After a Rocky Year, the Hawaiian Humane Society Names New President and CEO

Colorado’s Anna Neubauer joins the nonprofit after protests and the contentious departure of its previous leader.
anna neubauer
Anna Neubauer will become president and ceo of the hawaiian humane society in mid-october.
Photo: Courtesy of the Hawaiian Humane Society


The new leader of the Hawaiian Humane Society is a certified veterinary technician who served as vice president of operations at an open-admission shelter in Denver and co-founder of a cat rescue clinic in Fort Collins, Colorado. Anna Neubauer will take over as president and CEO of the local nonprofit in mid-October, overseeing 90 staff and more than 600 volunteers.


In her biography on the Dumb Friends League (the Denver shelter) website, Neubauer says she started working with a veterinary clinic and animal welfare organization in Northern California when she was 14 years old. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biological science at Colorado State University, a master’s in public administration with a focus on nonprofit management at University of Colorado and spent eight-and-a-half years in various positions at the Dumb Friends League before becoming vice president.


The Hawaiian Humane Society’s board hired nonprofit executive search firm Noetic to run its first-ever nationwide search after former president and CEO Lisa Fowler stepped down amid complaints and protests in the spring. Fowler held that position for a little less than a year-and-a-half. In the months leading up to her resignation, some employees complained to the board that Fowler created a hostile work environment and dozens left or were fired. A protest questioning the society’s euthanasia policies, held outside its Mō‘ili‘ili headquarters in February, made headlines. Read more about the claims, reaction and response from Fowler in our August issue of HONOLULU Magazine.


Since then, the society was helmed by interim CEO Martha Armstrong and interim COO Victoria Cowper. In the press release announcing the hire, board chair Ginny Tiu says they were looking for “a leader with vision, passion, experience in shelter leadership and a commitment to collaboration. … we are confident in Anna’s ability to continue the Hawaiian Humane Society’s legacy of leadership in progressive animal sheltering.”