Ken Ramirez is the Executive Vice-President and Chief Training Officer of Karen Pryor Clicker Training where he helps to oversee the vision, development and implementation of training education programs for the organization.
Previously, Ken served as EVP of animal care and animal training at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, where he developed and supervised animal care and animal health programs, staff training and development as well as public presentation programs for more than 32,000 animals. He worked at Shedd Aquarium for over 25 years and continues as a consultant to this day.
A 35+ year veteran of animal care and training, Ramirez is a biologist and animal behaviorist who has overseen or consulted on training projects for many zoological organizations throughout the world. He began his training career working with guide dogs for the visually impaired and has maintained a close affiliation to pet training throughout his career. He hosted two successful seasons of the pet training television series Talk to the Animals that compared pet training to the important work done with training and caring for animals in zoological facilities. He has also recently worked closely with several search and rescue dog organizations, service dog groups, as well as with bomb and narcotic dogs.
Lindsay Wood Brown is a board-certified Associate Applied Animal Behaviorist (ACAAB) with a master’s degree in Animal Behavior. She specializes in finding solutions for behavior conditions and consults for animal shelters on the design and implementation of behavior programs, effective behavior modification methods, and the development of robust operational strategies to achieve behavioral health for animals within the shelter environment.
Lindsay teaches seminars and workshops around the country and serves as a faculty member for Karen Pryor Academy and Clicker Expo. She offers coaching and 1:1 mentorship opportunities for behavior consultants.
Lindsay has a long history of leadership and building high functioning teams within animal shelters. She served as the Director of Operations for Lynchburg Humane Society (LHS), an open-admissions animal shelter located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Her role at Lynchburg Humane included the oversight of all shelter operations, with a strong focus on behavior and behavior modification to increase the number of animal lives saved and successfully rehomed.
Lindsay served for 8 years as the Director of Animal Training and Behavior for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley in Boulder, Colorado. She developed Boulder Humane’s Training and Behavior Department, including their comprehensive behavior modification program, which focuses on rehabilitating dogs with specific behavior conditions, including resource-guarding, fearful behavior, body-handling sensitivities, separation anxiety, and dog-dog aggression. Lindsay also developed the Humane Society of Boulder Valley’s curricula for a wide array of positive reinforcement, clicker training classes for community members.
Founder and head trainer of In Dogs We Trust and The Ultimutts, Melissa Millett has taught thousands of family pets. As an animal expert, she has been featured internationally as well as on every major Canadian TV network, including Breakfast Television (Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary), CP24, Global News, CTV (Toronto, Vancouver), Animal Planet, The Pet Network, and more. Melissa was the host of the popular television show Doggy House Calls and the spin-off series Doggy Diaries in cities across Canada.
Melissa is known internationally as an advanced trick trainer and performer with The Ultimutts. A few of the The Ultimutts have been featured internationally on: Good Morning America, The Rick Mercer Report, The Family Channel, CBC, and Cineplex Theatres. Bella the Boston terrier has traveled across the country with Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Lollipop, Sashimi and Jellybean have 5 Guinness World Records, some of which acquired in Italy on Lo Show Dei Record. Jellybean the deaf Australian cattle dog made it to the semifinals of the Facebook Watch show World's Most Amazing Dog, receiving 36 million views and coming very close to winning $100,000 USD!
Melissa provides an elite service for animals in film and TV. Most notably, Melissa co-trained the cats for Stephen King’s 2019 Pet Sematary and worked on a 2019 Super Bowl commercial. Past clients have included Paramount, Netflix, Warner Brothers, and more!
Maya Gupta, Ph.D., earned her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and her master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from the University of Georgia, with a predoctoral internship in the Psychology Service at the United States Penitentiary - Atlanta. Her work focuses on connections between animal cruelty and interpersonal violence, particularly family violence, and on using this knowledge to improve coordinated community response to violence in all forms.
Her leadership in the field of human-animal relationships includes previous roles as Executive Director of the Animals & Society Institute and as Executive Director of the Ahimsa House domestic violence safe haven program for animals.
She currently serves as Training Director of the American Psychological Association’s Section on Human-Animal Interaction, on the Steering Committee of the National Link Coalition, on the Animal Cruelty Advisory Council of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, as an adjunct faculty member in the Master’s Program in Anthrozoology at Canisius College, and as an instructor for the Veterinary Forensic Sciences program at the University of Florida.
Chief Creative Officer, Valvespring
Bob's passion for effective creativity plays a pivotal role in our brand and strategy development and is the driving force behind our creative execution. A master at creative strategy and positioning, Bob pours himself into every challenge he faces with a boundless capacity for detail about our clients’ business, and expert ability to synthesize insights and information into compelling strategies.
Prior to joining Valvespring, Bob held senior-level creative positions at diverse organizations, including the American Motorcyclist Association, MassMutual and the marketing powerhouse Ketchum in Los Angeles. Most recently, he was the senior creative director at LSHD Advertising, responsible for growing that firm's stem cell technology and novel medical device clientele.
Bob is an all-or-nothing type of guy, completely devoted to the things he's passionate about, with his favorite hobby being a prime example. He has turned motorcycle racing into a precision science, winning five national, and more than 25 regional championship titles in roadracing, dirt track, and sidecars. But when he's not elbow deep in grease twisting a wrench on one his his machines, there's only one other place you'll find him – hanging out at the office, home, or on road trip adventures with his side kicks, Cameo and Kirby.
Bob graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, with minors in Art History and Interior Architecture.
Principal, Managing Director and Public Relations Strategist, Valvespring.
With more than 25 years of experience in global marketing and communications, Christina is a successful strategist and tactician; a true expert at developing innovative, influential and international communications campaigns.
With senior-level experience at the world's largest financial services company and at one of the largest global advertising and public relations networks, she's advised CEOs of global corporations and helped start-ups get off the ground – and everything in between.
As managing director at Valvespring, she brings her big-city savvy and international experiences to all our clients. Her goal? Helping people and businesses succeed and making a real difference, in collaboration with the best team anywhere.
Analyst. Data junkie. Relationship builder. Leader. Project manager. Visionary. That’s Christina in a nutshell. An avid motorcyclist, Christina approaches each project like she rides: with precision, focus and speed.
Christina holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Central Connecticut State University, with dual majors in marketing and organizational management.
Dr. Lynam is a clinical psychologist and the Chief Clinical Officer at Homes for the Brave, a transitional housing program for veterans experiencing homelessness. Dr. Lynam received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Xavier University and completed her postdoctoral training in psychosocial rehabilitation at VA Connecticut Healthcare System (VACHS). Dr. Lynam stayed on as staff psychologist at VACHS for several years as a supervisor in the HUD VASH (VA Supported Housing) program where she assisted Veterans who were homeless acquire housing and treatment for substance use and mental health disorders.
After several years with the VA, she became the Chief Clinical Officer at Homes for the Brave where she continues to work with Veterans who are experiencing homelessness. Currently, she oversees clinical programming and works to implement new clinical program needs to support individuals working towards achieving their identified recovery goals, which may include housing, employment, mental health and/or substance abuse recovery. Previously, she worked at community mental health centers and inpatient psychiatric hospitals. Dr. Lynam’s clinical and research interests include psychosocial rehabilitation, supportive housing, integrated dual diagnosis treatment, harm reduction, psychological assessment and other areas that are closely related to assisting individuals diagnosed with severe mental illness and/or substance abuse live well in the community. Dr. Lynam is passionate about helping individuals develop their recovery goals and make strides towards achieving them. She also aspires to work towards policy and system change to help prevent homelessness as well as improve access to quality integrated dual diagnosis treatment for all who need it.
Dr. Lynam values the role that animals play in our lives and the positive impact they can have on our mental health. Her pets include her childhood cat named Kitty and a rabbit named Abby.
Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, PhD, CAAB
Dr. Ha’s academic and practical training is in the social behavior of birds and mammals, with a special focus on highly social species like domestic dogs, crows and jays, primates, and killer whales. His background includes a Bachelor's degree in Biology from Millersville University (1980), a Master’s degree in Biology from Wake Forest University (1983), a Ph.D. in Zoology, with a specialization in animal behavior, from Colorado State University (1989), and professional credentialing as a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB), the highest level of certification in applied behavior that is available. At the University of Washington since 1990, he is currently an Emeritus Research Professor in Psychology (Animal Behavior Program) where he continues to teach and conduct research in complex social behavior and cognition of several animal species. He served as a member of the Animal Behavior Society’s Executive Committee for many years.
During his graduate training, Jim interned with Dr. Philip Lehner (Colorado State University) and was active in his early behavior consulting business in Colorado, Animal Behavior Associates of Colorado. Dr. Ha started his own consulting business in companion animal behavior in 1999, Animal Behavior Associates of Washington, LLC. He has performed in-home evaluations and treatments on behavior issues (80% aggression) in dogs, cats and parrots (averaging 45 cases/year) and advises on additional cases seen by his colleagues.
Currently, he acts as a consultant to major pet food companies and several shelter organizations. He is co-director of the University of Washington’s Certificate in Applied Animal Behavior education program. He recently stepped down as Co-Investigator with Purdue University’s Center for Animal Welfare Science, aiding their major research program on commercial breeding of dogs. He has just published his first popular book, Dog Behavior: Modern Science and Our Canine Companions, with his co-author Tracy Campion.
In addition, he has participated in a number of legal cases as an expert witness, both Consulting and Testifying, and on cases involving both dog bites and dog tracking behavior.
Kathryn Bayne, MS, PhD, DVM, DACLAM, DACAW, CAAB, is the Executive Director of AAALAC International. She oversees the administration of AAALAC's offices in North America, Europe and Asia; supervising fiscal and personnel management for the association; providing oversight of AAALAC's Accreditation, Program Status Evaluation and Education & Outreach programs; and serving as AAALAC International's spokesperson.
Previously, Dr. Bayne was Global Director for AAALAC International. In this role she directed the accreditation program and traveled extensively worldwide to advance AAALAC's accreditation program and laboratory animal welfare. She has served on the AAALAC International staff since 1994. Her many achievements over the years include the development of the Council on Accreditation into regional Sections serving Europe and the Pacific Rim, the hiring of regional Directors to the AAALAC International staff, her extensive work introducing numerous countries to the AAALAC International accreditation program, and her extensive work in Asia to advance research animal welfare.
Prior to joining AAALAC International Dr. Bayne worked at the National Institutes of Health leading a research program on non-human primate psychological well-being and environmental enrichment programs for primates, dogs, cats and swine. She is a certified applied animal behaviorist, and is internationally renowned for her work in laboratory animal behavior and welfare. Dr. Bayne has held several leadership positions including service as President of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, the Association of Primate Veterinarians, as well as the District of Columbia Veterinary Medical Association. She is past Chair of the American Veterinary Medical Association's Animal Welfare Committee, and was the inaugural Chair of the American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioner's Animal Welfare Committee. Dr. Bayne was the 2009 recipient of the American Veterinary Medical Association's Animal Welfare Award, the 2012 recipient of the Charles River Prize, and the 2016 recipient of the KCLAM Award for Global Support to Laboratory Animal Medicine in Korea.
As a former Army Medic, DAV, American Legion member and dog lover, Sean believes the organization is the perfect way to combine two things he is very passionate about: Veterans and dogs. He looks forward to improving the quality of life for Veterans and providing loving homes for dogs in need.
IRITH (“EE-REET") BLOOM
CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA, CDBC, CSAT, KPA CTP, VSPDT, CBATI-KSA, FFCP (Trainer), VSDTA Faculty, DWA Faculty, Co-founder of the Freak’n Awesome Dog Project
Irith Bloom, author, presenter, trainer, and teacher, owns The Sophisticated Dog, a pet training company that offers online training worldwide, as well as in-person training to select clients in Los Angeles. Irith is also co-founder of the Freak’n Awesome Dog Project, which helps people live the life of their dreams with their dogs.
Irith has been training animals since the 1980s and has worked with animals ranging from chickens and rabbits to dogs and horses—not to mention humans. A biologist by training, Irith is fascinated by the science of learning. She is a sought-after presenter at conferences and seminars worldwide, and her writing has been published in countless online outlets, as well as in print media including the recent book “Your Puppy and You: A step-by-step guide to raising a freak'n awesome dog.”
Irith is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge and Skills Assessed (CPDT-KSA), a Certified Behavior Consultant Canine - Knowledge Assessed (CBCC-KA), a Canine Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), a Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT), a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP), a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT), a Certified Behavior Adjustment Training Instructor – Knowledge and Skills Assessed (CBATI-KSA), and a Fear Free Certified Practitioner (FFCP). She is also certified in TAGteach, a positive-reinforcement method for teaching humans, and is on the faculty of both Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training and Behavior and DogBiz’s Dog Walking Academy.
Irith has a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a Member of the Board of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and on the Advisory Board for Daily Paws, as well as Chair Emeritus of the Education Committee of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT). She also volunteers for National English Shepherd Rescue.
"You would think that a dog is just a dog. That may be true for some, but not me.I used to sit at home, alone, and just let life pass me by, but now I have a reason to get up. Even if it’s feeding Samson, or taking him for walks, he has motivated me to live again."
"He’s more than just a friend. He’s my battle buddy. He’s my left hand. We’re connected by a leash, but it’s really our umbilical cord. He’s sometimes more tuned into me than I’m tuned into me. He knows more about me than I do sometimes. He lets me know what’s going on."