Board of Directors
Neda DeMayo, president and founder of Return to Freedom, has worked for over twenty years on wild horse and burro issues with a focus on solutions, and is a recognized authority on wild horse behavior. Neda works nationally to elevate the status of America’s wild horse and burros through advocacy, education, media, programs, and events.
Irene Vejar has been a Human Resource professional for the past 40 years, and serves as a member of the Santa Barbara County Housing Authority Executive Management team.
Her hope is to spread the word of the plight of the wild horses through sharing her photography.
Jack joins us with a broad background in animal rights and protection. He is a past Co-Director of Last Chance for Animals.
A 20-year veteran of the music industry as a singer, songwriter, record producer, and music director, Jack was first moved to action in the early 1980s when he received a mailing about animal experimentation. His love for his own dog companion inspired him to become involved in helping other animals.
Jack worked for eight years as Volunteer Coordinator and Park Manager for Tree People, for decades with a seminal Los Angeles animal rights organization in a leadership capacity, was on staff of the award-winning Animals Voice Magazine, co-directed a large domestic horse sanctuary, and currently sits on Return to Freedom’s Board of Directors.
Jack believes that because our versatility as humans has permitted us to acquire enormous power over the lives of other species, we have a solemn duty to use this power to the benefit of those with whom we share the planet.
Dr. J. Kevin Beckmen serves as Chief of Staff for the Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Health System and is a prominent and active member of the local community. Kevin has four horses including two Choctaw Tribal strain horses adopted from Return to Freedom.
Sarah Marley Shaw
Sarah Marley Shaw, a San Francisco native, is the founding Director of the Nature Defense Foundation and Sindisa Sanctuary. Sarah graduated from Boston University with a BA in Political Science and her post graduate degree was earned at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.
Respected conservationist and actor Robert Redford joined Return to Freedom in 2014. He is dedicated to Return to Freedom’s vision for a Wild Horse and Burro Conservancy and Wilderness Preserve, as well as wild horse preservation on the range.
Liz Hines is a certified Shorthand reporter, freelance deposition reporter and court reporter. But aside from that, Liz is an avid photographer and a dedicated volunteer for Return to Freedom!
Honorary Board Members
Co-Founder Emeritus, Honorary Board Member
Diana received her B.F.A. degree in Drama from the University of the North Carolina School of the Arts.
She has faciltated various special youth programs at the Return to Freedom American Wild Horse Sanctuary since its inception.
Currently, Diana teaches acting and is head of production for the Academy of Dramatic Arts, Hollywood, California.
In Memoriam (1921-2014)
Bill began his career as a field examiner for the IRS, retiring as partner of Ernst & Young. He then became a professor at the University of New Haven, CT, where he also served as Treasurer and a Planned Giving Officer. He was honored by numerous professional associations devoted to taxation, financial management, and estate planning.
- Laura Dicterow
- Pat Hines
- Andrea Eastman
- Wendie Malick — Advocacy
- Diana DeMayo-Brown
- Tony Stromberg, Celebrated Published Equine Photographer
- Carolyn Resnick, Dances With Horses
- Cindy Rackley, Reiki Master/Teacher
- Thomas Smittle, Native Horseman
- Angelique Midthunder, Media
- David Midthunder, Native American Cultural Advisor
- John Bechtold
- Natasha Lohmus, Fish & Game, Santa Barbara, CA
- Paloma Ianes
- Angela Calabro
- Dianna Dawson
- Luke Gossett
- Jacqueline A. Bass
- Amber Midthunder
- Elissa Kline
- Charlie Eckberg