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Bob Burke Bob Burke
Lafayette, California
Board Chair
2008 - Present

Elected to the Board of Directors in 2008, Mr. Burke is a corporate President and visionary entrepreneur with a unique set of skills and accomplishments. He has over 25 years of successful experience in the restaurant industry, and he has achieved remarkable results in a wide range of other industries, including investment banking, hospitality, radio, publishing, aviation, real estate, and even brewing beer.

Burke is the former President of Pat Kuleto Restaurants, Gordon Biersch, and Piatti Restaurant Group. His current company, Ovation Consulting, provides services to restaurants, hotels, and resorts.

Bob and his wife Kathy live in Lafayette with retired guide dog, September.

Chris Benninger Chris Benninger
San Anselmo, California
President and CEO
2014 - Present

Christine (Chris) joined Guide Dogs for the Blind in April of 2014. Chris brings a wealth of non-profit and for-profit experience to her new role. Prior to joining GDB, she spent 17 years leading the Humane Society Silicon Valley.

Chris honed her business skills as an auditor with Arthur Andersen & Co. as well as in her 15 years with Hewlett Packard Corporation. At HP, Chris held managerial positions in the U.S. as well as in Europe. She holds an M.B.A. from Stanford University.

Chris gives back to the community through her role on several non-profit boards. She serves on Page Mill YMCA as Board Chair and Pan African Sanctuary Alliance as Board Vice Chair. She is also on the board of Merit Partners. Chris has three dogs: Hank, a Basset Hound, Bess, a three-legged Cattle Dog mix, and Fred, a Chihuahua.

Cathy Martin with pup Cathy Martin
San Rafael, California
Treasurer and CFO
2014 - Present

Cathy has over 25 years of experience with financial management, business planning, corporate development and equity and debt financing for Humane Society Silicon Valley as well as many rapidly growing technology-based companies and venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. She also has 13 years of public accounting experience, culminating in partnership status at Coopers & Lybrand (now Pricewaterhouse Coopers), an international accounting firm.

Cathy holds an MBA in Finance from the New York University Stern School of Business along with a BS in Accounting and Quantitative Methods from the University of Oregon.

Cathy gives back to the community through her role on several non-profit boards. She serves on the Board of Merit Partners and spent many years as Chair of the Board of the San Jose Symphony.

Stuart Odell Stuart Odell
San Francisco, California
Vice Chair
2008 - Present

Elected to the Board of Directors in 2008, Mr. Odell is the Assistant Treasurer, Retirement Investments at Intel Corporation in Santa Clara, California. Mr. Odell and his investment team at Intel are responsible for oversight and management of Intel's $15 billion in qualified and nonqualified retirement plan assets. Prior to joining Intel in 2000, Mr. Odell worked in banking, finance, and engineering. Mr. Odell also serves as a trustee for the San Jose Federated Employees Retirement System. Mr. Odell received his BS in mechanical engineering from Union College in Schenectady, New York and his MBA from New York University. Stuart lives in San Francisco with his twin boys and his chocolate Labrador retriever, Cali.

Joan Boyd with puppy Joan Boyd
Napa, California
Vice Chair, Finance
2008 - Present

Ms. Boyd is co-owner of the Boyd Family Vineyard in Napa Valley, California. She is a past president of the Junior League of San Francisco, and volunteers at Guide Dogs for the Blind as a puppy tester, chair of the Canine Heroes Wine Auction Committee, past chair of the Betty Krahl Spirit of Volunteerism Committee, and a member of the Holiday Luncheon Committee. Joan resides in the Napa Valley with my yellow Labrador "Gus" and black Labrador "Buddy Houdini".

Jay Harris Jay Harris
Chico, California
2008 - Present

Elected to the Board of Directors in 2008, Mr. Harris graduated in 2013 with his fifth guide dog, Gerard. Mr. Harris is the Chief of the Independent Living, Assistive Technology, and Traumatic Brain Injury Section at the California Department of Rehabilitation. Prior to his State service, Jay spent 14+ years at Independent Living Services of Northern California, a private non-profit organization, providing support services to help empower community members with disabilities.

Ruth Ann Dodson Ruth Ann Dodson
Portland, Oregon
Vice Chair, Pacific Northwest
2008 - Present

Ms. Dodson was elected to the Board of Directors in 2008. A former elementary school teacher, Ms. Dodson went on to work in government. After taking time off to raise her two children, Carrie and Kevin, Ms. Dodson worked at the Portland Chamber of Commerce and served for eight years as Vice President for Governmental Affairs. Ms. Dodson has served on the Oregon Children's Foundation (SMART reading program) as a founding board member, the Oregon State University Board of Trustees, and the Gales Creek Camp for Children with Diabetes Board. Ms. Dodson and her husband Mark live in Vancouver, Washington and spend time at their home in Sonoma, California.


Len Almalech Len Almalech
Saratoga, California
2014 - Present

Len Almalech joined the Board in September 2014. Len recently retired as the Vice President/ General Manager of Enterprise Holdings after 33 years with the company. Enterprise Holdings owns and operates Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo and National Car Rental. Len developed and oversaw the expansion of Enterprise into the Northern California market and opened the first car rental location in Northern California in Sept 1979.

As Vice President/General Manager, Len managed all operating divisions within the San Francisco Region including 35,000 vehicles and 135 rental locations. His responsibilities also included all real estate negotiations and transactions for rental and airport locations.

Len has had extensive experience with non-profits and serving on non-profit boards. He served on the boards for the United Way of the Bay Area, Humane Society Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Visitors and Convention Bureau. In addition, Len currently sits on the Wells Fargo Community Impact board in San Francisco and serves as a Planning Commission for the City of Saratoga.

Sigrid Button with puppy Sigrid Velken Button
Portland, Oregon
2011 - Present

Elected to the Board of Directors in 2011, Sigrid Button is the administrative director of the Casey Eye Institute at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). She has more than 20 years of executive-level experience in healthcare management and philanthropic fund development. Her past professional experience also includes serving as executive director of GDB's Oregon campus. Ms. Button is a board member of Safety in Motion, a private company specializing in the reduction of workplace injuries, as well as with the Oregon Zoo Foundation. She and her husband enjoy spending time at the Oregon Coast with their loving career change dog, Nate.

Melissa Hudson with black lab guide dog Melissa Hudson
Los Angeles, California
2014 - Present

Elected to the Board of Directors in 2014, Melissa Hudson is a tireless speaker and advocate of people who are blind, championing the independence that a guide dog can provide around the world. Blending her experience as a bilingual elementary school teacher, a project manager for a global Internet consulting firm, and the national sales manager for the Latino Speakers Bureau, Mrs. Hudson has been profiled by multiple publications, news programs, and documentaries including Arthritis Today, Univision Radio, Sveriges Television’s “Aktuellt”, and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences “Academy Originals”.

A graduate of California State University, San Bernardino, Mrs. Hudson is currently partnered with her third guide from GDB, “Camry”, and previously served on the GDB Alumni Association Board, chairing multiple committees. Mrs. Hudson also shared the fulfilling experience of assisting her husband in raising three puppies for GDB.

Deborah Kendrick Deborah Kendrick
Cincinnati, Ohio
2013 - Present

Elected to the Board of Directors in November 2013, Ms. Kendrick is an experienced and award-winning writer, editor, speaker, and educator, whose efforts have focused on diminishing the misconceptions surrounding people with disabilities. She has authored several books in the acclaimed Jobs that Matter series and her articles have appeared in such noted publications as Woman’s Day, Parenting, Marriage and Family, Independence Today and others. Her newspaper column on disability rights has run in the Columbus Dispatch since 1993, and she serves as senior features editor for AccessWorld, the technology publication she helped form in 2000.

Her passionate belief that there is always a way to achieve our dreams, with or without disability, led to her working as a trainer in the National Equipment Distribution Program for Deaf-Blind, putting the power of communication through technology into the hands of those with both vision and hearing disabilities. She also provides technical support for patrons of the NLS BARD program of the Library of Congress.

Ms. Kendrick has served on many nonprofit boards and governor-appointed councils and committees. She was a proud member of GDB’s Alumni Association Board of Directors from 20062012 and is currently partnered with her sixth guide from GDB, Flo.

George Kerscher George Kerscher, Ph.D.
Missoula, Montana
2009 - Present

Elected to the Board of Directors in 2009, George Kerscher began his IT innovations in 1987 and coined the term "print disabled." George is dedicated to developing technologies that make information not only accessible, but also fully functional in the hands of persons who are blind or who have a print disability. He believes properly designed IT can make information accessible to all people. George is an advocate for semantically rich content that can be used effectively by everybody.

As Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium and President of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), Kerscher is a recognized international leader in document access. In addition, Kerscher is the Senior Officer of Accessible Technology at Learning Ally in the USA. He chairs the DAISY/NISO Standards committee, and serves on the Advisory Board of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

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), and with his second guide Mikey, after 800,000 miles, Delta recognized the collection of 2 million miles of safe travel all with his guides from GDB.

Andy Mathieson with his two dogs Andy Mathieson
Kentfield, California
2011 - Present

Elected to the Board of Directors in November 2011, Mr. Mathieson earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his MBA from Stanford University. He is the founder and managing member of Fairview Capital, an independent investment advisory firm with over $1.6 billion in assets under management. Mr. Mathieson currently serves in an advisory board capacity with the Santa Lucia Conservancy in Carmel Valley, California, as well as with Sweetwater Spectrum in Sonoma, California. He is also on the Board of DiCon Fiberoptics, a private Richmond, California-based manufacturer of passive optical components and LED lighting fixtures. Andy is a former Trustee of the Branson School in Ross, California, as well as the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito, California. Andy and his wife Ann live in Kentfield, California and have four adult children.

Stephen Mansfield.jpg Stephen A. Mansfield
Mill Valley, California
2012 - Present

Elected to the Board of Directors in May 2012, Mr. Mansfield is a partner with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, a large international law firm. He is the partner in charge of the firm’s San Francisco office. Mr. Mansfield is an accomplished trial lawyer who has defended and prosecuted complex criminal and civil actions for over 25 years. He also conducts corporate investigations and defends corporations, officers, directors and employees against SEC and DOJ investigations. Mr. Mansfield previously served as a federal prosecutor and as Head of the U.N. War Crimes Investigation Unit which investigated war crimes in Rwanda and helped establish a U.N. War Crimes Tribunal for Rwanda. Steve has volunteered pro bono legal services for GDB. He is a custodian of Kirin, who is retired from the GDB breeder program, and is a guardian of Dakota, a rescue lab. Steve co-wrote the song “I’ll Be Your Guide,” which has been performed at GDB events, and donated rights to use the song to GDB.

Jack Scott with guide dog Jack W. Scott
San Rafael, California
2012 - Present

Elected to the Board of Directors in May 2012, Mr. Scott is the Operating Partner responsible for Human Capital at the Private Equity firm Friedman Fleischer and Lowe (FFL) in San Francisco. Jack joined the firm in early 2010 and works closely with the CEOs of FFL's portfolio companies advising them on all aspects of talent management including recruiting, compensation, succession planning, retention, team building, and performance management. Prior to joining FFL, he was a Partner with the executive search firms Heidrick and Struggles, and Korn/Ferry International. Through the course of his career in executive search, he has worked with a number of not for profit organizations including SFMOMA, the San Francisco Symphony, KQED, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Mr. Scott has a BA degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and an MS in Accounting from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. He resides in San Rafael, California, is married, and has two children, as well as a German Shepherd named Chloe.

Todd Bradley with pup Todd Bradley
2014 - Present

Todd Bradley has been an advisor to GDB since July, 2014.

Todd Bradley is a global technology leader, with more than 30 years of experience building high-performing teams and driving growth for some of the world's most influential companies, including HP, GE, FedEx, Palm, and Dun & Bradstreet.

A business builder and high stakes problem solver at heart, Todd favors opportunities that demand a mix of operational excellence, marketing ingenuity, financial rigor, and global leadership.

Todd is a native of Baltimore, an avid baseball fan, and a collector of one-of-a-kind objects, art, and life experiences from around the world. He currently lives in San Francisco, California, is the 2009 recipient of China's prestigious Friendship Award, and holds a degree in business administration from Towson University in Maryland.