Rachel McPherson

President/Founder

rachel headshot1 smallRachel McPherson, a native Mississippian, is the Founder and President of The Good Dog Foundation. She brings her experience as an entrepreneur and community activist to Good Dog.

As the President, Rachel assures the organization’s long-range strategy achieves its mission of increasing awareness of the healing properties of the human-animal bond through certified therapy dog visits. She leads the organization’s program, organizational and financial plans with the Board of Directors and staff. In its seventeen years of existence, Rachel is responsible for Good Dog growing from a small start-up with 3 therapy dogs to a nationally-recognized leader in certified therapy dogs with close to 1,000 teams.

Prior to founding Good Dog, Rachel was an Academy Award-nominated producer for film and television. Rachel has recently created Love Kind Wellness, a social networking website for both human and animal health. Rachel is also active in numerous professional and cultural associations, serving as a leader in fundraising, development, event planning, and production efforts. She is an active board member for the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. Having been inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame at the University of Mississippi, Rachel is the past chair of the Ole Miss Women’s Council. She is a founder and coordinator of the Way Up North in Mississippi Picnic, held annually in New York’s Central Park. Rachel previously served on the boards of New York Methodist Hospital, the Berkeley Carroll School, and the Prospect Park Alliance.

Originally having set out to produce a documentary on therapy dog services, Rachel fell in love with the work, stopped making the film, and founded Good Dog. Under her leadership, Good Dog helped change New York State law to allow therapy dogs into health care facilities. Today, Good Dog teams interact with hundreds of thousands of people in need during visits to hospitals, nursing homes, social service and community organizations, and educational facilities in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

Rachel lives with her husband, two children, and three dogs, including Good Dogs Yazhi and Little Bit, in New York City.

Bruce Fagin

Executive Vice President

Bruce Portrait jacketBruce Fagin is Good Dog’s Executive Vice President responsible for Strategy & Organizational Advancement. He has extensive experience in nonprofit and for-profit leadership.

As a strategic planning and fundraising consultant, Bruce has helped such organizations as National Geographic, Carnegie Hall, Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance, The Occupational Physician’s Scholarship Fund, New York Public Radio, City University of New York, and the Alliance for Downtown New York where he was a founder of the River To River Festival after 9/11.

Earlier in his career, Bruce served as Deputy Director of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Before that he was an editor, marketing executive and publisher for the McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. specializing in the development and marketing of electronic databases. Subsequently, he worked with venture firm Rho Management creating marketing, funding and branding strategies for startups in information technology, among them Ovid Technologies, developer of a global medical database search engine.

Mr. Fagin received a B.A. in International Studies from The Johns Hopkins University. Among his childhood caretakers was his German Shepherd, Timber.

Heather White

Director of Programs and Training

Heather is the Director of Programs and Training at The Good Dog Foundation. Heather has been Good Dog’s Westchester and Fairfield Executive Trainer for the past 8 years and has been truly honored to have worked with so many wonderful Good Dog teams in her region. In her new role, Heather works closely with the office staff and Good Dog’s trainers to continue to enhance programs, training, and the volunteer experience. Heather has a Master’s in Social Work from Hunter College, winning Hunter’s Jacob Goldfein award for her Master’s Thesis, “Optimizing Animal-Assisted Interactions within Psychiatric Facilities.”

Heather also holds a certificate in Animals and Human Health from the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work, a certificate in Treating Animal Abuse from Arizona State University, and is involved in Animal-Assisted Crisis Response.

When she’s not working towards her certificate in Veterinary Social Work from the University of Tennessee or volunteering at a local therapeutic equestrian center, Heather enjoys trialing in Rally Obedience and spending time outdoors with her two dogs; Dooley, a mixed breed, and Thomas, a German Shepherd Dog.

Carly Goteiner

Director of Administration

carly-headshot-2Carly Goteiner is the Director of Administration at Good Dog, where she is excited to help both humans and animals with her passion and hard work.

In her role as Director of Administration, Carly coordinates financial reconciliation, ensures the office is functioning smoothly, provides logistical support for programs and events, handles HR, and serves as a liaison to the Good Dog board.

Carly is an animal lover and an ardent proponent of animal rescue.  Before joining Good Dog, Carly was active in animal welfare in both New York (Sean Casey Animal Rescue, Bideawee), and Massachusetts (Ellen M. Gifford Shelter).  She still enjoys volunteering for SCAR, her local Brooklyn shelter.

Carly received her BA from Brandeis University in Massachusetts, and is currently studying for her Master of Public Administration at Baruch College.  When she’s not at school or working, she enjoys playing and watching soccer.  A native Brooklynite, Carly still lives in the borough with her cat, Dory.

Jocelyn Gully

Manager of Community Engagement

jocelyn headshot

Jocelyn is the Manager of Community Engagement at the Good Dog Foundation. A great believer in the healing power of dogs, she is excited to utilize her community organizing skills and passion for all things canine to improve the lives of people in need.

After serving as Good Dog’s Visit Coordinator for over a year, Jocelyn has moved to the role of Manager of Community Engagement. This new position will focus on volunteer appreciation initiatives, facilitating and improving the volunteer experience and strengthening partnerships with other organizations. Jocelyn will continue to be involved in the visit coordination process supervising her replacement, Nicole.

Jocelyn’s previous experience includes animal welfare work at Dupont Veterinary Clinic and the Washington Humane Society in Washington, DC. She also spent time as a Community Organizer with both the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and Organizing for America, President Obama’s reelection campaign.

Jocelyn lives in Brooklyn with her boyfriend, Evan, their Australian Shepherd/Boxer mix named Yaz (after Boston Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski), and their two chickens, Ruth Bader Hensberg and Dejaj.

Nicole Gilpin

Visit Coordinator

nicole-headshotNicole Gilpin is the Visit Coordinator for The Good Dog Foundation. She is enthusiastic about the mission of Good Dog in easing human suffering, promoting recovery, and providing therapeutic benefits to a variety of populations. She views the commitment and compassion of the volunteers as paramount to the success of this mission. Once volunteers and their Good Dogs graduate from the training process, Nicole guides the fully certified teams in choosing which partner facilities to visit, and coordinating those visits. She is the first point of contact for all of the organization’s facility partners, fostering relationships between them and the volunteers, and placing teams where they are needed most.

Before joining The Good Dog Foundation, Nicole worked in the fields of medicine and education. A native Floridian, Nicole arrived in New York to study medicine at New York Medical College. After leaving school, she worked in nursing homes, home health care, child care, and taught as a substitute teacher and teacher’s aid in the Pleasantville School District. An avid dog-lover, Nicole is excited to bring her varied experience and knowledge to the realm of animal-assisted therapy.

Alexander Thompson

Marketing and Development Manager

Alexander_Headshot_8.bw editAlexander Leslie Thompson is the Marketing Manager at The Good Dog Foundation. He spent many years working in arts non-profits as a creative consultant, community builder, and cultural organizer.

As a marketing and development manager/consultant he has worked with Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, Mare Nostrum Elements Dance Theater, and Culturebot in addition to a number of individual artists. He spent two and a half years as the Associate Artist Program Manager at New York Live Arts, where he also served as the Interim Director of Education and Engagement. In addition he has been an Associate Producer with ArKtype and a guest lecturer at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, the Juilliard School, the New School, and Bard College.

His passion for the arts extends into the volunteer realm, where he has spent four years on the Dance/NYC Junior Committee, serving two years as the Vice-Chair and Chair, respectively, and three years on Doug Varone and Dancers’ Junior Board.

He is thrilled to be joining an organization with so much heart that works so hard to help people heal.

Kirsten Hungate

Training & Certification Coordinator

kirsten-hungate-bio-pictureKirsten Hungate is the Training and Certification Coordinator at the Good Dog Foundation.  A longtime supporter of organizations that work with dogs to enhance the lives of people in need, she feels fortunate to have this opportunity to further Good Dog’s mission. Kirsten coordinates the registration of new volunteer teams for training classes and helps existing teams maintain their certification.

Kirsten’s previous experience includes positions in both education and the nonprofit sector. She taught first and second grade and also worked as a reading specialist for young children. Prior to becoming a teacher she worked in administration and special event fundraising for nonprofit health organizations. Kirsten has a bachelor’s degree in International Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree from Bank Street College of Education.

Kirsten enjoys reading, running, traveling, and cheering for the Tar Heels. You can often find her sitting on a bench in Central Park with her dog Landry (named after the lovable Friday Night Lights character) or visiting her favorite dessert spots.

William “Bill” Ross

Treasurer/Finance Manager

Bill RossWilliam “Bill” Ross is the Finance Manager at The Good Dog Foundation.

Bill brings with him extensive and diverse non-profit experience in both the accounting and business fields.

Previously, Bill was the Business Manager for a private elementary school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan dedicated to the belief that special needs children who have mild to moderate learning, language, and/or emotional issues can succeed and build vital academic and social foundations.

Prior to that he was the Controller for a multi-service community center in the Bronx whose programs included adult fitness and education, Head Start, Universal Pre-Kindergarten afterschool programs and daycare, youth and teen programs, summer day camp and senior centers.

His experience also includes working as the Controller of a charitable agency in Dobbs Ferry that served approximately 10,000 children and families in the New York metropolitan area each year.  The organization helped society’s most vulnerable children become educationally proficient, economically productive, and socially responsible members of their communities.

For more than a decade, in the Bronx a block from Yankee Stadium, Bill supervised the Accounting Department for the first residential health care facility in New York established for families and children with AIDS.

Bill and his wife, Terry, share their home in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey with a frisky Wire Fox Terrier named Sherlock.