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Leadership

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Board of Directors

Gary Jeandron
Chairman of the Board

Gary Jeandron

For more than three decades, Gary Jeandron served professionally with the Palm Springs Police Department. He started as a Records...

 
Leonard Sigdestad, DVM

Leonard Sigdestad, DVM

Dr. Leonard Sigdestad was born in Webster, South Dakota where he grew up on a farm.  He had a love...

Darcy McNaboe
Treasurer

Darcy McNaboe

Darcy McNaboe is Principal and Founder of Village Enterprises, which advises businesses on management issues, as well as development and...

Cynthia Woods
Secretary

Cynthia Woods

A graduate of Western Michigan University – earning Masters of Arts in Vision Rehabilitation therapy.  Also certified by the Academy...

Patricia Craine, MA, LMFT

Patricia Craine, MA, LMFT

Patti Craine specializes in individual, couples and family therapy, and maintains a private practice in Palm Springs, California.  With over...

Laurie Kettering
Vice Chairman

Laurie Kettering

Kettering is the owner of Ben & Jerry’s at The River, which is a Global Top 10% Scoop Shop in...

John Lowey

John Lowey

John Lowey is a registered Financial Advisor with Edward Jones in Palm Springs, with a Tier 10 ranking with the ...

Kevin Foster

Kevin Foster

Kevin Foster is an experienced and innovative global leader frequently recognized by executives and peers for driving organizational performance to...

Ann Thornton

Ann Thornton

A graduate of California State University, Fullerton, Ann is an avid equestrian, golfer and photography enthusiast.  Married since 1984 to...

Guido Portante

Guido Portante

General Portante is the absolute citizen-soldier.  Born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania and having grown up in Cleveland, Ohio, the family made...

Management Team

Ben Schirmer – Executive Director

Shortly after graduating from law school, Ben began working for the State of Florida’s Attorney General’s Office. First, he handled dependency cases and civil prosecutions of parents who were accused of abuse, abandonment or neglect of their children. Next, he handled termination of parental rights trials and finally was promoted to the position of Managing Attorney for that division of the Attorney Generals’ office. Ben was then recruited to run a non-profit agency, Children’s Home Society, in Florida that focused primarily on services to abused, abandoned and neglected children including emergency shelter and foster care.

Eventually moving to California, he became the Executive Director for Rainbow Services in 2003. Rainbow Services provides support services to victims of domestic violence. After joining Rainbow, Ben was active with the Los Angeles City DV Task Force and the LA County DV Council. At the state level, he was re-elected to serve three terms as LA’s Regional Representative for the California Partnership to end Domestic Violence where he also served as the Board President. Ben was also appointed by the Speaker of the House to sit on the Domestic Violence Advisory Council to the California Office of Emergency Services.

In 2015, Ben left Rainbow to pursue an opportunity to run the Harbor Community Benefit Foundation. HCBF makes grants to local nonprofits for projects that help mitigate the impact of the Port of Los Angeles on the surrounding communities of San Pedro and Wilmington. However, he quickly realized that his passion is working for an agency that works directly to support clients.

In 2018, Ben decided to relocate to the desert to be closer to an aging relative and was fortunate enough to hear about the opening at Guide Dogs of the Desert. For Ben this opportunity combines two passions – his love of directly supporting clients with life-saving services and his love of dogs.  He is honored to have the opportunity to lead such a well-run agency that is admired and supported by this incredible community.

Training Team

Administrative Team

Kennel Staff

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