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Our Staff

 

Caroline Gangji

Executive Director

Caroline joined The Village Common of RI in September, 2021. Prior to this, she served as the Acting Executive Director at Age-Friendly RI, where she worked on issues important to Rhode Islanders as we age, including transportation, housing, food & nutrition, social isolation, civic engagement, supports to remain at home, healthcare, and outdoor spaces.

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Her previous experience includes senior hospital administration, healthcare consulting, and volunteering in various sectors. Caroline has a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration, an MBA, and a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy. She hosts the weekly Age-Friendly Rhode Island Radio Hour, which focuses on issues affecting our aging population and enabling Rhode Islanders to live an independent and meaningful life as we age, on AM790. Caroline also chairs the Age-Friendly RI Social Isolation Work Group.

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Our Board


Anne Connor 
Board President 

In 2015, a friend invited me to an information session where we first learned about the village movement. As newcomers to Providence, Sean and I were able to meet other like-minded adults in this community of mutual support. I was elected Secretary of the Board in 2016.

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My career has been varied: children’s librarian, legal administrator and paralegal. I attended college in the Midwest and received my MA at Columbia University. Community service is part of my family’s DNA so volunteerism has always been important. In addition to being on The Village Common Board (Secretary) and Fundraising Committee co-chair, I have served as former President of the Prudential Committee at The First Unitarian Church of Providence. I have been a public school mentor and library associate. I was elected a 2012 CD1 Delegate to the Democratic Convention.

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Wendy Oliver 
Board President Elect 

In 2015, I was part of the group of people who helped found the Providence Village. It was a busy time, and we had a lot of public meetings where we explained the village concept to all who attended. Many people were enthusiastic about this new endeavor. Now, I am amazed at how one Village has become four, with more in formation.

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I currently live in Oak Hill with my husband Cy O’Neil; we have a daughter, Shannon, who lives in Philadelphia, and a son, Lincoln, who lives in Oakland, California. Much of my career has been as a professor at Providence College, teaching dance and women’s & gender studies. In addition to teaching, I direct and choreograph for our student dance company, and do research on dance and dance education, which has resulted in several publications including books and articles. My leadership experience includes serving for 18 years as the Chair of the Dept. of Theatre, Dance, and Film, and as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Dance Education for seven years until the end of 2020.

Ever since our village began, I have served as the editor of its newsletter, which later became the Village Common Newsletter. I enjoy creating something each month that is useful and interesting for our members and volunteers, and am happy to have so many folks contributing to this collaborative effort. I am also co-chairing the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of the Village Common with Marcus Mitchell. I look forward to joining the Board and furthering the work of the Village Common.

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Suzanne Francis 
Past President  

My first encounter with the Village Movement was an article about the launch of the Beacon Hill Village in Boston. I was fascinated by the idea. A decade or so later, I attended an information session for a Village in Providence. I was “hooked” on the Village concept and was determined to be actively involved. I became a board member in 2017 and was elected an Officer in 2018.

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My work life includes jobs in the public, not-for-profit and private sectors – starting with three years at the Urban Redevelopment Authority in Pittsburgh after college. Later my husband and I moved to Rochester, MN, where I started and ran two innovative childcare programs. Those experiences led me to the Yale School of Management to learn more about managing organizations. I joined Xerox Corporation as part of a new business start-up and later worked for the Xerox Foundation, with responsibility for funding Community and Women’s Programs. In 1986 I joined Schaffer Consulting in Stamford, CT and spent nearly 30 years working with large and small organizations to plan and implement complex changes. Being a Village member, volunteer and member of the Board during the creation of the Village Common has been an exciting way to start my retirement.

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Bill Richardson 
Board Treasurer

 

I first learned of the Village Common concept from a friend. Subsequently, I became involved in with the Village in Barrington, where I have helped Individuals in the community with various tax issues.

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Family:

My wife, Janet, and I have three children including twins. We lived in Montreal after marriage, until 1984. We have lived in Barrington since coming to the United States in 1984. Our children continue to live in nearby states.

Education:

I graduated from McGill University in the Chartered Accountant (CA) program after completing my undergraduate degree. I completed the requirements for the Chartered Accountants certification at Coopers & Lybrand in Montreal.

Work:

Since obtaining my CA degree, I have worked with many private individuals and/or entities in different industries in Canada, the United States, and Europe on projects involving the management and/or restructuring of their affairs. My work brought me to the United States in 1984, where I continued to the same type of work.

Special Skills:

I like to work with individuals to acquire information, structure and record that information, so that clients may manage their affairs on a timely basis. At this point in my life, I focus primarily on tax and accounting issues.

Other Interests:

I enjoy music from the early fifties through the seventies. I also enjoy photography.

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Laurel Holmes, MSW

Board Member 

I have been intrigued by examples of mutual aid in community for many years and the Village concept is a strong demonstration of how people together can create supports they need to live fully throughout their life.

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Over 10 years ago, I was part of a small group that created a village in my area of southeastern CT and now by virtue of my work, I am again a part of establishing a village in Westerly.
Currently I hold the role of director of Community Partnerships/Population Health for Lawrence + Memorial and Westerly Hospitals, of Yale New Haven Health System. I am committed to social justice, health equity, anti-racism, and improved community health and am part of a team that leads partnerships with residents and community organizations to address community concerns. I am also responsible for the community health needs assessments and improvement plans’ activities and the reporting on community benefit commitment and program direction for various grant-funded initiatives for both hospitals. In previous roles, I have worked for an arts organization and a statewide political organization. As a volunteer I have served All Souls Unitarian Universalist congregation, the New London Community Meal Center, Habitat for Humanity, and various professional and arts organizations. My refuge is a small house and big garden in Mystic, CT which I share with my husband Doug and daughter Ella.

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Lorraine Keeney

Board Member

I saw a number of flyers posted around Barrington in 2019 which drew me to a focus group on aging. The rest is history; over the next several months Providence Village members came to share their excitement, experience and expertise. I became a member of the steering committee to explore creation of a Village in Barrington and a representative to the committee developing the statewide Village Common. In January 2020 I was pleased to be invited to join the Village Common Board.

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I have varied experience developing, administering, researching, and evaluating humanities, interdisciplinary and educational programs. I taught elementary school after UC Berkeley graduate school and researched curricula, vocational training programs and networking at the Far West Laboratory in San Francisco. In the 1970’s I moved to DC and then Rhode Island and worked at Brown’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform and the John Nicholas Brown Center. At URI I was Program Manager for SNAP-Ed and coordinated the Fall 2001 Honors Colloquium on Sustainability. I have participated and led programs for Life Long Learning and developed a writing/performance program, Scribing with Elders at Elmhurst Nursing Home.


I enjoy Mah Jong, quilting, reading and the beach. I look forward with much pleasure to further engagement with the Village community.

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Maureen Maigret

Board Member 

As a strong promoter of efforts to help older adults live in their communities of choice I was delighted when I heard about Boston’s Beacon Hill Village. I hoped a similar program would be started in RI and followed the start and progress of The Providence Village with great interest.

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In 2017, Patrick Mattingly and I served on a conference panel, for THE THIRD AGE: The Role of Faith-based Communities in Elder Care. Patrick talked about the Providence Village and I shared findings from the Report of the Aging in Community Subcommittee of the Long-Term Care Coordinating Council which I Chair. Subsequently, I met with Patrick and Suzanne Francis to hear about the exciting plans to create The Village Common and was thrilled when the state grant to help implement it was awarded. I am impressed with the success of the Providence Village and fully support efforts to bring the "village" model to other communities through The Village Common. As the state population grows older, this mission to help older adults to live safe and healthy at home is more important than ever. I look forward to working with Board members and JoEllen Mistarz your able Executive Director to promote, enhance and sustain this work.
My professional work began in the healthcare sector working for 20 years as a Registered Nurse. The Women’s Movement of the 1970’s inspired me to run for office which began my second career working in public policy. Elected for five-terms to the Rhode Island House of Representatives from Warwick, I was the first woman appointed to the position of Deputy Speaker and successfully sponsored numerous legislative measures to improve health and human services, to foster women’s equality and to make government more transparent. I worked for a number of state officials in the administrative and policy areas and was Director of the Department of Elderly Affairs. Since retiring from state service in 2006, I work as a consultant on aging and long-term care policy and have authored several reports on the state’s older population. Currently, I Co-Chair the Long-Term Care Coordinating Council. My volunteer work includes co-leading the Office of Healthy Aging’s digiAGE Collaborative and providing policy consultation to the Senior Agenda Coalition. In addition to my RN diploma, my education background includes a BS degree from RI College and an MPA degree from URI.

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Pat Mattingly 
Board Member 

I first heard about the Village Movement at a community gathering in late 2014, and got involved in early 2015 because it’s a good fit for my interest and experience.

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My wife Marcia and I have lived in Providence for 29 years, and previously lived in Boston, Seattle and Baltimore. Now retired for ten years, following 35 years in health care leadership roles in government and non-profit organizations - as senior executive in community health centers, integrated health systems, hospitals, health plans and medical groups. My underlying passion through this time has been health policy and planning to provide universal health coverage and care for all, and support patients in making healthcare decisions. So, as we grow older, supporting Village efforts to stay safe and healthy in our homes is a “no-brainer”.

When we are not out in the community on Village business, you can find us in our gardens near Benefit St in Providence or in the Hudson Valley town of Chatham, New York. We have learned that there are no mean people, only kindness and love in the garden.

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Jim Maxwell 
Board Member

I first heard about Providence Village in March 2015 when I attended an informational session about it. I was drawn to the mission of the Village, and based on my professional career prior to retirement,

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I judged I could provide support in a number of areas that would be valuable to the organization. I felt this work would be rewarding to me personally, and it has proven to be so. I was elected to the Providence Village Board in 2015 and elected as an officer in 2017.

I moved to Providence to join the senior staff of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) in September 1984 after having spent 14 years as a professor in the Department of Mathematics at Oklahoma State University. During my time at AMS, I managed the programs and services that the AMS provides to its 30,000 individual members primarily located at colleges and universities in the U.S., Canada and the rest of the developed world. Support of the governing boards and committees of the AMS, also a non-profit organization, was a major part of my responsibility.

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Susan McCalmont

Board Member 

I first heard about the Village Movement and the Providence Village at a brown bag lunch sponsored by the Life Long Learning Community. Afterwards I happened to catch the eye of a friend, a Providence Village member, who suggested I get involved and immediately signed me up as driver. That was 2015, and I’ve been a driver ever since.

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I also joined the effort in 2018 to develop a local village in Barrington. I serve on the Barrington Village Steering Committee and on the Village Common Board as Barrington Village’s representative.


I've lived in Rhode Island for 50 years, most of that time in Barrington. I'm retired now but worked over 30 years for the RI Supreme Court in charge of planning, an interesting role requiring a Master's Degree in Public Administration.


Since retirement I’ve had the opportunity to travel extensively, mostly for birdwatching. I’ve also been active in the community as a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate in Family Court, as the treasurer of the Barrington Democratic Town Committee, as a participant in the Life Long Learning Community, as a driver for the Providence Village and as an organizer in creating a Barrington Village.


My husband and I have two daughters who live on the other side of the country, Oregon and New Mexico. They are both in the health care field providing primary care to underserved populations. We wish they were closer but are glad they chose great places to visit and are doing such important work.

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Marcus Mitchell 
Board Member

 

Marcus Mitchell is the founder of a strategic solutions company with focus areas in crisis management, small business start-ups, continuity of operations and conflict resolution. He was appointed as RI AARP State President in 2022, serves on the Miriam Hospital Board of Trustees, and on the board of directors of Grow Smart RI, the Village Common, and the RI Environmental Educators Association. He is a Commissioner on the RI Commission for Human Rights and a member of the RI Statewide Planning Council.

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Marcus was the founding president of the Providence Community Library, the founding president of the National Urban League Young Professionals, which has dozens of chapters and thousands of members across the country, and president of Fellowship Farm, an historic international human relations training facility.

Marcus is co-author of more than 15 scientific publications during a twenty-year career as a cardiovascular sciences researcher; an editor of the book, “Biotechnology: Business, Regulation & Law”; and a staunch community advocate locally and nationally.

The Providence Village and now The Village Common, has been important to me since its early days. As a resident of Providence with a long-standing interest in the welfare of our community, I was eager to learn more about what this community of mutual support could do for older adults. Phil West invited me to join the Advisory Council several years ago and I’m pleased to be invited to join TVC’s Board this year. Recently, I agreed to co-chair the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee of the Board with Wendy Oliver.

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Peter Viner-Brown 
Board Member

 

I came across the Village Movement in 2017. The Providence Village was looking for volunteers as home helpers and drivers. I have really enjoyed getting to know the members, driving them around, and fixing things. I was elected to the Board in 2018 and elected Treasurer for the Village Common in 2019.

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After graduating from London University, I worked in power engineering in the UK. I arrived in the US in 1982 (my wife, Samara is from Rhode Island), got involved in wind power, and later in the growing field of information technology. I rounded out my working life by doing some teaching.

Also, along the way, Sam and I managed to raise our son, Tristan who is an aspiring performance artist living in Brooklyn, NY.

Retirement has enabled me to volunteer with Dorcas International, Inspiring Minds, Green Energy Consumer Alliance, School One and the Village Common. I like to keep busy!

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Our Advisory Council

Barry Fain

Kevin Hackman

Beverly Ledbetter
Lynette Lopes

Marcus Mitchell
Paula Parker

Herb Rakatansky

Janie Seguí Rodríguez

Corrine Carlisle Russo
Barbara Sokolof

Bill Twadell

Phil West