BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Meet Our Board

Julie Puentes,
Executive Director

Julie received her Master of Science Degree in Organizational Leadership & Ethics from St. Edward’s University and her BA in Psychology from the University of Texas.

Julie is a lifelong horse person and rider with 10 years’ experience facilitating Equine-Assisted Learning programs. She is a trained facilitator in the Epona Method, completing a comprehensive 14-month program at Leadership Outfitters in Bozeman, Montana.

Theresa Pugh, MD
Board Chair

Theresa’s love for horses started at an early age in Virginia, where she grew up riding hunters, jumpers and dressage horses. When she’s not at the barn pampering her horse, Hazel, she can be found at Central Family Practice where she practices family and functional medicine. Theresa was a member of the first graduating class in the Facilitator Training Program in Equine Assisted Learning where she was trained to become a HorseLink facilitator.

 

Caitlin Haney Johnston,
Vice Chair

Caitlin is an attorney at The Haney Law Firm, where her practice focuses on civil litigation, probate litigation, and estate planning. She works with her clients to find the best, most effective outcomes to problems facing individuals, businesses, and families. As a cancer survivor and longtime equine enthusiastic, Caitlin strongly believes in the programming provided by Horselink.

Jessica Marina,
Secretary

Jessica is a professional equestrian (rider, trainer, competitor), focusing on hunters, jumpers, equitation with a foundation in dressage. Her program emphasizes natural horsemanship and connection between horse and rider. She has a special gift for starting and gentling top show horses, and also (what many might call) “difficult” or “problem” horses that many trainers will overlook.

Jessica brings significant nonprofit management and business development experience to HorseLink. With nearly a decade of experience at international NGO Oxfam, as lead for Corporate and Strategic Partnerships, Jessica has garnered millions of dollars in support of Oxfam’s humanitarian and long-term development programs worldwide. She is eager to help secure significant and long-term funding for HorseLink’s programs and increase the number of beneficiaries (equine and human) served.

Jessica earned a degree in Classical Languages from Hamilton College and is a Posse Foundation Scholar.

Kate Thompson,
Treasurer

Kate is a native Austinite, a graduate of the The University of Texas at Austin and co-owner of Thompson Farms. While Kate is not an equestrian, she has a love for all animals and understands the important role that Horselink plays in helping horses and people. Kate also serves on the board of the Pease Park Conservancy.

Shannon Taylor Parks,
Director

Shannon Taylor Parks is an Austin-based marketer, educator, and entrepreneur with expertise in strategic planning, outreach, and small business growth and management.  Shannon has been involved with horses for much of her life and is interested in increasing public awareness of the unique therapeutic benefits of working with horses.  Early in life she became inspired by the powerful breakthroughs that horses and humans can experience together; that’s what drives her to advocate so passionately for HorseLink’s vital work.
 
Shannon attended Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and Virginia Tech, earning a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Physics.  She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, Brian, and two children.

Michael Kryzak,
Director

Michael is a graduate of St. Andrews University of North Carolina and holds a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction.  A former elementary school teacher, he currently serves as an Instructional Facilitator in Dripping Springs ISD.  Being a lifelong equestrian, former PATH registered instructor, and cancer survivor has shown Michael the incredible impact that horses can have on people.  
Michael is a three year resident of the Austin area.  He is looking forward to serving on the HorseLink Board of Directors to help continue the vision of the organization and grow the impact being made on people and horses alike.

Jill Kerr,
Director

Jill is an innovative leader, highly recognized for her strengths in strategic thinking, cross-functional communication, team development and operational excellence. She has led company growth and expansion for local and global fashion retail brands. She is a new entrepreneur, currently building a Social Wellness Club, and is passionate about community outreach, social connection and personal growth.
Jill is inspired by the innate good in both people and animals. She has intimately witnessed the profound impact of trauma in the lives of many loved ones and is passionate about opportunities for healing. Jill has always had a deep love and appreciation for animals, and grew up attending horse camps and programs in AZ. She is an advocate for both animal and human well-being based organizations and missions.
Jill started with HorseLink as a Volunteer in 2015 and has witnessed first hand the incredible work and the lasting impact the organization has humans, horses and the community. She is thrilled to join the board and support the HorseLink mission.

“I feel very fortunate to have found HorseLink which has given Padi a new career working with people. HorseLink understands that retired show horses have been exposed to so much and have a trustful and giving nature and helping people is what they loved to do. So glad that Padi can be a part of the work HorseLink does with veterans and with those dealing with trauma through illness or loss. This work is so very important in helping people heal and move forward with their lives.”
–Judi, Previous Owner