About Us – Our Staff and Board Members


Carey Bradshaw, Executive Director

Carey Bradshaw assumed the role of Executive Director for Therapy Dogs of Santa Barbara in 2023, following a nine-year tenure as a board member and volunteer. With a rich background in corporate management and organizational development through her business, Creative Butter, Bradshaw brings valuable expertise in program development, strategic planning, and community engagement. Her leadership is pivotal in broadening the organization’s influence and efficacy. Residing in Carpinteria, California with her family, Bradshaw remains an active therapy dog team volunteer alongside her Golden Retriever companion, Dandelion.

Karen Lee Stevens, Director of Wellness Programs

Karen Lee Stevens, the Founder and former Executive Director of Therapy Dogs of Santa Barbara, is a Santa Barbara native and has dedicated the past five years to teaching Mindfulness classes in local schools as part of the organization’s Pawsitive Minds program. Karen’s aim is to nurture self-awareness and emotional regulation skills in children, empowering them to navigate their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Through these teachings, Karen strives to cultivate empathy, kindness, and positive relationships, fostering a supportive and inclusive environment that nurtures social-emotional growth and encourages healthy communication among children. Karen continues to contribute as a volunteer with the organization, accompanied by her Chihuahua friend, Buffy.

Jody Williams, Development Coordinator

Residing in Solvang, Jody Williams brings a wealth of experience in nonprofits, event planning, social media, and marketing. Her background includes serving as the Assistant Director at The Elverhøj Museum in Solvang and currently holding the role of President & CEO of the Solvang School Education Foundation. With a deep-rooted passion for education and philanthropy, Jody brings and unwavering commitment to her role. Her affinity for dogs and the unique human-canine bond that positions them as our cherished companions further fuels her dedication. Jody is training her Labrador Retriever, Sunny, as a therapy dog.


Aja Forner, Board President

Aja Forner serves as the Development Coordinator at Girls Inc. in Carpinteria, leveraging her expertise in nonprofit management and a deep commitment to nurturing the connection between humans and animals. With a strong background in strategic planning and community engagement, Aja plays a pivotal role in expanding the impact and reach of Therapy Dogs of Santa Barbara’s programs and services. Residing in Carpinteria with her family, she is currently training her one-year-old Poodle, Scout, to become a therapy dog.

Karynsue Rose-Thomas, Board Treasurer

Karynsue Rose-Thomas, a retired LT Reparative Care Officer from the United States Navy, brings a wealth of experience in IT and Compliance Fields to the table. With a diverse background spanning both for-profit and nonprofit sectors, Karynsue possesses exceptional fundraising skills. Recently, she embarked on a new venture by opening Craλe Gelato Kofi Bar at the Ventura Harbor, creating a welcoming space for both humans and their furry companions. Karynsue resides in Ventura with her husband and two rescue pups, Grace and Gorgi.

Alexandra Benjamin, Board Secretary

Alexandra Benjamin, a Computer Analyst at the Santa Barbara Unified School District, has held the position of Board Secretary for the past six years, diligently maintaining accurate meeting minutes that encapsulate the discussions, decisions, and actions of our esteemed board members. With a keen attention to detail and exceptional organizational abilities, Alexandra fosters efficient communication and information sharing among our board and throughout our organization. Residing in Santa Barbara, she enjoys the company of her French bulldog, Winnie.

Kim Lieberman, Board Member

Kim Lieberman, a retired educator from the Chico Unified School District, has been a committed volunteer with our organization for the past decade. Throughout her involvement, she has consistently shown a steadfast commitment to fostering children’s literacy, mental health, wellness, and humane education in our community. Kim’s deep passion for supporting therapy animals and her unwavering dedication to community service perfectly align with the core values upheld by Therapy Dogs of Santa Barbara. Residing in Santa Barbara with her family, she actively volunteers alongside her Golden Retriever companion, Rogue.

Our Mission

To empower people to live more fulfilling lives through the human-animal bond.

Our Values


Empathy allows us to play a positive role in helping others become empowered to live more fulfilling lives and create a mission focused, dynamic organization for our board, staff, and volunteers. Our dedicated team members not only care about each other, we care deeply about the children and adults we serve in our community!


Our team believes in always being open, honest, and truthful in all our endeavors. Integrity is at the heart of everything we do and we are committed to building trust by saying what we mean, matching our behaviors to our words and taking responsibility for our actions.


Our staff and board of directors are dedicated to governing the organization with care and loyalty and doing our part to create a strong, vibrant community through our steadfast commitment to our constituents, our partners, and our donors.


We know and understand our mission, vision, direction, and decisions and we freely share that information on our website and on financial reporting websites such as Guidestar.com.