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  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of RI Announces 2023 Board Officers and Newly Appointed Board Members!

    Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island (BBBSRI) is pleased to announce the 2023 Board of Directors Board Officers and three newly-appointed Board Members. Tom Furey has been re-elected as Board President and Yomayra Reyes, re-elected as Board Vice President, while Michael Smith was newly elected as Treasurer and Aida Crosson, was newly elected as Secretary. New Board Members being welcomed are Tiana Ochoa (LICSW), Dennis Varone II (CPA), and Lawrence Filippelli, Ed.D.

    Tom Furey, President, Board of Directors. Born and raised in Pawtucket, RI, and currently living in Narragansett, Tom is a graduate of Rhode Island College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration (Class of 1983). Establishing Furey Roofing Co. in 1988, Tom has served as the president ever since. Tom is a Registered Roof Consultant with the International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants and is actively involved with the National Roofing Contractors Association and NorthEast Roofing Contractors Association, serving on the board of directors of both organizations. In addition, Tom has been a member of the Rhode Island Contractors Registration and Licensing Board since 2005, serving as Board Chairman since 2016. As the beneficiary of mentors throughout his career and life, he understands the importance of mentors in a child’s life and pays it forward. Tom has served on the board of directors of BBBSRI since 2015. Furey states, “I’m proud and honored to be involved with an organization that is making a difference with young people in Rhode Island and look forward to leading such a dedicated board and enthusiastic staff throughout the upcoming year.”

    Yomayra Reyes, Vice President, Board of Directors. Born in Brooklyn, NY, and raised in Providence, Yomayra is the first Latina Vice President at BBBSRI. Yomayra is a graduate of Providence College and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing (Class of 2006), and Master’s Degree in Business Administration (Class of 2016). She is currently a Sr. Property and Casualty Product expert at Farmers Insurance Group and has over 15 years of experience in the insurance industry in various roles and capacities, including retail and group account sales, operations, strategy development, and project management. Yomayra has volunteered for the BBBSRI organization for over ten years and has been a Board member since 2018, serving on multiple committees, including Finance, Business Development, and the recently-formed Mission Committee. Reyes states “Mentoring has been a very important part of my life since childhood. It helps build self-confidence, strong interpersonal skills, as well as independence. My vision is to help create meaningful mentoring relationships for our youth that will empower them to be their best selves and successful young adults.”

    Michael Smith, Treasurer, Board of Directors. Mike holds thirty years of experience in the banking and finance industry. He is Senior Vice President for Webster Bank and is responsible for the management and development of New England Middle Market Companies. Mike is a University of Rhode Island graduate with a Bachelor’s in Accounting (Class of 1982). A native Rhode Islander, he and his wife currently reside in the Town of South Kingstown. Mike serves on several boards and has been a BBBSRI board member since 2019 and has been reelected as Treasurer and Finance Committee Chairperson. Smith states “I have been fortunate to be surrounded by friends and family that have helped mentor me in both business and life. This agency plays a very important role in mentoring young men and women to believe in themselves.”

    Aida Crosson, Secretary, Board of Directors. Cranston resident, Aida is the Director of Administration for the RI Attorney General’s Office. Before her career with the Neronha administration, she worked for seven years as the Director of Community Affairs for the Office of U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. She currently oversees Human Resources, IT, Operations, and Financial units, with over 245 employees, three facilities, and five satellite offices. Beyond BBBSRI she is involved with the Lupus Foundation of New England, and is the founder of Runway for a Cure to benefit the Lupus Foundation, and she is one of the founders of the Latin American Film Festival. Crosson states “It's a great honor to serve with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island to carry forward the incredible legacy of youth mentorship throughout the state. I am excited to join such an esteemed group of leaders in shaping and securing the future of this treasured community organization."

    Tiana Ochoa (LICSW), Board of Directors, Elected December 2022. Tiana Ochoa is a passionate social worker, advocate and community organizer. She is a first-generation immigrant from Guatemala and moved to Rhode Island at the age of 16. Tiana holds a master’s degree in social work from Rhode Island College and is independently licensed. During her professional career, spanning for over 18 years, Tiana has worked in the social services field, helping children and families improve their lives, thrive and reach success. Tiana is committed to public service and has served in many Boards and Commissions. She currently serves in The Providence Tourism Council, Big Brothers Big Sisters of RI, Guatemalan Center of New England and Transition Co-Chair for Mayor Smiley. Tiana currently works as Vice President of Programs and Head Start Director at Children’s Friend. She lives in Providence with her partner Cesar Teo and their dog Frida.

    Dennis Varone II (CPA), Board of Directors, Elected December 2022. A resident of Richmond, RI, Dennis graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2016 with a Master of Science in Accounting and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (2010). Dennis began working full time at Dittmar, McNeil & Varone in 2013 after working with the company for two seasons as a tax preparer. Prior to that he was a junior administrator at The ANGELL Pension Group. In his current role as an Owner and Lead Auditor for Dittmar, McNeil, & Varone, he manages and oversees the audit and accounting department, including audits of nonprofit organizations, governmental entities, construction companies, and homeowner associations. In his over nine years of experience in public accounting, Dennis developed a strong knowledge of U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, client relationship skills, and strong leadership. He’s a proven accounting professional with exceptional skills in financial analysis, problem-solving, decision-making, and communication. He’s a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Rhode Island Society of Certified Public Accountants. Dennis enjoys golfing and spending time with his family in his free time and is an active volunteer for the Elks National Hoop Shoot competition.

    Lawrence Filippelli, Ed.D., Board of Directors, Elected December 2022. Lincoln resident, Dr. Filippelli has served as the Superintendent of Schools in Lincoln since 2018. He previously served as Superintendent of Schools in Scituate, RI from 2016-2018, and worked in the Scituate School department in various capacities since 2002. During his time as principal of Scituate Middle School he was named the Rhode Island Association of School Principals Middle School Principal of the year. Dr. Filippelli began his career in Providence, RI at Mt. Pleasant High School before coming to Scituate, RI in 1999 first as a teacher and then as an administrator. Dr. Filippelli serves as adjunct faculty both at Providence College in the Graduate Program in Educational Administration and in the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership at Johnson & Wales University. During his tenure as Superintendent of Schools in Lincoln, he has demonstrated a focus on teaching and learning and upgrading facilities to enhance student success. This has been evidenced by a focus on The Vision of a Graduate program, the K-12 Lincoln Lion Learner Initiative and various school construction projects; most notably the groundbreaking of a Physical Education Center and the completion of a 60-million-dollar high school construction/renovation project in 2021. Lincoln Schools also has greatly expanded special education and in-district career pathways programs during his tenure and has created a strong partnership with the Governor’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and having Lincoln High School be the first in the state to facilitate that office’s Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) incubator program. Dr. Filippelli has been an active member of the RI School Superintendents Association for 13 years. He has been a member of several subcommittees. Dr. Filippelli sits on the Rhode Island School Safety Committee and is widely considered an expert in school safety, security, and crisis response planning. Along with the RI School Safety committee, he reviews safety and crisis response plans for many districts in the State of RI. He also sits on the Rhode Island Green Business Advisory Committee and serves on the executive board of the Rhode Island School Superintendents Association serving as Secretary.

    Click here to see full Board list.

    Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island creates and supports one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. If you are interested in mentoring a child, donating to support our program, hosting a clothing drive, hosting a clothing fundraiser for your school or group, or more, visit www.BigsRI.org, call (401) 921-2434, or email events@BigsRI.org.

     

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