Board of Directors
Pete Grasso is a seasoned communications professional with a background in public relations and marketing. He spent most of his career in B2B, both as a trade media editor and as a public relations practitioner. He is an experienced writer and storyteller who knows how to connect with audiences. Though his transition to a plant-based lifestyle in 2011 was a way to be healthier, kindness and compassion toward animals has become a welcome side effect and something about which Pete is passionate. He and his wife April reside outside Atlanta with their rescue dog, Stella.
Jess is a nonprofit development professional and dedicated community servant passionate about making the world a better place. She has devoted her life to fighting and advocating for important causes and organizations including IBH Addiction Recovery, the National MS Society, the Alzheimer’s Association, and now Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary. She serves on the board of directors for the Association of Fundraising Professionals and enjoys connecting compassionate individuals with philanthropic opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others. Jess and her husband Kyle live in Kent with their four rescue cats and look forward to starting their own farm in the future.
Immediate Past President
After 15 years in a leadership role with Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Gina Fortunato followed her dream of working in the animal health industry where she serves as VP of Veterinary Services for Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group, providers of the ASPCA® Pet Health Insurance Plans. She loves helping pet owners keep their furry friends healthy. In her free time, Gina enjoys staying active with kayaking, dragon boating and riding horses. Gina has three horses and three cats, who have happily made their home in her barn. Gina is proud to serve as President for the Happy Trails Board of Directors.
Jennie Highfield has nearly 30 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Highfield is currently the President and Executvie Director of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens.
Highfield is actively involved in the local community and throughout the northeast Ohio region, supporting several different organizations and initiatives. Her passion is to support nonprofits who work in the areas of animal rescue, social services, children advocacy, and arts and culture. She has held board and committee positions to support fundraising, strategic planning, board development, and more. An Ohio native, she graduated from the University of Akron with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History with a minor in Biochemistry, and a Master’s in Art History from Kent State University.
Jeff is an experienced entrepreneur who is involved with a number of companies in addition to providing financial consulting services to startups and other entrepreneurs. Outside of work, Jeff spends most of his time with his wife, two boys, and their two rescue pups, Gino and Babe. The whole family shares a love for the outdoors and animals of all kinds. Jeff joined the board of HTFAS to help continue the transition of the organization’s finances to a position where they are set up to serve their mission for decades to come.
Bob is an experienced fleet manager with 25 years of experience in corporate and government fleet management. He has a passion for his career and the exciting changes coming to the automotive industry with electric and autonomous vehicles. Bob also has a passion for animal protection where he has volunteered for multiple animal shelters as well as volunteering for legislative campaigns to protect animals. Bob is married to a wonderful person who found him funny and supportive enough to spend her life with him. They have two terrific kids together and a dog. He enjoys working on and riding vintage motorcycles, drinking craft beer, and spending time outdoors.
Tom is a passionate marketer with extensive local, national and international marketing experience. After nearly 20 years in the industry, Tom branched out in 2018 to start and run his own digital marketing agency called Owll Marketing. His company is focused on bringing Fortune 500 company marketing expertise to small businesses to truly help them thrive and grow. Tom’s two youngest children are avid animal lovers with aspirations to become either veterinarians or zoologist. He is excited to leverage their combined passion for animals along with his desire to help organizations leverage marketing to strategically position Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary for continued growth.
Drawn to horses at a young age, Laurie transitioned from a horse enthusiast to equine professional successfully managing Moxie Stables, a horse boarding facility in Mogadore, while simultaneously holding an auxiliary riding position on the Summit County Mounted Unit for over a decade. A staff member of HTFAS since 2013, Laurie earned her current role as Executive Director leading rescue efforts to bring horses and farm animals to the safety of the sanctuary alongside law enforcement and humane agents. She is dedicated to continued equine/animal welfare education through her membership of the ASPCA/Right Horse Initiative.
Stacey Jo Johnson
Stacey Jo possesses extensive experience in leading and directing teams, managing investments, and fostering staff development. She brings a wealth of knowledge in change management and ensuring regulatory compliance. Her strategic approach to financial management has been instrumental in driving organizational growth. She is proficient in strategic planning, financial reporting, and business forecasting and offers advanced training and a deep understanding of best practices across multiple industries. She attended Cleveland State University for her undergraduate degrees as well as her MBA. She practiced public accounting at PWC in the 2000’s and decided to work in the private sector traveling internationally and has enjoyed working in the not-for-profit sector.
After 30 years in Accounting and Finance, she opened her own consulting firm, CFO Consulting and Advisory LLC, in 2023. Stacey Jo lives in Cleveland with her 5 cats, whom she lovingly spoils every day. She has been an animal lover for as long as she can remember. She is looking forward to being a part of the team at Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary.