Meet the Team

Elaine Starks
Chief Development Officer

Specializing in nonprofit philanthropy, Elaine is a seasoned nonprofit professional with more than 20 years of expertise in developing and executing successful programs in philanthropy. She focuses on the financial needs of each program and provides a structured theoretical and practical applications approach to meeting the agency’s highest financial priorities.

Meg Flynn
Program Manager (Since 2010)

In 2004, Meg began as a volunteer Puppy Raiser, and eventually Office Manager. Meg attended Bergin University of Canine Studies in 2006 and became a Certified Assistance Dog Instructor. Meg is dedicated to training and placing assistance dogs with people with disabilities. Meg has two Degrees; Hotel and Restaurant Management and Information Technology. Married with two adult children, Meg has one grandchild.

Cindy Abels
Reproduction Specialist (Since 2009)

Cindy is one of the Co-Founder’s of Power Paws and graduated from Bergin University in 2002. Cindy served as the Executive Director from 2001-2009. As the Reproduction Specialist, she manages our breeding program to produce the best puppies who will be come assistance dogs. She collaborates with other assistance dog organizations and reputable breeders by sharing and exchanging best practices to produce healthy puppies with the temperament needed for assistance dogs.

Melissa Berger
Canine Development Coordinator/Trainer

Melissa is involved with the training of our dogs from puppies to placement. She maintains canine health records and ensures that health testing is up to date on our service dogs-in-training. Melissa is also a co-supervisor of the puppy raisers at ASU through Sparky’s Service Dogs. Melissa is a graduate of Texas A&M University (2014) with a degree in Animal Science and minor in Business Administration. While a student at Texas A&M, Melissa was part of its Aggie Guide Dogs and Service Dogs and served as an officer for the program.

Jessa Sterling
Canine Development Coordinator/Trainer

Jessa assists in all aspects of training, starting when each litter is born, and spanning to training support after placement for the life of our dogs. Jessa oftens gives educational talks and demonstrations to schools and organizations throughout the valley. Jessa has been training dogs professionally for the last five years. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University (2013) with a degree in Agricultural Communications and Journalism and minor in Psychology. While a student at Texas A&M University, Jessa served as an Officer & Puppy Raiser Supervisor of Texas A&M Aggie Guide-Dogs and Service-Dogs.