HENRIETTA WHITE-HOLDER  FOUNDER & CEO    Henrietta Tonia, a native Liberian, is a humanitarian/social entrepreneur/community builder, and passionate advocate for the disadvantaged and underserved. In 2008, with an unexpected “gift” of only $1,000, Henrie founded the non-profit NGO, Higher Ground International. Since then, Henrie has accomplished a lot with very little. In addition to lobbying to end the 14-year civil war in Liberia and helping to integrate and empower young refugees in Rhode Island, Higher Ground has brought clean water and sanitation to Liberia, with the installation of latrines and hand-pumps in rural villages in Arthington, Liberia.  In 2015, Henrie—who understands the power of a warm hug—opened the Rukiya (the Swahili word for “Rising Up/Progress”) Center on the South Side of Providence, RI. The Rukiya Center was the first venue of its kind in Providence to offer intergenerational programs, women and youth empowerment programs, the Sweetie Care Program for African immigrant and refugee elders, and workforce and literacy programs.

HENRIETTA WHITE-HOLDER

FOUNDER & CEO

Henrietta Tonia, a native Liberian, is a humanitarian/social entrepreneur/community builder, and passionate advocate for the disadvantaged and underserved. In 2008, with an unexpected “gift” of only $1,000, Henrie founded the non-profit NGO, Higher Ground International. Since then, Henrie has accomplished a lot with very little. In addition to lobbying to end the 14-year civil war in Liberia and helping to integrate and empower young refugees in Rhode Island, Higher Ground has brought clean water and sanitation to Liberia, with the installation of latrines and hand-pumps in rural villages in Arthington, Liberia.

In 2015, Henrie—who understands the power of a warm hug—opened the Rukiya (the Swahili word for “Rising Up/Progress”) Center on the South Side of Providence, RI. The Rukiya Center was the first venue of its kind in Providence to offer intergenerational programs, women and youth empowerment programs, the Sweetie Care Program for African immigrant and refugee elders, and workforce and literacy programs.

 CLIFF WOOD  BOARD CHAIR  Cliff is the Executive Director of the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy, a public-private partnership that manages Providence’s downtown public space. He is the Director of Public Advocacy for the Providence Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering economic development, sustained investment, and a vibrant neighborhood in downtown Providence. As a former Providence City Council member, Cliff served as Deputy Majority Leader and Chairman of the Committee on Public Education. A long-standing leader in Providence’s efforts to reimagine its downtown district, Cliff has previously held positions at Cornish Associates, a New Urbanist development company formed to rebuild Providence’s urban core, and was the founding director of Providence's Department of Art, Culture and Tourism, where he co-founded the Providence Sound Session music festival. Before moving to Providence in 1997, Cliff coordinated strategy for the US Climate Action Network to lobby for an effective international treaty on climate change. He is a proud father, a happy husband, and an avid, working musician.

CLIFF WOOD

BOARD CHAIR

Cliff is the Executive Director of the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy, a public-private partnership that manages Providence’s downtown public space. He is the Director of Public Advocacy for the Providence Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering economic development, sustained investment, and a vibrant neighborhood in downtown Providence. As a former Providence City Council member, Cliff served as Deputy Majority Leader and Chairman of the Committee on Public Education. A long-standing leader in Providence’s efforts to reimagine its downtown district, Cliff has previously held positions at Cornish Associates, a New Urbanist development company formed to rebuild Providence’s urban core, and was the founding director of Providence's Department of Art, Culture and Tourism, where he co-founded the Providence Sound Session music festival. Before moving to Providence in 1997, Cliff coordinated strategy for the US Climate Action Network to lobby for an effective international treaty on climate change. He is a proud father, a happy husband, and an avid, working musician.

 Pam Hanson Carbone – Vice Chair Board of Directors  Pam has been a real estate broker in Rhode Island for 26 years. She is the broker/owner of Domain Properties in Providence and loves every minute of helping her clients buy, sell and invest in real estate. Pam is a national property strategist and consults on projects in New York and Florida. In addition to that, she is an active leader in Realtor volunteer leadership at the local state and national levels and is the Rhode Island State chair of the Realtor Political Action Committee whose main purpose is to promote and safe guard private property rights for homeowners. Pam spent 20 years as a member of the Rhode Island Army National Guard's family support network during her husband's years of active service. She is a trained grant writer and working behind the scenes to help strengthen the mission and vital work of Higher Ground International has fast become one of her passions. A native of Sarasota, Florida, Pam loves the beach, county fairs, and truly enjoys the company of her peer-volunteers in advocacy and non- profit work.

Pam Hanson Carbone – Vice Chair Board of Directors

Pam has been a real estate broker in Rhode Island for 26 years. She is the broker/owner of Domain Properties in Providence and loves every minute of helping her clients buy, sell and invest in real estate. Pam is a national property strategist and consults on projects in New York and Florida. In addition to that, she is an active leader in Realtor volunteer leadership at the local state and national levels and is the Rhode Island State chair of the Realtor Political Action Committee whose main purpose is to promote and safe guard private property rights for homeowners. Pam spent 20 years as a member of the Rhode Island Army National Guard's family support network during her husband's years of active service. She is a trained grant writer and working behind the scenes to help strengthen the mission and vital work of Higher Ground International has fast become one of her passions. A native of Sarasota, Florida, Pam loves the beach, county fairs, and truly enjoys the company of her peer-volunteers in advocacy and non- profit work.

 JULIA NOGUCHI  BOARD SECRETARY  Julia is the Assistant Director of the Doctoring Program at Alpert Medical School of Brown University, where she runs the Community Mentor Program—a program that allows preclinical students to gain real-world experience with healthcare providers and their patients. Prior to coming to Brown, Julia worked as a Writer/Editor for Partners In Health, an international nonprofit that provides health care in resource-poor settings, and at Harvard Medical School, where she was a Research Coordinator in the Department of Social Medicine. Her interests include the socioeconomic determinants of health, immigrant/refugee access to health care, and food insecurity in urban areas. Married with three young, athletic boys, Julia’s extracurricular activities include driving for hours within a 5-mile radius. In the off-season, (which she has yet to experience), she enjoys small home improvement projects that she will one day see to completion, running outdoors, and writing of all kinds.

JULIA NOGUCHI

BOARD SECRETARY

Julia is the Assistant Director of the Doctoring Program at Alpert Medical School of Brown University, where she runs the Community Mentor Program—a program that allows preclinical students to gain real-world experience with healthcare providers and their patients. Prior to coming to Brown, Julia worked as a Writer/Editor for Partners In Health, an international nonprofit that provides health care in resource-poor settings, and at Harvard Medical School, where she was a Research Coordinator in the Department of Social Medicine. Her interests include the socioeconomic determinants of health, immigrant/refugee access to health care, and food insecurity in urban areas. Married with three young, athletic boys, Julia’s extracurricular activities include driving for hours within a 5-mile radius. In the off-season, (which she has yet to experience), she enjoys small home improvement projects that she will one day see to completion, running outdoors, and writing of all kinds.

 TOHIB GIWA  board treasurer  Tohib is an Accounting Manager at Hanna Instruments Inc., where he assists in achieving operational objectives by contributing accounting information and recommendations for consideration in strategic planning. He has also worked at KPMG as an audit associate, specifically in specialized audit areas such as cash, debt, insurance, and accounts payable, and in the Rhode Island Department of Transportation as a Senior Accountant. I

TOHIB GIWA

board treasurer

Tohib is an Accounting Manager at Hanna Instruments Inc., where he assists in achieving operational objectives by contributing accounting information and recommendations for consideration in strategic planning. He has also worked at KPMG as an audit associate, specifically in specialized audit areas such as cash, debt, insurance, and accounts payable, and in the Rhode Island Department of Transportation as a Senior Accountant. I

 MICHELLE REGO  BOARD MEMBER  Michelle is an Associate Professor of Marketing Communications at Johnson & Wales University, where she specializes in project-based learning. Prior to teaching at JWU, she was an adjunct professor at Northeastern University in Boston, MA and also held industry positions on both the corporate and agency sides of marketing. Michelle’s teaching philosophy centers around her passion for cultural diversity and service. She has worked with countless nonprofit and social venture organizations on a variety of social issues with her students.

MICHELLE REGO

BOARD MEMBER

Michelle is an Associate Professor of Marketing Communications at Johnson & Wales University, where she specializes in project-based learning. Prior to teaching at JWU, she was an adjunct professor at Northeastern University in Boston, MA and also held industry positions on both the corporate and agency sides of marketing. Michelle’s teaching philosophy centers around her passion for cultural diversity and service. She has worked with countless nonprofit and social venture organizations on a variety of social issues with her students.

 MACKENZIE L"MAREE  BOARD MEMBER  Mackenzie L’Maree is an Aussie native who has worked for 20 years in the motor industry, from receptionist to General Manager/CEO, operating three branches with 500 employees by her earlier retirement. In addition to her career in the motor industry, she has worked part-time as a model and has also dabbled in the entertainment industry.

MACKENZIE L"MAREE

BOARD MEMBER

Mackenzie L’Maree is an Aussie native who has worked for 20 years in the motor industry, from receptionist to General Manager/CEO, operating three branches with 500 employees by her earlier retirement. In addition to her career in the motor industry, she has worked part-time as a model and has also dabbled in the entertainment industry.

 BARBARA (barb) SILVIS  strategIC ADVISOR  Barbara J. Silvis is an active community volunteer, and serves the community in a number of capacities, including service on the boards of RI Kids Count, the RI State Council of Churches, and the Defiance College Board. She chairs the Public Policy Committee of the United Way of Rhode Island and is a member of the executive committee of Women United, RI Chapter.

BARBARA (barb) SILVIS

strategIC ADVISOR

Barbara J. Silvis is an active community volunteer, and serves the community in a number of capacities, including service on the boards of RI Kids Count, the RI State Council of Churches, and the Defiance College Board. She chairs the Public Policy Committee of the United Way of Rhode Island and is a member of the executive committee of Women United, RI Chapter.

 KATHY JELLISON  STRATEGIC ADVISOR

KATHY JELLISON

STRATEGIC ADVISOR

 kATHLEEN (TRINKI) BRUECKNER    Volunteer ESOL INSTRUCTOR    Kathleen (Trinki) Brueckner grew up on Long Island and graduated from Connecticut College with a degree in Government. She has lived in Rhode Island since 1971. Her employed positions have included: work-measurement analyst for Old Stone Bank, event manager for Barrington Books, and high school Spanish teacher.

kATHLEEN (TRINKI) BRUECKNER

Volunteer ESOL INSTRUCTOR

Kathleen (Trinki) Brueckner grew up on Long Island and graduated from Connecticut College with a degree in Government. She has lived in Rhode Island since 1971. Her employed positions have included: work-measurement analyst for Old Stone Bank, event manager for Barrington Books, and high school Spanish teacher.

 francine connelly  volunteer social workers intern supervisor

francine connelly

volunteer social workers intern supervisor

 barbara giancola  volunteer social workers intern supervisor

barbara giancola

volunteer social workers intern supervisor