Our Team

The Center For Women & Enterprise is here to help you.

When you become a CWE client, you have access to a wealth of resources to help you pursue your dreams of entrepreneurship and professional development. You also have the CWE team behind you, a group of professionals with deep experience in non-profit management, marketing and training.  

Susan Rittscher

President & CEO
srittscher@cweonline.org
(617) 532-0222

Susan has over 30 years of non-profit experience and 17 years of experience as a CEO. Most recently, Susan was director of Executive and Volunteer Development for the YMCA of the USA, with responsibility for educating and training the executive and volunteer leaders of the nation’s 2,600 YMCAs. Susan was formerly President and CEO of the Greater Providence YMCA, where she served for 12 years. While there, she led the first successful capital campaign in two decades and oversaw 200 percent growth as well as 88 percent growth in program and membership. Susan has held other key leadership roles, having served on the boards of the United Way, Leadership Rhode Island, Leadership Broward, the Junior League, University Club and in particular, the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island, where Rittscher worked to make the mission of the organization, “to advance equity and social justice for women and girls,” a reality. She holds a Master’s degree in Human Service Leadership and Management from Springfield College, and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Welfare from California State University, Chico.

Carmen Diaz-Jusino

Senior Director Program & Service Deliver
cdiazjusino@cweonline.org
401-427-6538

Carmen has been with the Center for Women & Enterprise, Providence office for the past five years. She has a diverse array of professional experience that includes an Educator, Community Resources Representative, Job Developer, Counselor for Teenagers, Spanish Interpreter and Manager. Carmen is also an entrepreneur having started a learning center in her home country, the Dominican Republic. Today she is the Program Director for the Center for Women & Enterprise in Providence, Rhode Island. Carmen was awarded by the U.S. Small Business Administration the “Women Business Champion” award in 2010 as well as the “Extraordinary Women” award in 2011 in the area of Business Development. Her dedication, hard working attitude, and innovative approach make her a known leader in the fields of business, women’s leadership and community development in Rhode Island.

Amy Grondin

Director of Finance & Administration

agrondin@cweonline.org
617-532-0242

Michelle "Mickey" A. Riendeau

Director of Communications, Systems & Operations
mriendeau@cweonline.org
617-532-0233

 

Michelle "Mickey" Riendeau has over twenty-five years of experience in communications, marketing, fund development, and project management. Her responsibilities at CWE are to lead the communications, special events, website, social media, operations, membership and enterprise enhancing projects. She comes to CWE from the International Tennis Hall of Fame where she was the Director of Membership and Annual Giving. During her time there, she created the “Members First” program with Lee Sessions Jr., and Hall of Famer, Donald Dell and the “Love this Game” campaign. Prior to that, she served at the YMCA of Greater Providence as the Vice President of Communications and Marketing and the Greater Boston YMCA as the Director of Communications and Special Events. Mickey has won numerous awards for her efforts including the Bell Ringer Merit Award for Online Multimedia from the Publicity Club of New England and the Golden Triangle Awards for Annuals Reports, Membership, Program Promotion, Videos, and Special Events. She holds a BA degree from Mount Union College in Ohio.

Patricia Blaise

Accounting Assistant
pblaise@CWEonline.org  
617-532-0234

Julie Dodge 

Marketing Manager
jdodge@cweonline.org
(617) 532-0234

Natasha Fevre

Grants Manager
nfevre@cweonline.org
617-532-0246

Natasha Fevre joined CWE in July 2012. She received a BA in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford, and decided to put her Russian skills to good use by moving to Moscow. Natasha started her career as the International Programs Coordinator for Language Link, Russia.  After nearly three years of coordinating marketing, logistics and database management for the International Programs department, she made the decision to further her education and expand her skill set. In October 2013, after over a year as the Program Coordinator for WBENC at CWE, Natasha moved to her new role as Grants Manager. Natasha is dedicated to the mission of CWE, and is a firm believer that the only way to achieve true equality is to educate and empower women to believe in their own capabilities.

Trini Gao

Administrative Assistant - Development
tgao@CWEonline.org  
617-532-0238

Trini graduated from Boston College in May 2016 with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Hispanic Studies.  As a student she worked with the Boston College Alumni Association as a Donations Agent, and became interested in non-profit and advocacy work through internships with Manos Unidas, an international NGO in Madrid, as well as with BELL, a national education non-profit in Boston. She was first drawn to CWE as she saw the importance of their work towards empowering and educating women to realize their full capabilities, and is dedicated to their mission of providing opportunities and assistance for women entrepreneurs and women in business.

Melinda Leon

Program Assistant - WBENC
mleon@CWEonline.org
617-532-0244

 

Kate O'Neill

Executive Assistant
koneill@cweonline.org
617-532-0257

Kate graduated from Northeastern University in 2010 with a BA in International Affairs and minor in Spanish. From 2011-2015 she worked as the Executive Assistant at the Off-the-Record Lecture Series of the Foreign Policy Association in NYC, where she gained experience in event coordination, Board management, and member relations. Kate’s previous internship experiences include working as an Editorial Intern at RESIST in Somerville, MA, and an English teacher at a university in Ankara, Turkey.

Jessica Yamas

Program Manager - WBENC
jyamas@cweonline.org 
617-532-0224

Jessica has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and been drawn towards the world of innovation and start-ups. After earning a B.A. in mathematics from Bucknell University, she opened her own café and ran it for four years. During this time, she gained invaluable experience in business operations, financial planning, sales, staff management, marketing and promotions, and events planning. She has managed over 80 employees, and planned over 200 events. Having served on various committees and then seeing a need for local business owners to have their own arena for discussions, she spearheaded a committee called, Owners-2-Owners. Besides her 15+ years in the restaurant industry, she also has professional experience in high net worth tax accounting, bookkeeping, auditing, budgeting, and office administration.

Jessica holds a Master of Business Administration degree (MBA) and a Master of Science in Accounting degree (MSA) from Northeastern University. She is thrilled to be joining the team at CWE in October 2013 as Program Coordinator, where she hopes to offer valuable support to women business owners during the WBENC certification process and beyond.

 

CWE Eastern Massachusetts - Women Business Center

Edwidge LaFleur

Program Manager - Eastern MA
elafleur@cweonline.org
617-532-0254

Edwidge Lafleur has over 15 years of experience in business development, and project management working for organizations such as Harvard Medical International (HMI), and Action Aid. She came to CWE to support the organization’s growth and its successful delivery and administration of community-based programs.  She holds a degree in Development Economics and International Relations from the University of Miami. She’s fluent in 4 languages: French, English, Spanish and Haitian Creole.

Michelle Miller

Program Manager - Community Services
mmiller@cweonline.org
617-532-0248

Michelle holds a B.A. in International Development and Social Change from Clark University.  She has managed economic development and rehabilitation programs in Massachusetts as well as in Colombia, Peru, and Nicaragua.  These programs assisted victims of conflict in rebuilding their lives, providing such services as prosthetic donation and fitting, psychosocial rehabilitation, and microfinance.  In addition, for four years she ran a fair trade café, where she helped to shed light on working conditions in South America and provided vocational training to people with disabilities.  Most recently, Michelle worked with families experiencing homelessness in Greater Boston.  Her role was to educate and empower heads of household to secure fulfilling employment.  Michelle has a passion for entrepreneurship and building bridges to success, particularly for low-income women. 

Madeleine Lutts

Program Assistant - Eastern Massachusetts
mlutts@cweonline.org
617-532-0225

Program Assistant - Eastern Massachusetts617-532-0225

Madeleine joined the CWE team in October 2015. She graduated from Clark University with a BA in International Relations and an MS in Communications. Prior to joining CWE, she worked part-time as a Marketing Assistant in finance and has taken on a wide range of communications projects for non-profits, including research, analysis, and event planning. While in graduate school, she worked at the YMCA of Central MA, where she realized her desire to thrive in an organization working to improve the lives of those in her community.  She is passionate about helping others, and understands the value of education and networking on the path to entrepreneurship. Madeleine’s values line up well with CWE’s mission. She is proud and excited to be supporting gender equality in the workforce at the source by helping women become financially independent self-starters, and successful community business owners and leaders.

CWE Central Massachusetts - Women Business Center

Lori Allen

Program Manager - Central Massachusetts
lallen@cweonline.org
508-453-9206

Lori joined CWE in August 2010 and has served in both development and program roles.  She has 20 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector for organizations such as the Maine Development Foundation and the Boston Children’s Museum. She has secured grant funding and managed projects for a range of economic and community development initiatives including downtown revitalization programs, technical assistance for small business owners, and municipal infrastructure projects. She came to CWE to support the organization’s growth and its commitment to helping women entrepreneurs succeed. She holds a BA from the University of Hartford and an MPA from the University of Memphis.

 

Samantha "Sam" Pevear

Program Assistant - Central Massachusetts
spevear@CWEonline.org 
508-453-9209


CWE New Hampshire Center - Women Business Center

Carmen Diaz-Jusino

Senior Director Program & Service Delivery
cdiazjusino@cweonline.org
401-427-6538

TBD

Program Assistant - New Hampshire

603-318-7583

CWE Rhode Island Center - Women Business Center

Mary Gervais

Program Manager - Rhode Island

mgervais@cweonline.org

401-427-6532

Mary has over 20 years experience in management, business development, marketing, strategic planning and consulting across multiple industries, including retail, travel, culinary, pharmaceutical, higher education, and nonprofit.  She has been recognized with several President’s Club awards.  Mary is multilingual having studied and worked abroad in Bolivia, Spain, Sweden and Puerto Rico. She holds a MBA in Management and Strategy from Western Governors University and a B.A. in International Business from Russell Sage College.  An ardent entrepreneur, Mary owned and operated a retail/wholesale bakery café for 7 years in Maryland.  During this time the Entrepreneur Council of Frederick County named Mary an “Entrepreneurial Standout”. She has a passion for helping women and girls succeed. As Program Manager in Providence, Mary is using her leadership skills to make sure other women have opportunities to reach their full potential.

Lina Valesco

Program Assistant - Rhode Island

lvalesco@CWEonline.org

401-427-6530

CWE Vermont - Women Business Center

Gwen Pokalo

Program Manager - Vermont
gpokalo@cweonline.org
802-391-4871

In 2016, Gwen Pokalo joined CWE’s exciting tradition of developing & delivering high quality programming and technical assistance to women in business. Gwen has worked in local economic development in a variety of capacities and environments. She holds an MS in Community Development & Economic Development from the University of Vermont, where she developed a microbusiness incubator to assist emerging Vermont value-added-food and artisan entrepreneurs through a retail store and academic technical assistance model. She owns a small business consulting firm offering business plan and pitch writing, finance and operation strategy support, and delivering marketing presentations. Most recently, Gwen worked as Director of the Women’s Small Business Program. While there, she further developed the 25-year-old organization to expand offerings in business planning, personal finance, and networking. She held a contract with the Vt Small Business Development providing one-on-one technical assistance to nascent and early-growth stage entrepreneurs. She has taught entrepreneurship and business skills at a variety of institutions, including the University of Vermont, Green Mountain College, the Community College of Vermont, and the Governor’s Institute of Vermont. Gwen has also worked in rural development research, human services, and brief stints in Honduras and Costa Rica.

Larissa Del Rosso Rayher

Program Assistant - Vermont
lrayher@cweonline.org
802-391-4872

VBOC of NE

Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) of NE

VBOC Staff

Brian LaFauci

Project Director - VBOC of NE
blafauci@CWEonline.org
844-404-2171

Brian LaFauci is the Project Director for the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) of New England.  He brings a combination of military service and business development experience to his position with CWE.  He served his country for 12 years, joining the RI Air National Guard in 2002.  During this time, he was activated for 18-months and managed all RI Air National Guard deployments during one of the country’s heaviest deployment periods. Most recently, Brian served as Program Manager for the RI Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Hero2Hired program.