A vibrant community
As a charitable nonprofit organization, High Hopes is governed by a 20-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 650 active volunteers who further support our daily operations.Discover Careers at High Hopes
all appointments as of July 1, 2021
Board of Trustees
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 area 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.
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.
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. 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
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
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 CT.
Affiliation – Saybrook Home
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.
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.
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
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 Sotheby International Realty and currently works for the Essex Marine Group.
Affiliation – Essex Marine Group
Todd grew up in Old Lyme 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 and Shellfish Commissions. 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.
Affiliation: Machnik Bros., Inc.
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 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 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.
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
After 50 years of living in Manhattan, Maris moved to Old Lyme in 2013. Maris holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of Visual Arts and has worked as a national award-winning graphic designer at numerous national magazines, e.g., Condé Nast, Vogue, and Rolling Stone, as well as with Jim Henson Productions until his death in 1990. Since relocating to Connecticut, Maris has done pro bono design work for Safe Futures, CT River Museum, Community Foundation of Middlesex County, and The Community Music School. She is on the Development Committee at Safe Futures and volunteers as a sidewalker at High Hopes. Additionally, Maris is a 500-hour, nationally-accredited yoga teacher with a studio in Old Lyme. Maris has three adult children, Jordan, Sydney, and Lindsey.
Natalie is the Manager Organizational Effectiveness for Dominion Energy at Millstone Power Station where she has worked since 2015. Since obtaining her Bachelor of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering from Purdue University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Averett University, Natalie has worked in the Nuclear Industry for 22 years at both Millstone Power Station and Surry Power Station in Surry, VA. In addition to her current position, Natalie was also a Supervisor in Engineering and Operations with Dominion Energy. Natalie has served on the High Hopes Development Committee since 2018 and has been a member of St. Matthias Parish Women’s Club and Certified Food Protection Manager since 2019. She is an active member of the local chapter of Women in Nuclear (WIN) since 2020, as well as a member of the American Nuclear Society since 1998. Natalie resides in East Lyme.
Affiliation: Millstone Power Station
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