Employment

There are few workplaces as fulfilling as The Seeing Eye. Our employees do meaningful work and go home at the end of the day knowing they've made a difference. The Seeing Eye employs about 150 people at our Morristown, New Jersey campus, with jobs ranging from kennel workers to fundraising specialists.

Quite frequently, people ask us, "How can I become a Seeing Eye® instructor?" Staff instructors are full-time employees who hold college degrees from various fields of study and have successfully completed three years of specialized on-the-job training. They relate well to dogs and people and are physically fit, since their jobs are physically demanding and involve working outdoors in all weather.

Current Openings

The Seeing Eye is looking to fill the following positions:


President

THE SEARCH

The Seeing Eye, the premier dog guide school in the world, is seeking its next President. For the past 90 years, The Seeing Eye has enhanced the independence, dignity, and self-confidence of blind people through the use of Seeing Eye dogs – selecting, breeding, and training dogs for lives of service, carefully matching dogs and their blind owners, and teaching them to work together as a mutually supporting team. From its inviting 70-acre campus outside of Morristown, NJ, and a nearby state-of-the-art breeding station, The Seeing Eye’s 160-member staff match and train about 270 teams of graduates and dog guides each year. This is an exceptional opportunity to lead a storied organization with a dedicated staff and loyal supporters committed to carrying out a clear and noble mission.

The Seeing Eye is distinguished by the clarity of its purpose, the excellence of its program, the strength of its finances, and the stability of its leadership. Its $27 million annual expense budget is supported by annual giving, bequests, and a $275 million endowment. This is an organization proud of its history and determined to preserve the culture of respect and dignity for which it is known. The Seeing Eye is guided by its core values of Mission Passion, Stewardship, Teamwork and Collaboration, Respect for Others, Integrity, and Pursuit of Excellence in furtherance of its mission.

Reporting to a 28-member Board of Trustees, the next Seeing Eye President will facilitate the organization’s adaptation to changing markets while preserving its supportive and familial environment. Only a small percentage of the blind population use dog guides and the overall population of blind adults is becoming older and less mobile. The President will need to ensure that The Seeing Eye maintains a high and positive profile, particularly among its potential student population. In addition, the President will sustain The Seeing Eye’s leadership position in the field of dog guide schools through support for its genetics and breeding program, attention to the opportunities and challenges of new technologies (such as GPS systems), and the strengthening of its financial base.

The Board of Trustees is open to candidates from a variety of backgrounds and industries. Senior organizational leadership experience and strong interpersonal and communication skills are required. Experience with residential and/or educational environments is helpful. Candidates should have a proven track record of building cohesive management and leadership teams and communicating with multiple external and internal constituent groups. Experience generating external support for an organization is desirable; a willingness and ability to fundraise is required. Candidates must have a commitment to the mission of The Seeing Eye, appreciation for the challenges that blind people face, and a personal temperament that is both interpersonally respectful and organizationally inspiring. A love of people and dogs is essential.

The Seeing Eye has retained a national executive search firm, Isaacson, Miller, to assist in this search. Confidential nominations or applications should be directed to the search firm as indicated at the conclusion of this document.

Background

Founding. The Seeing Eye, the world’s premier dog guide school, was founded in 1929 by Dorothy Harrison Eustis. Mrs. Eustis was a Philadelphian who lived in Switzerland and had become interested in breeding German shepherd dogs for desirable character traits and for roles of service. After visiting Germany where she saw German shepherds being trained as guides for blinded veterans of World War I, she wrote an article for the Saturday Evening Post entitled, “The Seeing Eye.” When the article reached Morris Frank, a young blind man in Tennessee, he wrote to Mrs. Eustis seeking her assistance in his bid for greater independence. “Train me and I will bring back my dog and show people here how a blind man can be absolutely on his own,” he wrote. Mrs. Eustis selected and trained a dog for him. Then, he was invited to Switzerland and taught to work with the dog. Back in the United States, Mr. Frank crossed and re-crossed the country, demonstrating convincingly the independence available to a blind person teamed with a trained dog guide.

Mrs. Eustis and Mr. Frank established The Seeing Eye in 1929, initially in Nashville, Tennessee. The Seeing Eye moved to the Morristown, New Jersey area in 1931 and to its present campus in 1965. Since its founding, The Seeing Eye has matched over 17,000 specially bred and trained Seeing Eye dogs with blind men and women from across the United States and Canada. Its 1,700 currently active graduates come from all walks of life. They have learned how to use and care for their dogs at home, on the job, on public transportation, and in all public accommodations.

Mission. The Seeing Eye is a philanthropic organization whose mission is to enhance the independence, dignity and self-confidence of blind people through the use of Seeing Eye dogs. In pursuit of this mission, The Seeing Eye does the following:

  • Breeds and raises puppies to become Seeing Eye dogs;
  • Trains Seeing Eye dogs to guide blind people;
  • Instructs blind people in the proper use, handling and care of the dogs;
  • Teaches Apprentice and Associate Instructors the science and art of training dog guides and instructing students; and,
  • Informs the public about the role of dog guides and the rights of access for people with dog guides, works to establish uniform street and traffic regulations, and serves as an advocate for its graduates.

The Seeing Eye is more than a place or a school. It is a philosophy, a program, and a metaphor for independence – independence that is the result of the ability to travel safely without the aid of others. It encompasses puppies bred for a special destiny, loving volunteers who nurture the pups for about a year, dedicated instructors who prepare the dogs for their life’s work, and blind people who seek increased mobility, dignity, self-sufficiency, and self-confidence with Seeing Eye dogs as their companions and guides.

Students. The Seeing Eye serves students from all over the United States and Canada. Each student is asked to pay a fee of $150 for his/her first dog and $50 for every dog thereafter (or $1.00 if blindness is a result of military service for the United States or Canada). Payment of the fees, though they are modest, symbolizes the independence of the graduate, who acquires absolute ownership of his or her dog upon graduation. The actual cost of breeding and training a dog and matching it with and instructing its new owner is approximately $67,000.

First-time Seeing Eye students are usually between the ages of 16 and 75. About two-thirds of each class consists of graduates returning for a replacement dog. Students are evaluated for their walking pace, strength, lifestyle, and other factors and matched with an appropriate dog. First-time students spend 27 days in residence training with their new dogs, while those returning for successor dogs are in residence for 20 days. The Seeing Eye matched 252 teams of graduates and dog guides during the past year. Upon graduation, students own their dogs and are responsible for their care, driving home the values of empowerment and independence that have been at the core of the organization’s mission since it was formed.

Dogs. The Seeing Eye is renowned for its breeding program, particularly the line of German shepherds that have been purpose-bred for guide dog work since the 1930s. All of the 60 dogs in The Seeing Eye breeding colony live at the organization’s breeding center, where staff can track their physical cycles and provide enrichment programs to ensure their health and happiness. In the past year, 493 puppies were whelped from 69 litters – 27 German shepherd litters, 20 Labrador retriever litters, 9 golden retriever litters, and 13 Labrador/golden retriever cross litters.

With a PhD geneticist on staff and collaborations with the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, the organization has made careful breeding decisions to help eliminate hip dysplasia and eye disease from its dogs. The Seeing Eye maintains a primarily closed colony of dogs, carefully pursuing opportunities to bring in outside lines and provide other schools around the world with their dogs for breeding. Seeing Eye dogs are also adopted by other organizations such as the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Campus. The Seeing Eye’s school and training grounds occupy a campus of almost 70 acres nestled in the historic Washington Valley, 35 miles west of New York City and about 30 minutes by car from Newark Liberty International Airport. The main building, renovated in 2013, contains the dormitory (24 private rooms with private baths), the dining room, an exercise room, a library/technology center, and administrative offices.

The Vincent A. Stabile Canine Health Center, which opened in 1997, is a state-of-the-art canine hospital, library, and veterinary medical facility. The center, re-accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association in 2018, accommodates 192 dogs. Jenks Building, renovated in 2013, contains a conference room, business offices, the fundraising department, and space for the puppy-raising coordinators. The Dr. Robert H. Harris Canine Pavilion, scheduled to open in spring 2019, will connect to the health center, allowing The Seeing Eye to house all on-campus dogs in one location. The new facility will incorporate the latest in technology and design considerations, including natural light, access to outdoor play areas, and good sight lines so the dogs can see each other. The new pavilion will allow for other uses for the Walker Dillard Kirby Canine Center, built in 1993.

The Seeing Eye’s facilities also include a Downtown Training Lounge and an innovatively designed Breeding Station, built in 2001, in Chester, NJ consisting of 10 pavilions housing adult breeding dogs and puppies up to the age of eight weeks, including administrative offices, a clinic, an observation room, and exercise areas.

Budget and Staff. The Seeing Eye’s annual operating budget is approximately $27 million. Its revenue comes from annual gifts from individuals, corporations, and foundations (25%), bequests and charitable trusts (30%), and a draw on its $275 million endowment (45%).

The paid staff of The Seeing Eye numbers about 160 employees who passionately support the organization’s mission and feel a sense of pride and responsibility for every human-dog team that graduates from the program. The chief staff member is the President, who reports to the Board of Trustees. Reporting to the President is a seven-member executive team of Directors who lead the areas of Facilities, Donor & Public Relations, Canine Development, Canine Medicine & Surgery, Human Resources, Instruction & Training, and Administration & Finance.

A PhD geneticist on staff also reports to the President. The faculty is organized into five teams of five instructors plus a manager. Instructors, who live on campus a portion of the time while teaching students, are educated through an intensive three-year training program. Volunteers also play a vital role in The Seeing Eye program. About 500 volunteer puppy-raising families provide socialization and basic obedience training to puppies until they are old enough to be trained as guides. Another 165 individuals volunteer on campus, walking dogs, conducting tours, and serving in other supportive roles.

Competitors. The Seeing Eye is the pioneer dog guide school in the world and all other schools have modeled their programs after it. Today, there are about 90 accredited schools in more than 25 countries worldwide. The Seeing Eye is one of the four largest dog guide schools. Although competitors in some ways, the various dog guide schools are collaborators in the larger effort to promote and support the breeding, health and training of dogs, and the instruction of blind people.

The Seeing Eye is a founding member of the Council of U.S. Dog Guide Schools and a member of the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF), Assistance Dogs International, and VisionServe Alliance. It works closely with the Morris Animal Foundation and other organizations that provide support to blind people and assistance animals.

Befitting its leadership role in the industry, The Seeing Eye is an active IGDF member and was re-accredited this past year. Three Seeing Eye staff members have served on the IGDF Board of Trustees and two, including the current President, have served as Chairs of the Board. Staff members have also served IGDF as assessors and, more recently, as part of the IGDF committee that formally assists in the creation of new schools in specific, underserved areas of the world. Instructor exchanges and breeding stock exchanges are still other ways The Seeing Eye looks to improve the broader guide dog industry around the world.

Leadership. Since 2006, The Seeing Eye has been led by James Kutsch. Jim is the first graduate of The Seeing Eye to lead the school. He is a former technology executive and computer scientist who did pioneering work in the development of the first talking computer for blind users. Jim will retire in 2019 following the selection of his successor and an appropriate period of leadership transition. Under his leadership, The Seeing Eye enhanced its high standard of quality while streamlining costs, growing the endowment, and doubling annual fundraising. This work, in addition to efforts to improve the expense structure and campus facilities, has put the organization in a strong financial and operational position as it approaches its 10th decade.

Tasks and Challenges

The Seeing Eye has been distinguished by the clarity of its purpose, the excellence of its program, the strength of its finances, and the stability of its leadership for 90 years. This is an exceptional organization, proud of its history and determined to preserve the culture of respect and dignity for which it is known. This is not an organization aspiring to significant change. Nevertheless, The Seeing Eye faces challenges. Among them are:

Enrollment. The Seeing Eye and other dog guide schools reach only a small minority of blind adults. Guide dog users have much greater independence with a dog guide than with the familiar white cane, but a dog is not for everyone. Partnership with a dog guide requires training; the dog requires care; and a certain degree of strength, mobility, and determination is necessary for a blind person to succeed. It has always been necessary to get the word out among the blindness community and to identify and educate potential users about the benefits of training with a dog guide. But the nature of this challenge is evolving and the next President must be forward thinking in order to anticipate new challenges and develop innovative strategies to communicate and advocate.

For a variety of reasons, the blind population in the United States is changing. Greater attention to occupational safety has reduced the number of otherwise healthy young people who become blind through injury. Improvements in technology (computers that convert text to speech, for example) and public transportation for the disabled have coincided with the generally more sedentary lifestyle of adults to reduce the independent mobility requirements of blind people. Blindness on the whole is becoming more an accompanying aspect of other illnesses or a degenerative impairment of vision (rather than total blindness), both of which make it difficult to team successfully with a dog guide.

Consequently, The Seeing Eye and other dog guide schools face the challenge of maintaining their enrollment. The Seeing Eye will need to expand its marketing and outreach efforts to educate the public in general about the advantages of partnering with a dog guide and to identify and recruit suitable students.

Sustaining and strengthening the financial foundation. Since its early years, The Seeing Eye’s endowment has allowed it to offer its services and dogs to students for a nominal fee. For a period of time, these financial reserves were so large relative to expenses that the organization stopped fundraising in the 1960s and began awarding grants. But rising costs and growth greatly reduced the endowment’s impact on the annual budget and by the time of the Great Recession, the organization’s budget model was not sustainable in the long term.

The Seeing Eye strategically restructured and downsized its staff in response to these challenges. The changes were guided by a workforce study and reduced the costs of operations, allowing for the development of a sustainable business model and significant physical plant improvements. Other efforts to cut costs, along with wise investments and unprecedented fundraising success that culminated in a record $8.9 million in gifts this past year, have restored the organization’s solid financial footing. The current fiscal picture is bright and should allow the endowment to continue growing while supporting the annual budget.

Despite these positive developments, the next President must be vigilant to ensure the continued financial health of the organization. The Seeing Eye is dependent upon annual giving and bequests to cover its costs. It aspires to continue its tradition of charging only nominal student fees. Therefore, the next President will have to be diligent in stewarding existing relationships with supporters and developing innovative ways to attract new friends of the organization. The new President must tirelessly communicate the organization’s mission and the impact The Seeing Eye has had on the lives of its more than 17,000 graduates and the people with whom they interact.

Sustaining leadership in the field. The Seeing Eye is the original, and still the best-known, of the dog guide schools in the world. This history and name recognition, coupled with The Seeing Eye’s careful attention to everything from the science of dog breeding to the niceties of the school’s physical environment, has kept The Seeing Eye in a leadership position in the field. uch a position could lead to complacency. To maintain its leadership position, the President must balance an openness to new ideas with an awareness of the organization’s culture and history. The Seeing Eye’s focus on the goal of empowering blind people through the use of Seeing Eye dogs and paying careful attention to the many details that help achieve that goal have allowed it to sustain its place as a leader. The organization, wary of mission drift, has not pursued opportunities to broaden its client base and raise and train therapy dogs, for instance.

To continue to prosper, The Seeing Eye must stay at the forefront of new developments in the field and best practices. The President must lead this effort through a curiosity and awareness of new developments and best practices in the field as new technologies present opportunities and challenges. The organization is committed to maintaining the fee for its students as nominal – providing a $67,000 partnership to students for a $150 fee. By pursuing opportunities for new partnerships and advocating and communicating in new ways, the President will ensure The Seeing Eye’s continued success in the future.

Staff leadership. The core value of Mission Passion is palpable at the Seeing Eye, and the longevity of staff steeped in the organization’s culture and history is strong evidence. The President will be a galvanizing and inspiring leader, sustaining the culture that attracts, retains, and motivates a team of highly skilled and dedicated people. Maintaining a servant leadership culture and reinforcing quality, clarity and transparency in communication and decision-making will ensure that continued commitment. In anticipation of the retirement of some key senior leaders, the President will focus on succession planning and professional development. The President will be attuned to the generational changes influencing workforce management and maintaining a strong culture that supports the work/life balance of its staff.

Qualifications and Experience

For this pivotal role, The Seeing Eye seeks a leader and advocate who is passionate about its mission and legacy, committed to its longstanding standards of excellence, supportive of its culture, and strategic about its future potential. Although the Trustees and staff are open to a variety of professional backgrounds in candidates, a significant track record of successful organizational leadership and senior level management in a nonprofit organization or business is required. In addition, the following skills, experience and personal qualities will be especially helpful.

  • An informed passion and commitment to the mission of The Seeing Eye;
  • Experience that includes work directly analogous to major functional components of The Seeing Eye – leading professional staff, managing the facilities of a small campus, overseeing training or educational services, and representing a service organization to external constituencies;
  • Record of senior leadership and effective management; willingness to communicate openly, listen well, lead through transparency, and set realistic but ambitious goals and expectations; strength in recruiting, developing, motivating, and retaining committed staff; experience working with or reporting to a board;
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills and an ability to articulate the importance of The Seeing Eye and its mission to a variety of audiences;
  • Successful experience shaping the culture of an organization with values similar to The Seeing Eye and aligning these values with its structure and operations;
  • A personal temperament that is both interpersonally respectful and organizationally inspiring;
  • Willingness and ability to commit to 5-10 years of service;
  • An ability to fundraise and build a culture of philanthropy;
  • A capacity to advocate for issues important to guide dog owners and educators on a state and national level;
  • Openness and innovative leadership with a willingness to test and evaluate when not an expert;
  • An ability to relate to multiple constituencies and to be a suitable representative of The Seeing Eye;
  • Experience with marketing and/or branding;
  • A love of people and dogs is required.

TO APPLY

All inquiries, nominations, referrals, and resumes will be held in strict confidence and should be directed to:

http://www.imsearch.com/6906
Greg Esposito, Partner
Karen McPhedran, Senior Associate
Isaacson, Miller
Electronic submission of credentials is strongly encouraged.
The Seeing Eye is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


Part-Time Associate Veterinarian

The Seeing Eye, Inc., North America’s pioneer dog guide school, is dedicated to helping people achieve greater independence, dignity, and self-confidence through the use of Seeing Eye® dogs. An exceptional opportunity is available at our headquarters in Morristown, New Jersey, for an experienced Associate Veterinarian to utilize your veterinary skills to enhance the lives of blind and visually impaired individuals by providing them with healthy dogs. We are seeking a mission driven, self-motivated individual with excellent clinical, surgical, organizational and communication skills to work part-time and assist with vacation and on call coverage. Areas of emphasis include surgery, ophthalmology, gastroenterology, reproduction and pediatrics. Candidates must have New Jersey veterinary license or be eligible to sit for the next NJ practical exam. Valid driver’s license required. The position offers a competitive salary and a superior work environment.
For consideration, please send resume and cover letter to: Linda Swanson The Seeing Eye, Inc. P.O. Box 375 Morristown, NJ 07963-0375; e-mail jobs@seeingeye.org; FAX (973) 993-1714


Data Entry Assistant

The Seeing Eye, the pioneer of dog guide schools, is seeking candidates for the position of Data Entry Assistant.  For 89 years, The Seeing Eye has enhanced the independence, dignity, and self-confidence of blind people through the use of Seeing Eye® dogs. From its campus outside Morristown, NJ, and a nearby state-of-the-art breeding station, The Seeing Eye’s 155-member staff matches and trains about 275 teams of graduates and dog guides each year.

Reporting to the Sr. Manager of the Canine Clinic, the Data Entry Assistant is responsible for maintaining the integrity of canine health computer records and providing administrative support to the department of Canine Medicine and Surgery.
 
Duties of the position:
•    Enter lab results, veterinary comments, procedures and various other items into The Seeing Eye Information System.
•    Answer and dispatch calls for veterinarians.
•    Train and oversee data entry volunteers.
•    Maintain and update policy and procedure manual for Seeing Eye Information System data entry.
•    Oversee the schedule of veterinary visits with students on campus training with their new dog.
•    Perform receptionist duties as needed.
•    Order office supplies and monitor FAX and copier machines for operating efficiency.

Requirements:
•    Minimum of three years of administrative support experience in the area of canine health
•    Associate’s degree or equivalent combination of education and experience
•    Familiarity with medical/veterinary terminology.
•    Extremely organized and detail oriented
•    Ability to keep accurate records with excellent follow-up
•    Ability to prioritize and multi-task with minimal supervision
•    Excellent interpersonal and written communication skills with the ability to work as a team member and maintain confidentiality at all times

Cover letter and resume can be sent to:
Linda Swanson
The Seeing Eye, Inc.
P.O. Box 375
Morristown, NJ 07963-0375
Jobs3@seeingeye.org
FAX:  (973) 644-5398
The Seeing Eye is an Equal Opportunity Employer


Housekeeping/ Food Service Assistant

Two part-time openings are available immediately for qualified individuals to join the Food Service and Housekeeping staff at The Seeing Eye’s Morristown campus.

The responsibilities of this position include all cleaning duties related to the student bedrooms, bathrooms and lounge areas.  This includes dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, mopping floors, change bedding, turn mattresses and a variety of other tasks.  Food Service responsibilities include serving meals, dining room preparation and clean-up after meals.

One year of prior housekeeping experience preferred.  Ability to lift/carry up to 20 lbs.  Periods of standing, walking, reaching, bending and kneeling are required.  Must be able to work independently and follow instructions regarding tasks and functions.

Days and hours will vary based on scheduling needs.  20 hours per week.  Some holiday and weekend work required.   Competitive salary.

For further consideration, send resume to Linda Swanson at jobs2@seeingeye.org  or fax to (973) 644-5398.