Conference Speakers

5 Must Do’s to Raise Money Throughout the Year

SANDY REES, Founder of Fundraising TV and CEO at Get Fully Funded

Sandy is the Founder of Fundraising TV and the Chief Encouragement Officer at Get Fully Funded where she shows passionate nonprofit leaders how to fully fund their big vision, so they can spend their time saving lives instead of worrying about money. She has helped dozens of small animal welfare nonprofits go from “nickel-and-dime fundraising” to adding 6 figures to their bottom line. As a trainer, she shows her students how to find ideal donors, connect with them through authentic messaging, and build relationships that stand the test of time so that fundraising becomes easy and predictable. Sandy has served as a volunteer and Board member for a variety of animal rescue nonprofits including Animal Legal Defense Fund and Horse Haven of Tennessee. Sandy is based in Loudon, TN.  Find out more about her fundraising system at

Stacie Rees

MELISSA RUBIN, Chief Strategy Officer at Greater Good Charities

Melissa has been involved in non-profit work for over thirty years. She has an extensive background in running non-profits, including work to protect people, pets, and animals. Melissa currently works at Greater Good Charities, where she leads the Advancement team.  Her focus is to strategize, develop, and cultivate donor relationships through major gifts and grants.  For thirty years, Melissa served as the Senior Vice President of Animal Response, Care, and Sanctuary at the Humane Society of the United States, where she was responsible for The HSUS’s animal care centers, animal rescue team, Pets for Life, and Rural Area Veterinary Services.  Melissa also served as President of the Fund for Animals. In this capacity, she was responsible for all aspects of running the large non-profit. Among many of her duties, Melissa built a strong leadership team, increased fundraising, created business protocols, and established strong relationships with internal and external partners. She also led The HSUS through many natural disasters, including Hurricanes Katrina, Floyd, Charlie, and Frances.

Melissa Rubin

Stable Standards: Panel Insights on Accreditation

VALERIE TAYLOR, Executive Director of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

Valerie Taylor serves in the role of Executive Director for the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS). Valerie has more than 20 years of experience in leadership, non-profit association management, education and advocacy, fundraising, and credentialing program operations for animal sanctuaries, rescue, and rehabilitation centers in North America and internationally. Her career has afforded her the opportunity to work with a wide range of animals, from horses to whales, spending time advising on-site at more than 100 animal sanctuary facilities. Before joining GFAS, she worked in the Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies field and or several years, she served in a volunteer capacity as State Director for an equine rescue in Oklahoma.

Valerie Taylor

LYNN COAKLEY, President of the EQUUS Foundation

Lynn Coakley is President of the EQUUS Foundation, an animal welfare charity and accrediting body dedicated solely to equine welfare with the dual purpose of protecting America’s horses from peril and strengthening the horse-human bond. A lifelong equestrian and dedicated animal welfare advocate, Ms. Coakley has been employed in the nonprofit sector for more than 40 years, with experience in financial management, systems analysis, business development, information technology, event planning, publishing, marketing and public relations, and strategic planning. Prior to her founding the EQUUS Foundation in 2002, she served as president and chief operating officer of a publishing and association management firm and was responsible for the management of multiple nonprofit organizations.

Lynn Coakley

STACIE CLARK, Operations Consultant at the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance

Stacie Clark, raised in Ontario, Canada, is the daughter of thoroughbred trainer Joan Clark and owner Peter Clark. Growing up around Thoroughbred racing, her parents’ passion for the industry soon became her own. Stacie started working at the racetrack over the summers while attending University.  Galloping horses in the mornings and working in the Media and Publicity Department in the afternoons, horses took up almost all of her time.

After graduating with Combined Honors in Media Communications, Stacie went on to work in the Toronto, Ontario Film and Television industry. After four years in the field and as an Assistant Editor, the chance to ride races as a jockey was expiring and her career in television was put on hold. From 1993 through 1996 Stacie rode as a jockey in Ontario and was nominated for the 1994 Sovereign Award as Outstanding Apprentice in Canada. When Woodbine Racetrack expanded its television department in 1999 the cross over to Associate Producer and Racing Television Commentator was a natural one. During her tenure, Stacie worked on Sovereign Award winning productions “Woodbine Entertainment Live” and “Woodbine Racing Live”.

In more recent years, Stacie’s focus has turned to the development of Thoroughbred retirement initiatives and implementation of equine aftercare programs.  In 2004, as Thoroughbred Retirement Program Manager at Adena Springs, the first ever in-house retirement program was created. These efforts have in turn resulted in numerous industry recognition awards for both Adena Springs and The Stronach Group.   Stacie was also directly involved in the implementation and management of the aftercare programs at Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita Park. 

In 2013, Stacie produced HRTV’s Eclipse Award winning, Emmy nominated documentary “Saratoga War Horse”. In 2012 Stacie joined the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance as a board member and then in 2014 joined the TAA full time as the organizations Operations consultant.  Stacie has made numerous presentations on, Thoroughbred Aftercare throughout North American as well as in the UK , Japan and most recently Jamaica.

Stacie Clark

Natural Horsemanship: Healing Horses

DEEDEE GOLDBERG, Founder and President of Spirit Horse Equine Rescue and Education Center

DeeDee Luchsinger Golberg has horses in her DNA. Literally. Her ancestors from Italy were named Cavallo (Italian for horse) because of their abilities to be successful with horses.

From the early days of helping on her uncle’s farm to finally owning her first horse at age 39, DeeDee was always a student of the horse. After encountering some problems with her horses and being horrified at the advice she was given to correct these problems, DeeDee’s life was forever altered by the discovery of Natural Horsemanship in 1994.

With a career in education, DeeDee used most of her free time to immerse herself in the study of Natural Horsemanship, traveling far and wide to observe and study with and from a wide range of experts in the field. She’s particularly interested in developing the relationship between horses and humans with compassion and patience, taking each horse’s individual “horsenality” into account.

DeeDee found that using her abilities to help horses with problems was the most satisfying part of her horsemanship work. Given that, she founded Spirit Horse Equine Rescue and Education Center in 2008.

Since that time, DeeDee has worked with hundreds of horses from feral to abused to wild mustangs. She believes that the keys to success with horses are understanding the nature of the horse, being able to read horses accurately, and having the knowledge and skills to know “where to be, why to be, what to do, when to do it, and when to quit.”

DeeDee Goldberg

Talkin’ Horse Sense into Congress: Intro to Lobbying

KEITH DANE, Senior Director of Equine Protection at the Humane Society of the United States

Keith Dane is a horseman who has been involved with gaited horses for most of his life, as an owner, breeder, and amateur trainer/exhibitor.  His involvement began with Tennessee Walking Horses, and he has always been dedicated to the promotion and protection of the breed.  He is also a horse show judge licensed with many gaited breed organizations, and has experience in North America and Europe, having  judged several national and international championships.

Dane has been working to protect horses for more than thirty years.  He co-founded of one of the first show organizations for sound gaited horses, which was created as an alternative to the “Big Lick” shows that involve cruelty in training, and served as its president for several years.  He later served the Friends of Sound Horses (FOSH) organization as its president and Director of Judges for its Independent Judges Association.

As Senior Director on Equine Protection for The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Dane directs the domestic horse welfare policy work for the nation’s largest animal protection organization.  Those efforts include securing passage of state and federal legislation to improve the welfare of horses used in sport, work and racing, protecting America’s horses from slaughter in the U.S. and abroad, and the rehoming of America’s at-risk and homeless horses. 

Prior to joining HSUS, Dane served as executive director of FOSH and served as its liaison to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its certified inspection program under the Horse Protection Act.

Keith Dane

FERNANDO GUERRA, Director of Law & Policy at American Wild Horse Conservation

Fernando is the Director of Law and Policy for American Wild Horse Conservation (AWHC). In this role, he supervises and supports AWHC’s lobbying and litigation efforts. Fernando has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and Policy and earned his Juris Doctor with a Certificate in Environmental Law.

Fernando Guerra

JOANNA GROSSMAN, PH.D., Equine Program Director and Senior Advisor at the Animal Welfare Institute

Dr. Joanna Grossman joined the Animal Welfare Institute in 2014 and, as the organization’s Equine Program Director, oversees AWI’s campaigns, litigation, and legislative advocacy pertaining to horses – both wild and domestic. She was previously AWI’s federal policy advisor, advocating for a wide range of animal protection issues on Capitol Hill. Her writings and work have appeared in numerous national media outlets, and her chapter on political advocacy was published in the Routledge Handbook of Animal Ethics. Joanna holds an A.B. from Princeton University and studied as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Oxford before earning her PhD from Harvard University. While completing her doctorate, she worked on legislation impacting animal welfare at the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and for Congressman Jim Moran, former chair of the Animal Protection Caucus. Joanna serves on the advisory boards for Days End Farm Horse Rescue, Predator Defense, and Sinergia Animal. Originally from rural Texas, Joanna lives in the DC area with her husband, three kids, and their rescue dogs.

Joanna Grossman

NANCY BLANEY, Director of Government Affairs at the Animal Welfare Institute

Nancy Blaney has advocated on behalf of animals for more than 40 years. She obtained a BA in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland and worked on Capitol Hill before starting a career in animal welfare.   She has been at the Animal Welfare Institute since 2007, where she is Director of Government Affairs. She works with federal and state legislators and regulators, the law enforcement community, veterinarians, and other interest groups to improve animal welfare, the prosecution of animal cruelty crimes, and public awareness of the relationship between animal abuse and other forms of violence, particularly all forms of family violence.

Nancy serves on the Animal Cruelty Advisory Council of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (co-chair), on the Animal Cruelty and Abuse Committee of the National Sheriffs’ Association, and on the Animal Cruelty and Humane Law Enforcement Committee and the Advisory Board of the Small & Rural Law Enforcement Executives Association. She is the author of several articles and chapters.

Nancy Blaney

Finding Balance in the Barn: An Everyday Tool for Coping with Compassion Fatigue

DR. LINDA HARPER, Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Linda Harper has been a clinical psychologist for over 40 years in the Chicagoland area. As the founder and past director of Blessed Bonds, a foster-based program, she understands the unique challenges of those dedicated to saving and enhancing the lives of animals.  Dr. Linda presents at animal welfare organizations, veterinary hospitals and conferences, and offers individual consults on Zoom.  She facilitates WINGS, the pet loss support group for the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association. Linda is the author of four books, including The Power of Joy in Giving to Animals. She lives in Palos Park, Illinois with her husband, Mario, and a house full of furry friends. Her pet walker affectionately refers to her home as “the land of the misfits.”   

DeeDee Goldberg

Equine Allies: Strengthening Relationships between Rescuers and Law Enforcement

DEETTE HILLMAN, Equine Programs Director for Days End Farm Horse Rescue

DeEtte is the Equine Programs Director for Days End Farm Horse Rescue (DEFHR) and has been with the organization since 2003. DeEtte has been involved in horses since childhood growing up on a Wisconsin farm. Professionally, she has worked extensively with non-profits including as Shelter Manager for the Humane Society of Central Illinois. Her experience in the equine industry includes roles as farm manager at several stable facilities, as a horse trainer, and a Licensed Equine Investigator for the state of Illinois. She currently serves as a member of the Maryland Professional Animal Workers Association. 

For Days End, DeEtte works directly with law enforcement agencies throughout Maryland and surrounding states, including national organizations such as the ASPCA and HSUS in their cases of equine cruelty and neglect. She is responsible for providing on-site consultation, evidence gathering, physical support in seizures, provision of continued evidence, as well as witness testimony at trial.  She provides ongoing education for animal welfare agents and has been a featured speaker for various animal abuse venues, expositions, webinars, podcasts, and Animal Control Training courses.  DeEtte directs DEFHR’s rehabilitation program, training, and adoption programs, and is the lead for their Emergency Response Team, holding certificates in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue and is a certified Equine Investigator through Colorado State University.  

DeeDee Goldberg

GILLIAN DEEGAN, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney of Botetourt County, VA

Gillian Deegan is the Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney in Botetourt County VA. In addition to handling her other cases, she is responsible for prosecuting all of the animal cruelty and neglect cases in her county. She regularly serves as a resource to law enforcement and prosecutors across the Commonwealth and nationally in matters pertaining to animal welfare. She regularly speaks and provides training in the investigation and prosecution of animal cruelty cases. In addition to serving as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, she worked as a Contract Attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund and was on the faculty of the North American Veterinary Community’s Animal CSI Certificate Program. She sat on the Board of Directors for the International Veterinary Forensic Sciences Association and was Vice President of the Virginia Animal Fighting Task Force. She is on the faculty of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and is a member of their Animal Cruelty Advisory Committee. She is the legal advisor for the American Bloodhound Club and the Virginia Bloodhound Search and Rescue Association.

Prior to coming to Botetourt, Deegan had her own law practice in Salem, VA where she concentrated on criminal defense and family law. She served as a Probation and Parole Officer in the 23rd Judicial Circuit before attending law school at Campbell University. She also worked as a Police Officer for the Roanoke County Police Department and a Deputy Sheriff for the Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office. In addition, she served in the United States Army Reserve.

Deegan has been recognized for her work in animal welfare by the National Animal Control Association, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Virginia Animal Control Association and the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies. In addition, she was honored by the United States Marshall Service for exemplary dedication to Community Service and unyielding commitment to animal welfare and abuse prevention.

DeeDee Goldberg

Fund Your Future: How Marketing, Branding, Fundraising, and Donor Stewardship Connect for Success

CHRISTINE HAJEK, President of Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue

Christine Hajek is the Founder and President of Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue. Gentle Giants began as a tiny self-funded backyard rescue effort while Christine was working full time as a Paramedic/FireFighter. Over the past 19 years, Gentle Giants has grown to be one of the largest and most recognized independent equine rescues in the country. Gentle Giants now spans over 340 acres and hosts a herd of 180+ draft horses. As recognition for their groundbreaking work in advocacy, education, and mentorship; Gentle Giants was awarded the 2022 Outstanding Equine Sanctuary Award by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. Gentle Giants is proud to be leading the charge to end horse slaughter for human consumption.

Christine Hajek

Wild to Welcome: Wild Horse Adoption and Outreach Programs

AMELIA PERRIN, Sr. Communications Manager at American Wild Horse Conservation

Amelia Perrin is the Senior Communications Manager for American Wild Horse Conservation (AWHC), where she combines her passion for horses with her commitment to advocacy. Amelia believes deeply in the power of storytelling. She led the AWHC’s investigation into the Bureau of Land Management’s Adoption Incentive Program. Her efforts brought significant congressional and media attention to the issue, resulting in a front-page New York Times exposé. 

She is currently pursuing a degree in journalism with a minor in creative writing at the University of Oregon and is a proud dog mom to her rescue pup, Mac. 

Christine Hajek

KELLY STACKPOLE, Founder and Executive Director of Rising Starr Horse Rescue

Kelly has been teaching riders and training horses for over thirty-five years professionally. After teaching and training at a national level for many years, Kelly has chosen to teach and train non-competitively for students and horse owners who want to be 100% involved in responsible horse ownership and form a great relationship with horses.

Kelly started Rising Starr Horse Rescue as a way to give back to the animals she loves so much and to give the community an outlet for their love of horses.

Christine Hajek

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