Event Details

This event finished on 14 January 2020


Join us for light refreshments and a review of our achievements in 2019. We’ll also look ahead to 2020, and we’ll elect new members to serve on our board of directors. All members encouraged to attend!!!

The minutes from the January 2019 meeting, along with staff reports for 2019, are available to download and review here. 

The following members are running for six open spots on the TCOTC Board of Directors:

Joyce Carlson-Rioux
As a lifelong dog lover, I can offer TCOTC’s Board of Directors my enthusiastic interest in helping others better understand and team with their canine partners, no matter whether the goal is to have a well adjusted, well behaved pet or a fabulous performance buddy. Below are some of the specific skills I can offer the Board:
  • I love to read and bring a background of reading and reflection that includes understanding of learning theory (from study as a special ed teacher) as well as familiarity with the literature of dog training.  (Two of my favorites are Patricia McConnell and Jean Donaldson). I have lived through the shift in dog training from more coercive approaches to pack theory focus to positive reinforcement. As a retired special educator who worked with students with autism spectrum disorders for 16 years, I am a strong believer in setting students up for success and shaping behavior with positive reinforcement.
  • As a teacher and as an avocational orchestral/chamber musician, I bring my ability to be a team player to the board. I understand the need to listen and to take turns leading and following. I have practiced these skills often in my work and music rehearsals. I know that the best results come when people share ideas and work toward a solution that brings out the best each person has to offer.
  • As a student and a teacher, I have learned to express ideas clearly in writing.
  • I chose to train my dog at TCOTC because of the positive training philosophy. To date, I have taken my dog through Puppy Prodigy (3 sessions), Public Manners, Advanced Obedience, and many Competition Obedience sessions. My dog and I have also been regularly attending Conformation classes at the club. I’ve been pleased with all of these and the instructors who lead them. I bring my experience as a student at TCOTC to the board.
  • At this time the TCOTC Board is reflecting on how to increase member involvement, how to adapt to the changing trends of the dog training community, and how to grow responsibly. I believe that we must keep the need for personal connection central as we grow. Handlers need to feel that each person and his/her dog are noticed and important when they come to every TCOTC class/activity.
  • We need to continue offering “practical” training classes. First and foremost, our dogs share our homes and communities.  Helping them live harmoniously in a human world, yet respecting their “dogginess” is basic.
  • We need to continue to have informal ways to allow people to try out the more formal dog sports. We also need to provide a clear path to entering each sport. I’ve sensed that some members are a bit intimidated about how to break in to “established circles” of folks who are already involved. How can we foster more comfort and one-to-one support to help ease these feelings?
  • Many of us who have time for dog sports are at or nearing the retirement stage. Is there a way we could better connect with the younger persons who use our facility through the 4H program?

I don’t have concrete answers to the above issues, but that is where the teamwork of the board is important. My ideas above are starting points for discussion. I have lots to learn about TCOTC, but then again, I plan to never stop listening. Thank you for considering me for this position.

Melissa J. Dargay
Melissa joined TCOTC in 2017 to begin training her Feist Terrier, Aspen. She has worked and volunteered for many nonprofit organizations in development, marketing communications and event roles. Melissa holds an MA in Nonprofit Management from Saint Mary’s University, as well as an MBC certificate from the University of St. Thomas in Marketing Communications, leading her to her current role as a nonprofit administrator for the University of Minnesota. She also provides pet sitting and walking services through Whiskers to Tails Petsitting. Along with caring for pets, Melissa works with falconers to provide training and husbandry of raptors. Melissa lives in Fridley with her husband, Joe, their two dogs Brody and Aspen, and Joe’s redtail hawk, Xenia.
Susanne Jones
My name is Susanne Jones and I would be honored to be considered for a position on the Board of Directors at TCOTC beginning in January 2020 through December 2023.

I joined the club in March 2018. It’s hard for me to capture in words just how much I and my DoberFrau, Prada have grown in this short amount of time as a result of the TCOTC instructors. I have been volunteering at TCOTC’s frontdesk once a week since summer 2018. Beyond the benefits of the voucher system that allows staff free classes, I have absolutely enjoyed assisting customers who walk through our doors, often anxious and uncertain about what to expect from a class. In addition to our classes and deskwork, I have made many friends at TCOTC. There is a strong camaraderie at the club: we all share a love for dogs, a compassionate positive training philosophy–and we have a fabulous sense of humor.

I believe I can assist TCOTC’s Board of Directors in three ways over the next three years. First, as a person who is relatively new to the club, I am able to make contributions that are innovative and new. Second, my expertise in working with/on committees, writing proposals, conducting research, analyzing data, and managing groups might assist the board as it addresses issues relevant to the club. Perhaps most important, I possess strong communication skills that include active listening, negotiation, and writing.

I would be honored to be considered for a position on the Board of Directors at TCOTC. I understand TCOTCs training philosophy and promise to abide by it. I do want to take the opportunity to express my gratitude to TCOTC for being so tremendously formative in my training and for welcoming me with open arms.
Vanessa Niemi
I have been a member of the club for over 4 years, ever since enrolling my puppy Baxter into puppy socialization.  I fell in love with the community of the club and started volunteering.  I have been a front desk volunteer and have enjoyed being one of the faces that our members see when they come in.  I have been a puppy agility assistant and an Obedience assistant.  I became an Obedience instructor last year and I love working with our human and furry students.  I have been managing the TCOTC store for three years.  I also spent two and a half years on the board as an alternate and this year became a board member and recording secretary for the board.
Karen Radford
I have served on the TCOTC Board for nine years from January 2010-2016 and 2017-2020.  During my tenure on the Board, I have held the offices of President, Vice President, Corresponding Secretary and Treasurer. I have a solid working knowledge of the Club’s policies and procedures and have worked at reviewing and updating them.  In the past, I have assisted with Flyball classes on and off for several years. In addition, I help out with assorted maintenance and painting.

I currently train at TCOTC with my dogs Dooley, Ayla and Nebbie. All five of my past/current dogs have completed basic obedience training at TCOTC. I have been active in Flyball since 2002 and in agility since 2003.

Projects and committees:
2009 – Organize and direct the update of the Star Room addition to TCOTC
2012 – Construct white barriers for ring room and annex
2013 – Oversee mat removal and replacement in ring room
2014 – Plan and oversee annex painting and window insulation
2015 – Hiring committee for Managing Director position
2017 – Develop financial model for evaluation and tracking of financial performance and costs
2018 – Construct additional ring barriers, painting of lobby area
2019 – Compensation committee

My dogs and I have all benefited from our experiences at TCOTC. TCOTC has taught us not only basic obedience, but helped me to have a better relationship and loads of fun with my dogs.  I love the fact that it is a volunteer run organization and relies on the talents and skills of its members.

In my previous terms on the Board, I have tried to work with other Board members to evaluate the needs of the organization, define both short term and long term goals, and lay out a business model that will help to improve our operations and still serve our volunteer membership.

My professional background is engineering and I have been working as a program manager for the last 14 years. I believe my background can help provide structure and organization as we plan the future direction of the Club.