Leadership Team


Executive Director


For more than 30 years, Eric Stevens has worked as a leader in the nonprofit sector.  He has had his own independent consulting practice since 2005, specializing in strategic and business planning, board development and executive coaching with nonprofit leaders and boards. 

Prior to consulting, Eric spent more than 25 years leading (and growing) nonprofit organizations in Minnesota as an executive director/CEO. 

For 20 years, he led St. David’s Child Development and Family Services, significantly expanding the organization’s services, staff and budget and successfully completing two capital campaigns.  For six years, he served as CEO of Courage Center, a  rehabilitation and social service facility for people with physical disabilities.

More recently, Eric served as development director of the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, where he helped to significantly expand fundraising revenues.  He also has served on nearly a dozen boards of directors, often taking on leadership roles (e.g. board chair and/or committee chairs).

Eric grew up in New York City, where he attended Queens College majoring in economics.  He then attended the MBA program at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and later earned Master’s Degrees in Early Child Education at Central Washington State University; and Organization Leadership at the Leadership Institute of Seattle. 

Eric lives on Bainbridge Island with his wife, Caroline.

Director of Animal Welfare


A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Natalie Smith graduated with a BA in Sociology from Bryn Mawr College. Before becoming involved professionally in animal welfare, Natalie worked in Program Research and Evaluation in the public health sector. While rescuing and rehoming stray cats from her urban community garden, Natalie became involved with Philadelphia’s animal control shelter, eventually becoming a volunteer, dog foster parent, and finally staff member as Community Programs Coordinator.

Over six years and through multiple organizational transitions, Natalie became the Assistant Director of Operations at Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT Philly). While at ACCT Philly, Natalie developed, managed and expanded the shelter’s Life Saving department (foster, adoption, volunteer and rescue transfer) and social media presence, in addition to overseeing Animal Care at the facility, which handles approximately 30-32,000 animals annually.

The unique “Pen Pal” program that Natalie created and implemented has been nationally recognized by the animal welfare community, and Natalie has presented and co-presented at regional and national conferences on expanding foster programs and on “open” adoption programs. Natalie also serves on the Advisory Council for HeARTs Speak, an international non profit organization that mobilizes professional artists to support and collaborate with local animal welfare efforts.

Natalie and her partner Haley live in Seabeck with their three cats, two dogs, and a soon-to-be rotating cast of foster animals.

Director of Shelter Medicine


Jennifer Stonequist, DVM, received her doctorate in veterinary medicine from Western University Health Sciences in Pomona, California. She has always had a passion for animal welfare and realized through veterinary medicine she would contribute to the movement in a very meaningful way.

Jennifer completed several externships with hospitals and organizations across the country during her studies, including in surgery, internal medicine, emergency medicine, feline medicine and a shelter medicine externship with Best Friends Animal Society.

One of Jennifer’s passions is high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter surgery. She has volunteered with organizations including FixNation in LA, the Humane Society of Tijuana and the Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project here in Washington State. Bringing those experiences to KHS, Jennifer has worked with staff and volunteers to develop and expand the Kitsap community’s own low cost Spay/Neuter Program. 

Jennifer lives with her fiancé, Alec, and their “fur babies”, including their two dogs, Rosco and Baragon in Bremerton.


Marketing & Events Manager


Rachel Bearbower was born and raised just 2 miles from Kitsap Humane Society. The shelter has been a part of her life since the very start. After graduating from Washington State University, Rachel spent 5 years in Boston where she did corporate marketing and events, executive engagement and communications for a large financial institution. It was her love for her community that brought her back to Kitsap County and ready to begin a career in non-profit. In her role at Kitsap Humane Society, Rachel strives to bring creativity, enthusiasm and passion to all things she does. 

Rachel lives in Bremerton with her spunky calico cat, Charlie, who was rescued from an elevator near the Charles River in Boston and her running buddy, Moe, a Rhodesian Ridgeback/Great Dane mix, who is a KHS alum!

Finance Director


Tom grew up a Navy brat and spent his youth moving from Alaska to Florida to Trinidad, ending up in Missouri after his dad retired. He holds an Accounting degree from the University of Missouri. His early career was spent in public and private accounting prior to starting a boat business in Seattle and managing that for the past 25 years until retiring. An opportunity came up to help KHS and Tom became the Interim Finance Director, which was to be for only a few months. That few months has become permanent. 

He has always had some sort of animal to care for from rats and snakes to cats and dogs. Tom is married to a veterinarian so the house always has a variety of rescued animals. Tom lives on Bainbridge Island with his wife, Dr. Liz, daughter Kati, Boomer the dog, and Luke, Charlie and Maggie the cats.