Susan Armstrong (Committee Chair)
Vice-President of Training, Client, and Veterinary Operations
Guide Dogs for the Blind Inc (USA)
Susan began her career at Guide Dogs for the Blind in Boring, Oregon in 1995 and was a practicing GDMI for 15 years before moving into various management roles at both the California and Oregon campuses. Now in her 26th year at GDB, she is currently the Vice President of Training, Client, and Veterinary Operations. In 2009, Susan received her master’s degree in Orientation and Mobility from Western Michigan University and is a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist.
Susan is passionate about both dogs and people and is honored to be a part of such a life-changing industry. Her focus in her career has been continually seeking ways to improve the way we train dogs and creating an open, collaborative culture where clients and staff can thrive.
Susan loves to travel and has enjoyed being an assessor for IGDF. She is also an avid sports fan, poker player, and student of photography. She lives in Portland, Oregon. with her partner and their enthusiastic, photogenic Border Collies.
Dogs for Good (UK)
Chris has worked in most Australian states, and as a manager, developed the RSB Guide and Assistance Dog Service in South Australia. Chris has also worked for Guide Dogs UK as a Service Manager and in Research and Development. As Operations Manager he is currently working for Dogs for Good, an assistance dog charity member of Assistance Dogs UK (ADUK).
As well as a couple of undergrad degrees, he has a Masters in Special Education (Vision Impairment) at Flinders University. Chris has just presented his Ph.D. for final review and examination in Disability Studies at Glasgow Caledonian University and Flinders University.
Chris is an International Assessor of Guide Dog Schools with IGDF and currently serves on the Accreditation Committee. He also serves on the ADI Education Committee.
Chris is deeply committed to the improvement of the IGDF standards, and meeting the objectives of the mission statement in improving the lives of people with sight loss and our obligation of care in the wellbeing and welfare of the dogs we provide.
National Head of Dog Training & Behaviour
Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (UK)
David has spent all of his 34 year career to date in the Guide Dog industry working at Guide Dogs for the Blind in the UK. He has spent much of his time working in operational and technical roles, initially as a GDMI for 12 years before moving into operational management.
David has led the organisations’ canine, ophthalmic and psychosocial research team and worked to support service continuous improvement in the role of Head of Technical Developments and Implementation. During this time David majored on developing a standardised approach to guide dog training and puppy raising which imbedded the use of positive reinforcement practises.
David’s current role as National Head of Dog Training and Behaviour allows him to indulge in his passion to maintain and improve the organisations’ ethical and scientifically based approaches to dog training and puppy rearing. David has served the IGDF for the last 5 years as an assessor and now a member of the AC.
Training Manager, National Programs
Paul began his career in the dog guide industry in 1984, qualifying as a Guide Dog and Orientation and Mobility Specialist in 1987.
Since that time he has worked in a number of agencies within Australia and throughout Europe. Roles have varied from direct client services to staff training, from operational management to executive leadership. His current role is that of Training Manager with Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs.
Paul is currently serving as a member of both the IGDF Education and Accreditation committees. His passion is the provision of quality and innovative dog guide services to people who experience blindness or partial vision.
Paul is proud to be a promoter of ethical, science based training practices, ensuring best outcomes for clients, dogs and the organizations that engage in providing dog guide services.
Nakovammaisten Keskusliitto ry:n, Finland
Minna started her career in the guide dog industry with the Guide Dog School of Finnish Federation for Visually Impaired in 1997. She has gained very extensive experience in many sectors of the industry, including guide dog training and client work, breeding and puppy training supervising, and working as a laboratory assistant in the school’s semen bank, Opvet.
In 2008 she moved to Central Finland with her family and little by little started running her own guide dog school, with her first guide dog starting work in 2010. Minna’s school was accepted as a full member of IGDF in 2017, and in 2020 she gained membership of the SDBF (Service Dog Breeders Fellowship) collaborative group. In 2022, Minna’s organisation joined with Nakovammaisten Keskusliitto ry:n.
Minna knows the challenges for running a small guide dog school, the importance of good quality dogs, training, and client work. Her passion is to find ways for schools to collaborate and improve their quality on every aspect.