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Life After Graduation
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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 role. Prior to joining GDB, she spent 17 years leading the Humane Society Silicon Valley. During her tenure there, she and her team’s progressive approach helped save the lives of tens of thousands of animals and greatly reduce pet overpopulation problems in Santa Clara County. Under her leadership, the organization was also able to raise $25.5 million to build The Animal Community Center -- the first facility of its kind in the country.
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 loves to ride her bike, hike, and travel. Chris loves dogs and has three of her own: Theia, a career change Golden Retriever, who now serves as an ambassador for GDB as well as Hank, a Basset Hound, and Petey, a Chihuahua.
2018 - Present
Diana joined Guide Dogs for the Blind as a puppy raiser in 2012. Diana’s professional experience spans over two decades with leadership positions in both the private and public sectors, including senior director positions at Starwood Resorts and the American Humane Association. The responsibilities of Diana’s leadership positions involved nurturing and sustaining partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders. In 2001, Diana founded, and is the emeritus executive director for Denver Pet Partners, which provides animal-assisted intervention services to the child welfare, education, and healthcare fields. She served in this role and as an educator in the non-profit sector for 14 years. Diana is currently faculty at the University of Denver, where she teaches in the Leadership and Organizations graduate degree program.
Diana brings to our board expertise in leadership development, strategic organizational partnerships and non-profit management. She holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from Regis University.
Diana and her husband live in Littleton, Colorado. Diana holds dual-citizenship in Canada and the U.S. She is currently raising her sixth puppy for GDB.
2016 - Present
Von is Senior Manager of Community Affairs at NW Natural. He is responsible for its philanthropy, corporate citizenship and community engagement programs throughout Oregon and southwest Washington. He came to NW Natural in 1996 and served asManager of Residential Marketing until 2001 when he was named to head the company’s corporate citizenship program.
Prior to joining the company, Summers was the Vice President of Public Relations at the Home Builders Association of Metro Portland and served as Director of Public Relations for a Portland-based advertising agency.
Summers presently serves as President on the board of Grantmakers of Oregon and SW Washington. He has served on the boards of the Children’s Relief Nursery, Oregon Children's Foundation (SMART reading program), and All Hand Raised (formerly the Portland Schools Foundation). Summers is a graduate of Oregon State University in Political Science. He and his wife Barbara live in Portland, Oregon, and have three adult children.
Toronto, Ontario Canada
July 2019 - Present
Leanne was elected to the Board of Directors in 2019. Leanne lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband, young daughter, and fifth guide dog, Eva. Leanne has spent most of her professional career in financial services with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), one of Canada’s largest banks. Within corporate communications, Leanne leads the bank’s external awards and recognition efforts and plays a key role in promoting the bank’s environmental, social, and governance practices. She was previously a consultant with Monitor Company, a business strategy consulting firm.
Leanne received her first guide from Guide Dogs for the Blind (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).
Throughout her travels, Leanne enjoys seeking out regional vegetarian fare and wines. She has visited 13 countries on five continents and looks forward to exploring many more.
Menlo Park, CA
July 2019 - Present
Kathy was elected to the Board of Directors in 2019. She has had an impressive and impactful career with the YMCA. As she grew up exploring various career paths, she never imagined she would become the first woman hired into a professional position at the YMCA of San Diego. She quickly moved from director to an executive director role at the age of 25. She recently retired as the president and CEO of the YMCA of Silicon Valley, the 10th largest corporate YMCA in the country (out of nearly 900).
She received her bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University. She and her partner, Deane, live in Menlo Park, Calif. Kathy’s daughter, Kristen, is married and has a daughter and son. Kristen currently works for the YMCA in San Diego following in the footsteps of not only her mother, but of her grandfather and father as well. Kathy enjoys hiking, golfing, traveling, and reading.
Sherilyn (Sheri) Dacquisto joined Guide Dogs for the Blind in 2017 and spent two years as Guide Dogs for the Blind’s Controller prior to taking on the role of CFO and Treasurer. She came to GDB from Shamrock Materials in Petaluma where she worked for 17 years in various roles, including SVP of Finance. Sheri’s experience also includes nine years with Valley Forge, a $100M publicly traded company operating several recreational marine and other industrial manufacturing subsidiaries in North America including Canada. She started her career at Deloitte & Touche, one of the big four public accounting firms, rising to the position of audit manager in 5 years.
Sheri has a CPA license (inactive) and is a member of the American Institute of CPAs as well as the California Society of CPAs. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from CSU, Sacramento having graduated with honors and dual majors in accounting and management information systems. Sheri most enjoys working collaboratively with other managers to strengthen organizational effectiveness.
Sheri and her husband are Bay Area natives with two adult children. They have 3 dogs; Louie an Aussie mix, Izzy (formerly known as Verbena) a career change black Lab adopted from GDB, and Bandit a miniature Fox Terrier mix.
Santa Barbara, CA
2020 - Present
Amit lives with his guide dog Tashi, a black Labrador retriever, in Santa Barbara, California. Amit grew up in India, where he graduated from St. Stephen's College at the University of Delhi. For graduate study, Amit attended the University of London as a Felix scholar and then University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he received his Ph.D. in Political Science.
Amit is an Associate Professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara where he directs the Graduate Studies Program in Political Science and serves as Faculty-in-Residence for a coastal community of over 1600 undergraduate students.
An avid reader, traveler, and a fan of British comedy, Amit enjoys road trips and taking long walks by the Pacific Ocean with Tashi.
2018 - Present
Elected to the Board of Directors in 2018, Claudia is a seasoned financial professional and an active leader in the non-profit world. Deeply committed to the nonprofit community, Claudia has a particular passion for supporting the therapeutic and working relationships between animals and people. She has played central roles on two non-profit boards and in each case was instrumental in raising significant funds for key projects. She has served as a board member on the Community Food Share and as Board President of the Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center.
Claudia and her husband John opened their own wealth management firm, Gainline Financial Partners, in April 2016. They reside in Boulder Colorado where they raised three children. She has been a puppy raiser for the Boulder Puppy Club of Guide Dogs for the Blind since 2011.
July 2019 - Present
Board Member: 2008 – 2018
• Secretary: 2012 - 2014
• Vice Chair – Finance: 2014 - 2016
• Board Chair: 2016 - 2018
Joan was elected to the Board of Directors in 2019 having previously served from 2008 – 2018. As a long-time member of the Guide Dogs for the Blind family, Ms. Boyd has served in a number of capacities. In April, 1997, she responded to a call for volunteers, landing a coveted spot as a "puppy tester." Each Thursday morning, she comes to campus to work with the puppies!
Ms. Boyd's hospitality industry background with Westin Hotels and Qantas Airways paved the way to additional volunteer positions with GDB. Ms. Boyd has been a member of the Holiday Luncheon Committee and the Canine Heroes Gala Committee for over a decade. Her volunteer work continues in the Napa Valley with membership in the Napa Valley Grapegrowers and Napa Valley Vintners organizations. She has been an active member of the Junior League of San Francisco for 34 years. She opens her home to "Kitchens in the Vineyard", a benefit home tour that raises money for a chamber music festival in the Napa Valley every August. In the month of February, she volunteers at the Cancer de Mama Clinic in La Penita, Mexico, supporting post-mastectomy women.
A California native and graduate of the University of Southern California, Joan resides in the Napa Valley. She owns and operates Boyd Family Vineyards, a boutique winery and 22-acre vineyard.
Los Angeles, California
2014 - Present
Elected to the Board of Directors in 2014, Melissa 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, Melissa 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, Melissa 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.
2016 - Present
Tom was elected to the Board of Directors of Guide Dogs for the Blind in July 2016.
Tom is married to his wife, Andrea, and they have two children … Jennifer and Everett.
Tom received his first guide dog, a yellow male Labrador named Dynamo, from GDB in January 2014. Tom spent 23 years with Swinerton Incorporated. His last position was President of Swinerton Equipment Services. During his career, in addition to being part of the Mergers & Acquisitions team, he developed strong business acumen in the areas of operations, employee development, and accounting. In 1998, Tom formed SIES, a company focused on finding innovative heavy construction equipment from Europe to sell through domestic dealerships. SIES was sold in 2006, allowing Tom to form his own company, CEG, in 2007.
Today, Tom is a Senior Consultant for Leadership Dynamics and is able to use and share the skills learned at GDB with his audiences. He particularly enjoys speaking on behalf of GDB and sharing its message!
San Francisco, CA
2020 - Present
Daniel L’Abbe, CEO of San Francisco-based recruiting firm Granite Solutions Groupe, received a degree in Human Relations from Golden Gate University in 1994. Early in his career, Daniel was a highly successful project manager in roles that focused on large scale infrastructure, applications development, and business operations at Charles Schwab, Wells Fargo, and Kaiser Permanente. In 1998, Daniel decided to step into the professional services industry and founded Granite Solutions Groupe, which has grown into a multi-national corporation headquartered in San Francisco.
He is a long time resident of San Francisco and an active member of the San Francisco business community.
Toronto, Ontario Canada
July 2019 - Present
Joan was elected to the Board of Directors in 2019. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her second guide dog, Forester.
Born in British Columbia and raised in Connecticut, Joan returned to Canada for college. With a bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia and graduate degrees in library science and adult education from the University of Toronto, she worked for 29 years in a range of capacities for the Toronto Public Library. Joan served on the Canadian National Institute for the Blind’s (CNIB) National Library Book Selection Committee to select accessible materials and advocate for access to print. Devoted to European classical music, in particular, early music (that of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods), she also served on the Toronto Consort Board for 10 years.
Joan is now happily retired. She sings in two choirs, studies voice, takes ukulele lessons, participates in pilates and pottery classes, and belongs to book clubs and a walking club. She opens her home for concerts and attends as many concerts and operas as possible.
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