Laurelee Blanchard, Founder and President of Leilani Farm Sanctuary, left behind a lucrative career as Senior Vice President at the national firm of Lee and Associates Commercial Real Estate Services to devote her life to animal protection and humane education. In 1999, she cashed out her life savings, moved from Orange County, California, to Haiku, Maui; and developed an 8-acre farm to save animals from neglect, abuse, and slaughter.
Leilani Farm Sanctuary, an all volunteer, non-profit organization, is now home to nearly three hundred rescued animals, including goats, chickens, rabbits, ducks, donkeys, geese, deer, cats, pigs, sheep, turkeys, guinea pigs, tortoises, and a cow. The Sanctuary provides educational programs for school groups and special needs visitors; and offers farm tours to the general public.
Since the mid-90s, Laurelee has worked for the protection of farm animals. She served as pro bono communications director for Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), a national non-profit organization that works to end the use of animals for food through public education and grassroots activism. She also dedicated three years as campaign consultant to Farm Sanctuary, the nation's largest farm animal protection organization. In 2010, Laurelee was hired as a consultant to the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) in its campaign to end the cruel long-distance transport of live farm animals from the Mainland U.S. to Hawaii for slaughter. She successfully negotiated with Foodland and Times supermarket chains to implement policies against purchasing pork from pigs shipped to Hawaii, thereby reducing the number of pigs transported and slaughtered by approximately 7,500 per year.
Laurelee served as Director of the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii on Maui for ten years, and was responsible for facilitating monthly lectures presented by highly credentialed speakers.
In 2012, Laurelee was presented the "Vegan of the Year - North America" commendation for her outstanding animal activist work, and in 2015, she received a national award and grant from the Godiva Company for embodying the attributes of Lady Godiva through selflessness, generosity, leadership and the spirit of giving back to the community.
Board of Directors
Vice-President of the board and Director of Programs, Melody Hofmann, brings to Leilani Farm Sanctuary, a background in counseling, social work, legal advocacy and activism on behalf of women, children, the disabled and victims of violence. Melody started her professional life in business, having earned an M.B.A. in Marketing from U.C. Berkeley. She was a long-time business owner and consultant. Melody returned to the university to earn a B.S. in Psychology, with a specialty in early childhood development. She is a certified behavioral health outpatient clinician, specializing in assessment and intensive case management of children and youth with serious health and life challenges. Melody deeply cares for animals and people and advocates the human-animal bond in the healing process.
Barry Sultanoff, M.D.
Barry Sultanoff, M.D, has been vegetarian since 1969 and vegan since 2007. He is a long-time advocate for animal rights. He earned his medical degree, with honors in research (public health), at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, with an undergraduate degree in chemistry (cum laude) from Cornell University. He has practiced as a psychiatrist and holistic family doctor, with emphasis upon nutrition and self-care, for four decades. Dr. Sultanoff is the co-author of Putting Out the Fire of Addiction (Keats, 2000) and was a columnist for many years with The Townsend Letter for Doctors. His active lifestyle includes long-distance running, daily ocean swimming, outrigger canoe paddling, and yoga Dr. Sultanoff hosts a popular radio show on Maui's Mana'o Hana Hou Radio, FM 91.7, and streaming worldwide at manaoradio.com . He is a prolific writer and published poet who teaches poetry classes on Maui as fundraisers for Leilani Farm Sanctuary.
David Raatz has been a vegan since 2004. A lawyer and former sports journalist, David has lived in Hawaii since 1993 after growing up and going to school in California. He's served a variety of roles with various nonprofit organizations on Maui, including as program director with Maui Economic Development Board, grant writer with Friends of the Maui Drug Court, community organizer with MoveOn, and volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Hawaiian Islands Land Trust. A committed animal advocate, David volunteers at SPCA Maui spay-neuter clinics, enjoys time with his rescued cats at home in Wailuku, and has been supporting Leilani Farm Sanctuary 2009.
Melinda L. P. Walker
Melinda serves as Chairman and Trustee of the EHW Broadbent Foundation. She also serves as Secretary and Director of Property Management for the Niu Pia Land Co., Ltd., a family owned company which owns and manages commercial properties in the state of Hawaii. Melinda happily volunteers regularly as a hoof trimmer for all Leilani Farm Sanctuary goats. She also volunteers for the Hawaii Theatre Stars and the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives in Honolulu. Having graduated from Punahou School, she holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Telecommunication from the University of Oregon as well as an active Real Estate license. Melinda lives in Kailua on the island of Oahu and enjoys yoga, hiking, and the beach.
Peter Dobias, DVM
Dr. Dobias is a holistic veterinarian whose outside interests include kite-boarding, travel, reading, yoga, healthy lifestyle, photography, skiing, and surfing. Born in the Czech Republic, the tradition of healing has been in his family for generations. His grandfather was an experienced herbalist and his father was a veterinarian. He spent most of his teenage and university years around horses, admiring them for their connection to nature, their strength, and their gentleness. He recognized the undeniable fact that animals have personalities, emotions, individual needs, and the ability to perceive the world around them on a deeper energetic and intuitive level.
In 1999, he established Healing Place, a holistic veterinary medicine center in North Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Dr. Dobias had become increasingly interested in exploring the connections between physical health and emotional well-being. He saw clearly that clients' well being played an important role in their animals' healing process. This realization sparked his interest in courses on human homeopathy, and he studied with some of the most progressive and prominent teachers in the world.
The next step in his evolution was marked by the recognition of the undeniable similarity of animals to the people with whom they live. After years of experience and observation, Dr. Dobias confirmed that animals mirror their guardians' emotions, personalities, and often share the nature and location of their physical diseases. This connection led Peter to establishing a modern holistic healing system that offers clients the opportunity to become directly involved in the treatment process.
A founding member of Animal Rights Hawai'i (1977) and current Director of Research and Investigations, Cathy's work focuses on ending a wide range of animal abuse in Hawai'i, on the mainland and internationally. Cathy was President of the Honolulu Zoological Society and currently serves as Hawai'i State Chair of Project Patriot of the Daughters of the American Revolution, which provides support for wounded soldiers.
Catherine has devoted 28 years to researching, teaching, and counseling about natural wellness, specializing in medicinal plants, nutrition, and spiritual well-being. She earned a Certificate of Nutritional Biochemistry in Micronutrients from the College of World Health and a Bachelor of Divinity. Catherine lives on Maui with her husband Dr. Steve Blake, two cats, and rescued chickens. She is also an active member of Vegetarian Society of Hawaii on Maui.
Christine Warren is a 35 year national presenter, transformational life coach and counselor who has devoted her life to the development of the human spirit and potential. A founding member of Kripalu Center, the nation's largest workshop center, she has been on the faculty of Esalen Institute, Omega Institute, Rowe Center, and auxiliary faculty of Long Island University, Lesley College, American Humanistic Psychology Conferences and other venues.
Christine's organizational vision background includes directing leadership, team building and vision retreats for the executive teams of Warner Brothers TV, ABC, CBS, and over 50 other corporate teams. She was the executive director of the Foxhollow Conscious Leadership Center and of New Resources for Growth, a Corporate Training company. She moved to Maui with her husband Kenn from their Santa Fe ranch last year and fell in love with the compassion and love for animals embodied at Leilani Sanctuary. Christine has a transformational life coaching practice in upcountry and is a painter and a singer in Maui Choral Arts. www.ChristineWarrenWorkshops.com
Lorri Houston is considered one of the "pioneers" of the farm animal sanctuary movement. In 1986, she opened the country's first shelter for farm animals as co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, at a time when rescuing and protecting farmed animals was unheard of. In 2005, Lorri Houston founded the nonprofit organization, Animal Acres, the Los Angeles Farm Animal Sanctuary and Compassionate Living Center.
Over the years, Lorri has directly saved thousands of animals from the cruelties of factory farming, and brought national attention to the plight of animals used for "food production". Her efforts have been the topic of numerous media new features (The New York Times, CBS This Morning, Wall Street Journal), documentaries, and books.