Meet the advocates behind our organization!

Staff members

Executive Director – Alexis Robertson

Alexis started her journey in animal welfare when she began volunteering in shelters over 15 years ago. She worked in rescues and animal hospitals through college until graduating from Grand Valley State University with a degree in Public and Nonprofit Administration. She became our Executive Director in 2016 and leads our organization passionately and strategically. She is newly married and has a rescue hobby farm that’s been growing year after year.


Shelter Manager – Velvet Lyght

Velvet is the shelter manager of Big Lake Humane Society.  She joined the organization in December of 2018, as a volunteer and foster.  Her passion for animal welfare found a place with us to grow, and her time is dedicated to finding homes for the animals that come into our care.


Clinic Manager – Leah Wetmore

Leah joined Big Lake Community Clinic shortly after its acquisition. She’s worked in animal hospitals before and feels a calling to help animals in need. She has been instrumental in structuring our programs and helping grow our services. She has 2 kids and 3 rescue dogs. Her favorite breed is anything pitty mixed.


Board members

Board President – Chelsea Kirksey

Chelsea was introduced to the organization in 2019 as a volunteer. She became an adopter soon after, and most recently joined the board of directors. She has a BFA in Art Education and a background working in non-profit management. She currently works in community relations and organization administrative support for HealthWest, Muskegon County’s Community Mental Health. She is passionate about community education, public engagement, and animals of all types.

Board Vice President – Matt Driesenga 

Matt first joined the Humane Society and Animal Rescue of Muskegon as a volunteer in July of 2012, and then later joined the Board of Directors in April 2018 serving as Treasurer until September of 2022 when he became Vice President. He is a Certified Management Accountant with a demonstrated history working in a variety of industries specializing in Cost Accounting, Budget and Forecast development.  Matt has three rescue cats all from the Big Lake Humane Society.

Board Secretary – Barb Rickard

Barb Rickard has been an active volunteer at the Muskegon Humane Society (MHS) for eight years and currently serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors. Barb enjoys volunteering with the dogs at the shelter weekly and assisting with various fundraisers to help raise money for the shelter. She also works part-time as a freelance writer and editor, using her writing and communication skills in her current board position. Barb has served on numerous boards and committees in the Grand Haven area, including nine years on the Grand Haven Schools Foundation. Her passion and love for dogs led her to take on a more active role in our organization during the past few years. Barb lives in Grand Haven with her husband Dave and their dog Teva. When she’s not volunteering or working, Barb enjoys playing pickleball and spending time with her three grown children and her granddaughter.

Board Treasurer – Zach Westendorp 

Zach joined the Board of Directors as Treasurer in Spring, 2022. He has a degree in Accounting & Philosophy from Western Michigan University and works as an Auditor for SpartanNash. Zach has professional experience in non-profit auditing, state & local taxation, and book keeping. Zach was inspired to join the shelter by his father’s village council position and his mother’s love for animals. In his free time he enjoys trying new food, riding motorcycles, and buying his dog new sweaters.

Board Member – Hilary Brown

Hilary’s journey with Big Lake Humane Society began as an employee in May of 2022. She worked directly with our sheltered animals on the Kennel Care Team and assisted in the office with processing applications, record keeping, counseling potential adopters, and providing community resources. Hilary continues her dedication to our mission through her volunteer work and as a newly elected board member. Hilary graduated from GVSU with a B.S. in Biology and currently works at a local veterinary hospital. As a board member, Hilary strives to encompass her passion for animal welfare through community outreach, education, and by promoting the animals sheltered at Big Lake Humane Society. Hilary resides in Montague, MI with her husband, Kyle, and their furkids, Manny, Jetta, Lazluna, and Gitchee.