Board of Directors 


Chad Richardson

President - Joined 2020

Chad was a CPA who has worked in public accounting and corporate finance for over 30 years. He spent 22 years at Cox Enterprises, most notably as CFO of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. After 5 years at Scientific Games, he spent the last severl years as SVP of Financial Planning & Analysis at Fleetcor, the Fortune 500 global payments company.

Chad retired in December 2020 and moved with his wife, Susan, and a variety of dogs and cats, to Blue Ridge. He aspires to hike the entire Benton MacKaye Trail, write the next great American novel, continue his wine study, grow amazing vegetables and raise well behaved animals. And he enjoys becoming more involved in the community, both socially and by finding ways to contribute and give back. 

Chad previously served as Treasurer of the Henry W Grady Healthcare Foundation, Chairman of the Media Financial Management Association, and member of the Team Selection Committee of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. He also holds an Advanced certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust and hopes to continue thru their Diploma program.

Chad was born in Ohio but grew-up in Southwest Florida. Before moving to Atlanta, he attended the University of Florida where he earned a BS in Accounting.


Suzanne Ponton

Vice President - Joined 2017

Suzanne is originally from Ohio, but first came to Blue Ridge over the New Year’s weekend of 2006 and promptly fell in love with the North Georgia Mountains.  She went from enjoying a part-time cabin in Mineral Bluff to living permanently in a home on Lake Blue Ridge for the past several years.

Suzanne is the former owner/manager of North Georgia Storage and is currently active in community volunteering.  Her love for animals has been a lifelong passion and she cherishes sharing her home with two furry family members, Hobson and Duncan.  


In addition to the Humane Society of Blue Ridge, she also serves on the board of the Lake Blue Ridge Civic Association and is a Fannin Chamber Ambassador.


Susan K. Richardson - CPA

Treasurer - Joined 2020

Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Susan attended Auburn University graduating with a BS in Accounting.  It was at Auburn that she met her life-long friend and Blue Ridge Human Society board member, Tracy Allen.  

Susan began her career in public accounting at a local Atlanta CPA firm where she spent 4 years as an auditor for large real estate and development firms.  Moving into the corporate world, Susan spent 27 years in various accounting roles in the commercial real estate investment sector.  The majority of those years were spent with AXA Financial and Morgan Stanley.  Retiring in early 2018, Susan ended her corporate career as VP responsible for portfolio accounting and global investment accounting systems.  

Currently, Susan is the primary caregiver for her Mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s.  She moved to Blue Ridge in early 2021 and beginning the next phase in her life with her husband (Chad), Mother, three dogs, and three cats.  Susan has a future goal of returning to culinary arts school to become a Pastry Chef.

Susan is no stranger to philanthropic service.  She was involved in the St. Louis Arts Festival (among the top 10 largest art festivals in the U.S.) as co-chair of the Volunteer Committee for two years. She served three years on a committee responsible for the Annual Boots and Blue Jeans Fund Raiser for the Henry W. Grady Foundation.  Susan was responsible for establishing the annual Morgan Stanley Halloween Party at Hughes Spalding Hospital (10 years running).  


Kristie Young

Director - Secretary - Joined 2021

My name is Kristie Young and I, along with my husband Jeff, own and operate Grumpy Old Men Brewing. Among other things, I handle the human resource side of GOM, payroll, bookkeeping and am responsible for envisioning most of the improvements that we have made to the building and brewery site since we purchased it in 2018.  


We had originally bought a ‘vacation’ cabin here but ultimately fell in love with Blue Ridge and made the decision to move here full-time in 2017. Upon making that decision - we sold our dental practice in Michigan and left our careers in dentistry behind.  I worked there as a Dental Hygienist, as well as the office manager, and handled all business aspects of the practice.  


We have six (human) kids who love to visit Blue Ridge.  (We continue to ‘work on them’  but have not been able to convince them to move here yet.) We also have Five grandkids - with a 6th due next year. I love animals and currently have three canine kids; two very fit and active Australian Shepherds that walk me up and down the mountains every day and a Cocker Spaniel who is a little less energetic and whose favorite pastime is sleeping.  I’d probably have a farm full of goats and chickens if we had the room and Jeff would let me. I have taken in cats and dogs in need and have been instrumental in helping them find new homes with friends and/or GOM patrons and feel that this is a talent that could extend to the cats and dogs of the HSBR.


Recently, I’ve taken up pottery and find that its been a very rewarding hobby. In my day-to-day life, I strive to be kind and generous to everyone and help those in need whenever I can.


Brian Higgins

Director - Joined 2020

Brian grew up in the North Ga mountains and has always had a passion for his community and animals. He has been married for 17 years and has one son.


He shares their home with their 11yr old long-haired Dachshund "Pretzel" and their 5 yr old Maltese\Shih Tzu "Oreo". He currently works for Ace Hardware of Blue Ridge, where he has been employed for the last 17 years.


When not at work, he enjoys woodturning, biking, and being in the outdoors.

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Dr. Fran

Director - Joined 2021

Dr. Fran Miske is originally from farm country in upstate New York,  but came to Blue Ridge after graduating from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine 34 years ago. She has been a partner at Ocoee Animal Hospital and cared for both large and small animals with the occasional exotic and wildlife. 


She has worked with many of the rescue groups through the years and is looking forward to further contributing to the Blue Ridge Humane Society. 


Dr. Fran is currently working part-time to allow for travel and other activities.   She lives in Blue Ridge with her husband and an abundant menagerie of cats, dogs and horses.


Wendy Miller

Director - Re-Joined Feb 2020 (member from 2011 - 2016)

Wendy grew up in Connecticut but has lived in the Atlanta/Ellijay area for over 25 years.  She, her husband, and dog Kendall, and cat Bandit (adopted from HSBR) live full time in Ellijay and they all enjoy the mountains as much as possible.  All her animals in her life have been rescues.

Wendy joined the board of directors of HSBR in 2011 and served until 2016.  She took a break and came back in 2020 and focuses on Marketing.  She has been in business for herself for over 14 years with expertise in graphic design, e-mail marketing, and web design. 

When not working, Wendy and her husband love to hike, cook, travel, and spend time with friends and family (her in-laws moved to the cabin next door from MA!).

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Jenny Bloom

Director - Joined Feb 2022

Jenny has over 30 years of financial experience and has spent the last 20 years as the CFO of fast-growing SaaS companies. She was recently the CFO of Zapier, a workflow automation SaaS platform. Before Zapier, Jenny was the CFO at MailChimp, a marketing automation SaaS platform.  Jenny retired from Zapier at the end of 2021 and is working part-time, helping small startups grow through fractional CFO work and growth advising. 

Jenny is a CPA and received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Georgia and received her Masters of Business Administration in Finance from Georgia State University. Jenny grew up in Detroit and she has lived in Atlanta since graduating from UGA. Jenny came up to Blue Ridge on a regular basis for day trips and long weekends until 2012, when she bought a home here. In July 2021, she made Blue Ridge her full-time home.

Jenny has always been an animal lover and was one of the first volunteers when the Georgia Aquarium opened. In her spare time, she loves to be outside hiking, mountain biking, or paddle boarding with her 1-year-old Shih Tzu, Archie.