Our Board


Alanna Tomlin, President

After visiting an animal sanctuary as a teenager, Alanna has carried the dream of starting a sanctuary and education center. She has been advocating for animals for over 25 years. She fought for the right to have an alternative to animal dissections in her high school and campaigned to improve vegan food options and end live animal labs at her college. Her past experience includes working at an animal shelter and veterinary hospital, coordinating events and volunteering for several nonprofit organizations, and serving on the board of directors for the Vegan Awareness Foundation for 10 years. Professionally, she has worked within the photography industry for 17 years. 

Liz Sussan, Vice President

Liz is the Manager and Co-owner of Richmond Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Self-Defense Academy, a successful martial arts business in Richmond, VA. She holds a Master of Social Work (MSW) with a specialty in nonprofit management.  She has been a member of the National Association of Social Workers-Virginia Board and has professional experience working in a nonprofit environment as a social worker, program manager, and fundraising consultant. Liz has been vegan for 20 years and has actively advocated for animals during that time. She has resided in Richmond, VA for 27 years and is committed to the successful establishment and management of the Porchlight Animal Sanctuary in her community.

Cara Frye, Secretary

Cara has been active in the animal rights movement for the past six years. She's worked for global nonprofits in Creative Manager and Program Coordinator roles where she's been responsible for modernizing the visual identity of various organizations through the creation of websites, logos, print publications and collateral, hundreds of shareable social media graphics, as well as photo-documentation. Her work has supported international campaigns and programs such as Vegan Action's Certified Vegan Program, Food Empowerment Project's Recommended Chocolate List, and Farm Animal Right's Movement's Animal Rights National Conference and World Day for Farmed Animals.

Julie Sutton, Treasurer


David Phinney has six years of experience working directly with animals who have been rescued from the agriculture industry. During that time, he coordinated and carried out the largest rescue of farmed animals in California's history. Having worked for sanctuaries across the country and acted as an advocate giving presentations to thousands of people he is excited to bring his advocacy and care experience back home to Richmond.

Kat Wilson

Kat is a Program Coordinator at Virginia Commonwealth University in the School of the Arts. Her educational background in social justice led to her passion for animal rights advocacy. Kat is always seeking new ways to engage in positive activism and she loves cooking inspiring vegan meals for family and friends. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to help create an animal sanctuary and community center in Central Virginia.