Scott Lope has dedicated his life to animal advocacy - for the animals. For 12+ years he operated the largest big cat rescue in the U.S., turning a small rescue into a thriving refuge for the unwanted and abandoned. Scott Has been a strong voice for the voiceless and has traveled the world in order to spread the word about the plight of our planet's wildlife. In Addition to being the reigning Animal Planet Hero of the Year, Scott hosted Discovery Channel series Wild Animal Repo and co-hosted Lion Feeding Frenzy, and has been featured on numerous television programs, news reports, social media, and in print. His passion has inspired hundreds of volunteers, interns, and television viewers. He truly is making a difference and looks forward to many new, exciting avenues to fulfill his mission of wildlife advocacy.
Anissa Camp earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism in 1997 from the University of North Texas. After graduating she moved to Tampa, Florida and spent several years editing and producing multiple issues of direct mailed newspapers in the Tampa area. During this time she also started volunteering at a wild animal sanctuary and when a position became available as a full time animal advocate and education director, she took it. For over 10 years, Anissa has been working full time in different animal sanctuaries and accredited zoos. She has worked with everything from big cats to hummingbirds and has drafted protocols of care for multiple species during her career. In her spare time, Anissa enjoys photography and has travelled to Kenya, Africa four times, leading tours on photo safari and supporting community-based conservation in the wild.
Tom Stephens is an animal friend who started life on a Georgia farm where he learned how to do some of everything: construction, heavy equipment operation, electrical, plumbing – and of course, caring for animals. He spent several years caring for a large and diverse collection of waterfowl ranging from diving ducks to swans. He has spent the last decade + working in all aspects of the food distribution industry with a more recent focus on efficiency both within the scope of managing the cost of warehouse operations and the logistical planning of business. While working with a no-kill domestic rescue association he has been a foster care provider for dogs, has evaluated dogs for rescue, provided transport and relocation services and worked at adoption events.
Jennifer Ruszczyk started her volunteer career at her local zoo where she worked with Primates and Asian animals. Over the past 16 years she has been volunteering at one of the largest accredited Big Cat Rescues in the country, in addition to volunteering at an accredited primate sanctuary for 12+ years. Her passion and strengths are in enrichment, training, and volunteer recruitment and coordination. Jennifer was approached by Scott Lope in 2010 to be a founder of Animal Warriors. Since then she has lead the Tampa, FL branch and has worked diligently to network with the sanctuaries in the area. When Jennifer is not volunteering with animals she is an account manager for a Local IT solutions company called Vology. Her sales experience from this position has been very beneficial in the networking and leadership roles she has with Animal Warriors.
Matt Ruszczyk put his Business Management degree to good work soon after graduating college, and became the owner/operator of a successful restaurant franchise of a national sandwich shop chain in Rochester, NY. His store was consistently a top producer and led his market in sales for 7 straight years. Switching gears in 1998, he sold his restaurant and moved to Tampa, Florida. Within a year he had obtained a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer certification. For the last 16 years he has been working for one of the largest flight simulation and training companies in the world, and is currently the Information Systems Security Manager. He spends his weekends volunteering as a keeper at one of the world’s largest big cat sanctuaries.
Jessica Allen brings a unique meld of assets to Animal Warriors with a background in both animal care and information systems. For over five years she led a dual life as software engineer and exotic animal keeper. Then she made the transition to working and volunteering full-time at one of the largest exotic big cat anctuaries in the world. She was the IT Manager and a volunteer coordinator, as well as serving on the fundraising committee in which she was instrumental in hosting the annual charity ball that netted over $100,000 each year. During this time she also worked closely with a local no-kill domestic animal rescue group helping with dog fostering, behavioral assessments, and adoption events.
Cathy Schroeder Neumann is a biologist that has worked in the medical and bio tech field for 23 years. She volunteered for 12 of these years at a large non profit sanctuary for big cats. She was integral in the management, development and education of the volunteer and international intern program. She sat on both the Board of Directors as Vice President and the volunteer committee for 11 of the 12 years. She helped oversee the animal hospital, medication and treatment of all animals at the sanctuary, including emergency surgeries. She assisted the operations manager on animal rescues, daily operations and fundraising. She has also helped at a small primate sanctuary in Florida for over 10 years. She has a strong background in science, management and education.