At this time of year, I am reminded of the Semisonic lyric, “every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end” as we see long-time board members rotate off the board and welcome new ones.

This year we lost three fabulous board members, though they all know they can never actually leave the Giant Steps family… We thanked one, Jane Rodger Whatmore, in the last newsletter as she departed before the annual meeting in June to return to Australia.

Joey Emmert Evans served for six years, and brought a keen marketing and business sense to our board conversations. She also helped us learn more about the dressage world, and developed ways to involve new ambassadors for the organization. One of her greatest gifts to the organization was helping to secure a donation of fabulous footing for our arena, work that was completed during the program closure last year. The new footing has made a tremendous difference for our horses and our volunteers. We look forward to meeting her newest addition, baby Sloane, at a future event.

Bridget Twomey also served for six years, though she had volunteered with Giant Steps before joining the board. With a strong connection to the mission, Bridget has always shown a deep commitment to our clients and our horses, and that has carried through her board service. Over the years, Bridget served on our program, development, and oversight committees and was always quick to offer help, a suggestion, and a connection. She and her family have hosted our Farm to sTable multiple times at their spectacular farm, and have been generous supporters of our work.

It will be strange not to have these wonderful women involved at the same level, but we have two new members to help fill the void.

Debra Beresini has been involved with Giant Steps for more than a decade as her daughter, Suzie, is one of our long-time riders. Debra has gotten to know many of our riders and their families over the years, and has a deep understanding of our clientele and our program. She also has a strong business and finance background. Together, these skills and experiences will make Debra’s a valuable voice as we consider how to expand as an organization. She also has experience as a winemaker, and has supported many of our events over the years.

Chris Wang is a Giant Steps volunteer who also happens to be a rider, and a Doctor of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. A true underachiever, she also holds a Masters of Public Health and board certification in Lifestyle Medicine. We are eager to bring Chris’ experience to bear on our current and future programming as she has a deep understanding of the interplay of wellness, mindfulness, social connection, and physical activity. She is eager to be of support to our clients and their families!