Staff and Board
Kerul Kassel, President and Executive Director
Dr. Kerul Kassel has almost two decades of leadership coaching and transformative facilitation experience, with multiple coaching credentials. She has been quoted in TIME magazine, Real Simple, the Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere. Dr. Kassel received a PhD in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University, where she was recruited to help develop and teach in the Sustainability Leadership certificate program within the Organizational Development and Leadership Masters program. She’s the author of The Thinking Executive’s Guide to Sustainability (Business Expert Press, 2014) and other books, and the lead editor of Developing a Sustainability Mindset in Management Education (Routledge, 2018). Kerul is also an elected official on the Harmony Community Development District Board of Supervisors and leads a number of community initiatives. Her horses are her leadership gurus, always teaching her leadership and life lessons that she shares with her playshop participants.
Shanel Olson, Horse Care Professional
Shanel has always had a love for animals and nature, with horses giving her the greatest peace and happiness. She has been involved with horses and riding since childhood. Her love is being one-on-one with animals and seeing all the beauty the world has to offer. Aside from owner her own horses (and dogs and chickens!), she has served as a riding instructor at local equestrian facilities, boards horses at her own homestead, and owns and manages cattle...including a breeding bull!
Haley Thomas, Horse Care Professional
Haley has been working with horses for nine years, starting with volunteering at Heavenly Hooves, a therapeutic riding facility. Her passion for horses has her working summer camps and the winter carriage rides at the University of Central Florida. She trained alongside a local veterinarian, and was honored to work at rodeos with disabled veterans. She was then hired at Lazy H Ranch doing horse care, trail rides and drill team. There she was given her first horse, Angel. Her next journey was with Hideaway Acres as barn manager. First Nature Foundation is her new chapter, doing horse care and more.
Board of Directors
Argerie Vasilakes, Board Member and Collaborator
Argerie Vasilakes has more than twenty years of experience as a business leader designing prosperous organizations. As an independent consultant, she works in cross-sector settings to turn industry, social and public health disruptions into sources of innovation and well-being. She co-authored Transforming Ourselves to Transform our Organizations (OD Practitioner, 2017) and writes about her partnerships within communities that learn to become resilient living systems. She holds Masters degrees in Adult Education from Cleveland State University and Positive Organization Development from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management.
Eva Horner, Board Member
Eva has been a child and family advocate for 30 years serving in a variety of arenas which includes school-based substance abuse prevention, child welfare, juvenile justice, and substance abuse and mental health policy. Eva is experienced in developing staff, families and systems through a lens that is trauma informed and is passionate about motivating others to be intentional and effective in helping children and families. Her expertise and passion for this work is channeled through three companies Horner Consulting Services, Child Welfare Solutions and YIN Wellness. She completed her undergraduate work at Florida State University in Family, Child and Consumer Sciences and graduate work in Community Mental Health Counseling at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. In 2012, Eva obtained her RYT-200 in yoga instruction and is currently working towards her 500 hour certification.
Eva and her husband Mat have three active children and have a rich family life.
Katrina Rogers, Board Member
Dr. Katrina Rogers is the President of Fielding Graduate University, a position she has held since 2013. She began her time at Fielding in 2005 first as the Associate Dean for Fielding and Director of the Institute for Social Innovation and in 2011 moved into the role of Provost and Senior Vice President. From 1988 – 1990 she was a Fulbright Scholar in History. She is also a recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation scholarship, a post-doctoral fellowship, where she taught global environmental politics at the University of Konstanz, Germany. Rogers is an advocate for environmental and social justice issues. She has served on a number of committees and worked with international organizations such as the Red Cross, the World Trade Organization and the European Union. She led conservation projects in rural communities, lobbied Congress for stronger environmental legislation, and raised more than $20 million in grants and donations for conservation efforts throughout the country.
Patty Foley, Board Member
Patty Foley, CPA, owns a CPA firm developed to assist the small business and its owner/family. Her firm focuses on financial consulting and tax compliance as they are crucial to the small business owner. Patty has extensive experience with non-profit and community boards, was president and is now trustee of a fifteen member volunteer board to raise awareness and funds to support the Lucy Robbins Welles Library, served with Friends of Connecticut Libraries, was president of the New England Lace Group and is Membership Chairperson and Public Relations Director of Newington Community Television. In 2008 she was awarded the Outstanding Friend of the year by Friends of Connecticut Libraries, and in she was honored as a Distinguished Alumna and inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame at Housatonic Community College.