Paws With A Cause®
4646 S. Division
Wayland, MI 49348
What PAWS does would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of our team. Each manager, staff person and board member plays a role in helping each Assistance Dog Team be successful.
Libby Child, Board Chair
Douglas J. Dok Jr., Esq., Vice Chair
James C. Hesseman, Secretary
James Nichols, Treasurer
Nidal Kanaan, Board Member at Large
Judye Reed, Board Member at Large
Melanie Yanchuk, Board Member at Large
Charles Archie, Jr.
Faye Richardson Green
Liam Sullivan, D.O.
Paul Lane, PhD
John D. Swaney
Stephen M. Turner
“PAWS is a family. We’ve always been a family and always will be one.”
Karen, PAWS Director of Human Resources
PAWS Co-Founder and CEO has over 34 years of experience in the Assistance Dog industry. Mike guides the day to day operations of the organization, including acting as a resource in temperament testing, client services and research and development. He is skilled in all aspects of the training and placement process, as well as administrative and financial processes and procedures. With 41 years of experience personally training dogs and 5 years apprenticing for other instructors, he's become an expert in the industry. He assisted the State of Michigan in drafting legislation related to Assistance Dogs and helped establish four other Assistance Dog organizations across the country.
Joe leads PAWS' development initiatives based on the creation and implementation of an open system of philanthropy. He brings to PAWS more than 30 years of experience as an executive leading nonprofit organizations in West Michigan focused in education, the arts and human services. His career in the nonprofit sector includes 22 years as the Managing Director of Circle Theatre and 3 years as the Director of Development at the Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan. Joe completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at Indiana University.
Kathleen Ribbens serves as the Vice President of Program Groups for PAWS. This responsibility involves the oversight of the Veterinary, Breeding and Breeding Dog Volunteer, Foster Puppy Volunteer and Education, Canine Custom Training, Client Services and Field Representative Network and the Building Maintenance programs. Kathleen brings to PAWS a breadth and depth of leadership experience, having led teams in a senior management capacity in the education, healthcare and insurance industries. She is also trained as an executive coach and has worked with numerous organizations -- including PAWS -- in both the non-profit and for profit arenas. Kathleen has earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from Eastern Michigan University, a Master’s in Leadership from Michigan State University and a post-graduate certification in Executive Leadership from the University of Michigan.
Karen's 23 years of experience help PAWS create an environment where employees feel valued and fulfilled by their work. She aligns PAWS' corporate culture, leadership and structure with business strategies. This includes helping to develop the organization's vision and mission, planning and maintaining business objectives, creating corporate policies and facilitating effective interpersonal communication. She also implements recruitment and retention strategies, evaluates work-related issues, determines effective remediation methods and trains staff in effective communication techniques. Karen pursued her Business Management/HR Management undergraduate studies at Davenport University. Her professional experience includes years as a Legal Assistant for several local attorneys.
Teri directs and coordinates PAWS' financial management according to standards accepted in the United States. She directs and prepares financial analyses of operations for the guidance of management and the Board of Directors. Teri also manages multi-state tax filings, quarterly and year-end tax filings. She has over 25 years of finance experience. Teri pursued her undergraduate studies at Aquinas College in Accounting/Finance. Her previous career experience includes Beene Garter and Echelbarger, Himebaugh, Tamm & Cummins, P.C.
Portasue directs, plans, coordinates and supervises the administrative functions of the organization. This includes maintaining communications from PAWS clients and supporters, developing and implementing policies and procedures to assure clarity, consistency and maximum efficiency. She maintains PAWS' legal compliance throughout the country, accreditation through Assistance Dogs International and acts as Recording Secretary and liaison for the Board of Directors. Portasue has over 25 years of administrative and customer service experience, having worked in the banking industry and legal offices prior to joining the PAWS staff over 18 years ago.
Mary Blain, Community Engagement Coordinator
Kim Blozinski, Mail/Shipping Receiving
Jennifer Boan, Development Events Coordinator
Lori Bright, LBSW, Client Relations Manager
Becky Canale, National Client Services Coordinator
Tony Clementi, Field Rep Network Coordinator
Deb Davis, Community Outreach Manager
Kelsey Haldane, Development Administrator
Carol Manshaem, Receptionist
Paula Pasma, Fund Development Coordinator
Annette Prentice, Donor Communications Manager
Tara Starback, HR Representative
Crystal BeVier, Trainer Assistant
Sara Crockett, Apprentice Trainer
Mike Hanna, Program Process Quality Manager
Barb Kozminski, Senior Staff Trainer
Emily Martin, Apprentice Trainer
Anna Rhea, Apprentice Trainer
Shari Tolan, Apprentice Team Leader
Marilyn Arwe, Canine Volunteer Training and Curriculum Specialist
Dawn Bohan, National Breeding Program Coordinator
Connie Bowne, Canine Liaison
Carol Dobos, Equipment Stitcher/R&D
Linda French, Regional Foster Puppy/Client Services Representative, Southeast Michigan
Debby Gaylor, Canine Administrative Assistant
Dawn Hunter, Foster Puppy Assistant, Southeast Michigan
Jennifer Manwell, Foster Puppy Assistant, Southeast Michigan
Wendy McIntosh, Breeding Program Technician
Julie Thorington, National Foster Puppy Coordinator
Donna Venner, Canine Administrative Assistant
Dr. Jeanne Klynsma, Staff Veterinarian
Theresa Peck, Licensed Vet Tech
Jackie Koloseik, Groomer
Kevin Thiel, Building Care Supervisor