Board of Directors
Julie Weiss Murad
Founder and President; Parrot Behavior Consultant
Julie Weiss Murad is founder and president of The Gabriel Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation established in 1996. Headquartered in Colorado, TGF is dedicated to educating the public about the complex needs of Psittacine birds. The Gabriel Foundation is a 501(C)(3) avicultural and veterinary affiliated non-profit parrot welfare organization licensed by the State of Colorado, whose mission and purpose is to provide safe sanctuary and care for parrots in need, match extraordinary birds with caring adopters, and to inspire and encourage all to responsibly improve the lives of companion parrots. Involved with parrots since she was eight years old, Julie’s vision for The Gabriel Foundation has been shaped over many decades with a global influence. She has dedicated her energy and resources to include parrot welfare as an integral part of animal sheltering, veterinary medicine, companion parrot care, and awareness of the parrot/human for the longevity and future of the TGF’s residents, mission and purpose with a long term focus on parrot welfare.
Julie has been involved with companion parrots since she was 8 years old. She has lectured and been published both nationally and internationally and has written for many avian -related publications. Julie has worked with a number of retailers, breeders, students, aviculturists, manufacturers, companion parrot “owners” and veterinarians to promote an educated awareness of the many needs of companion parrots. In addition to her many national presentations, she has been a frequent presenter at AAV, NAVC, Parrots International and AFA. She has lectured internationally in Canada, the U.K., EU, and Japan. She has traveled widely to observe parrots in their natural habitats and learn firsthand the critical importance of in situ conservation programs. She is a long time member of AAV, and a lifetime member of A.F.A., WPT, A.S.A., IAATE and the Loro Parque Fundación in addition to professional animal welfare organizations. Julie and The Gabriel Foundation have collaborated for several years with HSUS, ASPCA, AHA and other national, state and local animal sheltering organizations focusing on parrot welfare.
Julie shares her home, Rancho de los Papagayos, with many birds and animals.
Secretary – Chicago, IL
Dr. Sidell has been affiliated with The Gabriel Foundation since its inception in 1996. Her contribution to the organization is based upon her background as an Organizational Psychologist. She specializes in business development for non-profit organizations and has assisted Ms. Murad with organizational design and development. Principal of the consulting firm S.L. Sidell & Associates, her area of specialization is business development and management for small, community based hospitals and health care organizations. Sharon presently shares her Chicago loft with three parrots: J.D. (Lilac crown Amazon), Selby (Green cheeked Amazon) and Sydney (Blue headed Pionus). J.D. and Selby were adopted from the Foundation.
Shauna Roberts grew up in WA State with a love of birds. As a young girl in the early 60’s, her first birds were a pair of finches as well as a pigeon and some mallard ducks. She tamed some and raised 4 after they were abandoned. They fledged and flew in her neighborhood. She received her first parrot in 1994 from a client while working at a veterinary clinic. Soon after, she found a male Umbrella Cockatoo that changed her life by making it all about parrots.
Shauna worked as a volunteer elementary school teacher’s assistant for 7 years and then as a veterinary assistant for 5 years. She has written articles for Pet Bird Report, Good Bird and Pet and Aviary Birds magazines. In1999 Shauna donated her watercolor parrot artwork to help The Gabriel Foundation raise funds. She has organized fundraisers and conferences for The Gabriel Foundation in the Portland, OR area as well as in CO and she has been involved as an offsite volunteer since 1999. She has been an instrumental part of teaching TGF’s online Beyond the Bird Basics online course, providing behavior consults (with a special interest in Cockatoos) and writing for TGF’s newsletter and website and chat group. As a member of TGF and the Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV) she has assisted in all behavior/training labs taught at the AAV conferences around the country as well as NAVC and WVC conferences and TGF’s own Behavior and Learning Conferences. She’s pursued her passion for parrots by traveling to Loro Parque, Japan and to places where parrots can still be seen in the wild.
Shauna and her husband Allen currently live with 17 parrots which consist of 7 Umbrella cockatoos, 2 Moluccan ‘toos, 3 Hawkheads, 2 Cockatiels, a Hahn’s macaw, a Grey parrot and a Yellow Naped Amazon. She and her husband Allen visit TGF a few times a year and when there you will often find her hanging out with the Cockatoos.
Mr. Roberts retired five years ago from UPS after 28 years of serving with their Corporate Management Group. Allen has been an active volunteer for The Gabriel Foundation for eight years and served as the Campaign Chair for the Capital Campaign. He’s also an active member of his regional Tiffin Motor Club. For the past 8 years Allen has been responsible for getting TGF’s volunteers and flock to many U.S. locations safely as the motor coach chief captain. He’s an enthusiastic mentor of the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis when working with students and parrots.
Palm Beach, FL
Ms. Stodd has been an avid supporter of The Gabriel Foundation for several years and has been involved with parrots for over a decade. Her interests include cockatoo behavior, nutrition and especially the supportive care for parrots with chronic disease. An attorney by trade, Gabby has put her focus into a comprehensive study of Avian Borna Virus and PDD, two diseases that are currently the focus of dedicated veterinary research. She continues to travel the U.S. locating unique pieces of Native American jewelry and artifacts for her business clientele.
Jerry LaBonde, MS, DVM
Dr. LaBonde has been a consulting veterinarian and former Co- Medical Director for The Gabriel Foundation. He is co-owner of Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital in Homestead, Colorado and Nelson Animal Hospital. He is a past president of the Association of Avian Veterinarians. Dr. LaBonde has been active in avian and exotic medicine since 1986 and is a frequent lecturer at veterinary and avian related conferences throughout the country, has written numerous articles on avian medicine and diseases, and been published in some of the foremost avian medical books and journals.
An astrophysicist by profession, Rita Sambruna became interested in psittacines after acquiring her first parrot, a Jardine’s named Reggie. Rita became involved with The Gabriel Foundation in 2006, and has adopted two parrots from TGF and sponsors others.
She is an avid student of all things avian, and has been studying and teaching behaviorscience under the guide of Prof. Susan Friedman. Rita is a firm believer in the power of evidence-based information to improve the lives of parrots, both in captivity and in the wild, and for all animals. She is the founder of the Animal Education Foundation. She lives with her husband Joe, 7 parrots, and 2 horses in Clifton, Virginia.
Virginia Smerlinski became a wild bird enthusiast in 1999 when she began feeding the local birds in her backyard. A few months later she became involved with companion parrots, dedicating herself to personal and public education regarding husbandry and the application of positive reinforcement through Applied Behavior Analysis in all interactions.
Ms. Smerlinski became a TGF member in 2003 and began volunteering at TGF in 2004. An insurance broker by trade, she brings her extensive and diverse business skills to all projects. She has been involved with the Capital Campaign, writing, speaking, and teaching and supporting Beyond the Bird Basics. In 2005 she adopted an aged, wild caught Orange Wing Amazon from the foundation, and now shares her life with 3 parrots.