Our Board Of Directors
Our Leadership Team
They are an independent, volunteer Board of Directors who oversee the organization to ensure financial and programmatic excellence. You can see from their profiles, they bring a wealth of experience, professionalism and knowledge that allows Lead Changes to continual grow and improve which allows a greater impact on our youth.
Chris Cox (Executive Director)
Dr. Jim Heird (Chairman)
Dr. Jim Heird
Dr. Jim Heird is an Executive Professor and Coordinator of the Equine Initiative and holder of the Glenn Blodgett Equine Chair at Texas A&M University. Immediately prior to Texas A&M, he was Director Of Teaching and Outreach for the Equine Sciences Program at Colorado State University. He also served as Director of the Colorado Agriculture and Rural Leadership program and as Chairman of the Management Committee of the Y Cross Ranch, a 50,000-acre ranch owned by Colorado State University and the University of Wyoming. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.S in Animal Husbandry and an M.S in Animal Genetics. His Doctorate is in Equine Behavior from Texas Tech University.
His academic career began at North Carolina State University where he was their first extension horse specialist. He was a faculty member at Texas Tech University for 10 years and was at Colorado State University for 23 Years. At Colorado State University, he served in several leadership positions, including Associate Dean and Director Of Academic Programs, Interim Dean of Business, and for 2 1/2 Years, Interim Dean and Vice Provost for Agriculture and Outreach. He was faculty representative for athletics and served as Chair of the Western Athletic Conference Administrative Council.
Dr. Heird has an international reputation in the field of equine sciences. He has lectured on numerous topics both nationally and internationally. He has been a successful judging team coach, teacher, researcher, extension specialist and administrator. His research in the areas of equine conformation and equine behavior is recognized throughout the Equine Industry. He has presented numerous lectures in the U.S and internationally on equine behavior, conformation, selection, judging, genetics and issues facing the horse industry.
Dr. Heird has received many honors, including the United States Department of Agriculture Honor Award For Excellence, the Distinguished Service Award from Southern University and A&M College, the Colorado State University Distinguished Service to Diversity Award, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Department of Animal Science at the University of Tennessee, the Outstanding Leadership Award from the National Horse Judging Team Coaches Association and the Outstanding Advisor Award for Texas Tech University. In 2005, he was named an Outstanding Alumnus of the University Of Tennessee. In 2007, he was named an Honorary Vice President of the Quarter Horse Association of Uruguay. In 2009, he was named Horseman of the Year by the Colorado Horse Council. In 2014, he was named the first recipient of the Glenn Blodgett Equine Chair at Texas A&M. In 2016, he was named an honorary Vice- President and Life Member of the Argentina Quarter Horse Association. In 2017, he was inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall Of Fame. He also became a Director of the National Advisory Board for the National Collegiate Equestrian Association and a Director of the Texas Racing Hall of Fame in 2017. In 2020, he was inducted into the Texas Racing Hall of Fame.
Dr. Heird has combined his academic career with leadership and successful competition in the horse industry. He has trained world champion youth riders and shown world champion horses. He served as Chair of the National Wild Horse and Burro
Commission. He was an American Quarter Horse Judge from 1976 until 2017. In that capacity, he judged 13 world championship shows for AQHA and 15 national shows in multiple countries. He has judged the Road To The Horse Colt Starting Competition multiple times. He has lectured in numerous national and international judges’ seminars for many breeds. He is a past Chairman of AQHA’s Judges Committee, the AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse Sub-Committee, the AQHA Show Committee and Show Council and the Internationlal Committee. He also served as the first Chairperson of the AQHA Welfare Commission. He was an AQHA Director from Colorado prior to moving to Texas where he is presently an AQHA Director from Texas. In 2015, he was elected to serve as a member of the AQHA Executive Committee and in March of 2018 became President of the AQHA, the World’s Largest Breed Association.
Dr. Eleanor Green (Secretary)
Eleanor M. Green, DVM, DACVIM, DABVP
Senior Advisor and Consultant, Animal Policy Group
Professor Emerita & Dean Emerita, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University
Dr. Eleanor Green, has been actively involved with horses, the horse industry, and equine veterinary medicine for a lifetime. She has owned and shown horses, primarily Quarter Horses, since her youth.
Dr. Green has delivered lectures across the nation and internationally on subjects related to her clinical and research interests, as well equine welfare issues. She has given keynote addresses on welfare of performance horses to Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation and to the city of Siena in Italy pertaining to its historic horse race, the Palio. She has also given equine welfare lectures at the national conventions of the American Quarter Horse Association and the National Cutting Horse Association. Her invited lectures include other topics, such as leadership, innovation, the future of and innovations in veterinary medicine, and diversity and inclusion in our world.
Dr. Green has found many avenues for service, both in her profession and in her community. She has served as president of 4 national organizations and was the first woman president of 3 of them:
• American Association of Equine Practitioners
• American Board of Veterinary Practitioners
• American Association of Veterinary Clinicians
• Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges
• She has contributed actively to numerous veterinary and animal industry organizations, including Boards of Directors of:
o Lead Changes
o American Association of Equine Practitioners
o American Board of Veterinary Practitioners
o American Association of Veterinary Clinicians, the Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges
o North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium
o American Quarter Horse Association
o Florida Quarter Horse Association,
o National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame,
o NAVC Veterinary Innovation Council
o Veterinary Virtual Care Association (founding board member and co-chair)
• She has been a member of the AQHA Animal Welfare Commission since its inception and currently serves as chair.
Some of her awards include:
• 2013 induction into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame
• 2004 Award of Distinction from UF College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
• 2011 Wilford S. Bailey Distinguished Alumni Award from Auburn University
• 2012 Women’s Progress Award for Administration at Texas A&M University
• 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award for Administration at Texas A&M,
• 2019 Billy Hooper Distinguished Service Award by the Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges
• 2019 recognition as an ICON in veterinary medicine by the North American Veterinary Community
She has also been successful in the show ring, earning numerous FQHA year-end high point awards, circuit championships, and AQHA reserve world championships in Working Hunter, Hunter Hack, and Pleasure Driving. She is currently showing in the AQHA ranch horse division.
Art Greenberg (Treasurer)
Arthur A. Greenberg career was a licensed Certified Public Accountant who concentrated his practice in tax planning, structuring transactions, obtaining private letter rulings, etc. for partnerships and private and public real estate investment trusts. He was also an Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of both private and public companies in real estate, insurance, manufacturing, agricultural chemicals/fertilizers and financial services.
He has also serviced on the Board of Directors of six different companies that were in the cruise line industry, insurance industry, a vertically integrated fertilizer company and a Savings and Loan institution.
Arthur has chaired committees on both The National Association of Real Estate investment Trusts and The Real Estate Round Table, both based in Washington D.C. He has testified on tax issues before the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee for eight major real estate trade associations. In addition, he has been a guest speaker and/or panelist at several universities, law schools, American Bar Association, several real estate associations and has done some of these presentations with members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and the U.S. Treasury.
He is currently a private investor, married to Marlene for more than 50 years. They have two sons and their wives, along with five grandsons.
Kristen Monson (Member)
After working in institutional asset management for over 31 years, Kristen Monson now focuses her time on giving back and living a more impactful personal live. In her philanthropy, her passions are with improving the lives of young people and animals through education and interaction.
Kristen is a UCI Foundation Trustee, serving on the Investment Committee and the Nominations and Governance Committee. Additionally, she is on the Dean’s Advisory Board at The Paul Merage School of Business, having served as it’s Chair from 2015 to 2019. In 2006, UC Irvine honored Kristen as a recipient of the UCI Distinguished Alumni Award presented at the annual Lauds & Laurels Ceremony, and in 2016 she was the Merage School’s Distinguished Executive Commencement Speaker.
In addition to her service to the UCI community Kristen:
- Is a Board Member for the Orange County Animal Allies
(formerly known as the OCSPCA), where in addition to her board responsibilities she volunteers with their PAWS program, taking her Corgi to provide therapy to mental health patients and children of domestic abuse; their PANDA program, providing animal therapy to sexual assault victims with the OC District Attorney’s office; and the Orange County Airport AirPAWS program which provides therapy to our flying public at SNA.
- Is on the board and on the investment committee of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, which provides funding to support young scientists and their future breakthrough discoveries
- Is on the board and chair of the investment committee for Lead Changes, a Texas and Wyoming based charity, which uses horsemanship to build our youth into successful, confident leaders.
- Serves on the Investment Committee for the Orange County Community Foundation.
In her prior life, Kristen was an Executive Vice President at Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), retiring in 2012 after helping to grow the firm from $11 billion to $2 trillion in assets under management. During her twenty-six year tenure, Kristen was a client portfolio manager, responsible for some of firm’s largest global corporate accounts, in addition to Taft Hartley, foundations & public plans. She founded and developed the PIMCO Institute, a client investment educational program, offered to PIMCO clients globally. As the firm grew its international presence, she led efforts to develop the PIMCO culture and investment standards in its London, Munich and Asian offices. She was also a member of the company’s investment strategy group, and responsible for reporting on U.S. productivity at the firm’s in-house economic forums.
Kristen lives in Newport Beach with her husband Brad Horner. An avid horse rider, she provides wrangler support for Brad as he competes in rodeo team roping events throughout the southwest.
Kristen received both her bachelor’s degree in economics in 1982 and her MBA in 1986 from the University of California, Irvine
Dr. Amy Wandel (Member)
Amy Wandel MD FACS
Dr. Amy Wandel has always been driven by a desire to help others. During her college years at UC Berkeley, she volunteered at the regional burn center which fueled her interest in reconstructive surgery. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a BS in biology and Native American History. She went on to medical school at Chicago Medical School on a military scholarship, earning her M.D. and her Lieutenant bars in 1983. As a medical student she volunteered to work at the local free clinic in south Chicago. She went on to complete her general surgery training through the Navy- East Bay Surgical program.
After receiving board certification in general surgery, she served in Subic Bay, Philippines. While at Subic Bay, Dr. Wandel participated in many medical missions through the military outreach program, travelling deep into the jungle to treat the local population that had no access to care. The many hand and facial deformities she saw on these trips furthered her desire to pursue a career in reconstructive surgery.
She returned to the U.S. to enter Plastic Surgery residency at Brown University and after completing her training in plastic reconstructive and hand surgery and obtaining board certification, she served at the Naval Hospital Oakland. In 1994, Dr. Wandel was transferred to the Naval Hospital San Diego where she served as a plastic surgeon until her retirement in 2006. During her naval career, Dr. Wandel served on multiple hospital committees, deployed multiple times as a surgeon, served as department head of Plastic Surgery and Director of Surgery (temp). Dr. Wandel formed the first wound center at Naval Hospital Balboa with support of multiple departments. She also played a significant role in creating the limb salvage program for returning servicemen and women during the Iraqi war.
After retiring from the Navy, Dr. Wandel was asked to start the reconstructive department for Mercy Medical Group in Sacramento. She led the department through several years of growth, expanding the department to three surgeons and three mid-level providers. She also developed the wound center for the group, taking on the complex non healing wounds. Dr. Wandel was elected to the Board of Directors Of Mercy Medical Group in 2010 and served as a board member until her retirement from practice.
Throughout her surgical career, Dr. Wandel continued to volunteer for medical missions with Interplast and Operation Smile, using her vacation time to go to underserved areas to perform cleft lip and palate, burn and hand surgery. In 2008, Dr. Wandel co-founded the non-profit, Women for World Health, whose mission is to work with local doctors in underserved areas of the world, providing both reconstructive surgery and whenever possible, training for the local surgeon(s). Dr. Wandel continues to volunteer for surgical missions in her retirement.
“I have travelled all over the world to provide needed surgical care to those who have no options. But right here in the United States we have young people who because of their circumstances, feel they have no options. We can help these young people find themselves and a direction in life that will lead them out of poverty, away from gang violence and into a life of purpose. I have experienced first-hand how the horse can literally change your life and I truly believe that the horse can help these young people in their development into responsible, self-aware, respectful young adults. Lead ChangesSM provides these young people with the opportunity to learn self-respect, respect for others, accountability and a work ethic. These are real life skills.”