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Big L Leadership + Dogs on NYE!

Updated: Mar 13

SDI Founder Sheri Soltes Elected as National Chair

As we enter our 35th year, we want to share some exciting news about the team here at SDI. Our wonderful leader, Sheri Soltes, has been elected as the Chair of Assistance Dogs International North America (ADI NA)!

ADI is the worldwide coalition of non-profit programs that train Assistance Dogs. Founded in 1986, ADI is the accrediting body and leading authority in the global Assistance Dog industry. ADI NA's 82 member programs in the United States and Canada represent 18,000 graduates using Guide, Hearing and Service Dogs in North America.

Sheri served for four years as Vice Chair of ADI NA and also chaired the ADI NA Legislation and Advocacy Committee. She worked with the Department of Transportation and airline industry to update the Air Carrier Access Act, which has made flying safer for passengers using Service Dogs plus the general public, and helped convince Walmart and Etsy to stop selling Service Dog vests to the general public, a practice often used in fraud.

"As ADI NA Chair, I plan to work with our members to continue to move the industry towards the best practices you all have come to appreciate about SDI, like positive reinforcement training and advocating for accessibility to public facilities and transportation. I am also laying the groundwork for a regional conference in Texas."

Please join us in congratulating Sheri on this victory for all of us!

Colonel Kim Olson Elected New SDI Board Chair

Our Board of Directors unanimously elected Colonel Kim Olson as SDI Board Chair at their final meeting of last year. Col. Olson was one of the first female fighter pilots in the United States Air Force. She also was serving in the Pentagon on 9/11.

Following an honorary retirement, Col. Olson founded Grace After Fire, a nonprofit supporting women transitioning from military service back to civilian life. Kim's tireless advocacy for Texans earned her induction into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014.

We are excited about Kim’s powerful leadership and the energy she brings to the organization, as well as Sheri’s new high profile role leading the Service Dog industry in North America. This would not be possible without your continued support of what we do here at SDI. For that, we are grateful.

How Our Dogs Spent NYE

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