Meet the Staff


Our staff is committed to transforming people’s lives through partnerships with service dogs.

Russell Gittlen


(818) 833-6427

Rhonda Bissell

Director of Development
(818) 833-6432

Yvette Sheehan

Executive Assistant/Event Coordinator
(818) 833-6421

Kristine Wallace

Office Manager/HR
(818) 833-6439

Debra Grossman

Director of Legal Affairs & Grants
(818) 833-6436

Lesa Miller

Volunteer Coordinator/ Database Assistant
(818) 833-6434

Lisa Peterson

Customer Service Support
(818) 833-6429

Judy Reilly

Tour & Speaker Coordinator
(818) 833-6437

Breeding Department

We breed our own guide and service dogs to ensure the best quality of dog for our clients.

Natalie A. Ergler

Breeding Department Manager
(818) 833-6461

Melcy Gutierrez

Breeding Department Assistant
(818) 833-6462

Tiffany McKillop

Breeding Department Tech
(818) 833-6465

Diane Rodriguez

Breeding Department Tech
(818) 833-6463

Information and Technology Department

Provides the infastructure and experience necessary to keep us on the cutting-edge of technology.

Scott West

Information Technology Manager
(818) 833-6467

Salvador Alob Jr.

IT Support Tech
(818) 833-6464

Facilities and Maintenance

Keeps our 7 ½ acre park-like campus running smoothly and attends to the needs of our staff as it relates to facilities and equipment.

Samuel Wallace

Maintenance Superintendent
(626) 592-6475

Connie Torres

Dorm Housekeeper

(818) 838-4604


Affectionately known as Camp GDA, our Kennel provides boarding facilities and activities for our puppies and all working guides and service dogs while they are away from home.

Chris Medina

Lead Kennel Tech
(818) 403-2336

Brooke Patterson

Kennel Tech

Xochitl Sanchez

Kennel Tech

Nataly Diaz

Kennel Tech

Tiffanie Tayrien

Kennel Tech

Tara Doroginsky

Kennel Tech

Adolfo Arellano

Kennel Tech

Marketing, Media Relations and Outreach

Informs the public and media about Guide Dogs of America. Educates communities at hundreds of health fairs and through outreach programs and special events.  For general questions, email


Manager of Marketing & Outreach
(818) 833-6426

Diane Gittlen

Director of Marketing & Creative Services
(818) 833-6430

Mariah Romo

Marketing & Development Associate
(818) 833-6424

Lorri Bernson

Media & Community Liaison
(818) 833-6431

Puppy Department

Places our puppies in loving foster-homes and assists the puppy raisers until the dogs are ready to come in for formal training.

Stephanie Colman

Puppy Program Coordinator
(818) 833-6447

Hanna Belyea

Canine Development Assistant
(818) 833-6442

Training Department

Our experienced instructors provide our guide and service dogs with the formal training they require in order to assist their partners.

Yvonne Martin

Director of Programs
(818) 833-6443

Victoria Cavaliere

Director Service Dog Program

Jamie Hunt

Assistant Director of Programs
(818) 833-6452

Suzanne Veta

Service Dog Training Manager

Linda Hawes

Field Services, Licensed Instructor
(818) 833-6454

Erin Vejar

Service Dog Client Services Training Coordinator
(858) 376-3283

Stephanie Santos

Service Dog Training Manager (South)

Nicole Maples

Service Dog Training Manager (North)

Sean Chiles

Guide Dog Mobility Instructor
(818) 833-6457

Sydney Fujishige

Apprentice Instructor
(818) 833-6456

Kelsey Horst

Guide Dog Mobility Instructor
(818) 833-6455

Greg Steinmetz

Manager Admissions/Graduate Services
(818) 833-6428

Veterinary Department

Our state-of-the-art clinic is committed to the care and health of our hundreds of puppies-in-training and our working guides and service dogs. Guide Dogs of America’s Veterinary Department is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To make a veterinary appointment, please call 818-833-6470. 24-hour assistance is available for canine emergencies: For after hours emergencies only, call (818) 362-5834 and press “0” to reach the on call operator (note: do not press “1” to leave a message.) Our fax number is (818) 833-6470.

Heather M. Garcia

Registered Veterinary Technician

Miki Raith

Veterinary Assistant/Adoption Coordinator
(818) 833-6472

Alberto Molina Jr.

Veterinary Assistant/Kennel Tech

Gary Uyeno, DVM