Executive Director, Founder
Azure is many things: the founder of Ruff Start Rescue®, a dog mom, a sushi enthusiast, and a lover of learning and leadership. As the executive director, she oversees the overall progress of the rescue and works diligently to ensure its vision and mission are the organization’s core focus. She also oversees all departments and programs and researches effective and innovative ways to save the lives of animals in need.
Azure has been a passionate animal advocate for her whole life. She spent her childhood growing up on 50 acres and saving animals of all shapes and sizes, including cats, dogs, squirrels, raccoons, and birds. She officially stepped into the world of rescue by fostering for other organizations and helping wildlife sanctuaries before starting Ruff Start® in March 2010 when she was 23 years old.
Professionally, Azure has an associate’s degree from Anoka Ramsey Community College and a bachelor’s degree in business from Metropolitan State University. She holds certifications in many areas that directly impact her role as executive director, including education, leadership, and management. She is a firm believer in the importance of continuing education and consistently studies how to be a more effective leader, business owner, manager, and nonprofit professional for the betterment of the rescue.
Azure currently lives just down the road from her childhood home in Princeton, on a plot of land with an apple orchard in the backyard. She shares her home with her best friends: Emma, a pit bull; Lance, a terrier mix adopted from Ruff Start in 2014; and Hershey, a tabby cat. In the summertime, you can find her gardening, canning, camping, and kayaking. When the snow falls, she enjoys playing outside with her nieces and nephews, cooking, binge-watching, and volunteering for the rescue she once thought was a far-fetched dream.