Board of Directors

We are a small team that bears overall responsibility for planning and organizing pet events in our community.

We are all pet lovers who want to support animal rescues, and we realize that bringing other pet lovers together gives us the ability to raise funds and help find new homes for abandoned and abused animals.

We are a growing team, and we are looking for volunteers and community leaders who share our love for animals and want to do something to help.

Olga Wharton Newman

Director and Founder

Olga is a first-generation immigrant who came to this country with an American Dream. She earned two Bachelor’s degrees in Indiana and an MBA in Texas. She spent her 20’s successfully climbing the corporate ladder in Dallas in the consumer finance sector. Until she became a pet owner and needed a pet sitter for her own pets. And she saw so much potential in creating and scaling the concept, she decided to create a company of her own.

And that’s when she gave up her business suit and started DFW Pet Sitting Services, Inc. Over the past 20 years, she grew her little one-owner-operator company into a large corporation that now services over 10,000 pet owners in Dallas and employs over 200 pet sitters. She now runs and operates this company out of La Jolla.

She also developed proprietary software for her business that she runs alongside her company and licenses this software to other pet sitting companies. She is an entrepreneur at heart and channels her creative energy into businesses.

La Jolla Loves Pets Foundation was born after Olga ran a pet event for the Foundation of La Jolla High School. She enjoyed being around pet lovers so much that she decided to open a nonprofit to raise money for pet charities and bring more pet events to La Jolla.

The idea took off, and new traditions were born. The drive to keep going has been fueled by the support of our lovely community and fellow board members.

Her dream is to be the ongoing support for local pet rescues. And to get every pet owner in La Jolla to purchase a $300 banner to dedicate to their pets. We will hang those banners at every pet event for years to come. She hopes this becomes a tradition that helps pet rescues and creates a memory lane for our own pets. How cool would it be to see photos of our pets displayed at local pet events 20 or 30 or 50 years from now? And it’s all for charity. One can’t go wrong here.

Ron Jones

Board Member, Official Emcee of La Jolla Mutt Strut, La Jolla Dog-O-Ween, and La Jolla Santa Paws

Ron Jones has been the Emcee of ALL La Jolla Loves Pets Foundation events! He’s been our Lucky Charm and a cornerstone of every outing. His presence, music selections, and voice have become an integral part of our organization.

He is widely known in our community for hosting La Jolla Concerts by the Sea for years.

His most recent adventure is the creation of La Jolla Insiders where he shares his deep knowledge of everything La Jolla has to offer. In addition to knowing where to go and what to see, he is able to share a deeper understanding of La Jolla’s history and traditions, finding a deeper meaning in your experiences. Whether you are a tourist, a local, or a new resident, you will always find something you didn’t know about pretty much anything in La Jolla.

Lauren Kossy

Board Member, Director of Sales and Marketing

Lauren grew up in San Diego, living in Sunset Cliffs. She went to school in La Jolla, and this town has a very special place in her heart. Even as a child, she’s always had a love and passion for animals. She would do anything to help those in need.

Lauren holds a BS degree in biology with a minor in chemistry, and she spent her last 5 years working in software sales in the San Francisco / Lake Tahoe area.

When moving back to the San Diego area, it was a no-brainer to pick La Jolla to be her new home. She now lives in the Village with her dog named Sibo, a saintberdoodle (half Saint Bernard, half standard poodle). She loves him dearly, and one can often spot them on Girard taking a stroll or doing errands together.

Since day 1 of her return to La Jolla, she started networking with other pet lovers in the area. Her focus is on promoting underfunded shelters in Tijuana. She often travels back and forth transporting animals. She fosters dogs in her own apartment all the time. She also runs a dog rescue account on Instagram updating it with photos and descriptions of pets available for adoption.

Lauren joined our board with the hopes to use her sales and marketing skills to promote the Foundation and its events. She also runs our social media accounts and works closely with the Director to foster and deepen mutually beneficial relationships with local businesses in La Jolla. Her ultimate goal is to save as many neglected animals as possible. And she is dedicating her efforts to raise funds with us to improve facilities, purchase pet supplies, and cover medical procedures when pets need them. Animal shelters and rescues need all the help they can get. And Lauren’s vision is for us to be that helping hand when animals’ lives are at stake.

Rosie MacAuliffe

Board Member & Treasurer

Coming soon

Stacey Gubernator

Board Member & Secretary

Stacey lives in La Jolla with her husband, three children, and two dogs. Originally from Boston, she graduated college and moved to New York City where she had a successful career in public relations/marketing focusing on lifestyle and hospitality brands.

An animal lover her whole life, she adopted two dogs, Ziggy and Rosie, during COVID. Ziggy, a three-legged husky mix, and Rosie, a spunky terrier mix, have brought her family so much joy. She has a passion for animal rescue and hopes to open her own shelter one day.

Cody Decker

Board Member, Director of Collaboration with Local Merchants

Cody Decker owns a famous pet store in La Jolla: Decker’s Dog & Cat. Besides bringing the highest quality pet products to its customers, Cody is an active member of our community.

He’s been the President of the La Jolla Merchant Association in the past and is now actively involved in pet events in La Jolla. He’s been a naming partner and sponsor of each pet event held by the La Jolla Loves Pets Foundation.

Sonia Sharma

Board Member

Coming soon

Want to join our board?