Leadership

Staff Leadership

Lesley Adams

Lesley Adams joined Retrieving Independence in 2011 as a volunteer to continue developing her skills with assistance dogs and supplement her prior experience in training dogs for general obedience work. She was one of the founding Board Members of Retrieving Independence.As Program & Training Director, Lesley is responsible for the initiation of and continuing refinement of approaches, curricula and evaluations for dogs, and inmate trainers with Retrieving Independence. She provides the initial and ongoing training/coaching for recipients of RI dogs and their caregivers.

Lesley Adams

Program & Training Director (TPFW)
Stacie Chevrier

Stacie found Retrieving Independence though another one of our volunteers. After puppy raising and furloughing (now) service dog, Sadie, she wanted to become more involved. Stacie now handles communications and social media. When she's not puppy sitting and furloughing, Stacie loves to travel and practice yoga.

Stacie Chevrier

Marketing & Communications
Dr. Brenda Dew

Brenda Dew, Ph.D. joined the volunteer team of Retrieving Independence in 2012 after retiring as a Professor of Counseling. She is the Counseling Coordinator for Retrieving Independence and is responsible for developing and managing relationship assessments for the inmate trainers, applicants and caregivers.Brenda is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, National Supervisor for AMMFT and a Certified Pet Therapist as well as a certified evaluator for Pet Partners. Brenda and her dog Daisy were awarded the Frist Humanitarian Award in 2006 for exemplary service to patients and the healthcare community through HCA.

Brenda Dew, Ph.D.

Counseling Director (TPFW)
Nikki Ivey, 2×2.5 300dpi

Nikki Ivey

Training Director (Turney Center)
Jessica Petty

Jessica enjoyed a rewarding leadership career within the animal health industry before joining Retrieving Independence in 2018. As a champion of the service dog relationship and a firm believer in the training philosophies of RI, Jessica is the passionate voice spreading the word about the life changing work happening here in Nashville that impacts beneficiaries nationwide.Jessica holds a Masters in Global Leadership and is currently knee-deep in her dissertation to complete her Doctorate in Leadership. When she is not enjoying time with her family and their dog Charlotte, you can often find her in the stacks of a local bookstore.

Jessica Petty

Executive Director
Shelly Steele

Shelly worked for a Fortune 500 transportation company for 25 years. In 2009, she officially started her 2nd career as a marriage and family therapist. Shelly started as a furlough volunteer in 2012, served as a board member in 2014 and was Board Chair in 2016-2017. Today, Shelly serves as the Counseling Director at Turney Center.

Shelly Steel

Counseling Director (Turney Center)
Dorothy Thompson

Dorothy Thompson

Recipient Director

Volunteer Leadership

Kelly Banfield

Kelly Banfield

Furlough Coordinator
Caitlyn Betschart

Caitlyn Betschart

Recipient Care
Anna Brasfield

Anna Brasfield

Training Lead

Ann Marie Ives

Training Lead
Megan McCormack

Megan has been a volunteer since October 2013 and she currently serves as our New Volunteer Coordinator where she helps introduce new volunteers to the RI community. Megan and her husband live in Nashville with their two cats, Evie and Bella, and their goldendoodle/RI breeder dog, Murphy.

Megan McCormack

Volunteer Engagement
Claudia Parker

Claudia Parker

Community Outreach
Kristen Yost

Kristen Yost

Puppy Coordinator