HOOF KY BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Valerie Blackwell, President
As a military dependent, Valerie lived in several foreign countries as a child and attended high school in Orlando, Florida. She received her Bachelors of Science degree from Brigham Young University and her Master’s in Education from the University of Louisville. She has been employed for the past 27 years at the Georgia Chaffee Teenage Parent Program as an individual and group therapist, adoption counselor, and Champion for Children advocate. Valerie has served her community in several capacities including Habitat for Humanity, Director of Public Affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Kentucky Indiana area for 13 years and President of the Young Women’s Organization for her church. She has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Center for Interfaith Relations chairing several community events, and in 2007 served as the Chair for the nationally acclaimed Festival of Faiths. She is a member of the American Saddlebred Horse Association and is a competitive rider and driver.
DeAnna Brangers has been in love with horses since her childhood, growing up on a farm in Campbellsville, Kentucky. DeAnna graduated from Campbellsville University with a degree in Political Science. She has worked professionally as an executive recruiter, small businessperson and consultant. She has spent the last eleven years in her most prized role as a stay at home mom. DeAnna was appointed by Governor Ernie Fletcher and reappointed by Governor Steve Beshear to serve on the Kentucky State Advisory Panel for Exceptional Children. She is currently the Chairman of the panel. Additionally, she has served on several committees for the Kentucky Department of Education on issues concerning children with special needs. DeAnna serves on the Kosair Children’s Hospital American Girl Fashion Show Committee, helps the 4-H Club at the Louisville Equestrian Center and is involved with many other activities. She is thrilled that her youngest daughters have inherited her love of horses and is looking forward to watching other young people have the opportunity to discover the world of horses.
Karen Davidenkoff, Secretary
Karen grew up in Bloomington, Indiana. Her love of horses began at a very young age when her grandfather would pile her and her cousins on the bare back of an old grey sway-backed mare named Dixie and lead the trio around the yard. She always dreamed of showing horses competitively, and Betsy Webb has helped her achieve that goal. She competes in the western division with her Saddlebred horse.
Karen is a graduate of Indiana University with degrees in Education and a Masters in Business Administration from Bellarmine University. She has taught elementary school in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. After retiring from Jefferson County Public Schools, she worked part-time as an intervention teacher. Currently she tutors out of her home using the Barton Reading & Spelling System.
A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Mary is a graduate of the University of Louisville with a degree in Management. She is a Human Resource Analyst with Humana, Inc. She has always had a passion for horses. Mary has been riding since childhood and has been riding Saddlebred horses for ten years. She believes everyone should have the chance to enjoy these magnificent creatures as they offer many opportunities.
Shelly Matheis has spent the last 15 years learning everything there is to know about the tax and accounting industry—from small and large public accounting firms and large multinational corporations. She is currently applying this knowledge in her role in a small public accounting firm as a Certified Public Accountant for Chesser & Company, CPA’s in Middletown. She is responsible for individual and corporate tax return preparation, financial statement preparation, research of all tax matters, tax software administration, heavy client interaction, and collaborating with other CPAs to align our firm processes and strategy.
Suzanne Meeks moved to Louisville in 1987 to join the University of Louisville faculty in the Department of Psychological and Brian Sciences; she is currently Professor and Chair of that Department. She received her Ph. D. in clinical psychology from the Catholic University of America and her B.A. in psychology from Yale University. Since coming to the University of Louisville, she has received and managed several large research grants from the National Institute of Mental Health to carry out her research on mental health and aging. She has also maintained a small consulting practice with community nursing homes since 1988. She has served as the President of the Society of Clinical Geropsychology, the Treasurer of the Kentucky Psychological Association, and on the executive committee of the Behavioral and Social Sciences Section of the Gerontological Society of America. She is currently the Treasurer and member of the Executive Board of the Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology. She has also served as the President of the Board of Trustees of First Unitarian church in Louisville and is currently on the Personnel Committee there. Suzanne started riding lessons in 1989, has had 26 years of joy as a rider, exhibiter, and horse owner. She especially appreciates the meaning and discipline riding has given her daughter, who has been riding since the age of 4 (now 21).
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Anna began riding at age seven. She grew up riding and showing American Saddlebreds under the direction of Jo Cornell, Debbie Wathen, Helen Crabtree, Maureen (Lydon) Campbell and Infinity Stables. She graduated from William Woods University in 2004 with a Degree in Equestrian Science. It was the first four year Equine Science program in the country and Anna was the first recipient of the Vonderschmitt Scholarship. After graduation she worked for Mercer Springs Farm/Smith Lilly, Mike Felty Stables, Jo Cornell Stables and Showtime Saddlebreds Riding Academy. She is currently teaching at The Louisville Equestrian Center, owned by Betsy Webb.
Lindsay Sowell, Treasurer
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Lindsay began riding horses at the age of four and competing at the age of five. Lindsay’s grandparents owned Thoroughbred racehorses and her mother owned and operated an American Saddlebred training and lesson facility in Tulsa. Having shown American Saddlebreds all over the country, she has won four World Championships in Louisville and five championships in the Western Division at the St. Louis National Charity Horse Show. Lindsay received a BA in Psychology and Master’s Degree in Education (Counseling) at the University of Oklahoma. She worked with emotionally disturbed children at a psychiatric facility in Oklahoma City and later worked as a counselor with underprivileged children at the Division of Youth Services outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. Currently she is a member of the ASHA, UPHA and a competitive rider in the Western Division.
Jordan has been around horses his entire life. As a member of the 4H club growing up, Jordan has always wanted to give back and share with others the great experiences he had being around horses throughout his childhood. Jordan has worked for the last eight years for the U of L men’s basketball staff as executive assistant to Coach Rick Pitino. Jordan coordinates the basketball office, assists with team travel arrangements and coordinates Coach Pitino’s personal schedule. Prior to joining the Cardinals’ staff, Jordan worked three years for Nelligan Sports Marketing, one year with the Horizon League Property in Indianapolis, Indiana and two years at the University of Louisville. He was a four-year basketball letterman at Centre College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and history in 2004.
Lynn is a native of Louisville, has been riding since she was a child and has owned and shown American Saddlebred horses since she was a teenager. After receiving a BA from Yale University and a JD from the University of Kentucky, she practices in the areas of Information Technology, Privacy and Information Security, Equine Transactions, Mergers and Acquisitions and Securities and Corporate Governance. In addition to being a member of the HOOF KY board, she serves as the President of Yale in Kentucky and is on the Crane House (The Asia Institute) Advisory Board.
Camille was born in Kansas and lived in Virginia, Maryland and Texas before moving to Louisville with her husband and now law partner Greg Belzley. Camille and Greg had no riding experience until their first vacation to Ireland in the early 1980's, where they became smitten with horses. They took a year of saddleseat lessons and then returned to Ireland for two more riding vacations, followed by riding vacations in France, Portugal and French Polynesia. Camille has also ridden in the Netherlands, England and Scotland. Camille now competes her horse Ike in dressage. After graduating from University of Virginia with a BA in Economics and from the University of Texas law school, Camille practiced a broad range of transactional law in Houston and Louisville, spent seven years as general counsel of the Kentucky Lottery, and now focuses on plaintiffs' prisoners' civil rights, police misconduct, and abuse of power litigation in a home office with Greg and a support staff of two cats.
Growing up in horse country, Kaelyn has been riding and driving horses for years along with the support of her horse loving family. After attending Stephens College, earning a degree in Marketing, Public Relations and Advertising with a minor in Equestrian Studies, Kaelyn attended Indiana University Purdue University- Indianapolis to earn a Master's Degree in Visual Communication Design. Kaelyn currently combines her love for horses and passion for business and design in Kaelyn Donnelly Design and Marketing, a consulting business catered to the equine industry. She is also an active exhibitor of American Saddlebreds and Hackney ponies; has a small breeding program, Donnelly Saddlebreds, with her family; and markets horses for sale with Trademark Farm, a private barn operated by Alex Browning and Kaelyn. She has worked with several equine non-profits and believes in the transformative power of horses and the good they bring to all who enjoy them.