Our experts are here to guide your Harness the Power of Leadership experience and offer their testament to the power of communication. As they guide your course, they’ll draw from their life experiences as leaders in the workplace, as well as their guide dog relationship, to show you the keys to effective communication.
Richard (Buss) Brauer
Richard Brauer is a celebrated motivational speaker and is the founder and president of Brauer Organizational Development Company. He has presented over 350 keynotes is nationally recognized as a “high-content” presenter whose insights have been put into practice by private enterprises, non-profit organizations, governmental agencies, and influential associations.
As the recipient of accolades from both the US and Kansas Departments of Labor, Richard has enjoyed a progressive thirty-six year career with the Battenfeld-Cincinnati organization working in the private company, corporate, and private equity ownership arenas and has held executive positions in the areas of Human Resources, Talent Management, and Organizational Development. Through the execution of introspective executive coaching and leadership development initiatives, he has inspired and orchestrated cultural transformations for companies engaged in plastic extrusion, aerospace, and food processing industries; allowing those companies to enjoy the full potential of their human capital.
In addition to the responsibilities associated with meeting the needs of the BRAUER-ODC clientele, Richard has presented over 350 keynotes, and delivers dozens of motivational seminars every year on the development of essential organizational programs, introspective leadership concepts, and effective workforce realignment strategies. His transformation concepts are based not on theory alone but on lessons learned as he fought to deny the adversity of losing his sight from inhibiting a successful career. Striving for that balance in life and understanding that success isn’t about what you have but what you give, Richard has had the honor of traveling across North America for the past twenty years serving, in his free time, as a spokesperson for Leader Dog For The Blind promoting social understanding and creating opportunities for those facing vision loss.
W. Michael Cox
Before going blind in 1992 from retinitis pigmentosa, Mike Cox served many years as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Energy. His responsibilities included the design and implementation of innovative processes resulting from the application of Six Sigma principles. Following retirement, Mike completed the requisite training for certification as a mediator/neutral with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution.
In 1993, Mike was accepted into the guide dog program at Leader Dogs for the Blind and received his first Leader Dog. Since then, Mike has formally served on various Leader Dog committees, including the Executive, Marketing, Communications, and Technology Committees, and currently serves on the Board of Trustees where he has chaired the Client Programs and Services Committee. Prior to his election to the Board, Mike served for 13 years as a Leader Dog Graduate Field Representative, traveling to numerous states and Canada supporting Leader Dog clients.
Mike has conducted seminars on removing attitudinal barriers toward people with disabilities for such organizations as SunTrust Mid-Atlantic Bank, the Veterans Administration, Thermo-King, the US Department of Energy, the Georgia Department of Labor, and the US Forestry Service. Mike worked with the Colorado School of Mines on the accessible restoration of the historic Berthoud Corridor in the Rocky Mountains. He has also facilitated workshops at national conventions of the President’s Committee for the Employment of People with Disabilities and the US Department of Energy.
Mike is a past member of the Georgia State Rehabilitation Council and the Georgia State Committee for the Employment of Persons with Disabilities. He currently serves on the board of directors of Walton Options for Independent Living, Inc. and is a recipient of the Georgia Outstanding Blind Person Award. Mike lives with his wife, Earleen, his current Leader Dog Chauncey, and his retired Leader Dog Ace in Martinez, Georgia. He is a graduate of Augusta State University, where he majored in accounting and economics, and is a cum lade graduate of the former Woodrow Wilson College of Law, where he earned a Juris Doctor degree.
Since receiving his Leader Dog, Gracie, in July of 2012, Jeff Hawkins has been a high profile representative for Leader Dogs for the Blind. Before an inherited form of juvenile macular degeneration caused his blindness, Jeff enjoyed a successful career in the paramedic industry for more than 30 years. During that time, Jeff directly oversaw a team of 500 employees as an Ambulance Operations Coordinator, and sat on several Detroit-area Emergency Medical Services committees, including the Medical Control Board, The Communications and Dispatch Advisory Board, and the EMS Quality Control Committee. Additionally, Jeff worked as a Field Training Officer for many years, taught telemetry and communication at the Paramed EMS Academy, and was the President of the Oakland County EMS Association.
As his vision worsened, Jeff contacted Leader Dogs for the Blind to begin Orientation & Mobility (white cane) training. A year later, and after becoming proficient with his white cane, Jeff returned to train with his Leader Dog Gracie. With the help of Gracie, Jeff is once again living an amazing life. Professionally, he represents Leader Dog as he gives keynote and other addresses to thousands of people, organizations, clubs, and associations.
In addition to his professional successes, Jeff is an avid snow skier, a passionate ice hockey player, travels extensively, and has most recently discovered a love for wilderness backpacking. Jeff resides in a Michigan lakefront home with his wife, Linda, where they spend summers boating, jet skiing, water skiing, and enjoying other water activities. Jeff remains continuously passionate regarding public education on topics of visual impairment and blindness. He leads both by words and actions, serving proudly as an example of a person who is blind living an independent, active, successful, and extremely enjoyable life.