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Mutual Rescue Leadership

Mutual Rescue is a national animal-welfare initiative created in 2015 by Carol Novello and David Whitman under the umbrella of Humane Society Silicon Valley, one of the leading animal community centers in the United States. Mutual Rescue includes many people who give their time, expertise, energy, enthusiasm, ideas, connections, goodwill, financial support, and love to the initiative. To everyone involved, thank you!

Carol Novello

Carol Novello

Founder and Author

“Why are you helping animals when you could be helping people?” was a question Carol was asked when she transitioned from being a senior software executive at Intuit, Inc. to becoming president of Humane Society Silicon Valley. Her response was to create “Mutual Rescue,” a new national animal welfare initiative. Starting with authentic story-telling through short films to change the conversation from “people OR animals” to “people AND animals”, those films have been viewed more than 153 million times across various social media platforms around the globe. Their success led to Carol writing the book “Mutual Rescue: How Adopting a Homeless Animal Can Save You, Too” (Grand Central Publishing, April 2019). The book not only shares stories of transformation but also includes scientific research that validates for our heads what our hearts already know: adopting a homeless pet is as life-changing for the person as it is for the animal. Her vision for Mutual Rescue is to create national awareness of the transformative relationship between homeless animals and people that will drive engagement with local shelters and rescue groups across the country.

Today, Carol serves as Mutual Rescue’s founder and spokesperson and is also a Board Alumni Ambassador for Humane Society Silicon Valley where she served as President for nine years. Prior to that Carol held numerous executive positions over 20 years in the high-tech industry. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her bachelor’s degree in economics and English from Dickinson College. Her family includes several rescue animals.


Kurt Kurkenberg

Kurt Krukenberg


Kurt leads the Mutual Rescue initiative in his role as President of Humane Society Silicon Valley, where he is also a longtime Doggy Day Out volunteer. He is thrilled to lead a talented and passionate team that is committed to saving and enhancing the lives of people and animals. Previously, Kurt spent 20 years helping companies and nonprofit organizations create sustainable growth in a variety of operating and advisory roles. He received his MBA from Harvard Business School and his bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from Rice University. Kurt is eternally grateful to have been rescued by his wife Charu and their dogs.

David Whitman with dogs

David Whitman

Executive Producer

David Whitman harnesses the power of the arts to create transformative experiences, often with influences from afar. In Europe, Brazil, the West Indies, Florida, and California, he has had the privilege of collaborating with creative, luminous and legendary folks—affirming Maya Angelou’s observation, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” His broad interests derive from and lead to exploring the world through books, film, photography, tribal textiles, music, languages, travel, and frequent nature hikes with his basenji companions.


Doug Scott, Principal and Creative Director

Tectonic is an award-winning creative agency for change agents. Based in Chicago, they build brands and tell stories for nonprofits, causes, foundations, and social ventures they believe in. They refuse to accept the world as it is and have dedicated their lives to making it more as it should be. Tectonic’s first film for Mutual Rescue, “Eric & Peety,” was also its first to go viral—a joy to behold and perhaps also a good omen for the upcoming Mutual Rescue films.

Mutual Rescue Advisers

Tracy Randall, Legal Adviser

Tracy Randall’s practice at Fenwick & West concentrates on intellectual property counseling and structuring, drafting and negotiating commercial agreements with a focus on consumer and digital media products and services, including inbound and outbound technology license agreements, user generated content distribution agreements, terms of service agreements, online advertising agreements, sponsorship agreements and privacy and publicity rights agreements. Randall regularly advises clients on digital distribution business models (online, offline and mobile), e-commerce offerings, content clearance and copyright and DMCA issues. She also advises clients on the legal issues that arise when running sweepstakes, contests and promotions as well as assists clients with managing the risks associated with handling consumer information. She regularly advises clients on compliance with COPPA and CAN-SPAM and consumer privacy issues arising in mergers and acquisitions.

Marketing and PR Partners

Wasabi Publicity Inc.

Wasabi Publicity, founded in 2002, launches international campaigns leveraging innovative grassroots marketing and sophisticated public relations. The firm lives to launch conversations that make a difference and change the world. They have helped their clients be featured on CNN, NPR, Good Morning America, Forbes Magazine, Time, the Wall Street Journal and much more.

Drew Gerber (CEO) and Michelle Tennant (Chief Creative Officer) bring decades of marketing and media relations experience. Having represented Nobel Peace prize winners several times over, Wasabi has been, and continues to be, instrumental in managing the media attention garnered from the Eric & Peety film and in gaining coverage for the overall Mutual Rescue initiative.


46Mile is a marketing consultancy and full-service agency backed by Hearst Corporation offering fully integrated regional marketing and media solutions to brands in the San Francisco Bay Area. They work collaboratively with businesses to create and execute meaningful strategies to engage customers. 46Mile also offers the unique ability to distribute and amplify campaigns via world class technology platforms and inventory of Hearst media outlets worldwide. Their charter is to provide large regional brands with the level of service and marketing resources typically reserved for large national and global brands.

46Mile helped Mutual Rescue design and build its inaugural web site, transitioning the initiative from telling our stories through film to building our community online.

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