Vicky has been working with animals for over 35 years. She first started with Afghan Hounds as a breeder and handler at dog shows. At the age of 20 she started her own grooming business and groomed dogs for 27 years. In addition to working with domestic dogs and cats, she has also worked horses for pole bending and barrel racing for playday activities. In 1990, while working as a veterinary technician, Vicky rescued her first cougar that was abandoned at the vet clinic where she worked. Eight years and two cats later, Vicky founded In-Sync Exotics and opened her door and her heart to many unwanted exotic cats. Vicky lives with her husband, over 50 exotic cats, a coatimundi, two lemurs, two horses, a dog and a whole bunch of house cats. Vicky’s son Justin has been a great help with the cats since he was 10.
Eddie Keahey – Vice President
Eddie owned and operated his own air-conditioning business and had just started his own pipe fencing business when he met Vicky. Since then he has worked with all aspects of electrical, mechanical, plumbing, construction and welding here at In-Sync. Eddie spent a year in Baghdad working as a civilian to install and repair air-conditioning units for the troops that were stationed at the palace. Much of the money he earned while he was there went towards the care of the cats of In-Sync. He now works as a conductor for the Kansas City Southern Railroad while still heading up the construction that goes on at In-Sync. In what little spare time Eddie has, he loves to sail.
Helen Truman – Secretary
Helen joined the In-Sync family in 2007 as a volunteer to clean enclosures. She is a former feeder and has been the Board Secretary for several years. Besides her duties as Secretary she is also Enrichment Coordinator and Kids 4 Cats Coordinator. Helen retired January 2016 after 25 years with Exxon Mobil Corporation as Sr. Staff Assistant in the Treasurers Department. She now spends time with her family which includes 4 beautiful granddaughters, two rescued house cats and several feral cats. She is also a member of the IACUC committee.
Parul Patel – Treasurer
Parul has been volunteering with In-Sync since 2009, she first visited In-Sync with her sister and nephews and loved the work that was being done and fell in love with the cats. She is a vegetarian, as her love for animals runs deep. Parul works full time as a financial accountant in the corporate world. She spends at most Saturdays at In-Sync feeding or cleaning enclosures. She has a son and a husband who are now also volunteers. They enjoy hiking, travelling, and cooking. She also has a dog named Pagani who is spoiled beyond words.
Stephen Austin – Construction & Site Planning
Stephen volunteered to help build our leopard enclosure in 2006 and has been an integral part of our construction team ever since. He works closely with Eddie in all aspects of construction and maintenance. Stephen earns his living as a Building Engineer and has also volunteered his construction talents with other charitable organizations. He and his son Stephen, who are also volunteers at In-Sync, live in Wylie with their dog and 4 cats…all rescues.
Marianne Collins – Donor Relations
Marianne discovered In-Sync Exotics in 2009 when her sister sent her an article about the sanctuary that she didn’t know was so close to home. Marianne fell in love with the place after her first visit and became a semi-regular visitor and donor. After attending her first Visitor Campout in 2016, she started volunteering as a Project Volunteer. She joined the Board as the Donor Relations Coordinator in the Spring of 2023. She can’t quite pick a “favorite” exotic cat, but she sponsors Cincinnati and Lily (isn’t Cinci everyone’s favorite?). Marianne embraces the crazy cat lady within – she has five of her own cats and also volunteers (and fosters) with a domestic cat rescue in Garland. To support her volunteer passions, she works as a Business Intelligence manager in Dallas. Her biggest hobby is sewing, including making bags, pillows, and quilts.
Angela Culver – Media
Angela has loved animals for as long as she can remember, and at age six she decided she wanted to be a zoologist just like her uncle. She is currently pursuing her degree in Wildlife Biology while working full time. Angela had been working with birds of prey when she spotted a flyer for In-Sync’s Big Cat Birthday Bash in the summer of 2010. She went out for a visit, and was soon volunteering. Besides working with the cats and all of the amazing people at In-Sync, she loves talking with the visitors, educating them about the cats as well as their wild cousins. Angela lives with her fiance, Jedi, and their four cats, all rescues. In her free time, Angela loves hiking, camping, spending time with friends, and working on indie films.
Michelle Allen – Events Coordinator
Michelle has always had a love for wildlife, especially cats. In the spring of 2019 a project volunteer told her about In-Sync, after her first visit, she was in love. Having just finished home schooling her youngest son, she needed something to do and In-Sync has been the perfect fit. She cleans enclosures, works in the commissary and visitor center, she is also on the feeding team. She calls In-Sync her “happy place”. She has really enjoyed getting to know all these amazing cats & the people are pretty awesome too!!
Michelle & her husband Chip have been married 25 years, they have 2 grown sons & 4 fur babies. She loves to read, garden, bird watching and antiquing with her mom.
Laura Czekala– Education
Laura grew up in Illinois and moved to Texas in 2021 to be closer to her sisters. In
2022, Laura retired from her 32-year career as a senior executive in a financial services
organization serving global consumer package goods manufacturers and retailers.
Prior to moving to Texas, she volunteered for 10 years at a domestic cat sanctuary. Her
passion for animals, especially cats, led her to In-Sync Exotics where she currently
serves as Director of Education. In this role, she assists in communicating In-Sync’s
mission and the realities of irresponsible and/or illegal exotic wild animal ownership. By
participating in local events through our outreach program as well as working with an
amazing team of experienced volunteers offering guided tours, she hopes to educate
people of all ages on the work we do, and the amazing animals in our care.
Outside of volunteering, Laura’s passion for animals, curiosity and adventurous spirit
have taken her around the world to see and photograph wildlife. She and her partner
Joe share their home with four sweet, senior kitties.
Lakshmi Nathan – Animal Health
Lakshmi has been with In-Sync Exotics for 15 years. She has served on the board previously as Director of Education but took a break after serving for 5 years. She took up the mantle of Director of Animal Health mid-summer of 2021. She assists with veterinary procedures when work permits, as well as maintaining veterinary records, and acts as a liaison between board, keepers and veterinary staff. She was introduced to In-Sync when she moved to Wylie in 2007. The Wylie Connections magazine front cover featured Java, a rainbow bridge black leopard, and she felt “it” in her bones. She started off preparing dinner in 2008 and has since participated in most aspects of care at the facility. She is a speech language pathologist with 15 years experience working in health care in different setting (hospital, home health, skilled nursing) and mom to two dogs and two cats. She insists everyday there is no better tiger than Jafar in the entire universe.
Stephanie Floyd- Grants
Stephanie began volunteering for In-Sync in 2017. After several years as an animal care volunteer and feeder, she relocated to San Antonio, Texas, and remained a volunteer through social media support. When the opportunity arose to join the board of directors, she gladly took it to stay better connected to the organization and the cats. A cat person since a young age, Stephanie enjoys supporting these amazing creatures, even from afar. Her day job is in marketing, and she shares her at-home desk with her cat, Nemo.
Andrea Torina – Curator
Andrea first came to In-Sync as a volunteer in 2009. We knew in the first four months that Andrea was going to be a great asset to In-Sync. Andrea used to volunteer with the Kids wheelchair Basketball as a coaching assistant. She has always loved working with her own cats and wanted someday to work with and learn all she could about big cats. Andrea learned very quickly and showed that she could be very dependable. In 2012 we were able to hire Andrea as a keeper and we are very fortunate to have her on our staff. Andrea loves to read and feels it’s one of the best ways of learning about the cats she now cares for. She also likes to make jewelry and can play three instruments. Andrea wants to someday work with the big cats in Africa; for now we hope, she is here to stay!
Megan Beard– Lead Keeper
From Kentucky, Megan graduated from Murray State University in 2019 with a degree in Wildlife and Conservation Biology and a track in Zoological Conservation. She has done two summer internships at Second Chances Wildlife Center in Louisville, KY where she worked with native wildlife to rehabilitate them to return to the wild. She came to In-Sync in February 2020 as an intern and stayed for six months. Ever since she was young, it has been a dream of hers to work with big cats so when given the incredible opportunity to intern and then work here, it was an easy yes. It is the experience of lifetime and she hopes to learn more about these amazing animals. When she’s not at the sanctuary, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, and being outdoors.
Liz Blackwelder- Keeper
Liz graduated from Unity College in 2021 with a bachelor’s in Captive Wildlife Care. She always knew she wanted to work with animals, but wasn’t quite sure exactly where that would lead her. Liz completed her first internship at Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary in Missouri, where she discovered her passion for working with exotic cats. This led her to another an internship at Tiger World in North Carolina to gain more experience working with cats, and to work with some other species to expand her knowledge on animal care. After that internship, she started looking for a job in the field, and found her dream job at In Sync Exotics. She has been working here since November 2021, and is now a part time lead keeper. When Liz is not at work, she spend her time with her boyfriend and their cat watching movies and reading.