By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — A longtime animal advocate and former employee at the Humane Society of Marathon County is now the organization’s new leader.

Lisa Held was named executive director of the HSMC on Tuesday, said Linda Berna-Karger, president of the HMSC board of directors. The organization’s previous director, Mary Kirlin, resigned May 23.

‘We see this as a great opportunity to move forward in our community,” Berna-Karger said.

Berna-Karger praised Held’s enthusiasm and fresh ideas and said she envisions the organization strengthening partnerships with other animal groups such as Lost Dogs of Wisconsin, which helps reunite lost animals with their owners, and the Community Cat Action Team, a nonprofit organization that is working to deal with the city’s feral cat population.

Held, 28, previously spent 10 years working at the shelter, most recently as shelter operations coordinator. She left the shelter six months ago to pursue a new job opportunity, but said she was happy to return in her new role.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the organization have a great community presence,” Held said.