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Melissa Weisse Appointed as Leader Dog CEO

Leader Dogs for the Blind today announced the appointment of Melissa Weisse as its new President & Chief Executive Officer, following an extensive, national search process. Weisse will replace Susan Daniels, who in May of 2023 announced her intention to retire. 

Melissa sits on the edge of a chair, smiling at the camera. She is wearing a blue dress with red and white accentsWeisse is an industry-respected nonprofit executive with over 20 years of experience in fundraising and senior management leading staff and services that support people who are blind or visually impaired. Weisse has served as the chief philanthropy officer at Leader Dog since 2008. During this time, Weisse has grown total philanthropic revenue at Leader Dog by 121% and estates revenue by 164% enabling greater client service provision She also successfully led the largest capital campaign in Leader Dog’s history, raising $14.5 million for the renovation of its world-class canine development center. Weisse is one of just 117 people worldwide to hold the designation of Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE), the highest accreditation for professional fundraisers. 

Prior to joining Leader Dog in 2003, Weisse worked for Christie’s London as a private client advisor managing an international portfolio of high-net-worth individuals. Weisse graduated from the University of Notre Dame and has a master’s degree from the University of Glasgow. She is a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Non-Profit Executive Leadership program and sits on the American Foundation for the Blind board of trustees. Weisse is also a proud member of Lions Clubs International.  

Leader Dog Chair Kathie Davis said, “After an extensive, national search process, we are delighted to welcome Weisse as our new president & CEO. Weisse is an inspired, results-driven and values-driven leader who has a diverse background of experience and an excellent reputation of leadership in the nonprofit sector and field of blind rehabilitation. She is an industry thought leader with a proven track record of revenue and program growth. The Board looks forward to Weisse realizing the future vision and potential for Leader Dogs for the Blind and the entire community we serve. 

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Susan Daniels for her leadership. The improvements she has made to the organization’s structure, strategy and operations leave Leader Dog well positioned for success. Sue retires after an extremely successful 20-year tenure with our organization.” 

Weisse said, “Thank you to Sue Daniels for her longstanding dedication and tremendous service to the Leader Dog mission. 

“I am honored to be selected as the organization’s next President and CEO and to work with our clients and community around the world to advance our important work. I am looking forward to advocating for the Leader Dog mission with our clients to promote greater inclusion and access for people who are blind or visually impaired.” 

Weisse will commence her leadership role on December 12 with Daniels staying on in an advisory capacity until January 2024. 

For additional information, contact Rachelle Kniffen, director of communications and marketing at (248) 659-5013. 

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