Education is paramount to the AKC’s mission. Through education, we preserve history, stay relevant to the needs of today’s dog owners and fanciers, and invest in the future health and well-being of dogs, dog sports, and the human-canine relationship.
The AKC recognizes and appreciates the enormous contributions that Parent and All-Breed Clubs give to the sport. The AKC Education Summit provides an opportunity to continue our partnership exploring additional opportunities for collaboration as we continue to work toward our common goals.
Welcome from Mr. Dennis Sprung, AKC President and Chief Executive Officer Evolution of Dog Shows and Events
Doug Ljungren, AKC Executive Vice President of Sports and Events, will review the evolution of dog sports and will discuss the importance of reaching new generations of audiences.
Glenn Lycan, AKC Director of Event Operations Support, will address the current state of All-Breed dog shows with an emphasis on ways that successful events have attracted participants. Guy Fisher, Manager of Club Development, will conduct an open discussion with a panel of club members to describe what effective strategies they have utilized and how they plan on taking their events to the next level.
Mari-Beth O’Neill, AKC Vice President of Sports Services, will discuss adding Juniors to your membership and providing opportunities for Junior’s involvement in club activities. A panel of Juniors will discuss their experiences in the sport.
Mark Dunn, Executive Vice President, will share registration data contrasting the growth in numerous breeds against the decline of others. He will also facilitate an open discussion on vulnerable breeds with the help of representatives from several Parent Clubs currently focused on breed preservation.
Brandi Hunter, Vice President of Communications and Public Relations will present how to successfully best represent your club through the best public relations and social media practices.
Ashley Jacot, Public Education Manager, will discuss ways your club can get involved in the community, including a number of Public Education initiatives. Panelists will share successful community outreach ideas and programs.
Sheila Goffe, AKC Vice President of Government Relations, will give a brief overview of the current efforts of the Government Relations team to protect the rights of dog owners.
AKC Canine Health Foundation
Dr. Diane Brown, AKC Canine Health Foundation Chief Executive Officer, will give a brief overview of the work being done to advance the health of all dogs and their owners through scientific research and the dissemination of health information to prevent, treat and cure canine disease.
Dennis B. Sprung
American Kennel Club President and Chief Executive Officer
Dennis B. Sprung is the President and CEO of the American Kennel Club, Inc. During his twenty-nine year tenure at the American Kennel Club, Mr. Sprung has led the organization in numerous initiatives including philanthropy, affinity brand-building and licensing.
Dogs have long played a central role in Mr. Sprung’s life including being a breeder, exhibitor, All-Breed Club President, Cluster Chair, Delegate, Judge, and Trial Board member. He began showing Afghan Hounds in 1968 and over the years became active in the sport. He joined AKC as an Executive Field Representative in 1989 and was subsequently promoted to multiple executive roles including Vice President of Show Events, Vice President of Planning and Development, Chief Operating Officer, and ultimately President and Chief Executive Officer.
Mr. Sprung’s leadership has resulted in several significant organizational achievements including development of AKC’s core competencies in communications and public relations, innovations in products and services for multiple constituents, pathways to alternative revenue, and the relocation of the AKC headquarters in New York City.
With Board approval, he created the AKC Humane Fund, Inc., a charitable 501(C) (3) organization that advances responsible pet ownership through education, outreach and grant-making, and served as its first Chairman and President.
Mr. Sprung was the visionary behind DOGNY – America’s Tribute to Search and Rescue Dogs, a New York City public art project that raised more than $3.5 million for canine search and rescue organizations following the 9/11 attacks.
AKC Director of Education
Leslie Fetzer is the Director of Education at the American Kennel Club, having most recently led programs for teachers at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Prior to that, she served as a classroom, and then online, Chemistry and Biology Teacher at both the high school and college levels. In 2012, Leslie won the National Online Teacher of the Year Award. Since that time, she has made many appearances as a keynote speaker, led education workshops and consulted for the United States Department of Education, international schools (Saudi Arabia, Australia), universities (Harvard, Lenoir Rhyne, Campbell, Kutztown), state legislative bodies and state education departments (Hawaii, North Carolina), and local school systems. She brings her knowledge and expertise to the American Kennel Club, leading the Canine College and Public Education Teams.
AKC Executive Vice President of Sports and Events
The Evolution of Dog Sports
Doug is the AKC Executive Vice President for Sports & Events. He and his staff are responsible for the management of all AKC sport activities, which consist of 25 AKC-managed sports and the AKC Title Recognition Program, which acknowledges the accomplishments of dogs in six activities held by other organizations. There are 20,000 AKC events per year with over 3.1 million entries. In addition to seeking enhancements to existing sports, Doug also leads AKC’s research and development effort for new dog sports/activities. He and his wife Judy have owned, bred, trained and handled German Wirehaired Pointers in conformation, field trials, hunting tests and obedience since 1976. They have been involved with several local clubs and have served as officers in the Parent Club. They are AKC Gold Level Breeders of Merit, still actively breeding GWPs. Doug graduated from Iowa State University with a Master’s Degree in Economics. He is based in Raleigh, NC.
AKC Director of Events Operation Support
Glenn Lycan is the Director of Events Operation Support at American Kennel Club. In this role, Glenn supports Co-Director, Alan Slay, and provides additional support for Superintendents and Clubs. Along with his event support duties, Glenn oversees the recently formed Club Development Department. Glenn started with the AKC in 2002 as the Associate Director of Special Services. He has been the Director of the Case Management Department, DNA Operations, Customer Service and the Companion Animal Recovery affiliate (AKC Reunite) for the AKC.
Glenn’s family was already involved with Samoyeds when he was born. The first AKC event he attended was in 1967 in Illinois. Throughout his youth, Glenn’s parents bred Samoyeds and he was their kennel boy. After several years of caring for and showing Samoyeds, and various breeds belonging to family friends, Glenn went to work for Houston and Toddie Clark. When the Clarks retired in the mid 1980’s, Glenn and his wife Rebecca moved to Griffin, Georgia and opened a kennel and handling business. They joined the Griffin Kennel Club and became active members. They are current members of the Border Terrier Club of America.
Manager of Club Development
Guy H. Fisher is Manager of Club Development for the American Kennel Club based out of Raleigh, NC. Guy’s role is geared towards helping clubs increase membership, add events during their conformation shows, and/or standalone events. In Club Development’s first year, Guy has been influential with clubs across the country in building better events and making clubs stronger. Guy was formally a professional dog handler for 27 years, being a member of the DHG, PHA and AKC handler’s programs. Guy is also a Breeder of Merit and former Show Chair for many years, as well as, holding all officer positions in those clubs. Coming to work for AKC as an Executive Field Rep in 2014 and has made an easy transition to working with clubs in building better events.
AKC Vice President of Sports Services
Mari-Beth is currently the Vice President of Sport Services, having joined the staff of the AKC in 1990. Positions held throughout her tenure at the AKC include Associate Director of Judges Education, which included the development of the AKC Judges Institutes, Director of Judges, AVP of Customer Service and to current position. Sport Services currently administers Breeder of Merit, Vet Out Reach, Registered Kennel names, Breed Standards, Juniors, Foundation Stock Service, PAL applications as well as handling the inquiries through the AKC Direct lines.
Mari-Beth was born and raised in Philadelphia. Her family had Dobermans, later joined by Manchester Terriers and Whippets. Mari-Beth competed in Junior Showmanship as well as breeding and exhibiting her Manchester Terriers under the Charmaron prefix. Mari-Beth bred one of the Top Producing Toy Manchester Terrier as well as a top brood bitch in 1979. Currently, Mari-Beth is a breeder of English Cocker Spaniels.
Prior to joining the staff of the AKC, Mari-Beth was approved to judge, Doberman Pinschers, Irish Wolfhounds, Scottish Deerhounds, Whippets, and Manchester Terriers.
Additional involvement has been as the Delegate for the American Manchester Terrier Club, member of the English Cocker Spaniel Club of America, the Doberman Pinscher Club of America member of the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, Cary Kennel Club, Bryn Mawr Kennel Club, Westbury Kennel Association, Moore County Kennel Club and Morris and Essex Kennel Club.
Before joining the AKC staff, Mari-Beth taught elementary school for 12 years and coached at the Junior High level.
AKC Executive Vice President
Mark Dunn is the American Kennel Club (AKC) Executive Vice President and is a Board member and Managing Director of AKC Reunite. Among other things, Mark leads AKC’s Registration and Customer Development Department, a team focused on meeting the needs of breeders and dog owners across the US. He also works with pet industry leaders and international registry organizations to do good things for dogs and the people who love them around the world. Mark is the staff leader for the AKC Explosive Detection Dog Taskforce, a key initiative for the AKC. Mark joined AKC in 2009 as Director of Internal Consulting. Previously he was Director of Engineering and Quality at Eastman Kodak and has over 20 years of experience leading operations, engineering and business development teams.
AKC Vice President of Public Relations and Communications
Best Public Relations and Social Media Practices for Clubs
Brandi Hunter is the Vice President of Public Relations and Communications for the American Kennel Club. She joined the AKC in 2015. Hunter is a graduate of Georgia State University with a B.A. in Journalism and recently obtained her Master’s degree in Communications from Southern New Hampshire University. Prior to working at the AKC, Hunter worked for several international organizations including CNBC, Sony Music Group, IAC and ran her own successful public relations firm. In her spare time, she works on her two books, plays with her handsome dogs, cooks and travels. She approaches her career with the same vigor as she approaches her life and believes that “consistency is the key to success.”
AKC Public Education Manager
Ashley Jacot is the Public Education Manager at American Kennel Club. She is responsible for programs such as the AKC Patch Program, the Canine Ambassador program and Educator Resources. Before working for American Kennel Club, Ashley was an elementary school teacher and education researcher. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals and online academic databases. Ashley’s experience as an educator, as well as Bachelor and Master degrees in Education, contribute to her ability to understand how best to design programs that will interest and inform the public. An avid learner herself, Ashley is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree.
AKC Vice President of Government Relations
Sheila leads American Kennel Club’s efforts in the public policy realm to promote responsible dog ownership, advocate for public policy that advances the health and well-being of dogs, preserves the legacy and capabilities of purpose-bred dogs, and protects the rights of dog owners. She oversees AKC legislative policy strategy and AKC outreach at the federal, state and local levels, works with legislators, legislative staff and regulators on key issues in canine policy, and supervises the AKC Government Relation team. She also serves as Secretary on the AKC PAC Board of Directors.
Sheila joined AKC staff in 2006. Prior to that, she served for five years on editorial and product development staff for Congressional Quarterly. Previous experience included federal legislative staffing and advocacy, work as an editor and analyst for The Economist Intelligence Unit, and serving as an adjunct in Political Science/Comparative Politics at the State University of New York/Stony Brook.
Sheila has completed Ph.D. coursework and research in American Politics/Public Policy, earned a Masters of Philosophy in American Politics and an MA in International Political Economy and Development at Fordham University, and is a former Fulbright Scholar, studying Political Economy and Development in Sri Lanka.
She is a breeder/owner/handler of Siberian Huskies, a member of the Siberian Husky Club of America, and several specialty and All-Breed kennel clubs.
Diane Brown, DVM, PhD, DACVP
AKC Canine Health Foundation Chief Executive Officer
Diane Brown DVM, PhD, DACVP (clinical pathology) is Chief Executive Officer/Chief Science Officer for the AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF), leading scientific programs strategy and operations from its Raleigh, NC headquarters. Dr. Brown is a veterinary clinical pathologist, and has served on faculty at Harvard Medical School and as Director of the Comparative Clinical Pathology Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital. She was previously Chief Scientific Officer for Morris Animal Foundation, consulting pathologist at the University of Colorado, and was senior pathologist at Eli Lilly and Company. She is an affiliate faculty member at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Brown’s veterinary career began as a small animal practitioner prior to her clinical pathology residency and PhD program/NIH fellowship in genetic disease at Colorado State University. She enjoys teaching, believes in training the next generation of scientists for animal health, and has served as a board member and volunteer veterinarian for service dog organizations. CHF is an independent affiliate of the American Kennel Club with whom Dr. Brown works closely to advance the health of dogs.
Club Development Panelist
Philip is a breeder judge for the Aran Isle Stafford. He has been involved in the sport of purebred dogs since 1965. Philip has judged in Spain, Russia, and the United Kingdom. He has been a Board Member and Vice President of The Greater Ocala Dog Club for the past twenty-one years. He is currently the President and Show Chair. The Greater Ocala Dog Club owns their own 40 acres with 150 motorhome hookups and five buildings. This year they will host 11 All-Breed shows, 6 agility trials, 6 earth dog, 1 sheep show, and 1 Bassett Waddle.
Club Development Panelist
Karen Burgess has been a breeder and exhibitor of Chinese Shar-Pei for thirty-five years. She is currently the President of the Willamette Toy Dog Fanciers. She has served as Greater Clark County Kennel Club’s Delegate since 1999 and currently serves on its Board. She has also served on a number of committees including, the AKC Parent Club Committee, the Group Reassessment Committee, Parent Club of Excellence Committee and the AKC Parent Club Mentoring Program. She has served as Show Chairman and Show Secretary for many National Specialties, All-Breed Shows, Obedience and Rally Trials, Herding, Farm Dog, Agility, and Scent Work events. Karen is active in her community promoting the Sport of Purebred Dogs and responsible dog ownership. She feels being visible and inclusive is important to the continued education and success of dog events.
Club Development Panelist
Louise began her journey in dogs with a Miniature Schnauzer in 1974. She owned, bred and exhibited Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, Norfolk Terriers, Norwich Terriers and Border Terriers. She is best known for her owner handled multiple Best in Show Norfolk Terriers and multiple Best in Show Border Terriers. Louise has been a member of the Colorado Kennel Club since 1974 and serves as the President, Show Chair, and AKC Delegate. She has also served as Colorado Kennel Club’s Secretary, Board Member and she sat on the Show Committee, holding several positions. Louise has also served as Secretary of the Norfolk-Norwich Club, Norfolk-Norwich Terrier Club Judges Education Chair and Secretary of the Norfolk Terrier Club. Louise wrote the first Judges Educational Handbook on the Norfolk and the Norwich Terrier. Louise currently serves on the Board of the Rocky Mountain All Terrier Club and is the Show Chair. She is also President of the Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs whose mission is promoting Legislation protecting the rights of dog owners and dogs. In 2008 and 2010, Louise was awarded the AKC Outstanding Sportsmanship Award by the members of Colorado Kennel Club. She is approved to judge Best in Show, the Terrier Group, Miscellaneous Group and Junior Showmanship.
Club Development Panelist
Charles owned his first Bullmastiff in 1998. In 2012, he attended his first AKC All-Breed show as an exhibitor. In 2018, Charles finished five AKC Champion Bullmastiffs and 2 GCHs to date. He is the current Show Chair of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Kennel Club.
Junior Showmanship Panelist
Shannon was born into the sport of dogs and is a third-generation breeder, owner and handler. At age seven, her grandma let her help whelp a litter of Shorthairs. It was then that she knew someday she’d be a breeder herself. Her dad purchased an English Cocker Spaniel named Bounder (CH Graffiti Skip to Sandcastle) when she was ten. Bounder is the reason she fell in love with the breed. Shannon is now the proud breeder-owner-handler of many English Cockers under the Sapphire prefix and recently won the 2017 National Specialty with her foundation bitch, GCH Edgewood Devilish Design.
Shannon has been a member of the English Cocker Spaniel Club of America for over 20 years. She is also a member of the local English Cocker breed clubs in Wisconsin and Michigan, as well as a member of American Spaniel Club. She was the Show Chairman for the 2014 ECSCA National Specialty and currently serves on the ECSCA Board of Directors as the Corresponding Secretary. She recently completed a term serving on the Volunteer of the Year committee and has taken on a newly appointed role as National Specialty Liaison for the club. She serves on the Breeders Education committee and is an ECSCA Approved Breed Mentor.
During her time in Junior Showmanship, Shannon was the recipient of two AKC College Scholarships and an ECSCA scholarship. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a degree in Marketing and Communications. She has worked in various Marketing roles, most recently at Kellogg’s as a Senior Manager of Experience Planning. Shannon was born and raised in Wisconsin, but currently resides in Michigan with her husband, Jeff, and their 7-year-old daughter, Annaleigh. Annaleigh shows the same enthusiasm and love for the dogs that Shannon had at her age.
Junior Showmanship Panelist
Marjorie is a retired NYC teacher, currently residing in Freehold, New Jersey. Marjorie has been a member of the ASSA as well as the Collie Club of America since 1970. Marjorie developed the Junior Program for the CCA to teach the children the breed. The program provides children the opportunity to teach others about the breed, engaging older children to work with the younger children. We now have young adults in the breed that are successful breeders of the breed today. Marjorie is currently approved to judge all Herding, Toy and several Non-Sporting breeds, best in show and of course her pride and joy Junior Showmanship.
Junior Showmanship Panelist
Jane has been a member of the Holyoke Kennel Club in Holyoke, Massachusetts for the past forty-three years. She currently serves as Secretary, AKC Delegate and Chairman of our Holyoke Kennel Club’s November Thanksgiving Classic Cluster Show. She is also a lifetime member of the Middlesex Boxer Club and the American Boxer Club. After retiring from teaching for thirty-five years, Jane became involved with the 4-H Programs in Massachusetts and Connecticut. She has mentored children by having them work with her boxers in Juniors and 4-H. She continues to work with the 4-H Clubs to encourage these young handlers to become involved in AKC Events, since they are the future of the sport. The Holyoke Kennel Club’s Thanksgiving Classic Cluster and the Yankee Classic Clusters are working hard to provide activities for the Juniors and the 4-H Members.
Breed Preservation Panelist
Karen got her first Dandie in 1975 and has been seriously involved with the breed ever since. Joining the DDTCA in 1978, she has served as Treasurer, Vice-President, Show Chair, Board Member and Delegate. She has finished over 60 champions, serves as a ringside mentor, and breeds one or two litters per year. Since she retired as a middle school band director 10 years ago, she has become very involved in recruiting new Dandie lovers and hopefully breeders. She is presently serving on the Strategic Advisory Committee that is devoted to saving the breed.
Joellen Gregory, DVM
Breed Preservation Panelist
Dr. Joellen Gregory is a small animal veterinarian in Maryland with a special interest in reproduction. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2005 and has been seeing primarily reproductive patients at Olney-Sandy Spring Veterinary Hospital since graduation. She is involved in an alternative theriogenology residency and is board-eligible. Her interest in Otterhounds started before her veterinary career, having gone to veterinary school because of her first Otterhound. She has been the Delegate for the Otterhound Club of America since 2009 and has served on the Board of Directors. She is the current president of the Otterhound Reproductive Bank and has been involved in the process of starting the bank since the inception of the first committee in 2009.
Helen A. Prince
Breed Preservation Panelist
Helen A. Prince has been breeding and exhibiting Scottish Terriers since 1972 and has been a member of the Scottish Terrier Club of America (STCA) for 43 years. She currently serves the STCA as the AKC Delegate, and is also the Secretary of the STCA Health Trust Fund and the STCA CHIC Liaison. As a member of the Scottish Terrier Club of America’s Board for 35 years, she served the club in many offices. She is also a member of the STC of Greater Washington, DC (currently President), and a member of STC of Greater Baltimore, serving as an officer and Board member. Helen is President of National Capital KC, and a charter member of Columbia Terrier Association of Maryland and its Secretary.
Helen is still active in conformation showing, having just finished a Grand Champion, and is awaiting a new litter of pups. Most of her champions are owner-handled. She has mentored many other breeders, conducted breeder education for her Parent Club and her regional clubs, and held handling and grooming classes. She is an approved Judge Mentor for her Parent Club. Helen has judged numerous US Scottish Terrier regional Specialty Club Sweepstakes, the Canadian Scottish Terrier Club Sweepstakes, the Scottish Terrier Club of America’s Sweepstakes at its annual National Specialty, and many other terrier breed sweepstakes and matches.
Helen is a retired high school English teacher and resides in Southern Maryland on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, with her 3 Scottish Terriers, one orange tabby cat, and a very patient husband!
Public Education Panelist
With nearly 35 years of experience successfully showing and breeding Akitas, Nancy Fisk has devoted much of her life to supporting and protecting the sport of purebred dogs. She has Represented the Hockamock Kennel Club as their delegate since 2001. A member of the All-Breed Clubs Committee for most of her tenure, she served as Chair of the sub-committee on Show Cancellations and serves on the Sub-committee for Best Practices. Nancy currently Chairs the All-Breed Clubs Committee.
Believing that our sport is unfairly under attack from the Animal Rights extremists, Nancy has devoted herself to legislative and public education issues. While living in Massachusetts, she was extremely active with the Mass. Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners. She sits on the Board of NAIA. She was a founding member of the Delegates Legislative Caucus and has remained its Chair. In 2016 she was awarded the AKC Visionary Award.
Currently residing in Virginia, Nancy works to brings awareness of the joys of purebred dogs and all that the AKC has to offer to the community. She is the Legislative Liaison for the Langley Kennel Club and a board member of the Gloucester Kennel Club which is actively working toward member status.
- Additional Resources +
- Rotating Informational Slides +
Recorded presentations may be viewed on AKC TV here.
AKC Education Webinar Series
The AKC Education Webinar Series will be announced at the AKC Education Summit.
The AKC Education Webinar Series provides an opportunity for Clubs to learn more about the resources AKC has to offer, as well as best practices within your clubs. You may register here to participate in the webinar(s).