Laurelee Blanchard, Founder and President of Leilani Farm Sanctuary, and author of “Finding Paradise”, left 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 and moved from Orange County, California, to Haiku, Maui. There she acquired an eight-acre parcel of land, on which she created a farm sanctuary—a refuge where animals would be protected 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; it also offers tours and humane education to the general public.
Since the mid-90s, Ms. Blanchard has focused her attention on the protection of farm animals. She served as a pro- bono communications director for Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), a national non-profit that devotes its efforts to bringing to an end the practice of using living, sentient beings for food.
She also worked for three years as campaign consultant to Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s largest farm-animal protection organization. In 2010, Laurelee was hired as consultant to the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), specifically in its campaign to end the long-distance transport of live farm animals from the Mainland U.S. to Hawaii. She successfully negotiated with Foodland and Times Supermarket chains to implement policies against purchasing pork from pigs shipped to Hawaii, initially reducing the number of pigs transported and slaughtered by approximately seventy-five thousand per year, until the transport halted permanently
In 2012, Laurelee was presented the “Vegan of the Year in 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
Shelly Brown, Psy.D
After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, Shelly earned a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology and a Doctorate of Clinical Psychology, working in the social services field as advocate for animals and children.
Shelly has held program director positions at Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resources Centers, Aloha House Co-Occurring Disorders Program, and Maui Drug Court. She has also contracted as a Family Therapist for Family Court Drug Court and as Clinical Supervisor for the Ka Pu’uwai O Na Keiki Program at Maui Family Support Services.
Shelly has always had a passion for animals. She has been vegetarian since 1983, and vegan since 2002. In addition to serving on Leilani Farm Sanctuary’s Board of Directors, Shelly volunteers with Food Not Bombs serving vegan food.
Erin Pinto is a retired civil engineer who has been a volunteer and supporter of Leilani Farm Sanctuary for several years. She has been vegan since she had her eyes opened to the inherent cruelty of the meat, egg and dairy industry in 2005.
Erin has served as an elected representative in local government, and on the Board of a non-profit supporting small-scale, community-initiated international development. She volunteered for California’s Proposition 2, which enacted significant improvements in farm animal treatment, and she volunteers and advocates on measures to bring about sustainable farming of plant-based food on Maui. She is a passionate researcher and advocate for a vegan, whole food, plant-based lifestyle and completed a certificate in plant-based nutrition from Cornell University.
She believes that nearly all people care about animals and are interested in doing as little harm as possible. She seeks to show people how easy and delicious it is to do just that. Erin feels compelled to spread the urgent message of the need to avoid animal products for our health, the environment and animals.
She and her husband have fostered and/or adopted a number of animals in need over the years. They currently enjoy pampering several rescued bunnies.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Joy Karakas loves animals and good vegan food! She, her husband, and her brother moved from California to Maui to start a vegan food truck. They opened Aloha Joy Food Truck in November 2018. Their mission is to spread veganism by sharing delicious cruelty-free food to the community! When Joy is not in the kitchen, she is most likely spending time with her three dogs, practicing yoga, spending time in nature or napping.
Sarah Taylor has an MBA in Research Methodologies from Seattle University, as well as a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University. She was on faculty at the Nutritional Education Institute, where she worked as a Motivational Trainer for Joel Fuhrman, MD, the NY Times best-selling author of Eat to Live. Sarah has been a writer for Veg News magazine and Aloha Living magazine, and has been interviewed for numerous radio and internet shows, including NPR, PBS and EarthSave Radio. Her first book, Vegan in 30 Days, has sold thousands of copies and is printed in multiple languages around the world. Her second book, Vegetarian to Vegan, was included in the “Top 10 Vegan Cookbooks of 2014,” and is the new and increasingly respected ‘go-to’ book for vegetarians who want to give up dairy and eggs, and finally go vegan for good.
In her free time, Sarah is a ranked tennis player with the United States Tennis Association, and is the inventor of the Stackable Gourmet, as seen on the Home Shopping Network. She is happily married with many companion animals, and lives in Gig Harbor, WA.
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