• Who We Are:

    Meet the: Founders, Board Members, Trustees, and Honorary Members of Animal Welfare Karpathos

    Our Board of Directors comprises of individuals from around the globe and a wide variety of backgrounds - what we all have in common is a passion for saving animals and improving animal welfare on Karpathos

    broken image

    Dr. Anna Katogirtis, DVM

    Founder and VP

    Dr. Anna Katogiritis (Άννα Κατωγυρίτη) is a Greek- American veterinarian who was born in Athens (Greece) and raised on Karpathos island for the first years of her life. It was while observing the lives of strays on Karpathos that she set her dream of becoming a veterinarian in motion. She studied veterinary medicine at the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (USA) after completing her bachelor's in Molecular Biology at the University of Crete (Greece). She has volunteered in numerous countries assisting both domestic and wild animals.


    Anna is the only Greek veterinarian who has collaborated with the renowned primatologist and UN Messenger of Peace, Dr. Jane Goodall, and as part of her collaboration with the Jane Goodall Institute, she founded Dr. Goodall’s official office in Greece in 2016. Anna directed Jane Goodall’s R&S Greece pro bono and led Dr. Goodall’s successful tours in the country in 2016 and 2018.


    Anna initiated the process for the creation of Animal Welfare Karpathos in 2018 and led the founding of AWK in 2020.


    You can find out more about her work here: www.doctorannak.com

    broken image

    Sophia Hiras-Micros MSW​

    Co-Founder & President

    Sophia is a Greek-American, who has been living in Athens since 1999. She received her Master's degree in social work from Columbia University.


    Through the years, she has worked in many settings as a social worker, including “The Health and Welfare Council of Bergen County”, various hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and nonprofit agencies. In Greece, she was the director of the social service department, for a United Nations program, at the “Greek Council for Refugees”. Sophia‘s free time was always dedicated to volunteer projects, fundraising, event coordinating, for various causes, which also included animal welfare. She is an active member in many organizations including the “American Women’s Organization of Greece”, “Make a Wish”, the “Womens Charity Group”, “Omonoia Attikis”, and the founder of the annual “Trunk or Treating” of Athens.


    Being of Karpathian descent, Sophia spent her summers on the island, often rescuing and fostering cats and dogs, something which she continues to do today, along with her two daughters and husband.

    broken image

    Dr. Luisa Ricaldone

    Co-Founder & Treasurer

    Dr. Luisa Ricaldone holds a doctorate in Pharmacy in Milano and owns a pharmacy in Italy.

    After traveling all around the world she arrived in Karpathos for a vacation and she fell in love with the island. Close to being retired she decided to come to live here forever.

    She began taking care of animals in Karpathos starting in 2019. She assisted in giving food to street animals, fostering, promoting adoptions, and vet care
    seeing the bad situation of the street animals on the island. Luisa does not only volunteer actively for Animal Welfare Karpathos, but she has also supported the organization financially through her generous donations.

    broken image

    Haidee Pittas

    Co-Founder & Secretary

    Haidee is a passionate Greek-American animal activist from Arkasa, Karpathos.


    She was born in the USA and has lived most of her life in Greece.


    She holds a bachelor's degree in Communications, emphasizing in public relations, from the American College of Greece - DEREE.


    Haidee has been advocating for animals wherever she is, especially on the island of Karpathos, from a young age. She has been actively involved in the adoption process of many strays from Karpathos such as, covering for their medical expenses, finding their forever homes in Greece and abroad and making sure they are transported safely to their destination.

    broken image

    Maria Pavlakos

    Treasurer and Local Board Member (2020- present)


    Maria is a Greek-American who was born and raised in the United States and has been living year-round on Karpathos island since 2001.She completed a vocational high school in the field of hairstyling while in the US, which was her passion. During her years spent in the United States she was always involved in volunteering programs such as the “Be an Angel” project; a program dedicated to visiting nursing homes where volunteers spend time with the elderly.


    She has always loved animals and loves to pamper them or nurse them to health. Among her many skills is a “knack for arts and crafts” as she often says.She makes wonderful cakes, accessories and various handmade decorations for birthdays, weddings and special occasions for her friends.


    Ever since returning from the United States, Maria has been keen on helping the stray cats and dogs of the island either by feeding, rescuing or fostering them.

    broken image

    Georgia Pakaki

    Local Board Member (2022- present)


    Georgia Pakaki was born in Rhodes but was raised on Karpathos island Greece where she currently resides. She obtained a degree in tourism management and has also studied culinary arts. Both of her parents are originally from Karpathos island. Georgia credits her love for animals to her parents who are both animal lovers. She was unanimously elected to serve on the board of Animal Welfare Karpathos in July 2022 after showing dedication to AWK's mission and having volunteered numerous hours.

    broken image

    Maria Loizou-Ioannidi

    Local Board Member (2021- present)


    Born in Chicago (USA), Maria is a Greek-American, both of which of her parents were from Karpathos. She moved to Athens in 1988 where she studied Interior Architecture and Design at the Technological Institute of Athens. She later moved to Karpathos in 1994. Maria is married to Michalis Ioannidis (past mayor of Karpathos island) and is a proud mother of three ( Anna, Giorgo, and Micheal Angelo). Early on in her carrier, she worked as an Art Teacher in elementary, high school, and the special High School for adults of Karpathos island from 2005 - 2011. Maria is presently the owner and heart of of Althea Boutique Hotel, while at the same time, she works as a freelance Interior Decorator.


    Maria is known for her big heart and her volunteer activity on the island. She has always been very touched by the condition of the strays of Karpathos and constantly seeks ways to help them. In 1997, she was in the first-ever group of people that got together to help the strays and form the first association for animals on the island. Maria has not only been a generous donor of Animal Welfare Karpathos but has also fostered numerous kittens and puppies. She was unanimously elected to serve on the board of Animal Welfare Karpathos in 2021. Among the volunteers, she focuses her fostering on newborn kittens and she has had great success in raising them!

    broken image

    Sofianna Piliari

    Local Board Member (2022- present)

    Sofianna is from Arkasa, Karpathos, and is a very big animal lover and activist. She has been of big help behind the scenes for the last few years until she decided to officially join Animal Welfare Karpathos this past summer of 2022. 


    Sofianna has been very helpful with short-term fostering and animal transportation. She has also assisted our board members over the years with many rescue cases and emergency veterinarian needs. 


    Sofianna holds a degree in Hospitality Management and web design and is a permanent resident of Karpathos. This means that she has a very big sensitivity for animal welfare on the island and will be of immense help to the future of our team!


  • Trustees

    Trustees are responsible for securing the financial transparency of the organisation, while at the same time offering their wisdom and help to expand the work of Animal Welfare Karpathos.

    broken image

    Yvonne Deutch

    Founding board member and Trustee (2020- present)

    Born in Wales, Yvonne studied literature at the Universities of Exeter (BA) and at Kansas, Lawrence (MA). She has been a commissioning editor and author since the 1970s, specializing in non-fiction illustrated books.


    She has also authored a pop-up animals book for children called Animals Everywhere! As an annual summer visitor to Kárpathos for many years, she has been especially aware of the plight of the island’s strays, and is working with Animal Welfare Kárpathos to make life significantly better for them.

    broken image

    Evie Moreno, Esq

    Founding board member, Trustee (2020-present)

    Evie is a Greek-American attorney working in the United States where she has practiced for several years. Evie holds a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Pittsburgh, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, and completed studies both in the United States and in Italy.


    In her spare time, Evie has organized several fundraisers for charitable organizations and is devoted to her communities both in Pittsburgh and in Karpathos, and spends most summers in Aperi with her family.


    Evie’s commitment to animals began in Karpathos when at a very young age she began fostering kittens and finding them forever homes. She has remained an animal rights advocate and continues to use her voice to assist the animals of Karpathos.

    broken image

    Deanne Alexander

    Trustee (2022- present)

    When Deanne is not rescuing animals she is making wonderful creations (be it paintings, soaps etc) and vice versa. Deanne Alexander resides in Illinois (USA) and visits Karpathos island annually for several months at a time. At her village, Pylles, Deanne feeds dozens of cats and sponsors their feeding throughout the winter months as well. A family of animal lovers, the Alexanders have adopted many cats from Karpathos and have all volunteered numerous hours for Animal Welfare Karpathos.

    Deanne owns and operates the Sweet Thyme Soaps shop through which she has also created a special soap in an effort to fundraise for Animal Welfare Karpathos. She brings positive and creative energy to the AWK board and always has fantastic fundraising ideas which she passionately sets in motion as well.

    broken image

    Elias Zervudakis

    Trustee (2022- present)

    Elias is a Greek-German living in Cologne, Germany with his American wife and their sweet but gluttonous cat, Temmie. He works as an IT management consultant for a multinational company, holding a master's degree in Web and Data Science and a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the University of Koblenz in Germany. He also completed studies at both the Athens University of Economics and Business and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in Greece. 


    With family on Karpathos, Elias visits the island every year and takes care of the strays in his part of town. AWK caught his attention during the spay/neuter program of 2021 during which he spent his time catching strays in Pigadia.


    Elias has always valued volunteering for various organizations and causes. He is currently a legal guardian for people with disabilities and a member of multiple NGOs concerned with IT policy. In the past, he represented thousands of students as an elected member of his university's governing body, and actively volunteered in his hometown's local politics and various church activities and camps.

    broken image

    Joyce Katogiriti

    Trustee (2022- present)

    Zoe grew up on Karpathos island, where she learned to love and respect nature and appreciate its beauty. While traveling around the world, she dedicated her time and energy to working and volunteering for various humanitarian projects with several NGOs. She has been an advocate in support of vulnerable children, survivors of sexual assault, and refugees. Every time she returns to Karpathos she often rescues and fosters strays, as there is always a need for help on the island.

  • Honorary Members


    broken image

    Dr. Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, UN Messenger of Peace

    Honorary Board Member

    Dr. Jane Goodall is the famed primatologist and UN Messenger of Peace whose scientific discoveries in the 1960's redefined the human kind and the way we perceive animals.


    Dr. Jane Goodall founded the Jane Goodall Institute through which she has been able to promote the conservation of chimpanzees, a critically endangered species. In addition, she developed the free and international educational program Roots & Shoots, whose goal is to inspire kids and young people to take positive actions for animals, humans and the environment. The program is being implemented in over 60 countries (including Greece) and has over 200.000 young active members.


    Dr. Goodall has received many honours for her environmental and humanitarian work, as well as others. She was named a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in an Investiture held in Buckingham Palace in 2004. In April 2002, Secretary-General Kofi Annan named Goodall a United Nations Messenger of Peace. Her other honours include the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, the French Legion of Honor, Medal of Tanzania, Japan's prestigious Kyoto Prize, the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science, the Gandhi-King Award for Nonviolence and the Spanish Prince of Asturias Awards, to name a few.


    In her 80's Dr. Jane Goodall continues to travel the world 300 days a year in an effort to bring hope in people's lives and inspire and empower all of us to improve our communities through positive projects. An avid animal advocate, she has brought significant legislative changes in many countries for the improvement of animal welfare.


    Dr. Goodall has visited Greece three times and has had two successful tours in 2016 and 2018. She has seen first hand the number of strays in all the locations where she traveled and has publicly encouraged the Greek government to take action for the improvement of animal welfare in the country.

    broken image

    Alf B. Meier

    Honorary Board Member

    Alf was born in Germany, but considers himself a Global Citizen.


    Alf started as a veterinary assistant in the Animal Welfare Clinic of Animal Friends- Karpathos, from the founding of the association in 2002 until 2005.


    Following that, he became the Veterinary Services Supervisor for AWK from 2005 until 2016 when he moved to the US.


    His contributions to animal welfare on Karpathos island are too many to list, as he had a pivotal role in expanding the work of the Animal Welfare Clinic.


    He studied psychology and sciences at the Santiago de Compostela (Spain) and successfully completed his bachelor’s degree in special education through the EOI (Madrid, Spain).


    Following his studies, he held various positions such as: press photographer, art critic and writer.


    Alf currently lives in Iowa, USA with his wonderful wife Roberta Jacobson and all of the Karpathian dogs and cats that they rescued while on the island.

    broken image

    Jeanny Hartog-Brinkman

    Honorary Board Member

    Jeanne is from the Netherlands and spent much of her life around animals. She lives in the Netherlands and worked for the Dutch Animal Protection Association for 12 years.


    She also worked for Stichting Dierenthuis, a large shelter in the Netherlands.


    Her and her family started visiting Karpathos in 1998. Starting in 2013, she has dedicated her spare time to rescuing stray Karpathian animals and finding forever homes in the Netherlands and other places throughout Europe!

    broken image

    Vena Kamaratos

    Honorary Board Member



    Vena is a Greek-Australian who was born in Sydney, Australia, and currently resides in Pyles village of Karpathos.

    Her parents are both from Karpathos and used to own a family restaurant business in Australia from 1958 to end of 2014. Through the years, Vena spent long periods of time living on the island of Karpathos. She graduated the early grades of her schooling in Australia and later finished high school in Athens, Greece. She then continued her studies in Australia, where she received a Microcomputing Support Certificate and a Health Fitness and Sports Training Certificate at the Western Institute of TAFE Australia. When she came back to Greece she worked at the local Gym for the Municipality of Karpathos for several years, before she decided to focus her time on her family and more specifically her three beautiful daughters (triplets!).

    Ms. Kamaratos has always shown a demonstrated interest in helping her community from a very young age, no matter where she is in the world.


    Between 1987-1989 and 1997-2005 she served as the president of the Women’s club of Pyles. After moving to Karpathos permanently to care for her family and her beloved father, she was elected President of Pyles village. Through this position she fights daily for the rights of citizens (both animals and humans) of the village and represents them in meetings held at the municipality.

    Vena is not new to animal welfare concepts or actions. She was one of the very first members of the very first association for the protection of animals in Karpathos, which was formed in 2002. She participated actively in the selection of the name and the creation of promotional material. In addition, she has spent time trapping strays for the numerous sterilization campaigns that have happened over the years and has saved many newborn strays that were found abandoned in her path. Just last year alone she was able to trap 60 cats from Pyles, who were spayed/neutered through the municipality’s sterilization campaign program. A true animal advocate, Vena was nominated and elected to be part of the honorary board of AWK due to her exceptional work and consistent dedication to animal welfare throughout Karpathos.

  • Emeritus Board Members

    broken image

    Alex Desmond

    Served as trustee and board member 2020-2021

    Alex is a Greek-American with a diversified professional background in Human Resources ( HR), Legal, Compliance, Operational Project Management, and Change Management.


    She completed her Bachelors Degree in Liberal Studies and Graduate Certification in Political Science at the University of South Florida.

    Since a young age, her passion has been animals, whether with her family in Arkasa, Karpathos or in Florida. She has helped fundraise for many philanthropic organizations and interned for the Sierra Club of Florida in St. Petersburg, FL and the Cetacean Research Institute in Athens, Greece while in college.


    Alex helped build and maintain the Animal Welfare Karpathos website and assisted with social media from 2019-2021.


    You can find out more about her work here: www.metronariston.me

    Angeliki Frangos

    Served as trustee and board member 2020-2022


  • Connect with Us