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About Us

Our Inspiration

Several years ago, Co-Founder Wendy Mattes, then a horseback riding instructor, borrowed a miniature horse and along with other friends from the barn, trailered it to the suburban house of one of her students, a young girl who was suffering from a brain tumor. Deeply moved by the impact this visit had on the child, Wendy felt called to try to bring the same incredible experience to other children in need. So what started with one woman, one girl and one little horse -- has blossomed into a thriving organization serving over a thousand children each year who interact with a farmyard of gentle animals. Children facing life threatening illnesses, or those dealing with stressful family situations such as homelessness or domestic violence, or those living with special needs, can find comfort, healing and joy in the company of a cuddly bunny, a gentle horse or a playful goat. We’ve grown considerably, but still count our successes, friends and special moments one at a time.

Board of Directors

Todd Hinders, Chairman of the Board
John Mattes, Secretary
Wendy Mattes, Founder & Executive Director
Kim Griffin
Elizabeth (Betsy) Haehl
Glenn Nielsen
Russ Peterson, DVM
Cathy Minshall, Chief Financial Officer
Carol Malnick
Amy Wright, Vice President, Development
Mark Webster

Todd Hinders, Chairman of the Board, has been at the forefront of content distribution and monetization technologies for the Service Provider and Media segments for 20 years. He was the fifth employee of Loudeye Corp (originally, a company he ultimately took public as SVP of Sales in 2000. Hinders left Loudeye to take on the challenge of chasing down National Geographic’s 1st digital-media licensing deals, where he secured distribution deals with dozens including Google, AOL, EA, MSFT, Apple and others. From there he went to be the first sales/BD person for Maven Networks, which sold for 180M to Yahoo in 2005; joined ExtendMedia as SVP sales, which sold to Cisco Systems in 2010 and now holds position of Sr Director of video software and encoding product sales for the Media and Service Provider market segment for Cisco, worldwide. Todd earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioral Psychology from the University of the Pacific; is an accomplished Triathlete with 3 Ironman finishes. Todd and his wife and daughter have been volunteers at Jasper Ridge Farm for 5 years.

John Mattes, Secretary was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He graduated from Menlo-Atherton High School in 1968. John joined the United States Marine Corps and served one tour of duty in Vietnam. For the last 38 years John has been involved in law enforcement. John's law enforcement career has spanned being a Reserve Police Officer to a Deputy Sheriff with San Mateo County. While a Deputy, John was a K-9 Deputy for 10 years. Medically retired he opened his own "pre-Starbucks" coffee, latte, mocha store where he also sold customized coffee mugs. After 2 years John missed law enforcement and put himself through the 9-1-1 Dispatch Academy. John has been involved with 9-1-1 Communications and police records for the last 16 years. He is currently the Communications/Records Supervisor for the Atherton Police Department. John holds a B.S. in Public Administration. John lives in Los Altos with his wife of 28 years, 2 sons, 2 cats and a dog.

Wendy Mattes, Founder & Executive Director.  Wendy earned her BS degree in Animal Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She has her Assistant Instructor's Certificate from the British Horse Society, and earned her Bronze and Silver Medals from the United States Dressage Federation. After graduating from Cal Poly, Wendy worked as Barn Foreman/Assistant Trainer in the Thoroughbred racing industry. She then managed the Training Program for 60 young horses on a farm in Virginia, before moving back to California. Here she founded her own Executive Search consulting firm for the high technology industry, and was in this role for 21 years. After being diagnosed with MS in 1998, Wendy wanted a lifestyle change, and her natural love for children and passion for horses drew her to take a job as Riding Instructor and Trainer at Webb Ranch in Portola Valley. Wendy has served on the Executive Board of the California Dressage Society (CDS), and also served several terms on the San Francisco Peninsula (SFP) Chapter of CDS, in various capacities, including Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Horse Show Committee Chair. She also founded the SFP Chapter Junior/Young Rider Committee, and organized fund-raising activities and educational opportunities for the juniors riders in the Bay Area. Wendy was named a 2015 Woman of Influence by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Wendy and her husband of 31 years share their home with two cats, two horses and a large dog. Two of her three sons serve proudly in the U.S. Air Force.

Kim Griffin is the Vice President & Corporate Counsel at 24 Hour Fitness, a position she has held for 12 years. Kim attended University of California, Berkeley and earned her JD from the University of San Francisco.

Elizabeth (Betsy) Haehl has a Master's in Special Education and an MBA. She has spent most of her work and volunteer life serving children with special needs and their families. She was the Assistant to the Director of a Home-Based Special Needs Program in Cambridge MA, which worked with kids from 2 to 4 years of age in an early intervention program. She was also a Learning Disabilities Specialist in the Belmont MA school district, and a Resource Specialist in both the Salt Lake City and the Menlo Park School Districts. She also served as a diagnostic consultant to the MP School District and was a private needs assessment consultant. After receiving her MBA, she worked at Hewlett Packard as a Product Trainer and a Field Sales Support Rep for the Midwest and Eastern Sales Regions of her division. She also wrote a product training model that her division used and managed a Volume-End User program. More recently, Betsy was a trustee, vice chair, and head of the Committee on Trustees at Woodside Priory School. She has also volunteered and taught special ed kids at the Boys and Girls Club's Extended Day Programs in EPA and Redwood City. Further, she has served on capital campaigns for Ronald McDonald House, Shelter Network of San Mateo County, Las Lomitas School Foundation, and the Priory. She is on the auxiliary boards for Children's Health Council and Kara. As donors, Betsy and her husband, John, have supported the Lucile Packard Palliative Care Program, the Ronald McDonald House, the Priory, Kara, the Boy's and Girl's Club of the Peninsula's extended day and summer programs, the Children's Health Council and are founding donors of Sand Hill School at the Children's Health Council.

Glenn Nielsen Glenn was born and raised in South San Mateo County.  He is a graduate of Sequoia High School and Menlo College.   Glenn spent 34 years with the Atherton Police Department where he started his career as a police cadet and retired from service as the Chief of Police.  He has been a board member of a number of charitable organizations, including the Atherton Police Activities League, the Redwood City Police Activities League and the San Mateo County Chaplaincy.  He serves on the Board of Directors and Development Committee of Jasper Ridge Farm.
Glenn is currently employed by the Sequoia Health Care District where he places life-saving defibrillators in South San Mateo County.  He resides in San Carlos and is an avid tennis player.

Russ Peterson, DVM went to Claremont for undergraduate work, Michigan State for graduate work getting an MS in Nutrition and finally to UC Davis where horses and vet medicine became his focus. When Russ began practicing in 1978, he knew he wanted to have his own practice. He started Peninsula Equine in the early 80's and realized that the area needed a 24-hr. emergency clinic that also offered "state of the art" diagnostics. At the time, very few practitioners had anything more than a portable x-ray unit and the closest surgery center was UC Davis...a 2.5 hr drive! It took quite a few years to find a location, sift through the red-tape and navigate the permitting processes, but his dream finally came true and in 1992 the Clinic opened its doors for business. “I guess I'd have to say that one of the best things about my job is having a "state of the art" facility to practice in. Keeping our facility technologically current has always been important to me so we can offer our clients the best diagnostic tools available”. The other part of what Russ really enjoys is the client interactions and feels very lucky to have such an enthusiastic & knowledgeable client base to work with and knowing that some of our clients have been using our practice for over 20 years is amazing! Now, on a more personal note, when Russ does have spare time he really enjoys racing cars! He’s had several successful seasons and must add that Bayer Animal Health has been a long-time sponsor of STAR Performance Team. Russ found that his passion for keeping the horses running during the week is balanced by his passion for keeping his car running on the weekends - both require he stay sharp, stay technologically on top of his game and never forget that in order to do either well, he has to have his heart in it at all times!

Cathy Minshall, Chief Financial Officer. Cathy is the Chief Financial Officer of Emergence Capital Partners and is a 15 year veteran of the venture capital industry. In addition to managing all financial functions at Emergence, Cathy works closely with the partners to support Emergence’s portfolio companies. Prior to joining Emergence, Cathy spent over 5 years as the CFO of De Novo Ventures, an early stage healthcare focused fund. Previously, she was the Controller for Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers and the Mayfield Fund. She also has prior financial management experience with Ancora Capital, MGM and Westwood One. She began her career with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Los Angeles. Cathy holds a BS in Accounting from the University of the Pacific, is a Certified Public Accountant, serves of the Board of the West Coast Chapter of the Private Eqity CFO Association (PECFOA) and is an active member of the National Venture Capital Association’s CFO Task Force. Outside of work Cathy is married and active in animal rescue. She currently has 5 dogs and even more cats. She is an avid runner and has run a marathon in each of the 50 states.

Carol Malnick As Managing Director, Boston Common Asset Management, Carol provides portfolio management services to high net worth and institutional clients and established Boston Common’s presence on the West Coast. With over 30 years of experience, Carol has worked with Foundations, Endowments, and non-profit organizations, incorporating sustainable/impact criteria in their overall investment strategies. Carol received her BA from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is a member of the Women's Donor Network. Carol has been a long-time donor and volunteer of Jasper Ridge Farm.

Amy Wright joined the LifeMoves development team in 2004, where she took on many development roles and established the Leadership Gifts program to increase revenue from private individuals. As Vice President of Development, she oversees all private and public fundraising activities to support InnVision Shelter Network’s $16M annual budget. Prior to joining the nonprofit, Amy worked in the private sector for more than 15 years in strategic marketing and investor relations in international telecommunications, internet communications, and software development companies based in Silicon Valley. Amy enjoys being engaged in her community and volunteers for Jasper Ridge Farm and other local nonprofit organizations. She holds a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of San Diego.

Mark Webster has been in software sales for over 20 years, specializing in enterprise software, SaaS, IT infrastructure and application monitoring. Mark is proven sales leader who has been responsible for hiring, training, and mentoring several sales teams. He has won numerous outstanding performance awards and is passionate about making the teams and customers he works with successful. Currently an Account Executive at LogicMonitor, he has held Sr. Director level positions at Capriza, Lucidworks, Engine Yard Technologies, CA Technologies and Nimsoft. Mark holds a BA in Economics from University of California San Diego. He lives in Redwood City with his wife Carolina, their 3 children Caden, Ella, and Brady, and their ever-growing list of pets. Mark coaches AYSO soccer and volunteers at his kids’ school. During his free time he enjoys cycling and golfing. Mark’s son Caden, has been a volunteer at Jasper Ridge for the past year, and was recently recognized as an Outstanding Youth Volunteer.

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