Meet the Herd: Conversations with Jodie Diegel, Thomas Balsamo, Wade Balsamo and Dafna Yachin
Play • 52 min

In this episode, Lisa and Julianne introduce listeners to Jodie Diegel of Soul Harbor Ranch and filmmakers Wade and Thomas Balsamo and Dafna Yachin. The interviews were recorded during the EQUUS Film and Arts Fest at the Kentucky Horse Park in December.

Jodie Diegel RN, MBA is the Founder and current President of the SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program, as well as past President and Founder of Mane in Heaven. The SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program, located in Barrington, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enrich lives by promoting the unconditional love and healing of the human-animal bond, while advocating for animal therapy standards of excellence. They offer the Barrington-area’s most experienced animal-assisted miniature therapy equine teams who have been visiting since 2013. “I believe a difference is made when there is a soul-to-soul connection” (between humans and animal) said Jodie and it is through her passion for animal therapy that individuals throughout the Chicagoland area are able to receive care and experience that incredible soul-bond with her animals. Through working with volunteer animal handlers, Jodie and her team bring miniature horses and dogs to locations such as Rush University Medical Center, The Garlands,  Markland, GiGi’s Playhouse and Barrington High School.

Wade and Thomas Balsamo are the creatives behind World Touch Productions.
"Our Passion is fueled by the drive to tell stories that are nothing less than LifeChanging; creating poignant documentaries which inspire donors and empower volunteers to create ripples of change. After nearly a decade of creating visual media, the dedication of Wade and Thomas Balsamo is a life-long mission in search of the most human-driven stories; social-cause documentaries which depict empathy, acceptance, compassion, and hope beyond all else. The nonprofit was founded in 2018, joining forces with Marc Solosky and Sharon Rosenbloom to form a board of volunteer creatives championing untold messages from the most meaningful organizations we can find."

Dafna Yachin is Chief Creative Officer at Lunchbox Communications. For over 20 years she has written, produced and directed award-winning television, film, national commercials, educational programs and multimedia campaigns. Her projects have aired on CBS, ABC, Discovery, History Channel and SyFy. She has been instrumental in creating lasting series formats for both cable and syndication as well as launching engaging cross-platform initiatives for both NGO and Commercial clients. Dafna has an innate skill for identifying talented scholars and creative individuals who are great innovators and collaborators. Partnering with change-makers and production teams in over 30 countries, for the last 10 years Dafna has focused her documentary and online initiatives in the Humanities, Justice and Women's Rights arenas.

To learn more about Julianne and her partner Bruce Anderson, tune in to "Whinny Tales: Horse Stories, Pony Legends and Unicorn Yarns," the official podcast of Nature's View and The Marley Project. You can also visit or
For more information about the festival or for links to the films and literature, visit Follow us on social media at EQUUS Film Festival. To see the EQUUS films, visit

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