Meet our Talented Staff!
Nicole L. Cicogna was first introduced to horses by her father, a NYC Mounted Police Officer. She learned to ride when she was just eight years old and still an avid equestrian. Nicole is a graduate of Fairfield University’s Charles F. Dolan School of Business and over the last 20 years has built a successful career across both the private and nonprofit sectors. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Breast Treatment Task Force, and has served on the Henry Street Settlement Senior Companion Program Advisory Council (five years), and on the Advisory Board of Thomson Safaris (two years). Over the last ten years, Nicole had been the Executive Director of Hartley House, a nonprofit organization founded in 1897 to strengthen and serve the Hell’s Kitchen community in NYC, where she collaborated with the Board and staff to fulfill its mission, while increasing its capacity, expanding its programming, and diversifying its funding mix. Her work at Hartley House helped to serve those in the community by enriching their lives, expanding their opportunities, and building a sense of community. She was appointed Executive Director of GallopNYC effective July 1, 2018.
Virginia joined GallopNYC in September 2015 after a 15-year career as a consultant with BSR and Sustainability Ltd working international businesses to improve their environmental management and supply chain responsibility. She was an adjunct professor at The New School teaching business and sustainability. She also served as Communications and External Affairs Director for the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy during the Park Plan approval process and is now a regular park user. She has a graduate degree from NYU in Business and Environment. Virginia, who lives in Brooklyn, is married with three children, a Master’s level swimmer, a sporadic triathlete and marathoner as well as a passionate but mediocre tennis player. She’s also an avid ballet fan.
James found GallopNYC as a volunteer in October 2010, and joined our staff full-time as of January 2014, in the newly created position of Director of Operations. James has an extensive background in retail; both buying and planning, full-line department store and off-price. His love of horses goes back to his hometown in Texas, where his father taught him to ride and rope. James holds a Bachelor of Science, Agribusiness and a Master of Science, Marketing from Texas A&M. He is in the process of becoming a PATH Intl. certified instructor, and enjoys photography in his spare time. Reach James at James.Wilson at GallopNYC dot org
Dana joined GallopNYC in 2010 as a volunteer and immediately fell in love with the organization. She decided to become even more involved, and in 2016 joined our family as a certified instructor. When she is not teaching lessons, Dana can be found taking trapeze classes, writing the next big adventure, volunteering for other organizations and enjoying time with friends and family.
Amanda Gallo found GallopNYC in 2015 as a volunteer. She loved volunteering so much that she is now a PATH Intl. certified instructor. Amanda grew up in San Diego, CA where she rode competitively on the Hunter/Jumper circuit. She started riding at 9 years old and has over 22 years of experience owning horses. She came to NYC after graduating college with a BA in Fashion Merchandising. Amanda has over 12 years of experience working as an Account Executive in both the fashion industry and in advertising. Today she is delighted to apply her creativity toward a more fulfilling role as GallopNYC’s Marketing and Communications Manager.
Beth McReynolds grew up in the hills of rural Virginia, and received a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. While in school, she worked in the Education Department at Sea World of Florida and the Entertainment Department at Universal Studios Florida. Beth moved to New York after completing college, and worked in the Entertainment Advertising Department at the New York Times. She joined the Knickerbocker Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and was appointed Project Patriot Chairman. This position brought about work with Veterans’ issues. Beth discovered GallopNYC while investigating programs for Veterans. Beth volunteered with GallopNYC to learn about the program and immediately fell in love. She ound happiness and purpose through GallopNYC and what began as volunteering became a career. Besides GallopNYC, Beth’s favorite things are horses, history and marathon walks.
Bonnie joined the GallopNYC team in January 2016. She grew up riding and loving horses in rural southeastern Ohio and is so happy to have the opportunity to reconnect with this part of her life here in New York City. Bonnie previously coordinated a city-wide Travel Training program, teaching adults with disabilities independent travel skills. Bonnie has an MSW, with a focus on Organizational Management and Leadership, from Hunter College’s Silberman School of Social Work. She has a BS in Psychology from Baldwin-Wallace College. In her spare time, Bonnie enjoys traveling and live music and she is an avid reader.
Cheriselle, commonly referred to as Cher, recently joined the GallopNYC team this past September. Cher was first introduced to GallopNYC and therapeutic horsemanship while looking for meaningful opportunities for a young man with Autism, whom she supported while supervising a community based program for young adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. She is new to horses but excited to learn and continue her work empowering people through focus on their abilities rather than focusing on disability. Cher has a B.A in Psychology from Georgetown University and is an avid sports fan and basketball coach.
Devika Baldeo is a 2016 graduate of York College CUNY where she majored in Sociology. She is ecstatic to be a part of GallopNYC via NYC Civic Corps. She enjoys working with the children and horses. The connection she feels with the children and horses is one that volunteers of GallopNYC easily describe as a rewarding experience among other benefits of therapeutic horsemanship.
Dylan grew up in Chico, California, surrounded by horses and animals for most of his life. In 2013 he graduated from Dartmouth College with a Bachelors in Anthropology and a minor in Japanese Language Studies. That summer he moved to NYC to pursue a career in medicine, working in a small private physician’s office. In the spring of 2015 he began volunteering on weekends with GallopNYC and fell in love, finding a combination of his passions for medicine, education, non-profit work, and horses, all conveniently combined in a single amazing organization. If you have questions about volunteering or are interested in visiting any of our sites, Dylan is happy to help!
Sarah-Jane Casey was born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand where she rode competitively from age 8 to 20 in the sport of Eventing, Show Jumping and Dressage. Between 1995-1998 She placed third in New Zealand at the Bell Tea 3 Day Event in Taupo, rode and Captained both the New Zealand Pony Club Championship Team for Eventing and Dressage. In 1999 a move to Sydney to pursue acting eventually brought her to New York in 2001. She resumed teaching and riding in 2004 at Claremont Riding Academy in NYC, primarily teaching Dressage and Jumping. It was at Claremont in 2005 that she began teaching Therapeutic Horse Riding. She joined Gallop NYC in 2007 and has been working solely as a Therapeutic Riding Instructor for Gallop NYC since 2009, obtaining her PATH International Advanced Certification in 2014. Sarah-Jane currently heads the PATH Int’l Mentor training for new Instructors for GallopNYC and is the Instructor Manager.
Lynnette Dent joined GallopNYC in October as one of its 2017-2018 NYC Civic Corps Member. She is a 2016 graduate of Wheaton College in Massachusetts where she majored in International Relations with a minor in Theater. She was born and raised in Manhattan and attended Little Red Elizabeth Irwin (LREI) High school where she graduated in 2012. Her passions include reading and working with animals.
Victoria Fullerton is a graduate of SUNY Cobleskill; where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Equine Science. Concentrating in equine-assisted therapy, Victoria became a certified PATH Intl. Therapeutic Riding Instructor in 2014. Her passion for horses stemmed early in childhood. Growing up in Yonkers, NY, Victoria took her first years of riding lessons at the Riverdale Equestrian Center. She pursued many areas of horsemanship, including Hunter Equitation, Dressage, and Equine Driving. Today, she is an instructor at several therapeutic riding facilities, a horse trainer, and a continuing student. Victoria is currently pursuing Graduate School for Occupational Therapy.
Leslie Lewis joined Gallop NYC as a volunteer in October 2015. Born and raised in Toronto Ontario, Leslie moved to NYC in 2014 for a career in animal welfare. With a background riding in hunter/jumper and on the OUEA (Ontario University Equestrian Association) circuit, Leslie is thrilled to have found GallopNYC and a place to indulge her passion for all things equine within the Big Apple.
Aine Mulligan graduated June 2016 with a BA in Psychology and Biology from Queens College. Aine is CPR and First Aid Mental Health certified.
Katie Murrell is a PATH Int’l Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor with GallopNYC since 2014. She has been involved in many aspects of the horse world for fifteen years, including riding and competing, barn management, breeding and veterinary care. Katie is a graduate of Post University with a degree in Equine Business Management and a minor in Psychology. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling at Hunter College.
Maggie grew up in the mountains of the Adirondacks, where she developed a love of the outdoors, animals, and recreation. Each year, she would visit the 4H booths at the county fair and dream of owning a horse of her own. After graduating from New York University with BA in Multimedia Production and Journalism, she survived a short stint as a substitute teacher and then began a career in the film & tv industry, working with a number of high-profile productions. She joined GallopNYC in August 2016, where she currently serves as an Associate Program Manager. In her spare time, Maggie enjoys photography, yoga, Crossfit, hiking, live music and attempting to meet every dog in Brooklyn.
Dee joined the Development Team at GallopNYC after an extensive career in Sales Operations, Business Development and Customer Experience in both the private and commercial aviation sector. Dee has a degree in Animal Husbandry-Equine Science and was excited to combine her business acumen, desire to give back and her long-standing love of horses in her role at GallopNYC. Having volunteered at a Therapeutic Riding program in the past and seen the positive results, Dee was eager to join the Gallop NYC team in its mission.
Abigail Welhouse is a PATH Int’l Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor. She began working with GallopNYC as a volunteer in 2009. Now she teaches therapeutic riding lessons and mentors new instructors. Before she moved to New York City, she competed over fences and on the flat with the Sarah Lawrence College Equestrian Team and was the Program Director at Hoofbeat Ridge, a resident camp for girls in Wisconsin.
Dianne Garcia has been a fundamental component in bringing Hippotherapy to all children in various programs around New York and New Jersey for over 14 years… She initiated and developed the current program at GALLOP in 2007 where it continues to grow. Her experience and compassion in bringing together the unique benefits of equine movement and happiness it brings to children with special challenges are woven into each session. Over the past several years Dianne has set up clinical affiliations with three universities to further educate other therapists to the field. She is also works for the NYC Department of Education in the NEST program which specializes in integrating children and adolescents on the Autistic Spectrum in all aspects of their school day. Her passions include yoga and mindfulness for the special child in which she is a certified instructor. Any questions Dianne can be reached at [email protected] org