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Back to Leadership | Providence

Providence board of directors

Local community and business leaders work together to advance our mission to ensure public schools are places all students can thrive.

Michael Baer
Chairman of the Board Managing Partner, NewGen Go Michael.d.baer@gmail.com

Michael Baer is Managing Partner at NuGen Go. He is leading and growing all aspects of the firm’s investment activities and building industry partnerships. Prior to joining NuGen Go, Michael served as Managing Director at Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank where he oversaw business development and strategic growth efforts leading to $1BN in public and private infrastructure financing. In addition, Michael served as senior advisor to the New York State Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery and special assistant to the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Michael Started his career at JPMorgan Asset Management.

Michael Baer received his B.S. in Business Administration from Babson College and his M.S. in International Relations from New York University. He is a CFA Charterholder. Michael currently serves as Chairman of the Board at City Year Providence and was formerly the Chair of Rhode Island’s Science and Technical Advisory Board of the State’s Climate Change Coordinating Council.

Prior to joining RIIB, Michael spent three years working in New York for the Governor Cuomo Administration, as a special assistant to the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation and as a Senior Advisor at the New York State Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery. Michael started his career at JPMorgan Asset Management where he spent eight years as the Chief Financial Officer for JP Morgan Asset Management’s US Equity, Global Multi-Asset Group, Private Equity, and Hedge Fund of Funds investment platforms. Michael earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Babson College and a Master of Science of Global Affairs at New York University. Michael is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.

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Guillaume Rene Bagal III
Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion, United Natural Foods, Inc. guillaume.bagal@unfi.com

Guillaume Bagal leads Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island’s diversity, equity, and inclusion programming, training, and education. Guillaume, whose diversity and inclusion practitioner experience spans corporate and government settings, leads BCBSRI’s Diversity Council and the company’s numerous employee business resource groups. He also oversees BCBSRI LGBTQ Safe Zone Program, and supports government affairs in monitoring relevant legislative efforts. Guillaume joined BCBSRI after serving most recently as the associate director of policy for Whitman-Walker Health, a legal and healthcare institute, in Washington, D.C. In that role, he monitored national and local policy issues impacting health and wellness of racial, ethnic, and sexual minority populations, and advocated on a range of LGBTQ and HIV-related policy issues in the District of Columbia. Guillaume was also director of policy at the Center for Global Health & Diplomacy, and held roles at Avalere Health, and Indiggo Associates, all based in the Washington, D.C. area. Guillaume is a strong advocate for community service and serves on a number of Boards including the Rhode Island Public Health Institute and Amos House. He previously served on the National Institute of Health Community Advisory Board, the Washington, D.C. Mayor’s Office LGBTQ Data Taskforce, and was elected president of the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance (GLAA), the nation’s oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization. In addition, Guillaume is a member of the National Association of Health Services Executives, and the National Capital Healthcare Executives. Guillaume, who is fluent in French, English, and two African dialects, earned two master’s degrees – one in healthcare administration and policy from George Mason University and the second in organization sociology from East Carolina University, both with high honors. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology and French literature from East Carolina University. Guillaume resides in Providence, R.I. with his husband Bobby Gondola, Jr.

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Collin E. Bailey
Chief Transformation Officer, Hudson Bay Company collin.bailey@hbc.com

Christa Baker
Director, Alliance Management, Year Up Cbaker01@yearup.org

Christa currently serves as the Director of Alliance Management at Year Up. Year Up is a workforce development not for profit organization whose mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by ensuring that young adults gain the skills, experiences, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through careers and higher education. Her work with Year Up is focused on post program employment for Year Up graduates across the country. Christa’s career is anchored in the world of work, she has worked extensively over the past two decades to understand job markets, trends and connect people to opportunity, with a focus on hiring, employability and implications of culture on business results. Her focus on the talent ecosystem with emphasis on sourcing and talent acquisition, talent management and retention couples well with her experience in team development, project management and planning, Christa has also led more traditional human resource functions including; employee relations, benefits and succession planning. In addition, Christa is a business leader with experience managing P&L's of upwards of 50Mil for both private and publicly traded companies, she has led several highly successful, award winning, technical talent acquisition and strategic sales teams. Christa received a BA in Psychology from the University of New Haven, studied organizational design at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and holds credentials in Human Centered Design from +Acumen and IDEO.org. Christa lives in Warwick with her son Corey and husband Jayson.

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Kyle L. Bennett
Director, Public Policy and Research, United Way of Rhode Island kylebennett999@gmail.com

Kyle L. Bennett, a native of Brooklyn, New York, grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. He has devoted his personal and professional life to lending his time and talents in service the Rhode Island community. Kyle attended North Carolina A&T State University and Rhode Island College where he studied Secondary Education, Mathematics. Kyle is married to his lovely wife, Eneida Bennett, a corporate paralegal with Hinckley Allen. He is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Jenneya Bennett, a graduate of the University of Rhode Island and a Program Coordinator with Diversity Talks. He is currently the Director of the Public Policy and Research for United Way of Rhode Island. In this role, Kyle manages a team of people with a focus on defining challenges for our community and moving policy that addresses the unmet need. It is Kyle’s goal to create systems that serve the greater good while helping people with immediate needs. Previously at United Way, he served as the Director of Annual Campaign. He and his team worked with more than 600 Rhode Island based companies to secure annual campaign contributions in excess of $13 million. Additionally, Kyle has served as a liaison to the Olneyville Community. In this capacity he co-managed one of the organization’s largest volunteer opportunities in The Back To School Celebration of Rhode Island. His role, designed to engage neighborhood residents, small and large businesses and visitors in helping the children of Olneyville head back to school prepared for success and armed with the proper supplies. Prior to working for United Way, Kyle held several community based positions including Director of Black Affairs for the City of Providence and Communications Specialist for the RI Air National Guard.

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David C. Colli
Vice President, Field Operations, Cox Communications dave.colli@cox.com

David Colli is Vice President of Field Operations for Cox Communications. He is responsible for every aspect of field service operations across the country. In his role he develops strategies to support high quality customer experience and new product deployments. He has been with Cox Communications since 1993. David has a lifelong commitment to service, he credits scouting, his schooling at Norwich University, and military service, (where he earned the rank of captain) for allowing him opportunities to serve his community and his country. David has been a volunteer firefighter his entire adult life. He joined the City Year Providence board in 2014-15.

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Michelle A. Couture
Senior Vice President, Private Client Manager, Bank of America Private Bank michelle.a.couture@boa.com

Michelle Couture is a Vice President and Private Client Manager for U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management. In her role she acts as a trusted financial advisor and advocate for clients in all aspects of their wealth management needs. She specializes in strategic credit solutions for residential, commercial, aircraft, yacht, fine art and unsecured loans and lines of credit. Michelle has 30+ years of experience in the financial services industry. Her most recent experience before joining U.S. Trust was as a Wealth Management Banking Advisor with Merrill Lynch the full service brokerage division of Bank of America, N.A. in Providence , RI . Her volunteer efforts past and present have focused on both children and community outreach and support. She currently serves as the Vice President on the board for the Boston Coastal Women’s Exchange where she has led women’s development efforts, philanthropic support, and community volunteer events. She has also served as a volunteer for Swim Across America for the last 5 years. Friends Way organization holds a special place in her heart and she trained to become a facilitator for children from ages 10-13 to assist them in dealing with grief and loss. She still serves on an annual basis to chair a picnic for the children and their families which is sponsored by the Boston Coastal Women’s Exchange, Merrill Lynch. She is also a board member of Young Voices and was appointed as part of the development committee in March of 2018. Michelle attended Johnson & Wales University and studied Financial Services Management. She holds her series 7 NASD license and a series 6, 63, & 66. Michelle has a daughter and a grandson and lives in Riverside, RI.

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Maureen M. Dizon
Associate Chief of Staff, Rhode Island Department of Education Maureen.dizon@gmail.com

Maureen Dizon is a proud City Year alumna (CYDC ’10-’11). She currently works at the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) as a Transformation Specialist in the Office of School Improvement. She previously worked at the Rhode Island Office of Innovation as a project manager supporting the scale of personalized learning throughout the state, and as a Commissioner’s Fellow at RIDE focusing on public engagement for state implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Maureen was a founding staff member at Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., where she held both instructional and administrative roles. She is passionate about public service - apart from AmeriCorps, Maureen is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer whose project work included youth development and English instruction in Guatemala. In addition to her service on the City Year Providence Board, she chairs the City Year Providence Alumni Association Board. Maureen was a 2016-2017 Urban Education Fellow at Brown University. She holds an A.M. in Urban Education Policy from Brown and a bachelor’s in linguistics from the University of Rochester.

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Stephanie Federico, Esq.
Vice President, Public and Government Affairs, Cox Communications stephanie.federico@cox.com

Alan Harlam
Executive Coach, Health Equity Scholars Program, Brown University Aharlam@gmail.com

Alan Harlam has been the Director of the Social Innovation Initiative (SII) at Brown’s Swearer Center for Public Service since 2007. He teaches a Social Entrepreneurship course that introduces students to the transformative impact that social entrepreneurs have in society through extensive case analysis and independent projects. He envisioned and created the Social Innovation Fellowship that has supported more than 125 students with the funding, skill development, mentoring and peer community to hone an entrepreneurial idea and test their business model through an immersive summer experience. In addition to these programs, he has served as a key designer for recent strategic initiatives at Brown, including TRI-Lab, a social innovation platform for teaching, research, and impact that brings together students, faculty, and community leaders to study a critical social issue and develop new solutions; and the Program in Engaged Scholarship, which recognizes students who design their studies to fully integrate their learning inside and outside their classroom. Alan has been on the Advisory Board for City Year RI since 2004. He remains inspired by City Year’s leadership around National Service and has witnessed the transformative impact of service on our Corps members. Our current model has made great strides to prove that our unique combination of near peer, students centered, and relationship based supports is having a profound impact on the success of students in Providence and holds great promise as an important ingredient in assuring that the next generation of children can enjoy their rights to an excellent education and a life of opportunity and success. Each time he sees this work in action, he is inspired and recommitted to assure the success of this organization to realize its potential for impact.

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Christian Leibl-Cote
Executive Vice President, Global Business, Collette cleibl-cote@collette.com

As Senior Vice President of Global Business at Collette, Christian Leibl-Cote is responsible for strategic global partnerships, new business development and a dedicated customer care center tasked with delivering exceptional service to Collette’s guests and travel partners. He is also responsible for leading the business and growth efforts in our international offices located in Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada. Christian joined Collette in 2007. He holds an MBA from Babson College and a Bachelor’s degree in business from the University of New Hampshire. Active in the local community, Christian serves on the board of City Year Providence. He is an avid sports fan and is passionate about team sports, especially youth activities. In his free time, Christian can be found spending time with his wife and three children.

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The Honorable Melissa A. Long
Rhode Island Supreme Court mlong122@gmail.com

Melissa Long is an accomplished attorney who has devoted a 20-year legal career to public service and public interest law. A member of the bar in Rhode Island and Virginia, Melissa has advised and counseled leaders and decision-makers on a variety of complex issues, including rights and responsibilities under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act and other civil rights laws. Melissa began her career in the Virginia courts: she served first as law clerk to the Honorable Marcus D. Williams of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit of Virginia, and later as a civil litigator for Fairfax County, practicing primarily in the Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court. After relocating to Providence in 1999, Melissa represented indigent parents in their appeals to the Rhode Island Supreme Court from orders terminating their parental rights. Committed to justice, public service and strong communities, Melissa is a proven leader who has managed teams, programs and budgets with solid results and positive public outcomes. Throughout her career she has worked with diverse individuals and groups to build consensus and solve problems. A Washington, D.C., native, Melissa is the daughter of two U.S. Army veterans who married six months before the Supreme Court decided Loving v. Virginia, the landmark case that struck down Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage. Ms. Long grew up on and near military bases in El Paso, Texas; Alexandria, Virginia; Schweinfurt, Germany; and Seoul, South Korea. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia and earned her law degree at the George Mason University School of Law. She and her family reside in Providence, RI.

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Christopher Maher
Superintendent-in-Residence, Cambiar Education christophernmaher@gmail.com

Brenda Seagrave-Whittle
Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, Neighborhood Health Plan of RI bwhittle@nhpri.org

Brenda Seagrave-Whittle joined Neighborhood Health Plan of RI in 2001. She is currently the and is responsible for leading Marketing, Communications, Government Affairs and Community Relations. Additionally, she oversees Neighborhood’s commercial insurance plans offered through HealthSource RI. As part of her work, she served as the Principal Investor of Hablamos Juntos a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant to improve language services for the Latino population in Rhode Island. Prior to joining Neighborhood, Brenda served as the Covering Kids Hospital Coordinator at St. Joseph Hospital in Providence, RI and the Manager of Social Services at Thundermist in Woonsocket, RI. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Rhode Island College and has been an active member of many organizations and boards. Brenda and her husband Shelly have two children, Sarah and Sean, and a grandson Jack.

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Andrew S. Viens
Managing Director, Bain Capital, LP aviens@baincapital.com

Andy joined Bain Capital in 2005. He is a Managing Director, Chairman of the Risk & Oversight Committee, and a Valuation Committee member. In his capacity as the Global Head of Operations, Andy is responsible for leading the strategy and infrastructure supporting trade allocation and settlement, data management, reconciliation, document management, valuation and investor relations operations functions for the firm’s Credit, Public Equity and Partnership Strategies businesses. Previously, Andy was the Director of Treasury Operations at Investors Bank & Trust where he was responsible for all operations activities related to securities lending, foreign exchange, cash management and MBS portfolio functions. Andy received his B.A. in Economics from Assumption College. Andy and his wife Suzanne reside in Dover, MA with their son Riley and daughters Reagan and Rowan.

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Kasim J. Yarn
Director, Rhode Island Office of Veterans Affairs Kasim.Yarn@vets.ri.gov

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