Louis Wood is owner of Mountainview Ranch, LLC. He grew up in the culture of his families’ horse and cattle operation in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and at a very early age became fascinated with observing his grandfather “break” horses for their own operation as well as for others. The excitement of this process was always fascinating to him, and as he began to assist in the development of these young horses, he quickly began to realize that there might be a better method than trying to break a horse’s spirit into submission, and began to explore some new methodology in his approach. Throughout his lifelong search, he has gained tremendous insight into the relationship between horse and rider. His unique approach to horsemanship involves working with both the horse and rider to establish a foundation of learning and growth based on mutual understanding, trust and clear communication skills that enable them to build and maintain a highly functional “Willing Partnership”.
In 1997, at the urging of his clients, he began conducting horsemanship clinics at his ranch. Since that time, he has conducted these clinics in many areas of the United States, as well as several foreign countries. For approximately the last 20 years he has and continues to work in Wellington Florida, home to the prestigious “A Circuit Finals for the World” where he works for a diverse private clientele, in a variety of riding disciplines, which includes several Olympic Athletes.
In 1999, his communication skills with the horse so impressed the University of Virginia, that it’s Leadership Development Center began offering professional leadership development programs based on his horsemanship model both for and through the university. He still offers programs for the university, and for a number of years has co-partnered with several carefully selected private co- facilitators to offer the same quality experience to other clients. During the past 18 years he has worked for numerous colleges, universities, local, state and federal government agencies, first responders and private industry throughout the United States.
" I come to you not as a teacher of the horse, but as a student of the horse”
Co - Faciliators
Annette Portaro is the owner of Bridge-It Training Solutions, LLC, offering custom training solutions in leadership and team development. She spent the past 25 years improving performance through learning as the Director of Corporate Learning and Communications for Air Wisconsin Airlines Corporation, a regional American Eagle carrier. She has observed firsthand the impact of professional development training that she has delivered to more than 2,000 Air Wisconsin leaders and frontline employees. In addition, she has provided training services to various organizations including the University of Virginia and University of Wisconsin-Green Bay faculty, elementary and secondary educators, as well as leaders and representatives from the fields of food delivery and production, manufacturing and wildlife research. She has seen her processes and tools become a deeply embedded resource allowing leaders and team members to interact effectively by identifying and valuing personal strengths, which is crucial to good leadership, teamwork and organizational effectiveness.
Annette prides herself on the ability to create a fun and engaging learning environment where participants receive actionable tools and useful applications, whether leading a group or interacting as a team member.
She has extensive experience as a training manager and facilitator focusing on leadership and team development skills for effective organizational development. A graduate of James Madison University, she also received her Masters Degree in Applied Leadership for Teaching and Learning at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Annette received her Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Qualification in 2000 and her Emotional Intelligence Certification in 2011 through Otto Kroeger Associates of Fairfax, VA, and is a registered SAM vendor with the federal government. She is an active member of the Association of Psychological Type and Otto Kroeger Associates.
As President of Unlimited Horizons Business Services, Inc. and currently employed as an internal organizational development (OD) consultant and executive coach with Fairfax County government, Ellen consistently demonstrates the ability to develop leaders (at all levels) and help organizations thrive. Ms. Gray draws on over thirty years of experience in leadership and management development and training, employee development, and team development.
Her clients commend her ability to build trusting relationships, communicate for clarity, connection and understanding and to help them gain new insights. She partners with her clients to leverage their strengths and broaden their perspectives to maximize their individual growth and performance. She helps leaders deepen the level of employee engagement, create an optimistic workplace and increase collaboration and effective communication. Ellen applies her coaching expertise to help leaders, managers, and employees achieve their desired results. She listens deeply, helps clarify obstacles and issues, challenges assumptions and encourages transformation. Ellen is passionate about creating a “space” for a client to discover their passions, their purpose and the “best of them”….and, then guiding their transformation.
Ellen has served in a variety of roles including first and second-line management in the IBM Corporation. She became a small-business owner and worked in the world of workforce development and continuing education for both Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University. She is currently on faculty with Leadership Fairfax. Ellen earned her certification as a Professional in Workforce Development (PWD) from the University of Virginia and most recently earned her certification as an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) from the International Coaching Federation. She has a BS in Business Management from Grantham University.
Karen Fagan is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) who heads her own practice which specializes in the facilitation of communication and conflict resolution. During her 25 plus years of experience in her field, she has had the opportunity to work with many different departments and organizations in both corporate settings, as well as government agencies. She is a contracted service provider with multiple Employee Assistance Programs and has provided on-site training in dealing with stress management and interpersonal communication skills. Additionally, Karen has designed curriculum for professional development programs in which she co-facilitated and partnered with Louis Wood to utilize his horsemanship model, one of which was certified to offer continuing education credits for Counselors in the state of Colorado. She is skilled in her ability to teach others how to better utilize their listening skills and refine their communication strategies for more successful personal and professional relationships.
Karen received her degree in counseling at Southwestern University, and earned her Master of Arts Degree in Counseling at the University of Denver.
Chief Charles L. Werner (Charlottesville Fire Chief Emeritus) - Charles Werner most recently served as the acting Deputy State Coordinator and Senior Advisor with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Charles has served 42 years in the fire service, serving the last ten years as Charlottesville's fire chief retiring in 2015. Chief Werner presently serves as a public safety advisor to the Virginia Department of Aviation and as chair of the National Council on Public Safety Unmanned Aircraft Systems.