Our Team

A vibrant community

As a charitable nonprofit organization, High Hopes is governed by a 21-member all-volunteer Board of Trustees, and managed by a team of 12 full-time and 13 part-time professional staff. The staff is augmented by over 652 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

meet Kitty
Chelsea Bourn

Chelsea Bourn

Program Director
860.434.1974 Ext. 116

meet Chelsea
Sarah Miller

Sarah Miller

Training & Education Director
& Instructor
860.434.1974 Ext. 115

meet Sarah
Lesley Olsen

Lesley Olsen

Finance Director
860.434.1974 Ext. 111

meet Lesley
Sara Slayton Qua

Sara Slayton Qua

Development Director
860.434.1974 Ext. 122 

meet Sara
Holly Sundmacker

Holly Sundmacker

Equine Operations Director
860.434.1974  Ext. 127

meet Holly

Staff

Barbara Abrams, LPC

Barbara Abrams, LPC

Instructor
860.434.1974

meet Barbara
Diana Artiles

Diana Artiles

Office Manager
860.434.1974 Ext. 111

meet Diana
Emily Belliveau

Emily Belliveau

Volunteer Manager
860.434.1974 Ext. 112

meet Emily
Trudy Burgess

Trudy Burgess

Events Manager
860.434.1974 Ext. 123

meet Trudy
Marie Cahill

Marie Cahill

Lesson Manager & Instructor
860.434.1974 x118 

meet Marie
Erin Cardea

Erin Cardea

Instructor
860.434.1974 

Megan Ellis

Megan Ellis

Instructor
860.434.1974 

Lauren Fitzgerald

Lauren Fitzgerald

Equine Resource Manager
860.434.1974 x114

Liesl Grigerek

Liesl Grigerek

Barn Coordinator
860.434.1974

Kerrie Guarino

Kerrie Guarino

Development Coordinator
860.434.1974 x119

Meet Kerrie
Carolyn Jagielski, PT

Carolyn Jagielski, PT

Instructor
860.434.1974

 

Juanita Paris

Juanita Paris

Barn Assistant
860.434.1974 

 

Kim Severance

Kim Severance

Instructor
860.434.1974 

Meet Kim
Carrie Wind

Carrie Wind

Instructor
860.434.1974 

Meet Carrie
'Board of Trustees'

all appointments as of July 1, 2020

Board of Trustees

Jacqueline Kangley

Chair

Jacqueline oversees product development and online marketing and sales for Amelie Michel French Table Linens. 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 numerous 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 in Hadlyme.

Affiliation: Amelie Michel French Table Linens

Peter Watt

Vice Chair – Development

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 subscriptions, 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 Magazines, The Atlantic, and Audubon.  Prior to joining the High Hopes board, he was a side walker from 2008-2015 and served on various committees for the annual benefit. Peter and his husband, Gerard Cattie, live in New York and 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

James Scott Douglas

Treasurer

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

Victoria Newton

Secretary

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.

Jane Bolles

Jane and her husband, Keith, live in Essex and own and manage Saybrook Home. 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 35, 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 Task Force, 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 Connecticut.

Affiliation – Saybrook Home

Nancy Bulkeley

Nancy Bulkeley is the Senior Community Affairs Representative for Dominion Nuclear Connecticut.  Nancy has been in the Nuclear Industry for 23 years, in the areas of human resources, communications and public affairs.  In her current position, Nancy is responsible for representing her company and its policies and programs in the community.  She is the primary interface to local governmental and community groups not only in nuclear related discussions but as a key interface for the local charities that are part of Dominion’s focus as a responsible member of the community.  Nancy has served on committees and boards for several non-profit organizations in her community. She supports education programs through tours, community outreach, special events, and establishes and promotes minority outreach programs. Nancy and her wife, Kristine, live in Pawcatuck. They have four children and five grandchildren.

Affiliation: Dominion Power

John Catlett

John spent more than 26 years with the consulting firm Accenture before retiring as a senior partner. During his 14 years as a Trustee, John has served as Chair of the Board, Chair of Strategic Planning, Development and Governance Committees and continues to serve on the Development, Finance and HRAC Committees. He holds degrees from Drew University and Lehigh University. John lives in Lyme with his wife, Athana, and three daughters, Sarah, Sabrina and Anna.

Sarah Hill Canning

Sarah has volunteered at High Hopes since 2003, most recently in the Carriage Driving Program. She served on the Board from 2007-16 and was scribe for several years. She came back on the Board in 2017.  Sarah is a past Chair of the Volunteer Committee, and has served on the Symphony, Development, and Strategic Plan Committees. She is presently Chair of the Governance Committee. She is an alumna of Boston University and lives in Stonington.

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, George, and Thayer, 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, Ellie, Lucy, who all volunteer at High Hopes.

Affiliation: The Williams School

Sarah Kitchings Keenan

Sarah and her husband Christopher reside in Essex with their three children, Ryan, Maggie and Ashley. Her son, Ryan has been an active High Hopes participant for five years, both of her daughters have attended the High Hopes Summer Camp. Sarah has served as a member of the High Hopes Development Committee and is currently Treasurer of the Essex Elementary School Foundation. Sarah attended Miss. Porter’s School, followed by the University of Oregon. She received her Juris Doctor from Quinnipiac University School of Law. Sarah then practiced as an Attorney specializing in real estate law, trusts and estates. She has worked as a realtor at William Pitt Southerby International Realty and currently works for the Essex Marine Group.

Affiliation: Essex Marine Group

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 is a member of the Planning Commission and the Shellfish Commission. 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

Mac (Margaret) Mummert

Mac and her husband, Earl, are veterinarians and have owned four small animal practices. Her special interests include internal medicine and oncology. She has served in many of the area’s civic organizations including the Lyme Garden Club, Child and Family Agency and is a Past President of the SE Connecticut Professional Women’s Network.  She has served on the vestry of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church ,and was District Commissioner of the Connecticut Valley Pony Club. Mac has two children, Brian and Anya. Anya has been a participant at High Hopes since she was five and now works as a volunteer twice weekly. Mac earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1977 from Auburn University and resides in Lyme.

Jeff Ridgway

Jeff is retired from boatyard and building industries. He has served 21 years 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 years. He is actively involved with many events such as the Gala, and is the Chair of the Endowment Committee. He was the recipient of the NARHA 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

Gary Rogers

Gary is a marketing & business development executive with expertise leading a number of Fortune 500 brands. He is currently working with Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT, cultivating members and forging strategic partnerships. His global brand marketing initiatives generated over $1 million in charitable contributions through national cause-marketing campaigns. He 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. Education: M.S., Leadership & Strategic Management, Manhattanville College School of Business, Purchase, NY; B.A., Biology, Colby College, Waterville, ME

Affiliation: Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut

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 moved to Old Lyme in 2001 and is an avid gardener. Her gardens have appeared in various publications and in the Garden Conservancy’s national garden tour.

Gregory Varga

Greg is a Partner at Robinson & Cole LLP, Hartford CT, a national law firm with offices throughout New England, New York, California, and Florida. As Chair of the firm’s Insurance & Reinsurance Practice, Greg 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. He is a fellow of the American College of Coverage Counsel and a member of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel. 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

Deborah Welles

Debbie is a semi-retired CPA living in Old Lyme.  Married to John, Debbie spends most of her spare time traveling to be with their six grandchildren. Debbie has been a Trustee at High Hopes for many years, currently finishing up her second term.  She has served as Secretary, Treasurer, Chair of the Audit and Finance Committees and as a member of the Development and Human Resource Advisory Committees.

Affiliation: Exencial Wealth Advisors

Barbara Willkens

Barbara is enjoying her retirement after 38 years in the nuclear power industry.  The majority of her professional career was spent at Millstone Power Station in Waterford, CT where she was a member of the senior management team.  She earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee, and completed post-graduate courses at MIT. 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 eight years as a member of the Development Committee, a Co-Chair of the June Gala, co=chair of the Holiday Market and most recently as Co-Chair of the Auction Committee. Barbara is an avid knitter, gardener, and chef.  With her husband Wilhelm they 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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