Board of Directors - Election 2020

We have three positions up for election this year, Secretary, General Board 1, and General Board 2. The Secretary position has one candidate running unopposed, General Board has four candidates running for two positions. Please find below information about each of the candidates on this year's ballot.


Melinda Mendolusky

Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park
Job Title:
Animal Care Manager - Animal Ambassadors
Years of Service: 18
Current Goals/Objectives:
To create memorable experiences between people and animals that will inspire them to do their part to help save animals across the globe.
Message to IAATE Members:
We have a unique opportunity to help species and educate the public at the same time. We can make all the difference by working together to improve the lives of the animals in our care and saving their wild counterparts.

General Board Member (2 open positions):

Robin Shewokis Sullivan

Company: The Leather Elves
Owner/Enrichment Specialist
Current Goals/Objectives:
- To improve animal welfare for animals under managed care using creative enrichment strategies and positive reinforcement training.
- To work with facilities to enhance existing enrichment and training programs
- To create innovative enrichment offerings for animals under managed care.
Message to IAATE members:
Building a company dedicated to advancing enrichment for animals in managed care has been a fantastic journey for me. When I'm not focusing on The Leather Elves proper, you'll find me travelling nationally and internationally to speak and consult on enrichment and training at zoos and avian events. After serving on the Board of IAATE for 10 years I took time off and concentrated on moving my business to the next level. While on the Board I performed the duties of several positions through the years; General Board member, President-Elect, President, and Past-President. Prior to and throughout the majority of my time on the Board I served as chairperson of the Enrichment Committee. During my presidency I focused on the "E" of IAATE furthering our educational message by initiating work on webinars. IAATE is an organization that feeds my avian passion and I would appreciate the opportunity to give back by serving on the Board of Directors again. Thank you for taking time to investigate your options for your future Board members.

Jason Andrew Beale

Shaver's Creek Environmental Center (Penn State)
Job Title:
Animal Care Program Director
Years of Service: 5 years
Current Goals/Objectives: 
- Institutionalizing a culture committed to continual evolution, based on the most current, evidence-based best practices.
- Developing academic classes, with the goal of an Animal Care Certificate or Minor Program focused on evidence-based animal care, training, and education.
- Increasing career development opportunities for our students and staff.
Message to IAATE Members: 
"If you're not moving forward, you are going backward, because the rest of the world is always changing around you." - Mike Riska, Executive Director (retired), Delaware Nature Society

Challenging long-standing traditions can be an extremely hard and lonely proposition. Make the effort to find a mentor and develop an external support network that only challenges you, but also provides guidance and encouragement. I've found that there is no greater professional fulfillment than standing up for animal and staff welfare.



Catherine Vine 

Woodland Park Zoo
Job Title:
Temporary Animal Keeper
Years of Service: 3 months in this position, 17 years as a professional bird keeper
Current Goals/Objectives: I am looking forward to working with some species that are new for me, and I am also hoping to have the opportunity to get involved in some local conservation projects. I'm also excited to explore all the amazing wild places Washington has to offer and help preserve them for future generations.
Message to IAATE Members: Never stop learning! I still learn something new from my co-workers or the birds in my care every day. Keep that passion and curiosity alive and don't be afraid to try something new. Remember to take advantage of the many resources this organization has to offer!


Kit Lacy


Company: Cascades Raptor Center
Bird Curator & Education Director
Years of Service: 18
Current Goals/Objectives: My current passion is working towards improving the lives of birds in human care; especially raptors coming out of rehabilitation facilities. I believe that careful selection of ambassador candidates is the first step in bird welfare. Secondly, helping mentor individuals who are interested in working with their collection using the most positive, lease coercive methods to aid the culture change we are seeing in our industry. 
Message to IAATE members: It has been an honor to serve on the IAATE Board of Directors with so many talented and passionate people. Bringing useful information to IAATE members and striving to improve all aspects of this industry has been very rewarding. I hope the IAATE membership continues to see value in having my voice on the Board.


Please feel free to contact us using the contact form. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.


 The International Association of Avian Trainers

is an organization for individuals who are active in the field of avian training and who are involved in environmental education programs.

IAATE was founded to foster communication, professionalism and cooperation among those individuals who serve Avian Science through training, public display, research, husbandry, conservation, and education.


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