DIRECTOR OF OUTREACH
Jennifer manages the sanctuary’s education programs, grassroots advocacy campaigns, legislation & policy initiatives, and community engagement activities – all of which seek to raise awareness about the plight of captive big cats.
She has been active in the animal welfare community for nearly two decades from volunteering at her county’s municipal shelter and fostering to assisting various local and national animal welfare organizations with campaigns, fundraising, education, and legislative advocacy.
Jennifer has two undergraduate degrees and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of South Florida with a focus in public policy.
She frequently speaks to local civic and community groups about the sanctuary, issues of big cats in captivity, effective advocacy, and other related topics. Jennifer was a featured speaker at Jackson Galaxy’s Cat Camp 2018 in New York City, at the National Coalition On Violence Against Animals’ 2018 annual meeting in New Orleans, and a panelist for the Committee on Animals program during the New York Bar Association’s 2019 meeting.
Before joining the team at Big Cat Rescue, Jennifer had a career with the U.S. General Services Administration, operated her own pet care business, and worked as the Executive Director of a community-based environmental group. She’s also served on the board of two Tampa Bay area nonprofits and has successfully advocated for animal welfare at all levels of government.
In her free time, Jen continues her volunteer work advocating for local and state laws to improve the lives of animals. In 2018 she helped bring about a historic victory for greyhounds in Florida as the Tampa Grassroots Coordinator for the Protect Dogs Yes on 13 campaign to end dog racing. She also enjoys hiking, kayaking, traveling, and kicking back with her husband, friends and fur family.
My superpower is building relationships with unlikely allies. I can look past differences to find shared values that unify and motivate people. – Jennifer Leon
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