Board of Directors
Veronica Sosa Agnoli, CEO / President
Veronica Sosa Agnoli, MS, LPC is a bilingual school psychologist and counselor and co-founder of LifeStriders. She achieved a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Master of Science degree in School Psychology and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She is also certified by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association ( NARHA ) as a therapeutic riding instructor. Since 1996 she has worked in the inner cities of Los Angeles in a variety of multi-cultural educational and family counseling settings and more recently, in the School District of New Berlin, Wisconsin. In 2004 Veronica co-founded LifeStriders and has been working as the executive director for this organization establishing LifeStriders as a leader in the field of Equine Facilitated Learning/Mental Health and therapeutic riding.
Dr. Gary Ross, Ph.D CEO/President
Dr. Gary Ross is the Wisconsin Market of Community Health Charities, where he represents 75 health charities in employee philanthropy campaigns across Wisconsin. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee responsible for the capstone course in the Health Care Administration area, advanced systems in Health Care Management. He is a member of the leadership team for Community Engagement with the Clinical & Translational Science Institute established by the Medical College of Wisconsin.
He received his PhD in Business Administration from the University of Kentucky, a Masters of Business Administration in Accounting and finance, a Master of Science in Management, and a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education all from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ross has conducted research in both the Health Care industry and the Banking industry. He has been recognized for teaching excellence in both academic and industry programs.
Dr. Ross has successfully developed and implemented relationship management calling programs in both banking and nonprofit industries. These programs were centered on mutual internal reinforcement and continuing education.
Dixon Benz II, Chairman
Dixon W. Benz II is the President of Benz Oil. He is a graduate of Valparaiso University with a bachelor's degree in political science with a minor in psychology. Dixon also received his MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He and his wife, Stephanie, and two children, live in the Lake Country area. His interests include sailing, fly fishing, biking, flying, and LifeStriders and the amazing work they do.
David Crotteau, Officer
Dave has a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology and an extensive work history in construction, telecommunications, and project management and he has worked for AT&T for the past 16 years. Dave and his wife Jamie have two children and live in Waukesha. His daughter Abby is also a rider at Life Striders, and he has witnessed the many benefits of therapeutic riding on the body and mind. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, building and remodeling, and spending time with his family.
Robert Conley, MSPT holds a master's degree in Physical Therapy and is co-founder of LifeStriders. Robert also was certified by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) as a therapeutic riding instructor. He grew up in Oconomowoc as a teacher for our community's youth in various sports and activities.
Kathryn is an Ameriprise financial advisor with Dunco, Braun & Associates, a financial advisory practice with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. With her business partner, advisor Gary Dunco and team, they focus their practice on helping clients prepare for retirement and manage individual’s financial planning needs. Combined they have 38 years of experience in the financial industry and enjoy working with a variety of clients across Southeast Wisconsin. Kathryn also serves on the Delafield Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and works on various other community projects. A lover of horses, Kathryn is an active competitor herself and has students that have enjoyed success on a local, regional and national level. She trains and teaches out of Thunderbit Stables in Mukwonago. She and her husband Gary live in Lake Country with their two children Aidan and Emma.
Robert P. Magnus DVM, MBA
Robert Magnus is the CEO and founder of Wisconsin Equine Clinic & Hospital (WECH), a full service referral hospital and ambulatory practice established in 1992. Starting this business as a solo practitioner, WECH has grown to include 12 veterinarians and 20+ support staff. In 2005 he founded Equine Business Management Strategies LLC, an executive business education program for the equine veterinary industry. This program expanded in 2010 to offer an international course in Europe. In addition to his passion for business education, he founded Equine Best Practices, LLC, a financial service provider focused on operational system efficiency, medical process, and financial performance metrics. This company provides business benchmark standards in equine veterinary marketplace. Dr. Magnus serves on numerous national advisory boards and focus groups. He also provides veterinary business consulting in the equine marketplace and the human health care industry. A horse enthusiast himself, he was raised on a large breeding and training facility and still enjoys working with his own horses. He and his wife Gina live on a farm in Wisconsin with their two daughters and a menagerie of animals.
Nettie Saydel is a physical education instructor, a certified PATH instructor, a past board member, treasurer and president of the volunteers at The Humane Animal Welfare Society. Her passions are children, animals, and LifeStriders.
Carl is commercial banker at M&I Bank, Director and Treasurer of Divine Redeemer Lutheran Church, and an avid supporter of LifeStriders. He is married and lives in the Lake Country area with his wife, Kimberly and their two children. His passions include horses, sailing, and skiing amongst many other outdoor activities.
Judy has degrees in Education of the Hearing-Impaired k-12, Regular Edugcation 1-8, Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood Exceptional Education, and Kindergarten. She worked in the special education field for three years before starting her family, 1978-1981. She Volunteered as children's co-ordinator at Friendship House, Milwaukee, 1981-1982. She was president of the Medical College Spouse's Club, 1983. She was a board member of the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin 1996-1999. She has an on-going membership on the Alumni Committee for Brookfield Academy for 30 + years and is on the school's Development Committee for 10 + years now. She was a member of the Grede Foundation Board 2006-2009. Judy established the Sunshine Fund at Kettle Moraine High School for use in the special needs classes. She is the past President of the Spring City Garden Club, 2007-2009. She is the spouse of Arch Pequet. Md. and parent of Christopher Pequet. Age 23, former rider and autistic.
Barb has degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education, Barb taught third grade in a parochial school before leaving teaching to raise three sons. As a mother of three, Barb and her husband also regularily provide foster care to infants.