Ana, Melissa, Allison, Juliana and Jim of the client services team at Leader Dog stand with their arms around each other smiling at the camera in front of a tree

Contact Client Services

Whether you have questions before you apply or need follow-up services after you complete training, our client services team is here to guide you through every step of your experience with Leader Dog. During normal operations, we're here 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Due to the spread of COVID-19, our client services team is working remotely at this time. More details are posted below.

As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the United States, many communities and organizations are taking preventative measures to reduce the risk of infection and Leader Dog is doing the same.
With that in mind, we wanted to provide you with the following update:
In order to keep our Leader Dog team members as safe as possible, we are instituting a remote work policy for many team members. With this change, our client services team will be fielding calls from a remote working environment.
When you contact client services at 888.777.5332, your call will be answered by an automated attendant. From there, you can:
  1. Leave a message, which will be returned by the end of the next business day.
  2. Email client services at Your message will be returned by the end of the next business day.
  3. In case of an emergency, please call (248) 218-6342.
Please note that this is a temporary change and we will communicate with you when we will have a live person answering calls once again.
Due to the nature of this pandemic, our ability to perform field visits for our clients has also become limited. Please know that we will do our best to address all field inquiries and requests.
Thank you for your trust and understanding as we continue to navigate this unprecedented situation.
Melissa Priester
Manager, Client Services

Call Us: 888-777-5332

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Meet the Client Services Team

Headshot of Melissa Priester smiling at the camera

Melissa joined the Leader Dog team in 2016 as the Client Services Supervisor before becoming the Manager of Client Services. She is responsible for managing all aspects of the Client Services department, client admissions and metrics. Her favorite part of her job is improving the department processes through innovation and technology… and being around dogs all day.

Prior to Leader Dog, Melissa was the Director of Client Services at General Sports and Entertainment, a sports-management company that focuses on sponsorship consulting services and the acquisition and management of sports teams. During her eleven years at General Sports, she supported all divisions of the company and played an active role in the development of the United Shore Professional Baseball League and the construction of Jimmy John’s Field in Utica, Michigan. Melissa was drawn to Leader Dog because she wanted to be a part of an organization whose main purpose was to make a positive difference in people’s lives.

Melissa has a Bachelor’s of Business Administration from Northwood University. She and her husband have three children and a yellow Labrador Retriever named Rocky. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, playing sports, reading and being outdoors.

Headshot of Ana Donato

Ana became involved with Leader Dog in 2009 as a volunteer, providing translation services for our Spanish-speaking clients. She assisted clients in becoming oriented with the Leader Dog facility upon arrival for training, accompanied them on shopping trips, and volunteered at evening events.  She transitioned to a Leader Dog team member in 2012 as a Resident Assistant, where she assisted clients during their stay on-campus for training. Ana joined the Client Services team in 2016 as a Client Services Coordinator. In this role, she is responsible for processing applications for all Leader Dog programs, ensuring that clients complete and submit each piece of the application to be considered for training. Ana assists our International clients with the travel logistics for their training, and serves as a liaison between Leader Dogs and our Spanish-speaking partner organizations. She also provides support to our clients after they have graduated.

A native of Saltillo, Mexico, Ana received a degree in Business Administration from Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico. Prior to joining Leader Dog, she was a Material Planner for Chrysler in Mexico, where she met her husband. They moved to the United States in 1997. Ana had witnessed the lack of guide dog services in her home country of Mexico, and was drawn to Leader Dog because of the organization’s commitment to serving international clients. Ana’s favorite part of her job is getting to speak with clients from all over the world.

Ana and her husband have three children, and a Lhasa Apso/Poodle cross-breed dog named Lily. In her free time, Ana enjoys cooking and spending time doing volunteer work with her children.

Headshot of Allison Jones smiling at the camera

Allison began her career at Leader Dog as a volunteer in 2009, where her duties consisted of walking dogs and providing administrative support to the Puppy Development department. The following year she joined the organization as a paid team member of the Dog Care team, caring for the dogs in training and providing support at the front desk of the canine center. In 2012 she joined the Client Services team as a Client Services Coordinator. She is responsible for providing information on Leader Dog programs to potential clients, overseeing the department volunteers, and providing support services to our graduate clients. Allison enjoys educating, advocating for, crying with and encouraging clients as they navigate the world with a Leader Dog.

Allison earned a Bachelor’s of the Arts degree from Michigan State University, and worked for 20 years in the publishing industry prior to joining Leader Dog. Her journey to the organization began out of curiosity when she participated in a public tour of Leader Dog and was so impressed with the organization that she made the decision to volunteer.

She has two dogs at home, a mixed-breed named Franna, and a retired Leader Dog named Cocoa. Allison is a self-described “foodie” who loves expanding her palate with foods from different cultures. She also enjoys spending time in Northern Michigan and dog-sitting for family and friends.

Headshot of AstridAstrid was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina; her family is German, and she went to a Scottish school. She has a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the Universidad del Salvador. In 2002, she moved to the U.S. with her husband and children. They have been in Michigan since 2003. She worked 10 years for Rochester Community Schools and spent time at Loft and Williams Sonoma. She loves to spend her free time traveling, cooking, gardening, and her new obsession is running (she has run multiple marathons and plans on more). She has a Shih Tzu named Lila. Leader Dog has been her dream job for many years and she is very excited to be part of it now on the client services team. She loves to be able to use her language skills to interact with all of our clients.

Headshot of Juliana Whitted smiling at the camera

Juliana joined Leader Dog in 2014 as a Resident Assistant and Food Services Aide, assisting clients during their stay on-campus for training. In 2016 she joined the Client Services team, where she is responsible for providing information on Leader Dog programs to potential clients, assisting clients who have been approved for training, and providing support to clients after they have graduated. Juliana’s favorite aspect of her job is witnessing the clients’ journey from application through to graduation and hearing how the experience changes their lives for the better.

Juliana holds a degree in Graphic and Commercial Art from Macomb Community College. Prior to Leader Dog, she started her own freelance art business called The Painted Pony, with a focus on painting murals and furniture. She also worked for several years in the Kingsbury Country Day School system in a variety of roles. Juliana was drawn to Leader Dog because of the organization’s mission to empower people with visual impairments. She and her husband have three children, and a black Labrador Retriever named Hank. Hank frequently joins Juliana at work and can usually be found sleeping at her feet under her desk.

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