How We Started
Equestrian Businesswomen was the creation of Jennifer Wood of Jennifer Wood Media, Inc. and Jump Media, who wanted to put on an event that would bring like-minded entrepreneurs together for camaraderie, support, and networking. The idea of an event grew into a year-round membership platform. The equestrian industry is dominated by women, but there is a missed opportunity for these women to learn from each other, especially when it comes to some of the nuances that can be unique to this space. EQBW gives these bright, energetic, entrepreneurial women the chance to expand their knowledge and contacts through others, no matter what the discipline or sport.
Support can happen simply by talking to another person who is in a similar situation or has been through it. By being able to share experience and relate, Equestrian Businesswomen can help connect like-minded professionals to connect on a variety of subjects for their business and provide advice, feedback, or just a listening ear.
Education can be found on our blog as well as during our summits. In addition, education takes place every time you learn from other people's experiences. Equestrian Businesswomen opens the door to meeting new people - often cross-discipline - who understand the unique aspects of the equine industry.
No one else knows the industry better than those already immersed in it. The businesswomen in the equine industry understand the unique skill set needed. Networking in this group is an effective way to land a new job, find a new employee, or discover new leads.
Jennifer wood - president
Originally from Chicago, Jennifer Wood is a lifelong horseperson who began competing in the hunter/jumper discipline at the age of seven. She went on to represent the intercollegiate team at the University of South Carolina, finishing as reserve champion in the 2001 Cacchione Cup at IHSA National Championships. Jennifer graduated from USC magna cum laude with a marketing degree in 2001. Jennifer worked for Olympic show jumpers Anne Kursinski and Margie Engle before entering into the public relations field in 2004.
She has covered many of the major international equestrian events, including FEI World Cup Finals, FEI World Equestrian Games, and Olympic Games. Jennifer is a member of the International Alliance of Equestrian Journalists, and she won the United States Equestrian Federation Pegasus Award for Media, Best Single News Article, in 2006.
Jennifer is known for her work promoting some of the best equestrian events and companies in North America through her companies Jennifer Wood Media, Inc. and Jump Media.
Jennifer founded Equestrian Businesswomen in 2018 to connect businesswomen inthe equine industry to provide them with resources and community to foster their professional development and business opportunities.
Riesa Lakin - Director of Social Media and Marketing
Riesa Lakin is the Director of Marketing and Social Media at EQBW and is the founder of influentELLE, a marketing consulting agency that specializes in supporting female entrepreneurs and female-centric brands to build and execute multichannel marketing strategies and campaigns.
With over 10 years of experience in digital media and advertising, Riesa Lakin has developed a passion for marketing and consumer engagement - connecting brands with their audiences and helping them to build communities.
Before starting her own business, she led the global digital and social media strategies for the men’s skincare group at Estée Lauder Companies, launched the marketing team at Bustle Media Group and held marketing and digital media roles for top publications at Time Inc. and Condé Nast.
When not working, she spends as much time at the barn with her jumper, Rocky and her dog, Monkey.
michelle bloch - Director of print and digital design
Michelle Bloch has been a freelance writer since graduating Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA) in 1992. Her full-time internship with a national weekly equestrian magazine, “The Chronicle of the Horse” taught her that it was possible to combine two passions: writing and horses. That internship in 1991 was the turning point and proved to her that she did not want to spend her days in an office. Since then, with laptop and a camera, she has created words and images for equestrian publications, crafting profiles and horsemanship pieces, as well as horse care articles and book reviews.
Michelle traveled across the country covering equestrian events and also wrote for New Jersey publications, crafting stories about dog sledding, fly fishing, and anything else she could research to become an expert.
After marriage and a child, Michelle curtailed her travel and began to focus on media relations for equestrian events and explore graphic design. That expansion ignited a desire to marry words and images, and now provides her with another outlet for her creativity. With this step into the design world, Michelle realized that what she loves most is turning words into images and images into words; they are always interconnected.
In addition to her writing life and designing world, Michelle also takes care of her four horses, gives riding lessons, and bakes far more than she should eat.
jennifer connor - director of outreach, east coast
maria falgione - director of outreach, west coast
Maria Falgione has been riding horses quite literally since before she could walk. She learned to ride on her grandfather’s cattle ranch in Nebraska and grew up competing on the hunter/ jumper circuit in the Southeastern U.S. Maria was on the Varsity Equestrian Team at the University of South Carolina, where she met fellow EQBW founding members Jennifer Wood and Jennifer Connor.
After college, she was cast as the lead in the off Broadway hit “Tony ’n Tina’s Wedding,” where she got married six nights a week in Las Vegas. After being a working actor for 10 years, Maria got the itch to ride again and learned to gallop racehorses in Southern California. She then went on to be a professional jockey and was one of the few females to compete on the Southern California racing circuit. She caused quite a splash when she won her very first race in Del Mar during the summer meet.
Maria now turns her eye to business and is the Director of Marketing for SynNutra Inc., an equine nutraceutical company based out of Pasadena, CA. As a lifelong equestrian across many disciplines, she is thrilled to be a part of such a visionary group, paving the way in our industry and giving a leg up those who are interested.