Board of Directors
Pal-O-Mine Equestrian, Islandia, New York
Lisa Gatti grew up on Long Island, attended Mary Washington College in Virginia and St. Joseph’s College in NY, where she was granted a BS degree with dual certification in elementary and special education and a minor in psychology. Lisa received an additional Associates Degree in Regional Stewardship and has supplemented her education with several certificate programs in grant writing, non- profit management, sign language and applied behavioral analysis. As a teacher, Lisa gravitated towards “at-risk” teens and found, during her time teaching, that experiential learning was most effective for her populations. She founded Pal-O-Mine Equestrian in 1995, which is a comprehensive multi-faceted not for profit equine program that includes hippotherapy, therapeutic and competitive equestrian riding, a transitional work-study program and EAGALA model EAP and EAL programs.
Lisa was chosen as the US Team Leader for the Equestrian in the 1996 and 2000 Paralympic Games in Atlanta, Ga. and Sydney, Australia. She served as the National Sports Technical Officer for Equestrian under the auspices of the US Cerebral Palsy Athletic Association from 1997-2000. Since 1996, Lisa has organized and managed the Long Island Invitational Horse Show, allowing local and national riders with disabilities to compete against their able-bodied peers. In creating Pal-O-Mine Equestrian, Lisa, along with her staff and volunteers, have been able to touch the lives of many and are committed to and successful at improving the quality of life on Long Island for those individuals with disabilities.
Marian Heyink, LISW-S, JD
Achievement Centers for Children, Cleveland, Ohio
Marian got her B.A. in Social Work from Cleveland State University, and a Masters in Social Science Administration from Case Western Reserve University. She received a Juris Doctor from Cleveland Marshall College of Law. Marian is a Licensed Independent Social Worker with a Supervision designation, and a licensed attorney in the State of Ohio. She has over twenty years of hospital social work experience, with 15 of those years providing services in the Medical Emergency Room and the Psychiatric Emergency Room of an inner city hospital. During that time, she also served as the advisor to the Cleveland Emergency Medical Services Peer Support program. She worked in the field of Corporate Compliance at Cleveland Clinic Health Care Ventures. Marian worked for Catholic Charities Health and Human Services in the Diocese of Cleveland for over ten years. She started as the Assistant Director of a residential treatment center, then moved to the position of Director of Public Policy. She then transitioned to the position of Attorney in the Department of Migration and Refugee Services. Marian currently works for the Achievement Center for Children's Camp Cheerful in the Therapeutic Horsemanship program.
Marian is EAGALA Certified and both a mental health professional and an equine specialist. She is also a PATH certified therapeutic riding instructor. Marian and her husband Mark Milam live in Seven Hills, Ohio with their two crazy canines, Abby and Charlie McFarley.
Mark Casagrande, MA, LADC
Park Avenue Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Mark is the Owner and Executive Director of Park Avenue Center, a Minneapolis based gender-specific residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment program serving mostly poor inner-city clients, the majority of which are court-ordered. Programs include fully integrated Co-occurring Disorders programs, Primary Programs, Relapse Prevention programs, Drug Court Programs, DWI Court programs, and DWI Educational programs. In 2005, Park Avenue Center began utilizing the EAGALA model five days a week for clients in the residencies. With approximately 125 staff, Park offers 115 beds while serving around 250 clients that are in primary treatment with more than 300 clients in Aftercare.
Having been in recovery since 1986, Mark has been very active in the field of substance abuse since 1994 and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Minnesota’s substance abuse trade organization. In addition, Mark has participated in rewriting Minnesota’s substance abuse licensing rules for both agencies and individual counselors, regularly lobbied and educated state legislators, and implemented evidence-based strategies. Mark has a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Psychological Services, is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, and has a BS in Marketing. Mark has been married to his wife Linda since 1992 and lives in a suburb of St. Paul, MN with their two children, Abbey and Sam.
Susan Jung, M.Ed., Ed.S., LPC
Winning Strides, Ltd., Conyers, Georgia
Susan was an elementary school counselor for 37 years. After graduating from the University of Florida, she moved to Texas and was very active in the counseling organizations. Susan began riding at the age of four and has a passion for children and horses. She is a certified riding instructor for the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association and has served as a Walking Horse judge for eight years. Finding EAGALA 12 years ago was the "perfect fit" for combining counseling skills and the presence of horses in her life and career goals. Susan is married to Jim, who has enabled her horse habit, and been her greatest supporter in founding Winning Strides, Ltd.. Susan now works as a licensed professional counselor in her own private practice and conducts EAGALA model EAP/EAL with her equine specialist at her equine assisted learning center in Conyers, Georgia.
Kristi Seymour, M.A., LPC, MBA
Horses Changing Lives, Anchorage, Alaska
Kristi is a licensed, clinical therapist with more than 15 years of experience. She has two master’s degrees (MA and MBA) and graduated with Distinction from both programs. Kristi has worked on both coasts of the United States and internationally. Kristi is currently the Director of Mental Health for an Alaskan community mental health agency with an annual operating budget of more than $75 million. She oversees statewide clinical and rehabilitative service delivery, including the arctic region, for more than 100 clients. Her administrative experience includes supervising 50+ employees, managing multi-million dollar budgets, creating systems, developing trainings, strategic planning, risk management/compliance and providing clinical supervision.
Kristi has been an equestrian for 39 years. As a youth she was many times local, state and regional all-around champion at the Appaloosa breed shows until her family switched to thoroughbreds and warmbloods when she was 17. As a young adult Kristi then trained with multiple United States Olympic Show Jumping Team riders, including Mclain Ward, Debbie Stevens and Nona Garson, and competed on the “AA show” Hunter-Jumper circuit for six years. She showed to the grand prix level and still today actively competes in both hunter and jumper rings. Kristi loves starting and training horses over fences and she recently imported a young jumper prospect, a Zangersheid gelding named Prinz Z, from Canada to Alaska. Kristi has also managed equestrian facilities, the largest being a $6 million dollar county facility, with 400 customers, 75 horses and 25 staff. Kristi is EAGALA Certified and is the only approved clinician working with the military providing EAGALA services to soldiers at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson located in Anchorage.
Helena has loved horses since she was old enough to point and smile at them. Starting her riding career in pony club she determined she had enough “Thelwell moments” and it was time to switch gears. She rode all around (english and western) for ten years and was state champion several times in different classes. In her twenties, she started riding dressage and has competed through Prix St. George. Now she has a two draft mares that work as therapy horses by day and jousters by night? Helena hopes any way...stay tuned.