Meet The Team


Maureen "Mo" Maurer

Co-Founder, Executive Director

Maureen has worked in the Assistance Dog industry for over 20 years. She was born and raised in Seattle, and graduated from Seattle University with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. As a CPA, she combines a strong business background with a Masters of Science in Canine Studies. She has been invited to share her innovative training methods at conferences in Europe, Asia, South America, and the US. Her devotion to helping people with disabilities has resulted in tens of thousands of people whose lives have been impacted by Assistance Dogs.


Sharon Dahquist

Assistant Director

Sharon  received her Recreational Therapy Degree from the University of Colorado Boulder. After living in Colorado for 15 years, she moved to Maui. She has had a wide and varied career and brings many different skills to ADH.  Sharon has been with Assistance Dogs of Hawaii for over 15 years and has worked in all aspects of the program. She is inspired daily by our graduates who have overcome immense challenges yet they remain positive and put 110% into their lives.


Vanesa Vizuete

Training Director

Training Originating from Spain, Vanesa began her career in the Assistance Dog field through programs at  the University of Cambridge and the Royal Veterinary College in London. She has over 15 years of international experience as a Service Dog trainer. Vanesa first came to our program in 2011 as an intern. A number of years later, we were happy to have Vanesa join our team as our Training Director. Vanesa leads our puppy raising classes and continues with the dogs through their graduate training. Vanesa is very passionate about her job and helping to prepare our dogs to be excellent partners.


Wendi Major

Community Outreach Director

Wendi is a Clinical Psychologist with over 20 years of experience in medical and mental health settings. She earned a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University and completed Fellowship in Pediatric Psychology at the University of Texas Medical Branch- Galveston. As an experienced hospital facility dog handler, she knows first-hand about the immeasurable impact dogs can have and now devotes her time to sharing this understanding with the community.


Will Maurer

Co-Founder, President

Will graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He has been working in the Assistance Dog industry for over 20 years. Together, he and Maureen grew Assistance Dogs of Hawaii into one the most successful providers of Assistance Dogs in the country. Will oversees all of the facilities and construction projects. Described as the backbone of the organization, his work behind the scenes of the organization keeps all daily activities running smoothly.

Stephanie Hessemer

Director of Marketing and Development

Director of Before joining the Assistance Dogs of Hawaii team, Stephanie and her family were longtime volunteers for the organization. She studied Communications and English at UCLA and UC Santa Barbara, and has enjoyed a career in event management, broadcasting, advertising and marketing for a variety of industries.  Steph is passionate about wanting to make a difference in the lives of others and feels a strong connection with the mission of ADH.  


Marsha Sarver

Office Manager

Marsha has been on Maui for over 35 years. She traveled to Hawaii after graduating from the University of Colorado with a degree in Tourism & Recreation. She began her career with Assistance Dogs of Hawaii as a volunteer. Three years ago, she became our Office Manager and she has been keeping all of us organized ever since. She is very dedicated to ADH and is always willing to go that extra mile to help someone.


Sydney Champion

Program Assistant

Sydney began working with ADH through our college intern program after graduating at the top of her class at North Carolina State University with a degree in Psychology. She now continues to help with various aspects of our program and is dedicated to seeing our puppies become successful graduates. During Sydney's internship, she puppy raised Hospital Facility Dog, Zadoc, who has been placed with Shriner's Hospital in Honolulu.