board Vice President Jane Thomas

Q: Can you share your history with NOKHS, and what roles have you had during your time there?

A: Hi, I'm Jane Thomas, a Newkirk native. I've been with the Northern Oklahoma Humane Society for three years. I've served as the treasurer for two of those years. I joined to help abandoned animals who sadly don't have homes. I've been surprised to see so many homeless animals and feral cats in our communities.


Q: What inspired your involvement in animal welfare?

A: I believe in spaying and neutering animals. It helps by reducing the number of unwanted pets in our community. It also keeps your pet healthier and prevents them from wandering. Responsible pet owners spay, neuter, microchip, feed, shelter, and love their animals.


Q: How do you think the organization can sustain itself?

A: Our shelter is often full due to neglected animals. This makes it hard when owners must surrender their pets due to life circumstances, and we can't take them in. I encourage people to join us, especially as foster parents. Our animals will bring incredible richness to your life.


Q: Is there an achievement or contribution you're proud of?

A: One of our organization's greatest accomplishments in the past two years has been offering the "Big Fix" for free to Northern Oklahoma residents. We also run monthly low-cost spay, neuter, and wellness clinics. Our "Fix a Feral" program, focusing on community cats, is successful in reducing the number of unwanted pets in need of loving homes. I'm proud of these programs, as they help us work toward our goal of becoming a "No Kill" society by 2025.


Q: What would you tell someone thinking about donating to NOKHS?

A: The Northern Oklahoma Humane Society relies on donations from caring individuals and the support of volunteers to connect animals with people who care. Your financial support or volunteering can make a big difference in helping these animals find loving, forever homes.


Q: Why is volunteering with NOKHS worthwhile?

A: It's incredibly rewarding when one of our animals finds a loving, permanent home, knowing they won't be abandoned again. These pets leave lasting paw prints on your soul

Tracie Smith

Board Member Tracie Smith

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Q: What can you tell us about yourself both personally and professionally?

A: I’m a former Po-Hi Wildcat. I lived in Huntington Beach California for 30 years where my husband and I owned a tooling business selling to Aerospace and Defense contractors. We sold the business in 2020 and retired back to Ponca. 

Q: How long have you been involved with NOKHS, and what roles?

A: I have been involved with NOKHS for almost 3 years. It’s the first board I joined when I moved back. When I first started volunteering I took pictures of the animals. It was so fun getting to know each one of them. I’ve also helped with various fundraising events over the years and 3 large spay and neuter clinics.

Q: What motivated you to become involved in the animal welfare cause?

A: I was motivated to join by my love for animals. They are completely helpless, have no voice, and can be treated poorly. I believe that as humans, we can and should do better.

Q: Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of?

A: I’m very proud to have organized 3 Poker Runs which raised money for the organization and the community seemed to enjoy participating in it.  I really appreciate our supporters!!!!

Q: What has been most surprising to you about animal welfare since being involved? 

A: I continue to be in awe of the efforts to spay and neuter in our county.  The clinics offered free to the public should make a difference in “surprise” litters.  What a blessing the Good Fix organization has been to us.  Close to 3000 animals in a 12-month period.I hope people will donate and volunteer to this wonderful organization because they CARE.  The love these animals are given once they enter the building is heartwarming. 

Q: What makes volunteering with NOKHS worth it?

A: It is so rewarding when you hear a dog or cat was adopted to a loving home.  Everyone loves a happy ending!

Katie Biby

Board Secretary Katie Biby

Q: What can you tell us about yourself both personally and professionally?

A: I was raised in Ponca and I currently own Ponca City Urgent Care and Family practice. I also work here as a Nurse Practitioner, and I love serving my hometown community. I'm married to my wonderful Husband Seth, and we live on a little farm east of Ponca. I love helping people and animals in any way I can. I have a niche for finding random animals or they show up at my house and I try my best to get them healthy and find a good home for them. I love to travel, hunt, and fish and I’m a huge foodie.

Q: How long have you been involved with NOKHS, and what roles?

A: I’ve been volunteering for NOKHS for about a year and a half now. Mostly with the TNR program and transitioned to becoming a board member.

Q: What motivated you to become involved in the animal welfare cause?

A: I feel that animals are like children- all are innocent and depend on us to protect them, care for them, and help them out of unfortunate situations. 


Q: How do you imagine the organization might achieve sustainability?

A: I believe it's crucial to inform the community about our work. It's not just about rehoming animals; we do a lot for both the community and the animals. Bringing in new board members and making the most of volunteers regularly brings in fresh ideas and diverse ways to help our organization thrive.


Q: What makes volunteering with NOKHS worth it?

A: Volunteering my time has been incredibly fulfilling. Witnessing an animal transform from scared to sweet/comfortable and eventually finding a forever home is an experience everyone should have. These innocent creatures rely on us, much like children. I highly recommend supporting NOKHS through donations because every dollar directly contributes to helping both the community and its animals.

Marc LaBossiere

Board Member Marc LaBossiere

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Q: Tell us about yourself (personally or professionally)

A: My wife Holly and I moved to Ponca City in 1992. I began working for the City of Ponca City in 1995 and was promoted to Finance Director in 1997, and served in that role until retirement at the end of 2019.  We have one son, Alex, who lives in Japan currently with his lovely wife Manami.  We welcomed our first grandchild Ryu Brian into the world six months ago, and we are totally in love.

Q: What is your history with NOKHS? How many years have you been involved, and what roles, if any, have you held during that time? 

A: I have served on the NOKHS for two years and love the great work they do!

Q: What has been most surprising to you about animal welfare since being involved?

A: I have served on many boards across the community over the last 25 years, and have to say, the NOKHS Board works harder and more hands-on than any I have witnessed.  It is amazing.

Q: What would you say to someone who’s thinking about donating to NOKHS?

A: I encourage all animal lovers to donate time or money, if possible, to this great organization, it is truly safeguarded and expended wisely, to maximize the benefit to all dogs and cats that we serve.  I love Ponca City and the wonderful people who live here!

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