Nina Vassallo BA, MBA
Chairperson and Director
Nina is a semi-retired executive consultant in the property casualty industry.
Nina founded Chase Sanctuary in 2008 as a dog, cat and bird rescue. In 2014 fate delivered a very special brown Lemur to the sanctuary steps. This Lemur, Tracy, became the nexus of a direction change for the sanctuary. Today, Nina and the board have piloted the Sanctuary as it cares for over 30 Lemurs, nearly 20 monkeys and several other species including sloths, toucans, antelope…to name a few. For 2022 Nina and the board have focused the sanctuary on species preservation for critically endangered Ruffed Lemurs, Critically endangered Cotton Top Tamarins and on public education aimed to preserve species and ecosystems.
Monica Ross BS, MS
Sr. Research Scientist
Monica is a biologist and an animal behavior expert who has studied and engaged with animal behavior on a wide variety of animals. In her current position with Sea to Shore Alliances she studies and analyzes manatee behavior and participates in capture, release and rehabilitation efforts. Monica also worked at Disney as an animal trainer/keeper.
Here at the sanctuary Monica is an experienced voice of reason and a resource for optimal husbandry and operational processes.
Dr. Missy Williams, PHD
Missy is a scientist with a passion for animal welfare and conservation. She received her Ph.D. from Florida Atlantic University in Integrative Biology. She founded the Dania Beach Vervet Project while completing her dissertation when she realized that the monkeys were lacking welfare and conservation efforts. She believes that animals are individuals that express emotional and cognitive complexities, and are not dispensable objects. Missy prioritizes animal welfare in decision making as she considers it a moral duty to foster co-existence between humans and nature.
Ethan Plail BS, JD
Ethan is a chemical engineer and Patent attorney. As the youngest person on the board, Ethan oversees the sanctuary succession plan and will oversee the transition of operations should the current founders die or become incapacitated.
Ethan also provides advise on legal and operational issues.
Donna Vassallo BA, MA
A life long passionate animal lover, Donna is a retired Sergeant from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Donna oversaw a $53 million dollar expansion of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and retired as Sergeant in charge of central booking. At the sanctuary Donna oversees all projects and works side by side with Nina, the staff, the board and the volunteers. Since Donna joined the sanctuary in 2020 many improvements and enhancements have been completed. Her presence here fosters improvement and quality in all we do.
Kelly is a retired flight attendant and a lifelong animal advocate. Kelly represents the sanctuary in The Villages and has donated funds for some of The Sanctuary’s bigger projects.
Kelly often fosters young monkeys and lemurs when they first arrive at the sanctuary and has become very proficient at helping us integrate new arrivals into existing troops/colonies.
Webster, Fl 33597