CHR’s accomplished Staff and Board of Directors bring a variety of skills and specialties to the table. With sound financial practices in place, we seek to promote CHR’s mission and to provide outstanding care to our horses.
Katherine Gregory – Executive Director
Katherine Gregory joined CHR as Executive Director in May 2018. She has a life-long love of horses, starting with her childhood buckskin Quarter Horse, Dillon. She deeply appreciates the connection that can be built between humans and horses and has loved sharing this enjoyment as a volunteer at the Loveland-based Hearts and Horses therapeutic riding center.
Katherine has spent more than a quarter century helping companies of all sizes grow, both in terms of profit and impact. After earning her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Katherine worked in fortune 100 companies, built start-from-scratch companies, and mentored teams every step of the way. She has helped businesses of all sizes, non-profits, as well as eager young collegiate entrepreneurs. Katherine serves on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Horse Council, linking horse owners and the horse industry into a powerful, united voice to protect common equine interests through legislation and education. She is also proud to serve as an Executive Committee Board Member for Score A Friend, a non-profit advancing inclusion in the world for youth of all abilities and as the Entrepreneur In Residence for the Global Social Sustainable Enterprise MBA program at Colorado State University.
Katherine is the single mom of her joyful young daughter and their silly pup Stella. Her daughter has inherited Katherine’s love of horses, and they both adopted a Tennessee Walker named Prince Caspian from CHR.
Shawna English – Director of Development
Shawna’s relationship with Colorado Horse Rescue began as a volunteer in 2008. Her love of this organization inspired her long-term volunteer service and eventually led to acceptance of a staff position in 2013. In 2015, she adopted a 9-year-old Quarter Horse mare from CHR. Through the CHR training program, Lil Bit received her introduction to life under saddle and as a result found her forever home with Shawna.
Before entering the non-profit sector, Shawna spent 20 years in the corporate world. She held a multi-site manager role a for a publicly traded, “Fortune 100 company”. Shawna supervised 15 or more administrators and over 150 employees at seven different locations. She developed and managed programs for large clients such as USAA, IBM, Motorola, Citibank, and the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Shawna holds a Bachelors of Science in Consumer Services from Carson-Newman College, Tennessee, as well as a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley. Having grown up an “Army Brat”, Shawna lived all over the United States, abroad, and continued to relocate for her career to include the United Kingdom. She is married to her wonderful husband, Jeff, who also spent his childhood as a military child.
Shawna’s passion for leading, building, and retaining strong teams engaged in a positive and energetic culture launched CHR’s LeadChange Program. Along with leading LeadChange, Shawna finds her greatest joy in implementing excellent equine care and compelling individuals to take action and invest in CHR’s quality and ethically-driven operation.
Rachel Corbman – Operations Manager
Growing up a Colorado local, Rachel entered the horse world at the age of seven. She took lessons and rode in numerous disciplines, and found a love for dressage early on. She owned and cared for her horse, Cavalier, for over 17 years (he reached a ripe old age). Rachel went to Colorado State University and completed their Equine Sciences program, with a minor in Business Administration. She also completed all of CSU’s pre-veterinary requirements, and graduated Cum Laude.
In the professional world, Rachel worked as the Assistant General Manager for a small business in Boulder for seven years. She was responsible for managing a staff of forty people, customer relations, scheduling and hosting corporate events, and assisting with the financial workload. Rachel began volunteering with CHR in 2006. She took a leave of absence from the rescue to work as an equine nurse at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Kentucky, and upon returning to Colorado she was hired part-time at CHR as a barn manager.
At CHR, Rachel’s position quickly blossomed into a full-time job that included a good deal of administrative and veterinary work. Rachel has been responsible for bookkeeping and budgeting, website development, marketing, volunteer coordination, and barn management. Most recently, her responsibilities have grown to include equine intakes and operations management. She is extremely passionate around animal welfare and CHR’s mission, and she is excited to see the organization succeed.
Sharon Gilbert – Adoption Manager
Sharon brings a 15 year history in the non-profit sector with her to CHR along with experience in corporate settings, the custom home building industry, landscape design, database management, fundraising, and special event coordination. A lifetime love of horses has driven her career path so that she is an Advanced Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor, she has competed in Dressage, and is also a judges’ scribe for dressage. Her wonderful dressage schoolmaster, Manassis, gave her a true leg up in her equestrian knowledge during the nine years they were together.
She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration and puts her work history and that degree to good use in a variety of support functions at CHR. Her initial volunteer position quickly blossomed into a full-time employment position covering merchandising, special event coordination, and bookkeeping. She is truly honored to be part of such a remarkable organization that is working to educate the general public and horse owners as well in the responsibilities of horse ownership.
Sharon lives in Lafayette with her husband, Lynn, and their Welsh Corgi, Gypsy.
Sarah Hofkamp – Manager of Equine Training & Head Clinician
As a child, Sarah always had a love for horses as any young trainer should. Coming from a non-horse family, she worked at a barn and learned by watching the other kids taking lessons with their trainers. On her own, as she trial and error-ed her way through bucking broncos and runaway horses, little by little her horsemanship skills began to form. It was after she successfully trained a once “untrainable” Percheron cross gelding named Sam that she was determined to find a way to make working with horses her full-time career.
At first, becoming a horse trainer was not so much a conscious decision as it was the path that was naturally followed. To pay for college Sarah worked at several barns cleaning stalls and exercising horses. An internship led her to working on a large breeding farm that housed over 20 stallions. This particular farm housed its entire herd of stallions together in a single open field. Stallions living harmoniously together, it was a revelation. Her love and advocacy for stallion treatment, management, and training began there. During this time, Sarah became more aware of and passionate about the unwanted horse issues within the equine industry. Over the next 10 years, Sarah dedicated her life to understanding how horses think and communicate. Time and again Sarah found herself attracted to the “tough cases” and the misunderstood horses. Sarah perfected her skills as both a horse handler and trainer as she worked with unstarted clean slates as well as the misfit and outcast horses. She eventually received a more formal education as she studied under natural horsemanship trainer Cathy Goscha, trained by the legendary Buck Brannaman.
In the fall of 2013, Sarah joined the CHR team and truly began to see the diversity that exists among equine personalities and behavior. Today, Sarah strives to think outside the box and believes that there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach to communicating with horses. She is currently following the teachings of local Mustang trainers Jessica Dabkowski and Madison Shambaugh to perfect a training method that is kind, consistent, and easy to translate both to the horse and to human students alike. At CHR Sarah hopes to change the way the world views not just horses, but those deemed valueless and horses in transition.
“The only difference between a rescue horse and any other horse is a set of circumstances.”
Susan Chandler – Equine Trainer
Practically born in the saddle, Susan’s fascination with horses bloomed at the very young age of two when she met her first horse Sue. From that moment, she spent countless hours of her childhood at the barn learning how to ride, care for, and love her mare. Through her local 4-H program, Susan also gained an interest in showing horses in Western Pleasure that drove her into a desire to learn how to train professionally. Very quickly, this desire pushed her into the direction of Cathy Gosha, a local natural horsemanship trainer. Training horses under Cathy, Susan learned to challenge traditional horsemanship methods and was given the tools to provide foundation training to horses in a kind and considerate manner. Alongside her then-coworker, Sarah Hofkamp, Susan gained a great understanding of how to be a successful horse trainer.
Today, Susan is enjoying her time at CHR as a full-time horse trainer and putting everything she has learned to use for a good cause. She loves the challenge of testing her training knowledge with the wide variety of horses that come into the rescue. Even with all that she has learned so far, Susan strives to continue her training education in order to learn how to make the process of working with each horse as fair as possible.
Alexandra Hansen – Development Associate
Alex Hansen is a Midwest transplant who joined Colorado Horse Rescue in June of 2019. After enjoying city life and gaining non-profit development experience on Chicago’s West Side, Alex knew she wanted to transition her career to Colorado and fell in love with the spirit of the CHR community. Alex is excited to recharge her love for horses and finds so much joy in growing a group of dedicated people who understand the value and impact horses have in our world.
Graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Social Work as a multicultural scholar, Alex is drawn to advocating for causes bigger than herself and to connecting diverse people seeking positive change. As CHR’s Development Associate, Alex brings this energy into growing the organization’s fundraising and donor stewardship goals.
Alex looks forward to growing her equine knowledge on a team of dedicated animal welfare advocates. Besides spending time with CHR’s herd, Alex loves to take her notebook, camera, and a good book to places she’s never been before, and feels especially happy when at a concert, hiking, cooking, practicing her Spanish, or planning her next weekend trip.
Grace Degnan – Marketing Associate
Grace Degnan joined Colorado Horse Rescue in July of 2019. Grace grew up in Marin County, CA where she participated in 4H with her horse, Bandit, and competed in a multitude of disciplines. While she and her horse used to ride competitively, their favorite activity these days is trail riding. Grace’s passion for horses and all animals stemmed from her childhood, and has continued to blossom into her adult life and career. Grace graduated from Colorado State University in May of 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Equine Science and a minor in Business Administration.
At CHR, Grace holds the position of Marketing Associate. While studying at CSU, she completed internships in veterinary assistance and non-profit event management, and volunteered in therapeutic riding and small animal rescue. Always an advocate for animals in need, Grace’s greatest passion is lending a voice and helping hand to those among us who lack the ability to advocate for themselves.
Brittany Stessensen – Community Engagement Associate
Growing up under the watchful eye of her grandfather’s herd of Percherons, Brittany found her love for horses at a young age. Riding western during the Minnesota summers and English indoors during the winters, she’s always been eager to build her knowledge of all-things horses. Her interest in behavior and training led her to a Master’s Degree in Behavioral Psychology from Minnesota State University and eventually a career path into the field of human resources.
With experience working in startups, nonprofits, and larger corporations, she brings with her a positive, dedicated, and outgoing approach that focuses on a fun and healthy workplace. Brittany’s love for horses led her to volunteering at this amazing organization and now has been given the opportunity to use her skills to help further CHR’s mission.
Board of Directors
Dan Burak – President
Horses have always been a part of Dan’s life, whether growing up with them in Minnesota riding bareback, or working as a wrangler in Rocky Mountain National Park after college. The more he learned about the plight of the larger equine population – whether in the wild or in your backyard, he wanted to engage with an organization in which he could make an impact. CHR, with its dedicated staff, strong facility, and a vision to the broader challenge that horses face, was a great place to jump in.
Dan attended Dartmouth College, and immediately after graduating headed from New Hampshire to Colorado. He worked as a wrangler, leading rides in Rocky Mountain National Park. Today, he lives in Boulder. As often as he can, he gets to the mountains with his family and four horses, channeling those earlier, wrangling days.
Dan joined SRG in 2008, where he is a managing director and partner. Dan leads consulting engagements with clients including growth strategies, brand positioning, innovation, design, and communication challenges. He also drives business development for the firm. He hopes to blend his experience in brand strategy and consulting with his passion for horses and animal welfare to help further CHR’s cause and reach.
Julie Oelman – Secretary
Julie Oelman joined the board of directors in early 2016. She has a life-long love of animals and is an avid horsewoman. Julie shares her home with her partner, Steve, 2 cats, 4 dogs, and 4 horses. Julie grew up as a competitive hunter/jumper rider in the Midwest. She continues to ride English, but life in Colorado has exposed her to the world of trail riding and amazing clinicians and trainers from the Western tradition of riding. Julie has been lucky enough to learn from clinicians from George Morris to Buck Branaman.
Julie was one of the founders of Summit Dog Rescue, a foster-based, all-breed dog rescue in Boulder. When it came time to look for a change, horse rescue was an obvious fit. Besides the obvious connections of horses and rescue, she shares CHR’s commitment to equine training. Julie became a dog trainer as a result of her dog rescue experience and believes that training can make all the difference in whether an animal and its human have a successful relationship, or whether that animals ends up at risk of needing rescue.
Professionally, Julie is the owner and principal of Terra Firma Law, a real estate and corporate legal practice focusing on the renewable energy sector. Julie is happy to talk about CHR, animals, and/or rescue with anyone who is interested.
Jim Czepiel – Member
Jim is the Executive Director of JRF Ortho, a non-profit company in Centennial, CO that specializes in providing innovative allograft solutions for joint repair to orthopedic surgeons. Prior to JRF, Jim worked for AlloSource in Strategic Development after spending 25 years in the Chemicals and Renewable Energy businesses in Houston. He became acquainted with Colorado Horse Rescue through their Lead Change program, a unique team building experience run by the staff at CHR. He loves to work in small, innovative companies with a great mission and a creative team.
Outside of work, Jim has been a lifelong dog lover and has two rescue Bichon Frises, Tanner and JT. He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Maureen, for almost 38 years and has two daughters.
Angi Primavera – Member
Angi began working with horses at a young age, and cared for a large stable of horses in college and grad school at Virginia Tech. After many years away from the equine world, Angi was introduced to CHR through a corporate volunteer event in June of 2016. She took part in the promotional video for Lead Change and was impressed by CHR’s ability to combine a passion for horses with corporate organizational development practices. Angi became a barn volunteer that summer and transitioned to office support in early 2017. After working on the grant database, she recognized an opportunity to offer up her project management and technological skills to impact the organization on a deeper level.
Angi first moved to Colorado in 2003 to take a job as a mentor teacher at Boulder Journey School. In 2012, she began working for Google, coaching teams on adult learning, project management and organizational development. Currently, she is a program manager for healthcare delivery on the US Benefits team in the Boulder office. She recently moved to Longmont with her rescue dog, Dakota, just minutes from CHR.
Angi is eager to leverage her experience in organizational development and scaling operations to support the CHR team in accomplishing their mission.
Molly Vaughan – Member
Molly is the Chief Financial Officer for a group of closely held businesses in Avon, Denver, and Scottsdale, where she is responsible for company finances, information technology, facilities, business operations and the accounting, financial planning and analysis reporting functions. Molly has over 15 years of progressive experiences in the accounting and finance profession, where she has been presented with unique roles for companies in start-up and turnaround environments in both the for profit and non-profit business sectors. Throughout her career, Molly has been a key contributor in the development of strategic finance functions within dynamic and growing business environments. Outside of work, Molly stays busy spending time with her horse in Evergreen, Colorado. Molly holds a BS in finance and MS in Accounting.