Board of Directors
Like any successful organization, it takes several behind the scenes members with a variety of skills and careers that combined, strengthen our mission and support the people that carry out day-to-day operations.
Dr. Mel grew up riding, foxhunting, and eventing thoroughbreds in the Midwest. She currently has two five-year-old OTTBs who are 100% heart. Mel earned a PhD in environmental toxicology from Oklahoma StateUniversity in 2006 (go Pokes!) and after a decade in the nuclear industry, made the switch into the oil and gas industry. She currently manages the Environmental Health & Safety department for White Star Petroleum. On the side, Mel and her husband, Lance own the Woodlands Equestrian Center in Edmond. They live with three children (a fourth is in Italy), one turtle, some fish, a bearded dragon, two parrots, and one hound dog
Chuck Tanner has volunteered with with us since 2016, and began serving on our board in 2017. In addition to doing weekly chores at the facility, Chuck serves the Board in the role of Fundraising, where he works to apply for the many Grant applications that are TAI’s lifeblood, as well as keep correspondence with our amazing grantors. Chuck is retired from a 36 year career in the oil business. His business skills and great personnel relations are a valuable asset to our organization. Outside of TAI, he spends his time traveling, volunteering, playing with his numerous grandchildren, and his many hobbies (reading, skiing, writing, guitar, etc.).
Ceci Leonard graduated from Texas A&M University’s College of Engineering in 1977 and worked in the oil and gas industry before retirement from Devon Energy in 2012. While with Devon, she served as President of Devon de Brazil and was stationed in Rio de Janeiro. She was responsible for all of the company’s production and drilling operations during her two years of service in Brazil. She transferred to OKC in 2002, and continued managing engineering operations for Devon and was VP of Reservoir Engineering 2009-12. She was also heavily involved in Devon’s college recruiting efforts and was instrumental in developing their intern program for college students and training program for new hire engineers. Ceci’s skill set includes budgeting, planning, and resource management. She currently volunteers for the Oklahoma County Extension Service as a Master Gardener and serves on our board.
Wendy Thompson is a hunter/jumper trainer, CPA, CGMA and works for Loves Travel Stop in addition to being a mother of two. Wendy is a 2008 graduate of Oklahoma State University and began her career at Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores later that year. In addition to being our board treasurer, she has also served on the board of the Children's Advocacy Center of Oklahoma as their Treasurer.
Katherine moved from Ohio to Oklahoma in 2000 where she began working at Dobson Communication and eventually transitioned to AT&T as their Sales Operations Manager in the Global Connection Management team specializing in customer migrations, asset management and company acquisitions. Katherine joined our board in 2014 and has worn multiple hats while on the board. She not only works hard for Thoroughbred Athletes, but is also the founder and president of her own non-profit, 9 Lives Rescue of Oklahoma. These combined experiences gives her a unique perspective in the inter workings of nonprofit from both a board of directors perspective but also how the incorporation of operations is needed to maintain a non-profit in today’s atmosphere.