Alumni Association Board of Directors
Becky Andrews and Georgie
Becky enjoys life in Bountiful Utah with her husband, Steve and current 3rd Guide, Georgie. They have two adult children - Natalie and Kendall. Becky loves to run, tandem bike, garden, hike, travel, time with family and friends and enjoys long walks with her guide.
With a master's degree in psychology counseling, Becky is a marriage and family therapist. After several years as a therapist with different agencies, Becky started her own business, Resilient Solutions, Inc. and has 12 therapists who work in her company. As a fellow in thanatology her passion is working with clients who are experiencing trauma, grief and loss.
Melanie Brunson and Sparta
Melanie Brunson has been working with GDB guide dogs since 1995, and Sparta is her third guide. The other members of their family include Melanie’s husband, Lyle, and her retired guide, Zora. The activities they enjoy doing together include reading, camping, and listening to bluegrass music.
Melanie Brunson has been employed by the American Council of the Blind (ACB) since August of 1998. Her initial position was Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs. In March, 2004, she was named Executive Director of the organization. She holds that position at this time.
In 2008, she was appointed by the governor of Virginia to the State Rehabilitation Council, a federally mandated body that advises the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired on how to improve the vocational rehabilitation services it provides throughout the commonwealth. She chaired that council during 2012, and was reappointed in 2013.
Prior to coming to ACB, Mrs. Brunson lived and worked in California. She practiced law in that state for fourteen years. Much of that time was spent in private practice. Her practice specialized in estate planning for people with disabilities and their families. From April of 1996 to December of 1997, she was employed as a Client Assistance Program Advocate, assisting individuals with disabilities with legal issues related to their matriculation of the state’s vocational rehabilitation system.
From January to July of 1998, she was employed by the Western Law Center for Disability Rights in Los Angeles.
In addition, Mrs. Brunson served for six years on the board of directors of the Spanish Trails Girl Scout Council, one of the largest Girl Scout councils in southern California. During her tenure on the board, she assisted the council with the revision of their program for serving girls with disabilities, and updated their training curriculum for troop leaders on best practices for integration of girls with disabilities into Girl Scout troops.
Mrs. Brunson also served for eight years as an elected member of the School Board that oversees the operation of the Whittier Christian Schools, a not-for-profit organization that operates three campuses serving students from preschool through middle school age.
Mrs. Brunson obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Whittier College, and her Juris Doctorate from Whittier College School of Law. She was admitted to the California Bar in 1984 and maintains her license to practice law in California
Michelle R Miller and Tango
A life filled with constant enrichment, integrity and a love of sharing life’s gifts are the guiding principles for Michelle R. Miller.
Throughout her professional career, her community projects, and her personal relationships; she has been fortunate to share her gifts and interests with countless others. This exchange of information and ideas is extremely meaningful to Michelle in all aspects of her life, particularly when it comes to educating individuals about dog guides. It not only affords her happiness but fosters true fulfillment.
Presently, Michelle serves as Director of Community services for the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind; she oversees program creation and direction, counseling and guidance to blind and low vision clients. She has been in this field for nearly ten years both in the nation’s capital, and Sacramento, California.
Michelle is a clinical social worker, and earned her respective degrees at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and Tulane University. Empowering clients to live productively and independently through guidance, training, and mentorship is not only what she contributes to others, but is also how she lives her life, since losing her vision.
On both national and international travel excursions, she has had Tango her current guide by her side to experience the adventure, and educate others about dog guides. “I love to explore unique places, learn new fun facts, and increase my awareness about other cultures.”
Some of her hobbies and interests include urban ministry, cooking, shopping, and collecting items with butterflies. The uniqueness, colors, and exquisiteness of these amazing creatures have charmed her for a majority of her life, and are symbolic for all new adventures and endeavors she undertakes including this new opportunity of serving on the Alumni Association Board for Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Members at Large:
Samantha Adams and Lotto
Sam Adams is a Canadian transplant now living in Gold River, California, Sam is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan. She has a degree in English literature as well as a law degree. Sam worked as a defense lawyer in southern British Columbia and in the Yukon Territory before switching to criminal prosecutions. In 2008, she moved to northern California to marry her husband and her life has changed dramatically. She assists with her husband’s business, manages a household consisting of a 14 year old daughter, a working Guide Dog, 2 cats and one retired Guide. As of July 1, 2013, she assumed the role of band booster president for her daughter’s high school marching band. Sam enjoys reading, writing, cooking, music, yoga, exercise and participating in pet therapy work with her retired Guide Gilbert. She is actively involved in her church and her local puppy raising club. She received her first guide dog from GDB in 1995 and has never looked back. She currently shares her travels with Lotto, a male Yellow Lab.
Leanne Bremner and Ayanna
Leanne lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband, young daughter and fourth guide, Ayanna. Leanne has worked in the banking industry for 10 years at CIBC, one of North America's largest banks. As a Senior Consultant in the area of communications and reputation management, Leanne leads the banks corporate-wide external awards and recognition efforts. In addition, she plays a key role in raising awareness of the bank’s commitment to corporate responsibility and sustainable business practices and is responsible for providing content for CIBC's annual Corporate Responsibility Report. She was previously a consultant with Monitor Company, a business strategy consulting firm.
Leanne received her first guide from GDB in 1995 while attending the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary where she earned a Bachelor of Commerce with Distinction.
Prior to joining the GDB Alumni Association Board in 2013, Leanne served on the Board of the Ontario Foundation for Visually Impaired Children (OFVIC) from 2005 to 2012 and has been involved with several community organizations including the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
Maile George and Jasmine
Maile (pronounced My-lee) is a native of California. Among her many passions are Guide Dogs, animal welfare and the human-canine bond. Currently, Maile shares her life with her fifth Guide Dog; a sassy yellow Labrador named Jasmine, who takes a lot of pleasure in sporting her growing wardrobe of colorful Martingale training collars. Maile studied at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington and graduated from San Francisco State University. In 1985, two years after experiencing vision loss, Maile’s life was transformed when she met her first Guide Dog, Egan, a sweet and shiny male black Labrador. Her successor dogs were Acorn, an affectionate male Golden Retriever and tennis ball aficionado, Huntley, another sweet and sensitive male black Labrador and Flanders, an energetic, exceptionally beautiful, incredibly friendly female Golden Retriever. Along with her glowing review of her five dogs, Maile readily acknowledges that every GDB graduate is convinced that he or she was granted the privilege of working with the most extraordinary Guide Dog ever! After a 26 year career at Bank of America, Maile is now involved with Dogs4Diabetics and The Foggy Doggies, a GDB alumni chapter based in the San Francisco bay area. She also enjoys spending time with her friends and family at Lake Tahoe, playing Scrabble, lunching with friends, creative writing, gardening, vegan cooking and reading.
Bruce Gilmour and Marley
Bruce was born and raised in small town British Columbia to a cattle ranching mother and a forestry father. He received a post-secondary education in community and regional planning. Together with his wife Wendy they go with their hair straight back, raising and enjoying the interests of their daughter. Sarah is given over to competitive horseback riding, otherwise known as eventing. If you want to know more about horse accessories, pull Bruce aside when you meet him! He has a passion for all seasons through the enjoyment of the healthy and active living that comes through recreation. When the snow falls, it is primarily downhill skiing and when conditions fail, he enjoys snow shoeing and the hysterical antics his active guide dog and retired golden retrievers get into. When snow melts, it is jogging, tandem cycling, and water sports and evening camp fires on a lake.
Bruce became familiar with how a guide dog benefited a person’s life during his university days. Adept with the use of a white cane, one day while walking with a GDB grad, it really hit him how a guide dog eased in getting about. That was 1985 and while a lot of water has flown under the bridge, he feels it most important to point out how his five golden retriever guide dogs that have accompanied him through his challenges and accomplishments, are a tribute to what Guide Dogs for the Blind achieves on behalf of enhancing daily life and opportunities for individuals managing vision impairment.
Dudley Hanks and Mitchener
Dudley lives with his beautiful wife Rosalind, their three wonderful children and current (3rd) Guide Michener, in "The City of Champions" (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada).
He loves photography/videography, literature, music, social media, writing traveling and working with animals.
As a blind person who has worked extensively with graphic media, he strongly believes that "Beauty is in the mind, not the eye," and has developed a set of text-based software tools that enable him to evaluate the quality of graphics, crop and resize photos, perform colour to black-and-white conversions, and to assemble photo montages.
His work has been featured on both CBC and Global television, as well as the Accessible Media Inc's television network and YouTube channel.
Dudley has a long history of working with community organizations, including assisting disabled students at the Alberta Vocational College's disabled students services, performing intake work for the CNIB's Edmonton service centre, and giving informative presentations about Guide Dogs for the Blind to primary schools students.
Dudley also has over 10 years experience living and working in a co-operative housing complex, in a variety of positions such as: Maintenance Coordinator, Chairman of the Maintenance Committee, Chairman of the Finance Committee, Member At Large of the Board of Directors, and Vice-president of the Board of Directors.
Dudley trained with his first Guide, Bonner, a male German Shepherd, at the San Rafael campus; received his second Guide, Dima, and a female German Shepherd, from the Boring, Oregon, and campus; and returned to San Rafael for his third Guide, Michener, and another male German Shepherd.
He has worked his Guides in the "Badlands" of Alberta; the mountainous trails in beautiful British Columbia; Scotland's narrow, winding, cobblestone covered alleys, and all the crazy confusion of London's streets during the 2012 Olympic Games.
For Dudley, there is nothing quite as exhilarating as exploring a new place, independently with his Trekker GPS device and a GDB Guide.
Scott L Wilcock, PMP and Senator
Scott has served as a change agent for the federal government, in many different capacities during his 25+ year career. His passion is improving work processes and eliminating or streamlining administrative burden. He has spent the past 15 years focusing on improving how the organization delivers its business processes and has worked very hard to implement positive changes in those activities. He has led many initiatives related to media, publications, correspondence and communications.
Through Scotts efforts, he successfully implemented a realignment of all print and mail operations into 2 consolidated data centers which support the entire US, saving an estimated $55 million. He also led the effort to modernize the distribution operations for the entire enterprise and implemented automated worked processes which made use of digital print-on-demand technology which led to the elimination of half million sq. ft. of order fulfillment and warehouse space. Through this change in work process, the east and west coast distribution centers were able to be closed and all operations consolidated into a centralized distribution center in the Mid-West.
Most recently, Scott led the initiative to embrace digital technology by implementing a full service intelligent mail barcode on more than 250 million mail pieces annually. This new barcode is now saving the government approximately $22 million annually in postage expenditures. He is currently working on an enterprise-wide initiative to develop a centralized address repository which will be the authoritative source for more than 40 IT systems and applications which utilize customer account information. Through the implementation of this initiative, and the proper management of the data, it is estimated that a returned mail rate of 10% can be reduced to approximately 4% with an estimated savings of nearly $60 million annual in returned mail postage and handling.
Scott has also served on several non-profit boards and in many volunteer positions for non-profit organizations. Some include: One Step Ahead Federal Child Care Board President, Arizona State University Curriculum Advisory Board Member; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints, District Executive Board Member; Boy Scouts of America as a Unit Commissioner and various other volunteer Leadership positions, National Federation of the Blind, Weber-Davis Chapter Treasurer and Guide Dogs for the Blind, Greatest Paws on Earth (Utah) Chapter President.
Scott holds a BS degree in Industrial Engineering Technology from Arizona State University and a Masters in Project Management from the George Washington University. He is currently working on a second Masters in Program Management. He is also a certified Project Manager (PMP) with the Project Management Institute (PMI).
Scott and his wife, Heather, live in northern Utah with their 5 children; guide Senator; French bulldog, Stitchbert and 3 cats. They have previously lived in Sacramento, CA, Dallas, TX, Washington, DC and is a native of the Phoenix, AZ metro area. In his spare time, Scott loves spending quality time with his family, hiking/backpacking, biking, coin collecting and cars.
EX Officio Members
George Kerscher, Ph.D. and Mikey
GDB Board of Directors Representative
George Kerscher is dedicated to developing technology to make information not only accessible, but fully functional in the hands of persons who are blind or who have a print disability. He believes that properly designed information systems can make all information accessible to all people, and is working to push the evolving technologies in that direction. As Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium and Senior Officer of Accessible Technology at Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic in the USA, Dr. Kerscher is a recognized leader in document access. In addition, he chairs the DAISY/NISO Standards committee, chairs the W3Steering Council for the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), and serves on the IDPF and NIMAS Boards. In his professional capacities, George Kerscher travels the world. His first dog guide, Nesbit, logged over 1.2 million air miles (Delta gave Nesbit his own frequent flier card). His second guide Mikey is already racking up the air miles as well. Dr. Kerscher was elected to Guide Dogs' board in 2009, and began his service on the Alumni Association Board in 2010.
Deborah Kendrick and Flo
GDB Board of Directors Representative
After a few years of teaching college English and some rehabilitation teaching for the blind, Deborah Kendrick began work as a freelance writer in 1980. She has since published thousands of feature articles, columns, profiles, and reviews in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines. Her once syndicated column on disability rights issues has appeared in various papers since 1986, and today appears in the Sunday editorial section of the Columbus Dispatch. She is senior features editor for AccessWorld, the online technology publication of the American Foundation for the Blind, a publication which came into being when it subsumed the then 15-year-old magazine TACTIC, founded and edited by Deborah Kendrick.
She has written four books on careers held by successful blind and low vision people, published by AFB Press, and available through Amazon. She is currently working on a biography of Dr. Abraham Nemeth, the creator of the braille mathematics code.
Deborah has previously served on the GDB Alumni Association Board and currently is a member at large of the GDB Board of Directors. She has raised three extraordinary children, and is currently working with her sixth dog from GDB; a tiny feisty black Labrador named Flo.