Major Gifts Officer, Save the Bay
Joan Abrams is a Public Member of the Board of the Federation of State Humanities Councils and is past Chair of the Board for Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. She has chaired the Governance Committee, the Development Committee, and the ad hoc Communications Committee. Joan’s previous term on the Humanities Council board ended in March 2017.
In addition to her work with the Humanities Council, Abrams is Major Gifts Officer at Save the Bay. She has served as special projects consultant to the Community College of Rhode Island and other not-for-profit organizations. She is retired from Simmons College in Boston, MA, where she served as Professor of Practice and Director of the Masters in Communications Management. She is past President of the Board of Directors for Save the Bay, where she co-chaired their Capital Campaign, and has been a Trustee and Co-Chair of the President’s Leadership Council. Joan was a board member and President of both Festival Ballet and Blithewold Mansions. Currently, she serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where she earned her Master’s in Public Administration. She has also been named to the Board of Governors of Higher Education for the three Rhode Island state colleges and has been a member of the Foundation Board of Women & Infants Hospital. Joan was named Rhode Island’s Philanthropic Citizen of the Year in 2010 and was recently named to the Board of Directors of the Newport Art Museum.
Chief Legal Counsel, Rhode Island Department of Health
Kenny Alston began his legal career over 20 years ago in New York City. After practicing for more than six years in the corporate department of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae, LLP (an internationally recognized law firm), he landed successive in-house positions at publicly traded companies, focusing on corporate, transactional, and securities regulatory matters (the first, a real estate investment trust eventually purchased by Deutsche Bank; and the second, Weight Watchers International, Inc.).
After 12 years of maximizing shareholder profits, Kenny shifted gears and found different professional challenges in politics and government. He staffed the gubernatorial campaign of then-Senator Lincoln D. Chafee, was hired as a legal counsel for Governor-elect Chafee in the fall of 2010 and, after several promotions to key legal and policy roles in the administration, was selected as Governor Chafee’s Chief of Staff in February 2014. Kenny currently serves the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), the State’s sole, consolidated public health agency, as Chief Legal Counsel. He oversees RIDOH’s entire legal function, comprising a varied portfolio of internal and external compliance; subject matter advocacy; representation of the agency and certain of its health-related boards in administrative hearings; contract review and management; legislative and regulatory surveillance, drafting, negotiation, and modification; and first chairing litigation matters (from Family to Supreme Court). Kenny is a graduate of Brown University and The University of Chicago Law School. A member of the Rhode Island and New York bars, in his free time, he enjoys singing the baritone part, deconstructing cultural phenomena, and flipping through stacks of post-1985, pre-2000 white label vinyl.
Reenie Barrow is a photographer who has displayed her work in more than 100 US and international exhibits, including shows at the Association of International Photography Dealers in New York City, Art Institute of Chicago, the International Center of Photography in New York City, the Cuban Center for Photography, Havana, Cuba, and the Zappion National Gallery in Athens, Greece. In addition, numerous private and corporate collections (among them Reader’s Digest, IBM, Fidelity Investments, Connecticut Bank and Trust and the Art Institute of Chicago) permanently house Barrow’s photographs. Among the honors Barrow has received is the Kostas Macadonias Award from the Ministry of Culture of Greece and the Hellenic Center of Photography. It is presented every two years to four individuals “for their contribution to Hellenic photography and to the culture of Greece through photography.” Her book of photography and poetry, The Wreath of Dreams, Visions of Greek Villages, was published by Kastaniotis Editions, Athens, Greece. Since moving to Rhode Island in 1989, Barrow has become involved in community and statewide organizations and has been actively involved in fundraising for several causes. She has served on a variety of boards: the Bristol Art Museum, as well as being the curator of exhibitions; Blithewold Mansion, Gardens, and Arboretum; the Art League of Rhode Island; and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, RI. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, Barrow resides in Bristol, RI.
Phoebe Bean, MLS
Librarian, Rhode Island Historical Society
Phoebe Bean has diverse experience centered on the production and organization of information. She worked as a research analyst for companies including Jupiter Communications and Gartner Management Consulting before receiving her Masters of Library and Information Science in 2003 from the University of Rhode Island. Since then, she has worked at the Robinson Research Center of the Rhode Island Historical Society in Providence, where she is now Librarian and responsible for the extensive collection of early Rhode Island imprints, rare books, and manuscripts. She is Past-President of the John Russell Bartlett Society, the Consortium of Rhode Island Academic & Research Libraries (CRIARL), and the RI Center for the Book. Bean also serves on the board of the Friends of the Brown University Library and is a professional member of the Rhode Island Library Association (RILA), New England Archivists (NEA) and the American Printing History Association (APHA). She is a certified craftsman in traditional, hand bookbinding having studied with Daniel Knowlton of Bristol, RI.
Exhibitions Curator, John Hay Library, Brown University
Tiffini Bowers is an award-winning museum curator with over 15 years of experience. She is currently the Exhibitions Curator at the John Hay Library at Brown University. Tiffini has worked with numerous museums, cultural institutions, and entertainment organizations including the Smithsonian Institution, Hermosa Beach Historical Society, Hollywood Black Film Festival, Autry/Southwest Museum of the American Indian, and the California African American Museum. In addition to libraries, Tiffini has a love of synchronized swimming, film, and culinary history. She received her Master of Arts in History-Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program.
Winnie Brownell, PhD
Dean Emerita of the College of Arts and Sciences, University of Rhode Island (Retired July 2017)
Professor of Communication Studies Winifred Brownell received her BA, MA, and PhD from SUNY Buffalo. At URI, she served as professor of communication studies, and as associate dean, interim dean, and, from 1999-2017, as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. She was an ACE Fellow at the University of Utah and the first URI scholar to visit the People’s Republic of China to begin faculty and student exchanges with key universities. She received the URI Foundation Teaching Excellence Award, the Association of Academic and Professional Women “Woman of the Year” Award, the Lambda Pi Eta Richard E. Bailey Service Award for Excellence in the Art of Human Communication, the Multicultural Center Administrative Excellence Award, the Rhode Island International Film Festival Producer’s Circle Award, the Wild Women of South County Award for leadership in higher education, the Dream Maker Award from the RI Film and TV Office, and the Leadership Award from the National Security Education’s National Language Flagship. Her publications include essays in Communication Monographs, Communication Quarterly, Personnel Journal, Communication Research Reports, The Encyclopedia of Aging, Discourse, the Online Journal of Global Engineering Education, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Energy, Befriending Death, and The Gerontologist, and other edited collections. In 1974–75, she coordinated the URI Honors Colloquium on “Aging, Dying and Death.” In 1996, she co-coordinated the John Hazen White Sr. Honors Colloquium on “Mortal Questions.” She helped launch the Beaupre Hope and Heritage Fund, the Harrington School of Communication and Media, the Social Science Institute for Research, Education and Policy, the Chinese, Film/Media and Gender and Women’s Studies Programs, and helped to sustain and enhance the International Engineering Program and the Center for the Humanities. She was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Alpha Psi Omega, and the Golden Key Honor Societies. In 2018, the RI International Film Festival was dedicated to her for her contributions to higher education, film industry and film education.
C. Alexander Chiulli, Esq
Attorney at Law, Barton Gillman LLP
C. Alexander Chiulli is an attorney at Barton Gilman LLP, a litigation firm with offices in Boston, Providence, and New York. Chiulli provides legal counsel to individuals, emerging businesses, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions with respect to intellectual property, Internet law, privacy and information law, entrepreneurship, and the First Amendment as well as education law, general liability, employment, contract, and corporate matters. In 2013, Chiulli graduated from Suffolk Law School, with distinction in the area of intellectual property and received Suffolk Law’s Stanley W. Sokoloff Intellectual Property Award. He was a judicial intern for the Rhode Island Superior Court, assisting the Honorable Judith Savage. Upon graduating, Chiulli served as a judicial law clerk for the Rhode Island Superior Court, assisting the Honorable Sarah Taft-Carter, the Honorable Luis Matos, and the Honorable Brian Van Couyghen. Prior to law school, Chiulli worked for a range of businesses, from Fortune 500 to start-up, in the areas of business development, project management, and research. A native of the Edgewood area of Cranston, Rhode Island, Chiulli graduated from Cranston High School East in 2000. He obtained a BS in Business Administration from Fairfield University in Connecticut in 2004.
Elaine B. Fain, MD
Physician and Community Volunteer
Dr. Elaine Fain is a native of Providence, RI. A graduate of Classical High School, she started her career as an environmental health specialist in New York before changing her career path to internal medicine. Initially employed at RI Hospital and Women & Infants Hospital, she entered private practice in the Providence area in 1988, retiring in 2015. She now volunteers at the RI Free Clinic. She is a recipient of a Woman of the Year Award from RI Medical Women’s Association (RIMWA) and a Community Service Award from the American Medical Women’s Association and served on the medical faculty at Brown University. Dr. Fain is involved with numerous civic and charitable organizations in RI. She has served as the President and remains active on the Boards of both RIMWA and the Classical High School Alumni Association. She is past President of her class at Brown and Global Alliance for Immunization against AIDS, past Vice-President of The Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School. She received her MD degree from Columbia University, MSc from Harvard School of Public Health, and BA from Brown University. Dr. Fain and her husband Barry reside in Providence.
Michael R. Fein, PhD
Associate Dean, College of Arts & Sciences, Johnson & Wales University
Michael R. Fein is Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and Professor of History at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. Fein is the author of Paving the Way: New York Road Building and the American State, 1880-1956, which earned awards from the Public Works Historical Society and the New York State Department of Education. He has presented his research on the politics of American infrastructure at over a dozen national and international conferences. His work on U.S. transportation policy, radio regulation, and Boston’s “Big Dig” has appeared in the Journal of Urban History, the Journal of Planning History, and the Journal of Policy History. Before joining the faculty at Johnson & Wales, he taught at Babson College and Brandeis University and served as a Research Associate at Harvard Business School. He received his BA in History from Columbia University and earned his PhD in American History from Brandeis University, where he was a Crown Fellow. He was also selected as a Miller Center Fellow in Contemporary History, Public Policy, and American Politics by the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. A native of Connecticut, he lives in Massachusetts and has worked in Providence since 2007.
Touba Ghadessi, PhD, Chair
Associate Provost for Academic Administration and Faculty Affairs, Wheaton College
Touba Ghadessi, PhD, is Associate Provost for Academic Administration and Faculty Affairs at Wheaton College. She is the co-founder of the Wheaton Institute for the Interdisciplinary Humanities (WIIH). In 2016, Ghadessi also joined the Board of Directors of the Providence Athenaeum. She has been awarded grants to study at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris), to conduct archival research in Paris, Florence, and Rome, and to participate in the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique’s sponsored seminars in Paris. Her recently published book, Portraits of Human Monsters in the Renaissance, focuses on the ways in which human difference has been historically represented, categorized, and interpreted in various Italian and French courts of the Renaissance. Her new research addresses theoretical constructs of monstrosity, as well as gender fluidity in images of French Valois rulers. Ghadessi received her Bachelor’s degree from Trinity University and her Master’s and PhD from Northwestern University.
Nationally Syndicated Columnist
Froma Harrop is a nationally syndicated columnist. Her twice-a-week column has over 100 subscribers, including The Seattle Times, Newsday, Denver Post, Arizona Republic and RealClearPolitics. She is represented by Creators Syndicate in Los Angeles. Harrop is also a contributor to CNN Opinion. Writing on politics, culture and economics, Harrop has been honored by the Loeb Awards and National Society of Newspaper Columnists. She has received five awards from the New England Associated Press News Executives Association. Harrop is a former president of the Association of Opinion Journalists. A graduate of New York University, she lives in Providence, RI, and New York City.
Gina McDonald, CPA, Treasurer
Lead Consultant, Fiscal Management Associates
Gina McDonald CPA, Treasurer, is a graduate of Rhode Island College with Bachelor’s degrees in both Accounting and Spanish. In Gina’s 17-year public accounting career, she specialized in accounting and consulting for nonprofits, health care organizations and municipalities in Rhode Island. Currently, working for Fiscal Management Associates, McDonald works with nonprofits throughout New England, specifically striving to build capacity in the finance department. In addition, she is a regular instructor for the Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional Course (CNAP), the only nationally recognized certification program for nonprofit accounting professionals.
Kenneth C. Newman
Kenneth C. Newman is an independent consultant working with nonprofit organizations, foundations, and government entities. Newman focuses on development, board development, strategic planning, and risk analysis for groups situated in Rhode Island, California, and Mexico City. Newman is a current member of the Advisory Board of Common Cause and the University of Rhode Island College of Arts and Sciences and past board member of the Jamestown Arts Center.
Julie Nora, PhD, Vice-Chair
Director, International Charter School
Julie Nora has been Director of the International Charter School in Pawtucket, Rhode Island since 2003. Prior to that appointment, she worked as a teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in a several educational settings spanning K-16 and as an applied researcher at the Education Alliance at Brown University. Her books include No More Low Expectations for English Learners and The Organization of Learning in a 7th/8th Grade ESL Social Studies Classroom. Her work has also been published in One Classroom, Many Learners: Best Practices for Today’s Multilingual Learners. She is a member of Rhode Island College President Sanchez’s Inclusive Education Commission and has served on the Governor’s Funding Formula Working Group, the Governor’s Task Force on Diversity in STEM Education, and the Commissioner’s Education Equity Task Force, among other commissions. Nora is a graduate of UC Berkeley with a degree in US Intellectual History, received a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from San Francisco State University and a PhD in Education, specializing in Language, Literacy and Culture from the University of Rhode Island/Rhode Island College. Originally from California, Nora has lived in Rhode Island for the past 20 years.
Jean Patiky, Secretary
Fundraising Consultant, RI Chamber Music Concerts, Manton Avenue Project, RI Philharmonic Music School
Jean Patiky is an artist, community leader and educator. She is an Exhibiting Artist Member of the Providence Art Club, an Artist Member of the Rhode Island Watercolor Society, and a past-member of the Providence Rotary Club. Before moving to Providence in 2007, Jean lived in Miami, FL, where she served as a facilitator and a Board Member for Miami’s Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Miami Program for nearly a decade. As Program Director for Miami’s oldest synagogue, she created “Mending Miami,” which helped to rebuild 17 sites damaged in Hurricane Andrew. In 2000, she launched “Patiky Hand-Signed Art Cards”. Her art cards are currently sold in museums shops, hotels, and purchased as corporate gifts. She worked for Burdines, a Federated Department Store, as their Corporate Consultant and she chaired “Women in Business” at the Banker’s Club. In 1996, Jean co-produced “The Magic of Miami” a special section for Forbes Magazine. With a degree in art education from Pennsylvania State University, Jean taught in the Newton, MA Public Schools and administered and taught in the Continuing Education Arts Program at Miami-Dade College. Jean and her husband Mark, a pilot, photographer and journalist have resided in Providence for the past fourteen years. Recently, she has had an active exhibition schedule and has donated her paintings to support Art Connection RI, as well as many other local nonprofit fundraisers. This year, Jean was invited to exhibit her paintings, “Windows on Rhode Island”, in the Washington, DC office of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse to showcase the art of the Ocean State. Presently, she serves as a Trustee of the Paul Cuffee School where she weekly volunteers in its art program.
James P. Riley
James P. Riley is the retired Secretary Treasurer of United Food and Commercial Workers’ Union Local 328. Jim began his career in the labor movement in 1974 as a meat cutter for Stop and Shop. He went to work full time for UFCW in 1984 as an international representative. He came to Rhode Island in 1997 to help organize workers and represent his local union as a lobbyist and advocate for RI’s working families. As a board member of Justice Assistance, Jim helps advocate for victims of crimes and offender rehabilitation programs. Jim is the “Official Voice” of the Providence St. Patrick’s Day Parade. He is also on the Occupational and Environmental Health Center of RI as board chair and a member of the RI Labor History Society. Prior to being selected for the Council on the Humanities, Jim served two terms on the State’s Council on the Arts. He has also been involved in fundraising efforts for the ALS Association of RI, to which he was awarded the 2017 Advocate of the Year Award. Of all his fundraising activities, Jim is most proud of his efforts on behalf of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Along with his equally hardworking UFCW team, he has helped to raise over $1,000,000 to date. In 2018, he was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame. In his spare time, Jim is an accomplished pen and ink and watercolor artist. His work can be seen in the Rhode Island Governor’s office, the RI AFL-CIO, and several union headquarters across the state.
Rebecca R. Riley
Philanthropic Advisor/Community Volunteer
Rebecca Riley worked for nearly twenty years as Program Director and Vice President at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago. During her tenure she oversaw multi-million dollar grantmaking initiatives focused on community development, urban policy and regional planning, and advancing the arts and cultural institutions. After retiring from MacArthur in 2000, Riley has consulted with national corporations and foundations. She has been an active trustee on many nonprofit boards and continues on the Board of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in Washington, DC. From 2011-2015, Riley joined her husband, US Ambassador to ASEAN, in Jakarta, Indonesia, and traveled and worked throughout Southeast Asia. She currently volunteers for projects in Myanmar, Chicago and Rhode Island. Between schooling at Ohio University and Indiana University, she spent four years as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia, West Africa. Riley shares stewardship for an early 18th century house and landscape in Tiverton, RI.
Director, Quality Assurance Management at Fidelity Investments
John Simmonds has played several roles in his career including software engineer, project manager, systems analyst, and software development manager, working in the chemical manufacturing, pharmaceutical, insurance and financial industries. He joined Fidelity Investments in 2006. Mr. Simmonds earned his Bachelors degree from the University of Rochester, his MBA from Pace University and his Project Management Certification from George Washington University.
Planning Director, Town of Cumberland
Jonathan Stevens is an urban planner. He was the governor’s special projects director (2011-15), and served as policy director for Senator Lincoln Chafee. His municipal experience includes planning director of Warwick and Cumberland; he has also served as Newport’s economic development director. Jonathan has a passion for celebrating American history and culture. He initiated the 350th anniversary celebration of Rhode Island’s 1663 Colonial Charter, and directed a team that created a new Charter Museum in the Statehouse. He organized the Newport World Heritage Committee, to promote pre-Colonial Rhode Island as the first society founded on the principles of freedom of religion, separation of church and state and locally-elected government. As State Historic Preservation Officer, Stevens helped craft the “Creative and Cultural Economy Bond,” which provided $35M for performing arts centers and historic restoration projects. He produced the design and installation of the iconic “Discover Beautiful Rhode Island” gateway signs and murals featuring original artwork of David Macaulay, Gretchen Dow Simpson and Anthony Russo within Rhode Island’s Interstate system. Stevens earned a BA in American History from Boston University, a Masters in Community Planning from the University of Rhode Island.
Don E. Wineberg
Partner, Chace Ruttenberg & Freedman, LLP
Don Wineberg leads Chace Ruttenberg & Freedman’s health law practice. He has extensive expertise in mergers, acquisitions and affiliations, joint venture structuring, HMO and preferred provider relations, governance, fraud and abuse compliance, antitrust compliance, medical staff relations, HIPAA compliance, information technology contracting, physician recruitment, reimbursement, general counsel issues and tax exemption. Don has been practicing Health Law for over thirty years. He received his degree in Health and Society with honors from Brown University and graduated from Washington and Lee Law School cum laude. Don is active in community affairs, including Board service on Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, The Guttmacher Institute, Rhode Island Public Radio, Acadia Center, Festival Ballet Providence, Trinity Repertory Company, the Jamestown Zoning Board of Review, the Jamestown Wind Energy Committee, Conanicut Yacht Club and HealthSource RI. He is currently serving as Chair of Acadia Center and has previously served as Commodore of Conanicut Yacht Club and Chair of Festival Ballet Providence, the HealthSource RI Expert Advisory Committee, the Jamestown Wind Energy Committee and Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island.