Our Team

Leading Riders to Results

As a charitable nonprofit organization, High Hopes is governed by a 21-member all-volunteer Board of Trustees, and managed by a team of 13 full-time and 13 part-time professional staff. The staff is augmented by over 637 active volunteers who further support our daily operations.

Discover Careers at High Hopes

Directors

Kitty Stalsburg

Kitty Stalsburg

Executive Director
and Instructor
860.434.1974 Ext. 113

Patti Coyle

Patti Coyle

Training & Education Director
860.434.1974 Ext. 124

Megan Ellis

Megan Ellis

Program Director
and Instructor
860.434.1974 Ext. 116

Lesley Olsen

Lesley Olsen

Finance Director
860.434.1974 Ext. 111

Sara Slayton Qua

Sara Slayton Qua

Development Director
860.434.1974 Ext. 122 

Holly Sundmacker

Holly Sundmacker

Equine Operations Director
860.434.1974  Ext. 127

Staff

Barbara Abrams, LPC

Barbara Abrams, LPC

Instructor
860.434.1974

Diana Artiles

Diana Artiles

Office Manager
860.434.1974 Ext. 122

Tomi Beck

Tomi Beck

Instructor
860.434.1974

Trudy Burgess

Trudy Burgess

Special Events Manager
860.434.1974 Ext. 123

Erin Cardea

Erin Cardea

Instructor
860.434.1974 

Sarah Carlson

Sarah Carlson

Special Programs Manager
and Instructor
860.434.1974 Ext. 115

Sarah Crisp

Sarah Crisp

Communications Manager
860.434.1974 Ext.128

Imanol Echeverria

Imanol Echeverria

Instructor
860.434.1974

Lauren Fitzgerald

Lauren Fitzgerald

Equine Resource Manager
and Instructor
860.434.1974 Ext. 114

Rachel Golden

Rachel Golden

Lesson Coordinator
and Instructor
860.434.1974 Ext. 133

Liesl Grigerek

Liesl Grigerek

Barn Coordinator
860.434.1974

Kerrie Guarino

Kerrie Guarino

Development Coordinator
860.434.1974 Ext. 119

Carolyn Jagielski, PT

Carolyn Jagielski, PT

Instructor
860.434.1974

Marie Manero

Marie Manero

Volunteer Coordinator
and Instructor
860.434.1974 Ext. 118

Makayla McPherson

Makayla McPherson

Instructor
860.434.1974 

Juanita Paris

Juanita Paris

Barn Assistant
860.434.1974 

Amy Tripson

Amy Tripson

Volunteer Manager
and Instructor
860.434.1974 Ext. 121

Carrie Wind

Carrie Wind

Instructor
860.434.1974 

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2018 – 2019

Board of Trustees

John Catlett

Chair

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 childrens’ 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 the Lower Connecticut Valley Educational Riding Association. 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. Jacqueline 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 many Auction, Décor, and other Benefit committees. Jacqueline is the 2018 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 lives with husband Stephen Dedman live in Hadlyme.

Affiliation: Amelie Michel French Table Linens/Jacqueline Kangley Handbags

Jeffrey Ridgway

Vice Chair – Development

Jeff is retired from both boatyard and building industries. He has served 21yrs on the Board of Trustees, two years as President. His many leadership roles at High Hopes include assisting with the construction of the facility in 1990 and serving as Co-Chair with his wife, Holly, of the ‘94 and ‘95 Antiques Shows. Jeff Co-Chaired the 2000 Building expansion project; was Co-Chair of the High Hopes’ Hoedown, (now the Holiday Market), and has been a member of the Building & Grounds Committee for 27 yrs. He is actively involved with many events such as the Gala, and now Chairs the Endowment Committee. He was the recipient of the NARHA (Now PATH Intl.) Region I Volunteer of the Year Award in 2009. Jeff was born in Africa, and grew up in the UK. He and his wife, Holly, reside in Chester.

Affiliation – Caulfield & Ridgway

Katherine Gibson

Secretary

Katherine moved to Lyme four years ago with her husband, Andrew, and sons Will and John. Katherine’s career was in marketing and communications. She 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. The market became one of the largest farmer’s markets in RI and was awarded annual college scholarships for entrepreneurship and environmental science. During her tenure as a Trustee of 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 five years. High Hopes was a natural fit for the mother of a son with dyspraxic cerebral palsy and a firm believer in the benefits of therapeutic riding. Education: Princeton University, AB 1985

Deborah Welles

Treasurer

Debbie is a practicing CPA in Old Lyme, CT. She is married to John, with three children and five 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 Audit and Finance Committees and member of the Human Resource Advisory 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 manage 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 to ride and be safe around horses. Now at age 33, Lindsey is still a participant in the program, is a highlight in her life! Jane has Co-Chaired Symphony in the Meadows, the Concert in The Barn and the June Gala. She Chairs the Program Committee, through which she has coordinated a variety of programs for the families and participants. Jane serves on the Human Resource Advisory Committee, and is a past Secretary and past Vice-Chair of the Executive Board. In 2016 Jane was the recipient of the Sally H. Aubrey Award. 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 in the carriage-driving Program and she served on the Board from 2007-16 and was scribe for several years. Sarah 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, is on the Board of Calvary Nursery School, and is a past-President of the Mystic & Noank Library, Sarah also 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 volunteering at High Hopes by serving as the Décor Chair for several of the Concert in the Barn events, and later as the co-chair of the Motown Concert in the Barn in 2015. She is a member of 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) and lives in Lyme.

Affiliation: Hannah Childs Interior Design

Mark Fader

Since 2008, Mark Fader has been the 10th Head of The Williams School, New London, Connecticut, after previously serving as Assistant Head. He has over 25 years of experience as an educator, administrator, and coach. Before joining Williams, he was at Providence Day School in Charlotte, NC and 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 New England Science and Sailing (NESS) and as a member of the 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. Before her current role, Laurie held various sales and marketing roles at 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. She also volunteers within Cisco to support Women’s Advancement in Technology and Special Needs Initiatives. Laurie holds a Masters Degree in Marketing from Bentley University in Waltham, MA and a B.Sc. 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 eight years, providing Laurie and Todd a bird’s eye view of the incredible benefits received of therapeutic riding.

Todd Machnik

Todd grew up in Old Lyme and and received a C.Eng. from Vermont Technical College. Todd is owner and President of Machnik Bros., Inc., established in 1957. Todd has been a member of the Old Lyme Fire Department since 1970 and has served as an Officer for ten years. He also served on the Town of Lyme Flood & Erosion Control Board for 20 years (five years as Chair) and as a Planning Commission Alternate for five years. Todd is currently a Trustee of Essex Savings Bank, and has served on the High Hopes Building & Grounds Committee for five years, two years as Chair. Other committee positions have included the Southeastern CT Youth Hockey Board where he was President for five years and St. Bernard’s School Hockey Manager for 12 years. He married his wife, Becky Machnik, in 1978 and has three sons: Tom, Kevin, and Peter. Becky and Todd have been the Lord Creek Horse Trials course designers and builders for five years.

Affliation: Machnik Bros., Inc. and Essex Savings Bank

Vicki Newton

Vicki has spent her 25-year professional career in marketing, communications and website development for Fortune 500 Companies. She received her B.A. from the 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. He helped generate over $1 million in transaction-based charitable contributions through national cause-marketing campaigns. Gary 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 firms of 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, where she specialized in regional and national print and television marketing. She studied in Boston and received her B.F.A. 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 ten years, most recently in the capacities of Gala Co-Chair and Auction Co-Chair, and she also serves on the Development Committee. Robin is an avid gardener, and published author and moved to Old Lyme in 2001.

Seymour Smith

Seymour served as a Flight Officer and Lieutenant in the US Navy. Once 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 Board of Connecticut State University, Hartford Stage Company, and Planned Parenthood of Connecticut. Seymour attended Hamilton College and received his M.B.A. from Columbia University. His wife, Tia, has previously served on the High Hopes’ Board of Trustees. Seymour currently serves 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, 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 it’s 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, single copy management, and 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. Before working at OSG, Peter held various consumer marketing positions at Times Mirror MagazinesThe Atlantic, and Audubon. Peter is President of the Board of Trustees of Morningside Montessori School in New York. Peter currently serves on the Marketing Committee and has served on various committees as well as being a side walker at High Hopes from 2008-2015. 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, Peter is a graduate of Middlebury College, with a B.A. in English Literature.

Affiliation – Outdoor Sportsman Group.

Barbara Willkens

Barbara worked at Millstone Power Station from 1990-2018.  During her career at the nuclear power plant she 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. Before joining High Hopes, Barbara served on the Board of Directors at Big Brothers/Big Sisters and was a “big” for ten years. She is still in close contact with her “little.” Barbara has been actively involved at High Hopes for over six years as a member of the Development Committee, a Co-Chair of the June Gala and most recently as Co-Chair of the Auction Committee. Barbara is an avid knitter, gardener, and chef and with her husband Wilhelm, enjoys traveling to his native home of Austria.  Barbara and Wilhelm live in Lyme with their Rhodesian Ridgeback, Jack.

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High Hopes Therapeutic Riding is located at 36 Town Woods Road, Old Lyme, CT.

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A Place to Heal, Learn & Make Friends

Equine assisted activities and therapies may be therapeutic if a participant derives benefit, shows improvement or feels better once engaged.

Our Programs

Our History

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc., was founded in 1974 by Mary “Sis” Gould as the Lower Connecticut Valley Educational Riding Association (LCVERA).

The Story of High Hopes

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