Chelsea Whitaker

Lead Occupational Therapist

Chelsea Whitaker is an occupational therapist (OT) who specializes in helping individuals discover theirpassion and reach their fullest potential. As a PATH certified instructor and TTL’s lead occupationaltherapist, she developed the curriculum for the Heroes & Horses program for veterans. She also worksweekly to prepare an individualized treatment plan for each of TTL’s hippotherapy clients. Alongside atrained equestrian team, veterans will learn skills and strategies to de-escalate stress responses, usenon-verbal body language, and develop short and long term goals to train therapy horses to whileconcurrently creating a personalized plan to maximize their potential and their next steps to success.Veterans will have opportunities to volunteer together at the farm and leave with resources to continueon their horsemanship journey and with other other veteran organizations. She’s created a partnershipwith Towson University and mentors OT students.

Nicole Whitaker


Nicole M. Whitaker, Esq. is a lawyer and business owner. In addition to managing her real estate & businessinvestments, she is the owner and principal attorney of leading Towson immigration law firm, Whitaker Legal,LLC. She contributes her business acumen and organizational leadership skills to Taking the Lead, Inc. aspresident of the board of directors. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore School of Lawand she gives back to the community by mentoring small business owners and giving educationalpresentations on immigration & constitutional rights. Nicole holds a bachelor’s degree from the University ofMaryland and a law degree from the University of Baltimore. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, andspending time with her family at Timberbrook Farm.

Sonia Lee Blatchley

Sonia Lee Blatchley is the owner of a 60-acre farm in Parkton, Maryland. She and her family first introduced Chelsea Whitaker to animal husbandry when Chelsea was in high school. She is currently an integral part of TTL’s volunteer staff. Sonia volunteers a minimum of 16 hours per week as Barn Manager, horse leader and sidewalker during therapy lessons. She teaches new volunteers how to care for, handle and train the horses and other animals at the farm. All of our clients and volunteers enjoy Sonia’s caring and fun-loving nature. She brings positive energy to the whole farm.

Doris Barnes


As Executive Director of the Baltimore County Bar Association from 2005 to 2017, Doris Barnes superviseda small staff and fifteen sections. She organized professional educational programs, fundraisers & socialevents, managed a lawyer referral service for Baltimore, Fredrick & Carroll Counties, assisted amembership of 1,500 attorneys and judges in Maryland, and worked with an Executive Council of 10members. Doris left her career to be the full-time caregiver for her 95 year-old father, a WWII veteran who passed in November 2018. She now works part-time for the Maryland State Bar Association as Section& Committee Advisor, where she works closely with the Veterans Section, the Veterans Legal Clinic at the University of Baltimore School of Law, and the United Way of Central Maryland Veterans Treatment Court. Doris brings to TTL a strong skill set in administration, volunteer & program development, networking, and connections within the legal community. She’s a dedicated volunteer for TTL’s Heroes & Horses program.

Elizabeth Baummer


Elizabeth Baummer has worked in the field of psychology and education for more than 20 years. She has aBachelor’s degree in psychology and a Master’s degree in education focusing on at-risk youth. She’s a certifiedreading specialist. She has worked in both hospital and school settings from the preschool to college levels,and has found both extremely rewarding. As a native of Maryland & mother of three, Elizabeth is an activemember of her children’s PTA as well as their extracurricular activities such as Scouts. She has been a boardmember of Taking the Lead since 2019, first as a parent liaison, and now as secretary. Her interests includenature and hiking, as well as the arts. Elizabeth offers her creativity, organization, and client/caregiverperspective to help TTL reach its mission in providing the most client-centered treatment possible and usingthe energy and therapeutic power of animals to meet goals and inspire independence.

Ryan Servant

Board Member

Ryan Servant has worked in enterprise technology for almost 15 years, in both in healthcare and higher education. He has extensive experience as an advocate and a technological developer for children with unique disabilities, including developing instructional and medical aids for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and spectrum populations, including specializing in adolescent to adult transitions for young people with ASD’s. In addition, he is an affiliate instructor of Computer Science at Loyola University Maryland, and has served in previous board roles at several organizations, including Asylum Seekers Housing Network and Safe House of Hope. Ryan holds a Bachelors from Shippensburg University, a Masters in Education from Bloomsburg University, and a Masters in Business Administration from Loyola University Maryland. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and four-year-old daughter, devising renovations and sometimes starting (and eventually finishing) various construction projects.