Meet the Board

Our Board of Directors is comprised of active MWHS volunteers that bring expertise in a variety of businesses to the organization, along with an enduring love for our cats. Each Board member is involved in multiple programs – fundraising, adoptions, social media, financial, fostering, grant writing, shelter care, and more – and we all work together for the benefit of MWHS. We are united in our passion for our MWHS cats and we are committed to championing MWHS and growing the organization.

Maria Balzarini

Maria started volunteering at MWHS as a cleaner and adoption counselor in December 2015 after retiring from Shell Oil Company and volunteering for 6 years as Volunteer Director, Board member, and adoption counselor with the Homeless and Orphaned Pets Endeavor (HOPE) in Houston, TX. Maria joined the MWHS Board of Directors in 2017 and became very involved with organizational and daily activities at the shelter. Maria was honored to be elected MWHS President in August 2022, and works closely with shelter staff and Board members. Maria is an adoption counselor and coordinates the adoption and foster programs. She also manages the annual Pet Photo Contest and publication of the MWHS Calendar, contributes articles to MWHS newsletters, and enjoys sewing catnip toys, cat mats, and quilts for MWHS fundraisers. Maria lives with and adores two kitties from MWHS – Miley and Noel (pictured).

Cheryl Mitcham
Vice President and Clerk

Cheryl joined MWHS as a foster in 2008. Since then, while fostering a caboodle of kittens and cats, Cheryl worked as a Quality Assurance Specialist, raised a family, and found her passion for helping the most vulnerable felines get ready for their forever homes. She has been on the Board of Directors since 2019, and in 2022 she was elected Vice President and Clerk. Cheryl organizes the annual MWHS Craft Fair, Spring Raffle, and Sponsor-a-Cat program, and she continues to foster cats and kittens in her dedicated kitten room. She is always proud when they graduate from “Cheryl’s Charm School”! Cheryl and her husband Jim have recently become empty nesters with their two boys now in college. They are thankful their home is not truly empty as it is filled with the fun and chaos of their cats Munchkin, Charlie, and Cassie, and their dog Sasha.

Linda Vaccari

For Linda, it all started in November, 2008, when she adopted Fendi and Scooter one Saturday afternoon. As a way of giving back to MWHS for allowing her to adopt her beloved kitties, Linda started volunteering in May 2009, working in the Socialization Program, plus feeding and scooping, then she became an adoption counselor in September, 2009. Throughout the years Linda increased her volunteer activities by maintaining a website for recording adoptions, assembling adoption packets, assisting in making catnip toys, and helping with MWHS events. In March 2022, Linda became a member of the MWHS Board of Directors, and is very honored to have been elected MWHS Treasurer effective August 1, 2022. Linda brings to the Treasurer position her extensive experience in accounting and finance, primarily in the healthcare field.
When Linda isn’t working, she enjoys being home with Scooter!

Karen Liptak

Karen started volunteering at MWHS as a caretaker in November 2019. In addition to cleaning, feeding, and socializing, Karen helps administer medications. She joined the MWHS Board of Directors in the summer of 2023, where she has taken on the role of Secretary. Karen is honored to be part of the Board of Directors and looks forward to working with everyone. Our Board members are excited to have Karen bringing her experience to help us. And the cats at the shelter love Karen so much they begged to be in her photo!

Karen is employed full time as a teacher at Natick High School. Her interests and hobbies include skiing, hiking, traveling, reading, and paddling. She enjoys being a “big sister” to her parents’ rescue cat, Murray.

Kristen Mansur

Kristen started volunteering in the summer of 2021; however, her original volunteer orientation was scheduled for March 18, 2020 and we all know how that date turned out! After a minor delay called Covid, Kristen came on board and started volunteering with cleaning, feeding, and socializing. A cat person since the moment she arrived on this planet, Kristen has shared her home with many cats throughout the years and volunteered at Friends for Life animal shelter in Houston, TX. She works in marketing for sports and live events, which keeps her pretty busy! Upon joining the Board of Directors in August, 2022, Kristen took on an active role with the grants and fundraising committee and assists with social media, the newsletter, and many other duties.
Kristen currently lives alone and is cat-less; however, she shares custody of her parents’ snuggle bug Chance (pictured)!

Carol Shapiro

Carol started volunteering at MWHS as a socializer in June of 2021, after retiring from a career in Software Quality Assurance. She uses her writing and software skills to help with the administrative input of our cat data into our shelter software, as well as our required adoption reporting. Carol joined the MWHS Board of Directors in August 2022. She continues to socialize the kitties, and works with shelter staff and Board members. She handles administrative tracking, and writes a variety of posts to aid in increasing our social media presence. Carol is an active member of our fundraising and grant writing committee, helping to write and submit grant applications. She also helps with fundraising events, including our annual Craft Fair.
Carol lives with her husband Dan and their very spoiled, very handsome, and very lovable MWHS rescue kitty, Cisco.