Chief Executive Officer
Pets Lifeline
Sonoma, CA
Salary Range: $140,000 – $155,000
Pets Lifeline logo - CEO job descriptions

If you are interested in this position:

You can also contact me at:


[email protected]

The Organization

Pets Lifeline, Inc.’s mission is to protect and improve the lives of cats and dogs in need in Sonoma Valley through sheltering and adoption, humane education, and community programs. Pets Lifeline, Inc. (PLL) runs large youth education programs onsite, offers a state of the art, low-cost spay/neuter clinic services, hosts free vaccine clinics, provides dog training classes, a kitten and dog fostering program, and the most successful feral program in the county. The shelter and animal resource center prides itself on its Humane Education curriculum, which offers an afterschool program and a 10-week summer camp for two different age groups.

PLL is a dynamic organization with a passionate and caring staff with a vision to support more animals and provide more animal resources in the community. Nestled in the Sonoma Valley, the organization has built strong community relationships over thirty years and is still going strong. 



PLL is seeking an exceptional and experienced nonprofit leader to join us as the CEO, taking the reins of our thriving no-kill animal shelter. As we embark on our next phase of growth, you will have a unique opportunity to shape our vision while addressing the evolving needs of our community. PLL boasts a dedicated board of directors, committed staff, enthusiastic volunteers, and strong financial standing. We are now looking for an inspiring individual who can guide us forward. 

 The CEO will assume overall responsibility for PLL’s strategic direction, operational excellence, program expansion, and the execution of our mission. Reporting directly to the Board Chair, the CEO will oversee the executive team responsible for operations, fundraising, programs, shelter management, and animal welfare.


Strategic Leadership

  • Develop and implement strategies aligned with PLL’s mission, ensuring compliance with internal policies.
  • Lead PLL vision and strategic plan as adopted by the Board of Directors.
  • Uphold the highest standards in stewarding programs, operations, finances, and resources.
  • Contribute to the dialogue on best practices for animal welfare.
  • Manage the PLL organization to effectively provide a life-enriching haven for pets in need (dogs, cats, strays, and feral cats).
  • In collaboration with the Board of Directors, develop, implement and track annual and long-term strategic plan. Ensure that all policies, procedures, plans, and programs are regularly reviewed and modified r to comply with local, state, and federal guidelines. 


Operations and Administration 

  • Provide fiscal and administrative oversight to ensure PLL’s long-term financial health.
  • Oversee the Director of Operations, driving continuous improvements in internal systems, processes, workflow, and policies.
  • Utilize efficient operational infrastructure, software, and measurement tools to facilitate program activities and monitor progress toward goals.
  • Cultivate a values-aligned culture, building and retaining a solid team while overseeing human resources and staff development.
  • Direct the development, animal care, office, operations, and program teams.
  • Oversee human resources functions in conjunction with the Director of Operations, by providing guidance in hiring, compensation, performance reviews, reporting and general policy and compliance. 
  • Maintain a positive working relationship with staff, providing encouragement, guidance, and support in a timely manner.


Fundraising Oversight

  • Support the Director of Development in achieving long-term fundraising goals and plans.
  • Provide leadership oversight and contribution to the responsibility for all fundraising, including community relations, grant writing, donor development (e.g. estate planning, legacy program), and event planning and coordination. 
  • Provide guidance for donor relations, ensuring long-term financial stability.
  • Develop and strengthen partnerships with community experts to enhance our program services. 

Fiscal Management

  • Ensure PLL is resting on a fiscally sound foundation and that relevant parties are informed about fiscal status and that financial information is communicated in a manner accessible to all.
  • Responsible for developing the PLL budget with input from staff and the board of directors.
  • Managing the operations to ensure that PLL operates within the Board of Directors approved budget.
  • Prepare financial updates and reporting for the Board of Directors.
  • Maintain records showing business transactions, inventories, and tax information.
  • Coordinate the implementation of programs and activities to increase operating revenue to support PLL goals and objectives. 

Programs Oversight and Strategy

  • Provide oversight and guidance to the Program Manager and staff in setting and achieving all programs, including but not limited to, public educational program goals and objectives, including foster and volunteer programs, humane education programs, and the ready-to-work program. 

Shelter and Animal Welfare Oversight

  • Collaborate with the Shelter Director to ensure the proper functioning of our facility as it relates to animal welfare.
  • Provide guidance and oversight to the Shelter Director on animal care, staff care, and community support.


Public Relations 

  • Serve as the spokesperson for PLL maintaining regular contact with government officials, agencies, civic groups, community organizations, and the media.
  • Create and implement ongoing comprehensive public relations and marketing plans that support awareness of PLL, its activities and goals.
  • Maintain a positive relationship within the community and with volunteers.
  • Maintain positive relationships/collaborates with other animal-related organizations and community non-profit organizations.
  • Communicate with the public about issues related to pet overpopulation, creating strategies and programs to reduce overpopulation


Board Relations 

  • Build, cultivate and nurture a true partnership with the Board of Directors built on mutual respect and trust.
  • Cultivate relationships with the Board of Directors to leverage their skills, expertise, and knowledge to benefit PLL.
  • Actively engage with the governance committee to help identify prospective board members who bring the skills, attributes and lived experience necessary to the board to be the best partner it can be.
  • Execute the policies established by the Board of Directors.
  • Provide the Board of Directors with updates with respect to staff, shelter animals, animal adoptions, and other PLL business through timely submission of regular CEO reports, e-mail, and/or personal contact.



Our ideal candidate will embody the values of PLL and bring leadership and strategic insights to the work through the following skills and characteristics: 

  • Passionate about the mission and vision for animal welfare and the role PLL plays in supporting and educating the community
  • Compelling oral and written communicator and storyteller 
  • Leads and manages with intention and compassion 
  • Committed to diversity, equity and inclusion 
  • Leads and manages with a growth mindset, open to learning and adapting to changing priorities
  • Courageous and compassionate truth-teller 
  • Recognizes that leadership is a joyful responsibility 
  • Demonstrates humble confidence and integrity
  • Builds trust with staff, volunteers, board, and other stakeholders 
  • Encourages collaboration with stakeholders and other community partners
  • Possess high emotional intelligence and strong relationship management skills
  • Deep understanding of and commitment to animal rights, welfare, and shelter
  • Show a knack for injecting levity into work tasks while maintaining professionalism
  • Patient, persistent, and resilient, able to maintain a vision and adapt tactics when faced with obstacles



  • Seasoned nonprofit leader with excellent interpersonal, communication and managerial skills
  • Expertise in operations, programs, donor relations and fundraising, budget and financial management 
  • Respect and affection for animals with a committed concern for their welfare and experience in the animal rights, protection, or shelter sectors is a plus 
  • B.A. preferred or equivalent experience
  • Available outside of regular business hours for meetings as needed for donors, board and events
  • Proficient in MSOffice, Zoom and Salesforce or related customer relationship management (CRM) system.

Compensation and Benefits

The compensation is based upon experience. The salary range is $140,000- $155,000.  Benefits include health, dental, vision insurance as well as a retirement plan.  PLL features a brand new facility in beautiful Sonoma Valley.  Free parking is available.

To Apply

Please provide your resume and cover letter to Stacy Nelson & Associates-Leadership Search Partners by emailing [email protected] or applying via the website at www.stacy nelson


The above statements describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of personnel so classified. All personnel may be required to perform duties outside of their normal responsibilities from time to time, as needed.

Pets Lifeline, Inc. is an equal-opportunity employer.