Lauren Nickerson Named CEO of HIHS

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The Hawai‘i Island Humane Society (HIHS) Board of Directors has named its current Chief Operations Officer Lauren Nickerson as Chief Executive Officer.

Nickerson was hired in January 2019 and served previously as Community Programs Director and Chief Operating Officer for Hawai‘i Island Humane Society before being named CEO. She graduated from the University of Hawai‘i Mānoa with honors and holds a master’s degree in Education from Harvard University.

“Lauren’s education and expertise in shelter operations, coupled with her knowledge and experience, has made her the ideal candidate for this position. No one is more dedicated to the Hawai‘i Island Humane Society’s mission and success of our operation than Lauren,” said HIHS President Adam Atwood.

Nickerson first became involved with the HIHS in 2016 when she and her husband adopted a blind and deaf dog named Pearl. Nickerson volunteered her time to help with fundraising for HIHS through photography and by utilizing an Instagram account for her newly adopted canine. She has used social media to educate, advocate and give back and has raised thousands of dollars for the HIHS and other organizations.


“I’m excited about the progress we’ve made at the Hawai‘i Island Humane Society. We’re utilizing modern, science-based training techniques to help shelter animals thrive. We’re making great strides and I’m happy to report that the Hawai‘i Island Humane Society has an Average Live Release rate of 95%,” said Lauren Nickerson.

Nickerson replaces interim CEO Dr. Elizabeth “Beth” Jose who remains as the organization’s West Hawai‘i Veterinarian. Jose has served on an interim basis as CEO since 2019 while simultaneously serving as the Veterinarian for the HIHS’s Animal Community Center in Kona and the Mobile Spay & Neuter ‘Waggin.

“We appreciate Dr. Beth’s contributions and commitment to the HIHS mission. We are indeed thankful that Dr. Beth will lead our organization’s efforts the now under construction 10,000 square foot Anne Barasch Ryan Animal Hospital on our campus in Kona,” Atwood stated.


Nickerson said HIHS is currently bringing in volunteers and making plans to open both the Kea‘au Shelter and the Animal Community Center in Kona after being shuttered for over a year due to the pandemic.

“We remain steadfast and committed to our mission to prevent cruelty to animals, eliminate pet overpopulation and enhance the bond between humans and animals and look forward to working with our island community to accomplish these goals,” Nickerson added.

HIHS also announced the appointment of Alyssa Tabert into a new role as Director of Lifesaving Operations. Nickerson said Tabert has a history of volunteering with various rescue organizations in Washington and Oregon and has been volunteering and fostering at HIHS since 2018.


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