The Dog Training Rehabilitation Programme
Paws Directors

Our fantastic Board of Directors have played a key role at Paws for Progress since we became a Community Interest Company. Every one of them makes invaluable contributions, drawing on their unique areas of expertise, which enable Paws for Progress to thrive and grow.

Other than our founder Rebecca, who is employed as Development Manager, all of our Directors give up their time free of charge as volunteers. As a small organisation this involves a significant amount of their free time being dedicated to the company, and we appreciate how they always go above and beyond for the sake of the organisation.

Gary Waddell

Gary Waddell

Gary has a degree in geography, post-graduate diploma in cartography and a further education teaching qualification. His career evolved into training and development roles in colleges, awarding bodies, enterprise companies as well as the Scottish Prison Service (where he had every faith that Rebecca would deliver a ground-breaking project at HM YOI Polmont).‎ He is currently working as the learning exchange manager for a small national charity called Shared Care Scotland.

He hopes to use his project management and administrative skills to support the set up and evolution of Paws for Progress CIC into a centre of excellence for the delivery of positive animal-human interaction services.

Linda Macdonald

Linda Macdonald

Linda is an experienced operational and strategic manager of third sector and social enterprise organisations in both Scotland and Ireland. She regards herself as jack of all trades, master of none having turned her hand to project management, business and strategic planning, organisational development and facilities management within the fields of arts, environment and community development. She is a dog enthusiast and previously spent time as a volunteer at a rescue centre in Dublin as both a kennel assistant and as part of the dog training team.

Rebecca Leonardi

Rebecca Leonardi

Rebecca is the Founding Director of Paws for Progress CIC. Rebecca is a professional dog training instructor (APDT UK), and in collaboration with the Scottish Prison Service, Rebecca developed and implemented the first prison based dog training rehabilitation programme in the UK. She completed her PhD at the University of Stirling in 2015; her research involved evaluating the efficacy of the Paws for Progress programme at HM YOI Polmont. Rebecca is also key to the development of Stirling Human Animal Interaction Research (SHAIR) Centre, and in her role with the University of Stirling / SHAIR will continue to ensure rigorous evaluation of Paws for Progress initiatives and build the evidence base in this exciting field of research.

Julie Christie

Julie Christie

Julie got involved as a consultant (through her day job with Parkhead Citizens Advice Bureau) who supported Rebecca and the other members on the steering group to get Paws for Progress CIC up and running, thanks to funding from The Robertson Trust. She subsequently volunteered to join the Board in June 2014.

She is an experienced and successful fundraiser and has played a key role in helping to secure many grants for Paws, including the biggest one to date … £105,048 over 2 years from Big Lottery Fund Scotland.

Julie produced and updated many budgets and cashflow forecasts in the early days, she leads the Finance and Funding workstream and even persuaded her mostly retired dad Brian to act as Paws accountant for the first two years of trading!

Tracey McLennan

Tracey McLennan

Tracey is a director and guest speaker for Paws for Progress. She became enthusiastic about the work that the organisation does after doing some voluntary teaching on the courses in Polmont. Tracey has an enthusiasm for dog training and over the years has attended many courses and workshops. She has a Bsc(Hons) in Canine Behaviour and Training, she is also a Tellington TTouch practitioner and is a full member of the UK TTouch Guild.

Tracey is also enthusiastic about teaching people and continues to have a successful career with a global organisation in a professional IT development capacity – a role she has had since 1997. This work involves teaching and mentoring of new staff as well as teaching and assisting system users and designers.

Tracey lives with two true experts in dog learning – her dogs, Cuillin and Roxy. She also volunteers for the charity Staffordshire Rescue Scotland and spends much of her time writing and talking about dogs.

Rhona Meikle

Rhona Meikle

Rhona has been a Police Officer for 20 years, spending the last 12 years as a Dog Handler. She is qualified as an Instructor and has completed a Masters in Professional Practices in Dog Behaviour and Training. She is an active speaker and assists with the Paws for Progress programme at Polmont where she is enjoying the challenge of improving the relationship between the Police and the students, whilst sharing in their enjoyment and enthusiasm for training dogs as well as gaining qualifications that will benefit them after release.
Outside of her work, Rhona has been involved in fundraising with the RNLI for the past 20 years and is an active crew member and Helm. She is looking forward to using some of this experience to fundraise for Paws for Progress CIC.

Sarah Vick

Sarah is a lecturer in Psychology at the University of Stirling. Her research focuses primarily on communication and cognition in primates, with applied research in animal welfare and human-animal interaction. She has published over 25 peer reviewed articles, presented at many national and international conferences and has also supervised three students to successful PhD completion.

Sarah is taking the lead on financial aspects of operating a successful CIC, having secured and successfully managed research funding worth more than £200,000 to date from the British Academy, NC3Rs, Wellcome Trust, National Institute Health and Carnegie Trust.

Gwen Matear

Gwen Matear

Following a 35 year career in the Private Sector, predominantly in a professional HR and Learning & Development capacity, Gwen now runs a successful Canine Behaviour and Training practice. Professionally Gwen is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Personnel & Development and has a Post Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching.

Gwen has been involved with training dogs for over 25 years and has held many roles in various canine related organisations over the years.  She is full member of the IMDT and teaches and assesses on courses held in Scotland.

Gwen helps out Polmont with two of her dogs who are Ambassadogs for Paws.

She leads the HR Workstream for the Board and would like to see Paws more active at a local level across Scotland, providing animal-assisted interventions in local communities.

Richard Tuckley

Richard left a successful career with IBM computers after 17 years in order to train for ministry in the Baptist Church. After pastoring two churches over 23 years, he has now retired. In the years leading to retirement, Richard studied and gained accreditation with the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT).

Paws for Progress CIC is an opportunity for Richard to exercise his skills in IT, management and dog training. His particular interest is in the development of canine intervention and awareness for senior school age groups.

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