Our Operational Team, made up of staff and volunteers are all dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of autistic individuals and their families.
Chief Executive Officer
The Founder and Chief Executive of Dogs for Autism, Hilary Armour, is a qualified dog trainer, animal behaviourist and teacher. Throughout her teaching career Hilary has specialised in teaching autistic students with additional learning disabilities.
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Hilary’s son was diagnosed with autism as a young child and this was the catalyst for her work training assistance dogs.
Recognising the benefits for an autistic young person of being partnered with a dog, but being unable to access an assistance dog through any of the existing charities, she used her dog trainer experience to ‘owner-train’ her son’s first dog.
Once out and about with their dog, she was frequently approached by other parents in need who were desperate to know where she had managed to find an autism assistance dog.
Becoming aware of the sheer number of isolated families whose lives could be changed with the support of a dog, Hilary decided to act.
Hilary’s vision is that Dogs for Autism will become for the autistic community what Guide dogs for the Blind is to the visually impaired.
As CEO, Hilary is the face of Dogs for Autism and is responsible for overseeing the charity and steering its growth. She supervises the development of the charity infrastructure and its financial management.
Despite her very busy role as CEO, Hilary is still very hands on in the work of the charity, training dogs from the charity headquarters and supporting families and staff.
Chief Operating Officer
Jan, Chief Operating Officer at Dogs for Autism, is a qualified primary school teacher, former veterinary practice manager and dog trainer, with a Diploma in Animal Assisted Therapy.
Over the years she has owned, bred and trained many dogs, enjoying heelwork to music, agility, carriage dog training and obedience work, and has competed with her dogs at Crufts.
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Jan works very closely with Hilary planning, organising and supervising the provision of services within the charity. She is the safeguarding lead for DfA, and until very recently has been responsible for writing grant and trust applications.
Jan advises on breeding schemes, whelping and puppy husbandry and oversees the puppy training for our Alton hub. She trained one of our Assistance Dogs, Luna, and enjoyed working with Luna’s autistic partner and her family.
Jan is particularly interested in the interaction between humans and dogs, and how this can benefit an autistic person, their family and the wider community, at the same time as fulfilling the dog’s need for human companionship and mental stimulation.
Jan’s role in Dogs for Autism combines her skills in dog handling with her background in management, education and young people, improving outcomes for both the people and the dogs she has the pleasure of connecting with.
Operations Manager and Executive Assistant to the Senior Team
Sue has over 25 years of business administration experience, ranging from finance and accounting to project and team management.
In her free time, she enjoys designing, riding her motorcycle, and walking and relaxing with her Great Dane cross, Freya.
Clare is no stranger to the charity sector, having had over 26 years’ experience working for Plan International, a leading global development and humanitarian INGO that advances children’s rights and equality for girls.
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Having coordinated a team of 22 National Directors who participated in the global management decision-making at all levels of Plan International, Clare now oversees the smooth running of the Dogs for Autism office, as well as providing executive support to the senior management team. She is delighted to be able to combine her professional skills set with her passion for dogs and be part of the team working together to deliver our mission to have a positive impact on the lives of autistic individuals and their families.
Community Engagement and Fundraising Officer
Having joined from another assistance dog charity, where I worked as the Community Engagement Officer, I am delighted to be able to bring my skills and previous experience to Dogs for Autism and to work with the team to help the lives of autistic individuals and families.
In my free time I enjoy cycling, hill walking and spending time with family and dogs.
Autism Liaison Coordinator
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Lola’s strengths include understanding many of the difficulties that an autistic person may have when starting the process of applying for an assistance dog and she is responsible for developing strategies and procedures that can be used to help our autistic partners. Lola is passionate about making the Dogs For Autism process as easy and stress free as possible for our partners .
Lola has an CACHE Level 2 Understanding Autism, NVQ Level 2 Hairdressing and a tarot reading qualification! (quite a mix!) and is passionate about animals, especially dogs! She has her own Golden Retriever called Hedley who is in training to become an assistance dog.
Social Media, Marketing and PR
Vicky is responsible for our social media and day to day Marketing & PR within the Marketing & Communication team at DfA. She has a BA Hons in Film.
Before having a family, Vicky worked for BBC News with Globecast, as the BBC’s News crew co-ordinator deploying crews and satellite equipment to breaking news stories. Over the years she worked on some of the biggest stories including the 9/11 New York attacks and Kosovan War.
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Prior to working at DfA she worked for a local marketing agency. Vicky’s strengths include copywriting and thinking up imaginative puppy puns for the charity! . Vicky is passionate about travelling across the globe and cooking, having previously lived in the Middle East with her husband and family for 7 years. Whilst living in Qatar she worked for a relocation company, helping to market their services to new families who arrived and found themselves miles from home. Weekends are spent on the side of rugby pitches supporting her three sons and washing lots of muddy kit!
Graphic Design Lead and Comms Manager
Marketing and Communications
Chloe is passionate about using her skills to help people thrive and is now using her 25 years of experience in marketing and communications with large corporate organisations to help Dogs for Autism grow.
BA (Hons) FPFS Is founder and director of Craven – Slater Financial Planners.
A chartered Financial Planner, David is also a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society.
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Brand Design Director
Ella has over 20 years design experience; working as a senior designer on a large range of brands from large finance companies to small charities and schools.
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Ella is responsible for the Dogs for Autism re-brand and truly understands our requirements, producing engaging and stand out designs that deliver our message clearly.