2020 Business Women’s Recipients

Mandy Marquez – 2020 Woman of Distinction

Mandy Marquez is a lifelong Humboldt county resident spending her youth growing up in southern Humboldt. She currently resides in Hydesville where she and her husband Mark are raising their two daughters Morgan and Macee. Mandy works at Coast Central Credit Union as their Senior Commercial Lending Officer.

She is very active throughout the community and takes great pride in offering her time to volunteer in various organizations. Mandy is currently serving on the Arcata Economic Development Committee board and loan committee member. She is a Trustee and the board clerk for the Hydesville Elementary School District, a member of Soroptimist International of Eureka, a Hydesville 4-H project leader for the swine group and the Humboldt County Fair Jr. Livestock Auction Committee where she is the treasurer. In her spare time she enjoys, riding horses with her daughters, camping, fishing and relaxing at the lake with her family and friends.


Savanah McCarty – Business Woman of the Year

As soon as Business Woman of the Year, Savanah McCarty, graduated high school, she moved to Monterey, CA to make a better life for herself. She worked three full-time jobs to put a roof over her head and attended night school to become a CA licensed esthetician. Throughout her early twenties, Savanah lived in the Monterey/Santa Cruz area working for the Santa Lucia Preserve and Pebble Beach Equestrian Center as a stable hand and beach ride guide. She also worked privately for the Santa Lucia Preserve horse owners, where she cared for and exercised their beloved equines. After several years, Savanah moved to Humboldt County to start her lifelong dream of opening a therapeutic ranch for foster youth.

When Savanah arrived in Humboldt County, she worked as a full-time licensed esthetician and part-time bartender at Shamus T-Bones while hustling to start Wild Souls Ranch with no money or tack, and just an idea and a determination to see it through. Overcoming hurdle after hurdle, Savanah successfully started Wild Souls Ranch in 2012 at 25 years old. Her co-founders are her childhood Quarter Horse, Sheza, and late off-the-track-Thoroughbred, Cody, AKA “Big Red.”

In 2014, Savanah began her social work career at California Tribal TANF as a full-time Caseworker for local tribal families. This job gave her the experience and tools she needed to work directly with families in a social work capacity. Savanah learned from her coworkers and supervisors how to lead with her head and her heart. She learned how to serve the tribal community with a dignity that was strength-based and success-oriented. She maintained this new social work career while running and operating the Wild Souls Ranch program after 5 PM and on the weekends.

Feeling drawn to nonprofit advocacy work, Savanah started working full-time at CASA of Humboldt in 2015. She felt passionate about helping foster children who did not have a voice in court. Through CASA, Savanah was lucky to meet a little girl who would eventually become her own foster daughter. Through her experience of becoming a foster parent and working at CASA, Savanah witnessed and experienced the broken County Child Welfare System firsthand. These experiences lit a fire beneath Savanah to develop Wild Souls Ranch in a greater capacity that could serve more children and families in the community. Finally, in 2016, with the mentorship and guidance from former CASA Executive Director, Steve Volow, Savanah took the leap and went full-time for Wild Souls Ranch to focus solely on growing her nonprofit to meet the needs of the Humboldt community. The first time in her adult life she held only one job.

In 2017, Savanah created her own California state-approved Wraparound Intervention Program. It was the first of its kind with an equine-assisted growth and learning foundation. Savanah believed this “out-of-the-box” model would keep local foster/adopted youth out of residential treatment facilities that the county was funding. With the help of their herd of loving horses, the Wild Souls Ranch Wraparound Program addresses past trauma, communication skills, attachment, healthy relationship building, along with developing a sense of purpose and a strong work ethic. Savanah built the Wraparound team to consist of clinical facilitators and experienced care coordinators who address the needs of the entire family, not just the at-risk child. The goal of Wraparound is to divert youth from being relocated to institutional facilities by creating a safe and supportive environment for the youth to thrive in their local community and adopted home.

In the Fall of 2017, Wild Souls Ranch acquired their first leased ranch in Fortuna as their permanent home-base. Savanah built offices, arenas, and round pens to meet the growing capacity of the organization. Finally able to hire staff for the first time, Savanah brought on her right-hand woman and Operations Director, Dawn Watkins, Administrative Director, Mariah Lewis, a part-time ranch hand, and full-time Social Worker.

Now in 2020, at age 33, Savanah leads a team of 16 wild souls, 14 of which are strong, brilliant women, and a herd of 14 loving equines. Since 2017, Savanah has also hired three of her teen program graduates, developed a colt-starting summer program for teens, maintained her original scholarship program which serves at-risk youth free of charge after school, and hosts free summer camps, social worker clinics and parent support groups.

She is currently working on expanding the Wild Souls Ranch brand across the country, with the goal of opening satellite programs by 2021.

Savanah prides herself on learning and growing every day as a leader and horseman, and continuing her education in the ranching, social services and nonprofit industries. Savanah’s priority is to create a healthy, positive and progressive work culture for her team and community. She manages her ranch team with a focus on personal growth and solid horsemanship that not only makes you a better person but makes for better horses to do the hard work that they do each day. Savanah works tirelessly to ensure that her team has outstanding health benefits, sick and vacation time, holiday pay, a positive workplace of therapists and ranch staff, and a supportive environment for personal and professional growth. Focused on maintaining the program’s success with the children and families, Savanah never loses sight of the small, heartfelt values that started it all and changed so many lives.

In her free time, she enjoys eating fried chicken, watching true crime documentaries, psychoanalyzing strangers at bars and giving them unsolicited self-help advice, and packing horses through the great state parks of the West.


Andrea Isaacson & Sarah Kohndrow (2020 Committee Co-Chairs)

email for questions or to volunteer/donate