Current Volunteers, Trustees

Trustees 2018-2019

First 3 Year Term
Gary Rogers
Greg Varga
Second 3 Year Term
John Catlett
Jackie Kangley
Third 3 Year Term
Debbie Welles
Barbara Willkens
Retiring Trustees who have completed three-year terms
Mac Mummert
Laura Giordano
Resigned during the year
Andrew Russell (07/23/2018)

Officer Slate 2018-2019

Chair – John Catlett
Vice Chair – Jackie Kangley
Vice Chair- Scott Douglas
Vice Chair of Development – Jeff Ridgway
Secretary – Katherine Gibson
Treasurer – Deb Welles

Board of Trustees 2018-2019

John Catlett

John spent more than 26 years with the consulting firm Accenture before retiring as a senior partner. He holds degrees from Drew University and Lehigh University.
John lives in Lyme with his wife, Athana, and three daughters, Sarah, Sabrina and Anna.

James Scott Douglas

Vice Chair
Scott is Chairman of the Board of Dancker Sellew & Douglas, an interior solutions firm. He brings extensive volunteer experience to the Board, in particular with organizations supporting children’s issues. In addition to a BA degree in Botany from the University of Vermont, he has completed graduate coursework in accounting and finance. Scott and his wife Wendy reside in Old Lyme and Florida, and have four children and nine grandchildren.
Affiliation: Dancker Sellew & Douglas

Jacqueline Kangley

Vice Chair
Jacqueline oversees product development and online marketing and sales for Amelie Michel French Table Linens and is the owner/designer of Jacqueline Kangley Handbags. Jacqueline was introduced to therapeutic riding by her Essex Elementary School classmates’ rides at LCVERA. Her first volunteer experiences were with Hawaii’s Haku Baldwin Center, and upon returning to Connecticut 15 years ago, she began volunteering with High Hopes. She currently volunteers in the therapeutic riding program and serves on the Program, Marketing Advisory and Development Committees. She has co-chaired the Concert in the Barn and various auction, decor, and marketing benefit committees. Jacqueline has recently been awarded Path Intl. Region 1 Volunteer of the Year for her outstanding contribution to High Hopes. Jacqueline is an alumna of The Hotchkiss School and Dartmouth College. She and her husband Stephen Dedman live in Hadlyme.
Affiliation: Amelie Michel French Table Linens/Jacqueline Kangley Handbags

Jeffrey Ridgway

Vice Chair – Development
Jeff is retired from Boatyards and Building. He has served 21 yrs. on the Board of Trustees with two years as President. His many leadership roles at High Hopes include assisting with the construction of our facility in 1990 and serving as Co-Chair with Holly of the ‘94 and ‘95 Antiques Show. Co-Chairing the 2000 Building expansion project, Co-Chair of the High Hopes Hoedown, now the HH Holiday Market, A member of the Building and Grounds Committee for 27yrs. He is actively involved with many events such as the Concert in the Barn and Symphony in the Meadows. He was the recipient of the NARHA Region I Volunteer of the Year Award in 2009. Born in Africa, Jeff grew up in the UK. He and his wife, Holly, reside in Chester.
Affiliation – Caulfield & Ridgway

Katherine Gibson

Katherine moved to Lyme four years ago with her husband, Andrew, and sons Will and John. Katherine’s career has been in marketing and communications, and she has held positions and freelanced for a variety of companies including Cuisinart, Gorham Silver, Envirosource, and the HB Group. She has also been active in community service and was the founding director of the non¬-profit Scituate (RI) Farmer’s Market and a trustee of the North Scituate Library. The market became one of the largest farmer’s markets in RI and awarded annual college scholarships for entrepreneurship and environmental science. During her tenure at the North Scituate Library, Katherine chaired the strategic planning committee and led communications and fundraising efforts for a building & expansion project. Katherine started volunteering at High Hopes soon after moving to Lyme and has co¬chaired the Holiday Market for 5 years. High Hopes was a natural fit for the mother of a son with dyspraxic cerebral palsy and a strong believer in the benefits of therapeutic riding. Education: Princeton University, AB 1985

Deborah Welles

Debbie is a practicing CPA with her own business in Old Lyme. She is married to John, with 3 children and 5 grandchildren who keep her busy. Debbie’s hobbies include hiking, gardening, kayaking, volunteering at High Hopes and family time. Debbie has been a Trustee at High Hopes for nine years and is currently in her second board term, serving as Treasurer, Chair of the Finance Committee and member of the Human Resources Committee. She has also previously Co-Chaired the Holiday Market.
Affiliation – Deborah Welles, CPA, LLC

Jane Bolles

Jane and her husband, Keith, live in Essex and own and operate the Saybrook Country Barn. They have three children Lindsey, Kara, and Keith. Jane grew up around horses most of her life and learned of High Hopes (then LCVERA) while looking for a place for her then six-year-old daughter who is hearing impaired and intellectually challenged, to learn how to ride and be around horses. Now at age 33, Lindsey is still a participant in the program which continues to be a highlight in her life! As a former board member, she has served in several leadership roles. She has co-chaired Symphony in the Meadows Gala and the Concert in The Barn, Chair of the Program Committee and served on the Human Resource Advisory Committee. She was also Secretary and Vice-Chair of the Executive Board. In 2016 she was the recipient of the Sally H. Aubrey Award. She also coordinated a variety of programs for the families and participants. Jane is a Graduate of The University of CT.
Affiliation – Saybrook Country Barn

Sarah Hill Canning

Sarah and her husband Peter live in Stonington; they have two daughters, Kate and Martha. Sarah has volunteered at High Hopes since 2003- most recently carriage driving and served on the Board from 2007-16. She was the scribe for the Board for several years. She is a past Chair of the Volunteer Committee and has served on the Symphony, Governance and Development Committees. She was a member of her church Vestry, Director of the Altar Guild and is on the Board of Calvary Nursery School. She is a past President of the Mystic & Noank Library. She holds a degree from Boston University.

Hannah Metcalf Childs

Since 2000, Hannah has owned her own design business, Hannah Childs Interior Design. After moving to Old Lyme on 2004, Hannah began her volunteering at High Hopes by serving as the Decor Chair for several of the Concert in the Barn events, later serving as the co-chair of the Motown Concert in the Barn in 2015. She is a member of the RISD Museum Associates in Providence, where she was born and raised. Hannah  served on the Board of the Florence Griswold Museum from 2010-2016. Hannah and her husband, Jamie, have three children, Mac (15), George (13) and Thayer (11).
Affiliation: Hannah Childs Interior Design

Mark Fader

Mark Fader is The William School’s (New London, Connecticut) 10th Head of School since the fall of 2008 after previously serving as Assistant Head. He has over 25 years of experience as an educator, administrator, and coach. Prior to joining Williams, he was at Providence Day School in Charlotte, NC and at Severn School in Severna Park, MD. A Cum Laude Graduate of Hampden-Sydney College, Mark earned his BA in History and French and holds a Masters of Arts in Education from The College of William and Mary. Mark is active in the shoreline community as a former board member at NESS (New England Science and Sailing) and as a member of Ocean Commotion Committee at Mystic Aquarium. Mark and his wife Suki have three children, Jack (20), Ellie (14), Lucy (12) who all volunteer at High Hopes.
Affiliation: The Williams School

Laurie LaTerza

Laurie is currently an Account Executive with Salesforce, Inc.  Prior to her current role, Laurie held various sales and marketing roles within Cisco,  AT&T, NCR, and Concord Communications. Her career has spanned multiple industries including Finance, Retail, Manufacturing and Education, as well as various technology transformations. She has been an active volunteer in both Massachusetts and Connecticut with various non-profit organizations. In addition, she volunteers within Cisco to support Women’s advancement in technology and Special Needs initiatives. Laurie holds a Master Degree in Marketing from Bentley University in Waltham, MA and a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from the University of Connecticut. She currently lives in Guilford, CT with her husband Todd and daughter Sofia. Sofia has participated in the High Hopes program for 8 years, providing Laurie and Todd a bird’s eye view of the incredible benefits received by participants.

Todd Machnik

Todd grew up in Old Lyme and attended Old Lyme High School. Todd received a Civil Engineering Degree from Vermont Technical College. He married his wife, Becky Machnik, in 1978 and has three sons: Tom, Kevin, and Peter. Todd is owner and President of Machnik Bros., Inc., established in 1957, general contractors specializing in site work, underground utilities, seawalls, bridge & dam repair. Todd has been a member of the Old Lyme Fire Department since 1970 and has served as an Officer for 10 years. He has also served on the Town of Lyme Flood & Erosion Control Board for 20 years (5 years as Chair) and served as a Planning Commission Alternate for 5 years. Todd is currently a Trustee of Essex Savings Bank and has served on the High Hopes Building & Grounds Committee for 5 years (2 years as Chair.) Other committee positions have included: Southeastern CT Youth Hockey Board and President for 5 years; St. Bernard Hockey Manager for 12 years; and, along with Becky Machnik, has been the Lord Creek Horse Trials course designer and builder for 5 years.
Affliation: Machnik Bros., Inc.

Vicki Newton

Vicki has spent her 25-year professional career in marketing, communications and website development for Fortune 500 Companies. She received her BA from State University of New York after which she continued to study art with the Art Student’s League in NYC. Vicki has owned and worked with horses all her life and in 2000 she, her husband Matt, and son, Alex, moved to their horse farm in East Haddam. Vicki continues her work as a freelance artist specializing in portraits of animals and botanical studies.

Gary Rogers

Gary brings expertise in marketing, communications and business development from corporate, non-profit and professional services firms. During his 20 years as Marketing Director at UST Inc., a leading Fortune 500 company in Greenwich, CT, Gary led new product development and  brand management for its billion-dollar iconic brands. Additionally, he helped generate over $1 million in transaction-based charitable contributions through national cause marketing campaigns. He has also applied his skills to the construction industry; recently as VP Marketing of Pucuda Leading Edge Safety Systems in Madison, CT, and previously with the engineering firm Milone & MacBroom and Lane Construction in Cheshire, CT. Gary served as VP of the Alumni Association Board of Directors for Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY, where he focused on capital campaign strategy and branding for the President of the College and Development Office. An avid supporter of High Hopes alongside his wife Linda, Gary leads corporate sponsorship efforts for the June Gala and chairs the High Hopes Marketing Advisory Committee. Education: M.S., Leadership & Strategic Management, Manhattanville College School of Business, Purchase, NY; B.A., Biology, Colby College, Waterville, ME

Robin Schonberger

Robin is a retired, award-winning Art Director who worked for 25 years in the greater Hartford area advertising business, where she specialized in regional and national print and television marketing. She studied in Boston and received her BFA from Tufts University. Robin is active in community service and has previously served on the Board of Directors for the Hartford University Art School and Real Art Ways, and is co-administrator of the Schonberger 9/11 Fund at the Hartford Foundation For Public Giving. Robin has been volunteering at High Hopes for 10 years, most recently in the capacity of Gala Co-Chair, Auction Co-Chair and serves on the Development Committee. Robin is an avid, and published gardener and moved to Old Lyme in 2001.

Seymour Smith

Seymour served as Flight Officer and Lieutenant in the US Navy. Currently retired, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer of Connecticut Bank and Trust Company; Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Signal Capital Corporation; Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of New England Savings Bank and was a private consultant for various healthcare organizations. Seymour has served on the Boards of Connecticut State University, Hartford Stage Company and Planned Parenthood of Connecticut. Seymour attended Hamilton College and received his MBA from Columbia University. His wife, Tia, has previously served on the High Hopes Board of Trustees. Seymour is currently on the Finance Committee. Seymour and Tia reside in Essex.

Gregory Varga

Gregory is a Partner at Robinson & Cole LLP, Hartford CT, a national law firm with offices throughout New England, and in New York, California and Florida. As a member of the firm’s Insurance & Reinsurance Practice, Gregory represents property and casualty insurance companies and other clients in high-exposure litigation and arbitration arising from contract disputes, claims for punitive and statutory damages, and related matters. Greg also counsels and assists clients in pre-litigation dispute resolution, and advises clients regarding open claims. Greg is the former Chair of the firm’s Insurance & Reinsurance Practice and its trial training program for junior attorneys. He has been honored by his peers with an “AV Preeminent” ranking by Martindale Hubbell®, has been honored by Connecticut SuperLawyers® since 2011, and named to The Best Lawyers in America® in the field of insurance law since 2012. Education: Boston College Law School, Juris Doctor, 1995; Boston College, B.A. in History, magna cum laude, 1991, Fairfield College Preparatory School (1987)
Affiliation – Robinson + Cole, LLP

Peter Watt

Peter Watt is Vice President, Consumer Marketing at Outdoor Sportsman Group, in New York, where he oversees all direct to consumer related lines of business, including subscription and single copy management, as well as merchandise sales. Outdoor Sportsman Group, a media company that publishes 15 outdoor enthusiast magazines, also owns several cable networks including Sportsman Channel and Outdoor Channel, as well as the OTT streaming service, My Outdoor TV. Prior to working at OSG, Peter held various consumer marketing positions at Times Mirror Magazines, The Atlantic and Audubon. In addition to his professional endeavors, Peter is President of the Board of Trustees of Morningside Montessori School in New York, and has served on various committees as well as being a side walker at High Hopes from 2008-2015. Peter currently serves on the Marketing Committee. He and his husband, Gerard Cattie, live in New York and spend as much time as possible at their house in Lyme. They are the parents of two school age children, Louisa and Alec. A Larchmont, NY native, he is a graduate of Middlebury College, with a BA in English Literature.

Barbara Willkens

Barbara has worked at Millstone Power Station since 1990.  During her career at the nuclear power plant she has held senior management positions in Engineering, Construction, Supply Chain, and Organizational Effectiveness. She earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and completed post-graduate courses at M.I.T. Prior to joining High Hopes, Barbara served on the Board of Directors at Big Brothers/Big Sisters and was a “big” for 10 years. She is still in close contact with her “little.” Barbara has been actively involved at High Hopes for over 6 years as a member of the Development Committee,  a Co-Chair of the Auction Committee for 3 years, and most recently as a Co-Chair for the June Benefit. Barbara is an avid knitter, gardener, and chef.  Barbara and her husband Wilhelm enjoy traveling to his native home of Austria as well as traveling to visit family and friends.  Barbara and Wilhelm live in Lyme with their Rhodesian Ridgeback, Jack.
Affiliation – Dominion

Sign up for our newsletter