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038-Client Services group shots (1) 2023

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 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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.

Andrea Hernandez, better known as Andy, joined Leader Dog as a client service coordinator in 2021. As a client service coordinator, she is responsible for providing information of our programs to potential clients, assisting them through our application process and providing support whenever is needed. She is fluent in English and Spanish, making her responsible for our Spanish-speaking clients.

Her journey to the organization began when a friend told her about our mission, by which she immediately felt the urge to get involved. What Andy enjoys the most about working at Leader Dog is knowing that her work is making a difference in someone else’s life by providing a second chance at freedom and independence. Being from a Latin American country (Mexico), Andy loves the idea that she is helping others in her community have access to services that they will not be able to get in their home countries.

Andy holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, running, and spending time with her family. Andy lives with her husband Ruben, and their French bulldog, Taco.

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 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.