Kit Lacy, Bird Curator, Cascades Raptor Center, Eugene, Oregon, USA 
Kit completed a master’s degree in biology from the University of Oregon, on social behavior and communication in Caribbean Iguanas. After a major career shift, she now oversees the ambassador animal collection and general operations at Cascades. Kit is passionate about improving the quality of life for all raptors in human care through thoughtful initial selection and positive reinforcement training. She has been a board member of the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE) since 2013. She has presented papers on the training, lead workshops and webinars, acts as a mentor to other trainers, and presented on the Cascades’ criteria for selection of non-releasable raptors of ambassadors for many organizations.

Lacey Zeno, Lead Wildlife Care Specialist, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, California, USA
I have worked in the animal industry since my first job mopping floors in a vet hospital in high school. I worked with doggy daycares and veterinary hospitals through college until I went to Moorpark College’s exotic animal training and management program. I’ve been working alongside exotic animals ever since. I saw a video while at school of Steve Martin doing the State Fair of Texas show and I was hooked on birds. If you can train a free flight bird, you can train anything 🙂 I started working for Natural Encounters, Inc. out of Moorpark. From there I started working at San Diego Zoo Safari Park and have been here for the last 10 years. I worked on the elephant team for a number of years, and I am currently working on one of the ambassador teams with free flight birds and a couple of mammals. I love San Diego and am so grateful I get to call this place my home. I have been married for 10 years and have two children.

Arianna Bailey CPBT-KA, CPAT-KA, Show Manager, Natural Encounters, Inc., Florida, USA 
Ari Bailey has been working in the animal field for more than 17 years. She got her start working with a large collection of reptiles, mostly crocodilians, and this is where she found her love for behavior. She sought out a job with Natural Encounters, Inc. 14 years ago and has worked alongside many talented trainers during her tenure. She is the current Show Manager for NEI, leading a team that fosters an incredible environment for learning and growing while producing free flight bird shows. Certified as a professional bird trainer and professional animal trainer (CPBT-KA, CPAT-KA), Ari is a key faculty member for NEI TEC, providing monthly content that is available as a resource to the professional zoological and training community online, an instructor for NEI’s Professionals Workshops and online courses, and co-host of the NEI TEC Talk Podcast. She has been an IAATE member for over 10 years serving on various committees and the Board of Directors. She is currently the proud President of IAATE.

Helen Dishaw, Curator of Bird Programs, Tracy Aviary, Utah, USA
Helen Dishaw currently holds the position of Curator of Bird Programs at Tracy Aviary, managing the ambassador animal program as well as serving on the organization’s leadership team. A lifelong lover of the creatures we share our planet with, over the past two-plus decades she has worked with a variety of animals, including primates, exotic cats, free-flight birds of many species, and many other mammals and reptiles – learning from them as she teaches them to voluntarily participate in shows and programs at AZA-accredited facilities. Helen’s primary focus is on constantly improving the welfare and quality of life of birds in human care. Helen has been a board member of the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators since 2008 and during that time has chaired several committees as well as having a hand in creating IAATE’s Position Statements on various aspects of avian management for educational and free-flight programs and serving as Editor for the IAATE member newsletter, The Flyer. She is the current Vice President of IAATE, a position she has held for the past twelve years, and in this role manages and oversees all aspects of the annual conference. In 2020, she was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by IAATE for her service to the organization and the avian community. Helen also serves on the steering committees for both the AZA Ambassador Animal Scientific Advisory Group and the AZA Raptor Taxon Advisory Group and is the Ambassador Animal Advisor for the Raptor TAG.

Cassie Malina CPBT-KA, CPBC, Owner, Awesome Animal Solutions, Florida, USA 
Cassie Malina founded Awesome Animal Solutions to offer the most positive, least intrusive effective solutions to anyone looking to help their animals reach their fullest potential. During her 22 years with Natural Encounters, Inc., she produced and performed in free-flight bird shows at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and across the country. She has instructed on the art and science of animal training at numerous workshops, seminars, lectures, webinars, and presentations across the US and abroad. She maintains her IAABC CPBC and IATCB CPBT-KA certifications and completed Dr. Susan Friedman, Ph.D.’s LLA course. Cassie has been an Executive Board Member of the IAATE since 2004, receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020.

Erin Katzner, President and CEO, Carolina Raptor Center, North Carolina, USA
I attended my first IAATE conference in 2002 and have been on the Board of Directors since 2014. As a board member I have served as the Conservation Committee Chair, President-Elect, President, and Past President. I currently serve as Secretary of the Board and am on the Professional Development and Marketing Committees.  My first paid position working with birds was in 1996 at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Since then, I have worked at the National Aviary, the Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia, The Peregrine Fund, and am now serving as the Executive Director for the Carolina Raptor Center. I have also held positions at Leadership Pittsburgh, Inc. and West Virginia University. I have a BS focused on Wildlife Management from The Ohio State University and a Master’s focused on Nonprofit Administration from the University of Pittsburgh.

Steve Martin, President and CEO, Natural Encounters, Inc., Florida, USA
I began my career in the mid-1970s when I set up the first free-flight bird show of its kind. With the success of that show at the San Diego Wild Animal Park came opportunities to set up more programs around the world. My company grew to over 50 professional bird trainers and our consulting opportunities have taken us to zoos all over the world … mostly teaching mammal keepers the art and science of training to provide better welfare for their animals. We also produce free-flight, educational bird programs at zoological facilities around the world. As a founding member of IAATE, I continue to serve on the board and support the outstanding contributions this organization makes to help animal care professionals and the birds in their care.