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 twenty 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.

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. 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 and two dogs, Atticus 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.

Carly Goteiner

Director of Community Engagement

After more than 3 years as Good Dog’s Director of Administration, Carly has taken on the role of Director of Community Engagement.  In this position, Carly is working on optimizing the volunteer experience, volunteer outreach, and engaging with facility partners and the greater public.

Carly is an animal lover and an ardent proponent of animal rescue.  Before joining Good Dog, she was active in animal welfare in both New York and Massachusetts.  She still enjoys volunteering for Sean Casey Animal Rescue, her local animal shelter.

Carly received her BA from Brandeis University in Massachusetts, and her Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Baruch College.  She enjoys playing and watching soccer in her spare time.  A native Brooklynite, Carly still lives in the borough with her cat, Dory.

Renee Payne

Director of Training

Renee Payne, Director of Training, is an expert in safety and best practices in training and fielding volunteer and professional therapy dog teams and in canine behavior modification. Her credentials include membership in the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, certification by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, and work as a certified tester for the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen program. In addition to setting policies and procedures and developing curricula for Good Dog training programs, Renee trains Good Dog therapy teams in the Hudson Valley region. She also operates her own dog training business, specializing in helping dogs with behavior problems and training service dogs for people with disabilities.

Renee lives in the Hudson Valley with her Good Dog, Fonzie, and Fonzie’s cat, Weezy.

Nicole Gilpin

Manager of Visit Coordination and Facility Partnerships

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.

Sarah Ruminski

Onboarding Operations Coordinator

Sarah Ruminski hails from Wallingford, CT, and earned her BS in Animal Science from the University of Connecticut.  After graduation she joined the USDA Beagle Brigade at Newark Airport.  She has held a variety of federal jobs (primarily with US Customs & Border Protection) before becoming an Animal Control Officer with the Rocky Hill Police Department.  She loves traveling and spending time outdoors, particularly hiking.  She also enjoys spending time with her two nieces.

William “Bill” Ross

Director of Finance and Administration

Bill RossWilliam “Bill” Ross is the Director of Finance and Administration 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 live in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey.

 

Consultants of Record

Graphic Design – Heidi Antman

Heidi is Design Director of Record for The Good Dog Foundation. She is the owner of Faboo Graphics, where she specializes in event branding and publication design. Previously, she was Design Director of ARTnews Magazine. She has a BFA in Graphic Design from New York’s esteemed School of Visual Arts.

Photography & Videography – Stetson Gleave

Stetson grew up in the mountains of Utah. A big-dreamer, he moved to New York to pursue his passion of filmmaking and photography, where he met the love of his life and married her. Stetson has been a contributing creative to The Good Dog Foundation since 2016. He is the official photographer for the annual Good Dog Calendar.

Database Optimization – Stuart Gaston

Stuart Gaston handles the online and back-end data for The Good Dog Foundation volunteers and donors.  Keeping his paws on the keyboard is Stuart’s main pastime, but he also enjoys scuba diving and playing the drums. Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Stuart has been consulting with nonprofit CRM and websites for over 15 years.  He is a proud Corgi owner and also fosters the occasional cat.

Online Marketing & Social Media – Tara Johnson

Tara Johnson is a digital marketing specialist with years of expertise developing online advertising and social media strategies as well as brand awareness and fundraising campaigns. Tara is a wife and mother to three wonderful children plus one lovable Golden Retriever, Toby. She is passionate about The Good Dog Foundation mission. She has experienced the miracle of the human animal bond up close, first when a therapy dog team visited while her grandfather was in hospice, and then with the impact Toby has on her whole family.