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
(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

Vice President Program & Community Development

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, CPA

Vice President Finance


Michelle "Mickey" A. Riendeau

Vice President Operations, Technology & Marketing


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.

Veronica Rosa

Vice President Development


Veronica has over 25 years of non-profit experience and 13 years experience as a member of senior leadership teams. Most recently, Veronica was vice president of external affairs and marketing for UMass Memorial – HealthAlliance and Clinton Hospitals located in North Central MA. In this capacity she helped implement the successful merger of Clinton and HealthAlliance Hospital. Additionally, she led a dynamic team of development and marketing professionals overseeing leadership giving, cultivation and fundraising events, community benefits, strategic development and marketing, public and media relations and communications. Veronica was formerly vice president of advancement at Becker College located in Worcester, MA. While there, she helped rebrand the college through their inaugural Presidential Speaker Series and Golf Classic and helped secure the largest alumni gift in Becker’s history. She holds a master’s degree in communications and counseling from Duquesne University and a bachelor’s degree in marketing and communications from Bentley University.

Patricia Blaise

Accounting Coordinator

Natasha Fevre

Senior Manager Grants/Impact

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

Development Coordinator

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

Senior Program Coordinator-WBENC


Michelle Miller

Director - Community Development

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. 

Kate O'Neill

Executive Assistant

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

Director - WBENC - New England

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

Director - Eastern MA

Edwidge is a former entrepreneur who effectively launched and managed 2 businesses. She holds a degree in Development Economics and International Relations from the University of Miami. Before joining CWE, she held positions in program management and economic development both in the US and abroad. Some of her major international work experience includes: Haiti, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates. She’s fluent in 4 languages: French, English, Spanish and French Creole.

Madeleine Lutts

Senior Program Coordinator - Eastern Massachusetts

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

Director - Central Massachusetts

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 Coordinator - Central Massachusetts

Samantha joined the CWE team in January of 2017. She graduated from Connecticut College with a BA in Gender and Women’s Studies and Sociology. Prior to joining CWE, she worked full-time as a counselor at a women’s health clinic, assisting women in choosing the best services for them, making sure each individual felt comfortable and received the best care possible. Sam has always had a passion for non-profit work, whether it was raising money annually for Relay for Life, volunteering at a local homeless shelter in the city she went to college, helping to train staff on best practices, or volunteering her time to maintain the social media sites for a woman focused non-profit based out of San Diego, California in order to boost followers and increase brand recognition. Samantha is excited to play an active role in maintaining CWE’s mission to foster financial independence and empowerment in women.  

CWE New Hampshire Center - Women Business Center

Nancy Pearson

Director - New Hampshire

Nancy Pearson has over 15 years of nonprofit management experience working for organizations such as The University of New Hampshire, New Hampshire Public Television, and the Ogunquit Museum of American Art. She brings expertise in program development, management and marketing to her role as Project Director.  Nancy holds a master’s in Public Administration from the University of New Hampshire, and is serving her first term as an elected official as a city council member in Portsmouth, NH.

Alexandra Bishop

Program Assistant - New Hampshire

Alexandra’s passion for nonprofits and feminism led her to CWE’s New Hampshire Women’s Business Center from Portland, Maine. Previously the Philanthropy & Communications Coordinator at the YMCA of Southern Maine and a current member of the Young Nonprofit Professional’s Network of Maine’s Board of Directors, Alexandra is well-versed in database management, event organizing, and strategic planning. She is excited to join the CWE team as a Program Coordinator and looks forward to helping to strengthen CWE’s name recognition throughout New Hampshire as well as build strong bonds with clients and partnering organizations.

CWE Rhode Island Center - Women Business Center

Maryellen O'Mahony


Maryellen’s entrepreneurial spirit was ignited as a child growing up in the small town of Sharon, PA.  She sold garden seed to friends, neighbors and others selling them on the idea of growing garden plants from healthy seeds.  Years later while raising two young children her family started a small restaurant that expanded with a commercial catering business. She earned her Masters of Science degree from Wheelock College and has spent more than 35 years advocating for high quality programs and services for young children and their families.  As a YMCA professional she helped shape a nationally recognized child care program.  Under her leadership the Newman YMCA achieved an over 90% satisfaction rating from its’ members for overall excellence, developed new programs and services to meet inter-generational needs.  Prior to joining the CWE staff Maryellen worked at Children’s Friend the largest child welfare agency in Rhode Island. She spent over six years raising awareness, funds and volunteer opportunities to benefit needy children throughout the state of Rhode Island. Her desire to recruit volunteers and raise funds benefitted thousands of children each year.   

Michael Chmielewski


Michael’s degree is in textile marketing and consumer behavior.  He spent a year studying at the London College of Fashion and working at the John Lewis Department Store.  Michael is a graduate of the Macy’s Executive Training Program in New York City.  As part of his portfolio at Crate and Barrel Michael was part of the team that opened stores across the country.  Prior to joining the CWE staff Michael  was the web sales manager at Leonards Antiques and Proprietor  Design Within Reach. His passion for travel, people, culture, food and decorative arts has taken him around the globe.  Michael is excited to be part of the CWE team.  His hope is to foster and mentor the creative entrepreneurial spirit.

Ruth Fuerte

Program Manager - Rhode Island

Ruth is a professional with experience in business, finances and non-profit work in multicultural food service and hospitality, and is very knowledgeable as far as engaging diverse cultural groups through Cultural Intelligence.

Ruth has a BA in International Business with a concentration in Finance from  Bryant University,  and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Johnson & Wales University.

CWE Vermont - Women Business Center

Gwen Pokalo

Director - Vermont

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.


Program Coordinator - Vermont



Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) of NE

VBOC Staff

Brian LaFauci

Director - VBOC of NE

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. 

Kate O'Neill

Program Coordinator - VBOC of NE