Leading Ladies 2019

Leading Ladies 2019

Over 75 inspiring stories of women making a difference in Rhode Island


Providence Monthly proudly presents the Leading Ladies of 2019, highlighting over 75 inspiring, passionate, determined leaders who are making a difference in their communities across Rhode Island. 

Get a chance to meet the Leading Ladies in person on March 21 at "Cheers to Leading Ladies," taking place at Skyline at Waterplace from 6-9pm. Come celebrate at this can't-miss networking event with a cocktail party vibe, and mingle with 200+ influencers, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders from across the state. Click here to RSVP.

Leading Ladies 2019: Jeanne Abate

Mortgage Officer, Westerly Community Credit Union

“It’s a great day when a family realizes their dream of homeownership,” says Jeanne Abate. “I’ve been in the industry for 50 years, and I still get excited each time.” The Westerly resident has been with the WESTERLY COMMUNITY CREDIT UNION since 2000. Described by her clients as knowledgeable and reliable, Jeanne goes above and beyond to assist clients. “Time flies when you love what you do, and you’re surrounded by staff that are committed to community.” she says. 

Westerly Community Credit Union

Westerly | 637-4415


Leading Ladies 2019: Yadira Alexander

Owner, Spa Yadira

Yadira Alexander, owner of SPA YADIRA, believes great skin is a family value. “My mother passed her love of preserving her skin onto me, and I am humbled to pass it on to my loyal clients. It’s been a honor for the last 19 years to give them beautiful, radiant skin.” The relaxing and serene spa also has a wide menu of skin and body services. 

Spa Yadira

Bristol | 396-9444


Leading Ladies 2019: Regina Bartlett

Author & Wellness Influencer, ReginaBartlett.com

Regina Bartlett wears many hats. She is an accomplished author and blogger. She is a fitness trainer. She is a marathon runner. She is a motivational speaker. But most of all, she is an inspiration. “I’m a wife, mother, avid crafter, and lover of Jesus and tiny dogs everywhere with a story to tell,” she says with a laugh.

A Story To Share

Regina’s story began when she took her first step on her awe-inspiring journey to wellness. “I was morbidly obese for 30 years. I never believed I could change my life,” she says. “For so many years I felt like I was alone, and that no one would understand how I was feeling about my weight. I felt trapped in my own body.” Through a gastric bypass surgery and “a whole lot of faith,” Regina was able to lose 250 pounds and achieve her lifelong dream of running the New York City Marathon.

Regina chronicled her amazing transformation in her book Food, Sweat, & Fears. “I discovered that the more open I was about how I was feeling, the more I found people were just like me. We tend to isolate during times of stress, trauma or failure. I discovered that sharing my story - all of it - helped other people share their own.”

“I want people to know that it doesn’t matter where you are now with your weight, or how long you’ve been here. Every single moment presents another opportunity to try again. I’m living proof.”

Knowing how difficult long-term weight loss success can be, Regina continues to shares her life adventures on her blog REGINABARTLETT.COM and her Navigating Weight Loss Facebook page. “These peer-to-peer relationships are critical, especially when so many people still don’t have a thorough understanding of weight loss surgery.” Her blog and book has been read by people around the world. “It’s amazing and humbling to have people find value in what you do. It’s a privilege.”

Regina is equally as passionate about creating healthy - and tasty - food that is bariatric friendly. Her mini-cookbook, Healthy Fare: Bariatric Friendly Recipes and Helpful Guides, is being expanded to a full cookbook this spring, complete with her favorite recipes made healthy. She’s also finishing up her next book, Me, My Fat, & I: A Divorce Story. “It’s about how fat becomes an identity that you are connected to, and the fear and loss of identity when you are no longer what you always thought you were. It’s powerful.”

Even if you’ve never had a weight problem, you probably have had something that has weighed you down. “It causes you to lose your focus, your way,” Regina says, adding that her weight loss story is relatable to many personal struggles. A frequent speaker at Miriam Hospital’s Center for Bariatric Surgery, her message is one of hope. “I love seeing the hope on people’s faces when they hear my story and see that there’s a way to get healthy.”

A Healthy Life & Lifestyle

Regina not only talks the talk on her blog, she walks the walk everyday as a fitness professional. She is the Membership Director at the Ocean Community YMCA, Arcadia Branch, as well as a fitness instructor. “I get to see the best part of my community come together to share health, wellness, and each other at the Y.” She is a licensed POUND trainer, leading cardio classes that uses lightly weighted drumsticks to music. “We have a blast! It’s so fun and high energy

that you almost forget you’re working out.” “I’m most proud of people just walking in the door. I know that feeling firsthand -- it’s the longest walk. Just getting to the gym is something to be proud of. I never take for granted that people come to my class. It

can be the toughest thing they do all day.” Regina’s energy and love for live is positively contagious. She’s active in her church, where you can find her singing on the praise team. After completing her first marathon goal, she set her sights on another childhood dream: becoming a Black Belt in Shorin Ryu Karate. And she’s currently training for an Ironman race that includes a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run.

Regina and her loving husband Jeff fill their empty nest from their combined family of six adult children with two very tiny, yet adorable Chihuahuas named Sid Vicious and Taxi Fitzgerald. “I’m fortunate, truly. I get to spend my days doing the things that I completely believe in, and I’m surrounded by love,” Regina says. “I get to laugh and have fun while I work. What’s better than that?” 


West Greenwich | 219-2322 


Leading Ladies 2019: Marcia J. Boyd

Estate & Elder Law Attorney, Boyd Elder Law

A Rhode Island native, Marcia Boyd lives in Narragansett and maintains BOYD ELDER LAW, her specialized estate and trust law practice in Wakefield. Of counsel to the Newport based law firm of SAYER REGAN & THAYER, LLP, she is able to offer the support and breadth of a full service law firm to her own practice areas. Her practice includes Medicaid planning and asset protection, wills, longterm care planning, trusts, estate planning and advance directives, guardianships and special needs trusts, among other related areas of law. “I’ve found my niche,” she says. A member of the RI chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, South County Women’s Club, South County Hospital Professional Advisory Committee and others including past president of RI NAMI and board member of RI Legal Services Corporation, Marcia is integrated in her local communities and legal areas of practice. An industry expert, Marcia is lauded for her vast knowledge of Medicaid planning, asset preservation, trusts, estates, probate and elder law. Clients often describe Marcia as compassionate, with the keen ability to clearly explain often complex legal concepts. With a focus on helping family members through the legal system during times of crisis or transition, Marcia is available by appointment in her office or at your home, hospital or nursing home.


Wakefield | 789-1616


Leading Ladies 2019: Julie Brayton

Artist, Julie Brayton Fine Art

For Julie Brayton, inspiration comes naturally. A native Rhode Islander and fisherman’s daughter, she started painting at age 13. “It was at the Cape Cod School of Art that I learned to see the color of light, which transformed the way I paint nature.” JULIE BRAYTON FINE ART offers a lovely selection of paintings, as well as custom work such as murals and portraits. “I really enjoy making people happy through my art.” 

Julie Brayton Fine Art

Westerly | 248-3379


Leading Ladies 2019: Jennifer Brinton

Co-Owner, Grey Sail Brewing

“When I’m at the brewery, it’s like having a mom at work,” laughs Jennifer Brinton. “I handle the business aspects of GREY SAIL BREWING, and I supervise a very talented, kind-hearted staff.” Opening Grey Sail Brewery was her husband’s longtime dream, and Jennifer handles logistics, right down to the company’s recycling. “For us, it’s all about the people – family, staff, our community as a whole,” she says. “They bring the fun and reward to what I do.” 

Grey Sail Brewing

Westerly | 212-7592


Leading Ladies 2019: Mia Byrnes

Restaurateur & Owner of Wilcox Tavern and Mia's Café

Mia Byrnes, owner of MIA’S CAFÉ and WILCOX TAVERN, is committed to offering fresh and classic American cuisine with personalized service. “Both restaurants offer their own unique charm in casual, cozy settings,” she says. Mia, the VP of the Westerly Pawcatuck DBA for four years, continues to serve her community with pleasure.

Mia's Cafe

Pawcatuck, CT | 860-599-3840

Wilcox Tavern

Charlestown | 322-1829

Leading Ladies 2019: Margaret Carleton

Owner & Artist, Craftland

CRAFTLAND, a landmark store in the heart of Providence, brims with unique and beautiful gifts handmade in RI, and select pieces of artistry from across the country. Craftland is dedicated to delighting visitors and supporting the local creative community. The one-of-a-kind shop and online store offer ideas for every occasion of gift giving, including clothing, accessories, original artwork, housewares, jewelry, and cards. 


Providence | 272-4285


Leading Ladies 2019: Leah Carlson

Owner & Hair Stylist, LaLaLuxe Salon

Leah Carlson always knew she wanted to do hair. Her love for makeup and the art of hairstyling started at a young age. Soon after starting her career and a family, she opened LALALUXE SALON. Nine years later, she just opened her second location in the Tourister Mills. “Every day I balance running a business, doing hair and trying to be a good mom. Seeing my clients smile is what keeps me going.” 

LaLaLuxe Salon

Providence | 383-3797

Warren | 289-3787


Leading Ladies 2019: Dr. Bridget Casey, ND

Naturopathic Doctor, Rhode Island Natural Medicine

“I discovered naturopathic medicine as part of my own health journey and immediately felt a deep connection,” says Dr. Bridget Casey, owner of RHODE ISLAND NATURAL MEDICINE. Dr. Casey treats by addressing the root cause of symptoms, focusing on the body’s innate healing capabilities. “Connecting with my patients on a personal level and helping them with natural therapies is an honor and a joy.”


Rhode Island Natural Medicine

Providence | 642-5855

Leading Ladies 2019: Denise Chakoian

Fitness Expert, Owner of CORE Cycling + Fitness

Denise Chakoian, owner of CORE, a fitness studio on the East Side of Providence, believes in the power of community and the profound impact of positive influence. “When life becomes difficult, surrounding yourself with an uplifting community who believes in you – often more than you believe in yourself – creates long-lasting relationships that inspire and motivate.”

Denise’s success began over a decade ago when she opened her first fitness studio on the East Side. Determined to bring individualized and proven exercise classes to RI, she has continued to expand the CORE brand by adding modalities that incorporate the five basic elements of physical fitness: cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, body composition, and flexibility.

As Denise approaches her 13th year anniversary, she is once again reinventing herself – except this time, she’s found inspiration in a personal way. After being diagnosed with cancer and successfully treated last year, Denise understands the importance of a like-minded fitness community which helped her overcome obstacles. The diagnosis was profound in many ways. “I never thought cancer would happen to me, especially for someone in the health and wellness industry.” Denise credits her community of trainers, clients, friends and family for getting her through her hardest days. “Regardless of my emotional state, I got up every Saturday morning at the crack of dawn to teach a 7:30am cycling class. Seeing the faces of the CORE family helped me fight harder. I can’t tell you how powerful this human connection was in my battle against cancer. Sharing the communal benefits of fitness helps people develop relationships, reach goals, and stay focused.”

CORE currently has three separate studios which offer Pilates, cycling, group fitness, and personal training. But in Spring 2019, CORE will revolutionize the workout game in RI when Denise unveils her new location at 229 Waterman Street on the East Side.

Fitness junkies and music lovers alike will find their oasis in this 7,000 sq. ft. space which combines all the CORE studios under one luxurious roof. The industrial-lux design will feature RI’s first Lagree Megaformer studio, a patented Pilates-based machine created by Sebastian Lagree. The Lagree Method is one of the fastest growing and hottest workouts in the fitness industry and hailed by Hollywood stars. “There is no denying the extraordinary transformation the M3X Megaformer provides all fitness levels, and it’s an honor to introduce to Lagree and serve the community I love,” says Denise.

Every aspect of the new studio is infused with Denise’s boundless positive energy. The indoor cycling theater will offer customized bikes, a pioneering sound system and mesmerizing illumination. Group training rooms boast the newest treadmills and functional training equipment. For the clients who prefer one-on-one sessions in strength training and Pilates, well-appointed private spaces will help clients reach their goals faster and deliver personal attention of a trainer. “From the friendly front desk greeters to the city’s finest instructors with reputation and commitment, CORE will deliver the next level in personal attention and bespoke customer service,” says Denise.

In spite of setbacks and challenges, her vision to bring RI together through fitness is unwavering. Determined and unstoppable, Denise is a living, breathing example of taking your passions seriously without taking yourself too seriously. 


Pawtucket | 273-2673

Providence | 273-2673 


Leading Ladies 2019: Dr. Caroline Chang, MD

Dermatologist, Rhode Island Dermatology Institute

Patients Come First

“I put the patient first,” says board certified dermatologist Dr. Caroline Chang, owner of RHODE ISLAND DERMATOLOGY INSTITUTE. In 2018, after ten years of studying and practicing medicine within the confines of the traditional insurance based system, Dr. Chang made the leap toward opening her own unique patient-focused practice.

“It’s been a dream to not only start my own business, but also treat patients in such a personalized, meaningful way,” Dr. Chang says.

Rhode Island Dermatology Institute (RIDI), the first direct care dermatology practice in the state, aims to restore the doctor-patient relationship. “We provide the highest quality of care to the public without the barriers of health insurance,” Dr. Chang says, explaining that in the direct care model patients contract medical services directly with their doctor.

New and existing patients can make appointments without referrals, and can typically be seen within a week. “We cut out the middle people (insurance companies). Patients are able to get the care they need, and doctors are able to provide the care they want.”

An Artistic Approach

An art enthusiast with a dedication for science-based medicine, Dr. Chang has a unique academic and medically trained background. “I focus on individualized care in both medical and cosmetic services,” she says. “I apply my extensive background in both art history and dermatology to provide the highest quality care to all my patients.”

Dr. Chang graduated from Princeton University with a BA in Art and Archaeology. She spent two years conducting melanoma research at New York University Medical Center and establishing a comprehensive melanoma patient database, which has been utilized in studies that defined the risk factors for and behavior of melanoma. She earned her MD from the New York University School of Medicine.

She moved to Rhode Island to pursue her residency at Tufts Medical Center, where she served as Chief Resident. During her residency she received specialty training in dermoscopy, which is a non-invasive technique that allows for better visualization of the skin’s surface. An associate staff member at Rhode Island Hospital, Dr. Chang has over a decade of experience with providing customized care in both medical and cosmeticdermatology. “It’s very important that patients choose board certified dermatologists for any procedures,” she says.

“I love making my patients happy, whether it is clearing their acne or making them look ten years younger,” Dr. Chang says. “It’s very gratifying to be able to help people improve their confidence and self esteem.”

Celebrating her first year anniversary at RIDI this year, Dr. Chang is excited to introduce new, state-of-the-art procedures to Rhode Island. “I’m excited to offer innovative treatments such as non-surgical face and neck lifts,” she says, adding that technology continues to expand the possibilities with dermatology. Dr. Chang is excited to add small group informational sessions, as well as exciting deals and specials, this year. “We have a close bond with our patients. Our approach allows us to get to know them on a very personal level, and provide the best outcome possible.” 

Rhode Island Dermatology Institute

East Greenwich | 401-398-2500


Leading Ladies 2019: Kanjana Chartratanavanich

Chef-Owner, Crepelicious

“My passion for travel inspired me to open CREPELICIOUS,” says Kanjana Chartratanavanich (KC). The creperie serves French and Japanese-inspired crepes, offering new dessert and savory crepes monthly. Specialties include Crepecake, a dessert layered with thin crepes and whipped cream, and a Honey Toast topped with fruit and ice cream. “I love sharing my favorite desserts, and having customers love them, too.” 


Barrington | 401-337-5945


Leading Ladies 2019: Debra L. Chernick, Esq.

General Counsel, Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP

Do you believe your path is laid out before arriving at a crossroad? I never did, but I fell into the practice of law unexpectedly. I have now been practicing for over three decades and have never regretted my decision. Here is how it happened,” Debra Chernick, General Counsel to SAYER REGAN & THAYER, LLP tells.

“After graduating Brandeis University, I went to work for American Airlines. I was happily traveling and living a carefree life. One day, a friend said he was taking the LSATs and I thought, ‘Why not, I’ll take them too.’ As fate would have it, I was accepted at the University of Connecticut and upon graduating, I landed a terrific legal position at a law firm. Once I became a mother, I needed my independence so I left the firm and opened my own office.

Setting up shop on Main Street, Wakefield and Bellevue Avenue, Newport, I have been taking care of the public’s needs from birth to death. I’m honored that so many wonderful clients have worked with me, and fortunate to call their children my clients as well. Whether guiding them in the purchase of a home, preparing their estate documents or handling family court matters, I view this as my contribution and my service to the community.” 

Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP

Wakefield | 789-1616


Leading Ladies 2019: Cathy Corelli Chianese

Marketing Director, CC Media Partners

Marketing and advertising are usually referred to as an art, but there is also a science to it. Cathy Corelli Chianese, a career professional with over 20 years of industry expertise, offers a unique and comprehensive approach to advertising and marketing solutions. “We look at the whole picture,” says the owner of CC MEDIA PARTNERS. “We take the time to get to know each business, and to understand every aspect of it.” Committed to producing results for her clients, Cathy and her team manage the marketing of each business with the experience, personality and relentless drive as if it were their own. “In today’s fast paced and digital-savvy environment, businesses need more than just creative design and production. They need a partner that fully understands their needs and can develop strategies to reach their goals,” she says.

CC Media Partners is a full-service advertising/design agency that helps small and large businesses throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts with strategic media buying and marketing plans as well as offering full service design and video production. Cathy, along with her marketing assistant and key creative team partner Rose Cantor, has a proven track record of providing personalized creative solutions. “There are no templates in our advertising campaigns,” she says, adding that the agency’s work is customized for each client and project. “Our focus is always on the client and making their message stand out from their competition; our success is based on their success.”

Cathy combines her exceptionally strong experience in graphic design, writing and production for TV and radio with a diverse portfolio of creative services. Her boutique agency provides comprehensive marketing campaigns for all mediums including print, billboard, direct mail, digital, email and social media. “The key is consistent and compelling messages that are optimized for each medium and built for engagement,” she says. In addition to proficient media buying and executing targeted marketing campaigns, CC Media Partners also develops websites with custom content and design, and produces professional quality video and commercials. Current clients range from regional automotive groups and lawyers to retail and healthcare. “We don’t specialize in any one industry, although I am passionate about cars which is one of the reasons I tend to gravitate towards automotive dealers. Results driven marketing is our true specialty,” she says with a smile.

With over two decades of impressive market knowledge and media connections, Cathy believes in offering real experience to college students pursuing a career in marketing. “Although we do not currently have an intern working with us, we have been in conversation with several area colleges to line up internship candidates for the upcoming Summer and Fall semesters.” In addition, Cathy represents the local business community as a member of the Executives Association of Rhode Island, and supports a variety of non-profits, including Big Cat Rescue, McCarthy’s Wildlife Animal Rescue and the RISPCA. “I’m proud of the long-standing partnerships I have with my clients and the community,” she says. “I’m honored to know that we’ve been a part of their success.” 

CC Media Partners

Warwick 437-8318 


Leading Ladies 2019: Nicole Sheusi-Church

Realtor, William Raveis

WILLIAM RAVEIS is the largest family-owned real estate company in the Northeast. With three locations in Rhode Island (Providence, Bristol, and Newport) and in Westport, MA, the agency is known for its distinctive luxury homes, commitment to the community, award-winning team, and is internationally recognized as the Top Luxury Broker by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.

“Rhode Island is one of the greatest places to live, and everyone should experience it. We may be small, but we have it all,” says Realtor Nicole Sheusi-Church. Having joined William Raveis three years ago, she is most proud of closing her first 7.2 million dollar sale in Newport and receiving an award as the first #1 Selling Agent in 2019. “My job could not be more exciting.” Nicole also prides herself in holding her clients’ hands through the entire process. “I’m eager to support people during emotional situations when it comes to buying and selling.” 401-261-6106, nicole.church@raveis.com

William Raveis

Providence | 751-8100


Leading Ladies 2019: Mary Frances Comstock

Cleaning Expert & Owner, Clean as a Whistle

Mary Frances Comstock has always loved to clean. Five years ago she made a decision to turn her love of cleaning into a business and opened CLEAN AS A WHISTLE, a full insured company with four employees. Mary’s happiness doesn’t just come from a spotless space – she truly cares about the gratification of her clients. “There is great satisfaction leaving a client’s home and hearing them say how happy they are.” 

Clean as a Whistle

Based in Westerly | 465-6358


Leading Ladies 2019: Alison L. Croke

President & CEO, Wood River Health Services

Alison Croke has always believed in accessible, quality healthcare. This ethos drives her work as the President and CEO of WOOD RIVER HEALTH SERVICES, a community health clinic that provides services to people with insurance and for those without access to affordable healthcare.

From an early age, Alison realized the value in giving back to her community. Her time as a student at Bay View Academy taught her about women’s leadership and the importance of community service. Alison has had many accomplishments throughout her career, but she is most proud of her work with the RI Medicaid Program. There, she helped to create the RIte Smiles program, a dental managed care program for children on Medicaid. Over the course of ten years, the RIte Smiles Program improved child dental care drastically, resulting in treatment on-par with commercial insurance.

Alison, who joined the Wood River Health Services staff, last year, hopes to move the organization forward by focusing on clinical quality, and providing behavioral health care treatment for the clinic’s patients. “I love working in the community in which I live, and also working for an organization that directly impacts Rhode Islanders every day."

Wood River Health Services

Hope Valley | 368-9648


Leading Ladies 2019: Sandra Cutting

Tax Reform Specialist, H&R Block

Sandra Cutting, the owner of the Wakefield office of H&R BLOCK, actually looks forward to the challenge of preparing taxes. “I enjoy offering peace of mind to clients,” Sandra explains. “Life changes – such as a marriage, divorce, birth of a child, buying a home, starting a business, selling property – have implications for your tax return. Seeking professional guidance, especially if you had such an event last year, ensures you are getting all the benefits for your particular tax situation,” she says. This is especially true this year, as many of the provisions of the The Tax and Jobs Act of 2017 go into effect. “Tax reform impacts virtually everyone this year. A personal consultation will help clients see how these changes will effect them.” she adds.

Sandra has a Master of Science in Accounting from URI, is a certified financial planner and is an enrolled agent (EA). As an EA, she completes 32 hours of continuing professional education every year to stay current on tax laws and their impact for her clients. A friendly woman with an easy laugh,

Sandra is committed to her community and profession. She served as the first woman president of the Wakefield Rotary Club and has taught accounting at Roger Williams University as an adjunct professor.

In addition to Sandra, there are ten trained tax professionals in the Wakefield H&R Block office. “We’re a great team, and looking forward to helping people this tax season.” 

H&R Block

Wakefield | 789-7986


Leading Ladies 2019: Joanne M. Daly, CDFA

First Vice President, Financial Advisor, Family Wealth Advisor and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®, Morgan Stanley

When talking with JOANNE DALY it is easy to see how much she cares about her clients and how dedicated she is to helping them take control of their financial future. “I am passionate about helping others become financially empowered and make smart well- informed decisions about their money, especially women,” she says. Joanne’s clientele include individuals, couples, professors, doctors and small business owners, but many of her clients are women who have become responsible for their financial future after experiencing divorce, death of a loved one or inheritance of significant wealth.

Joanne knows personally how important it is to be involved in your finances, since Joanne’s mother became a widow at 45. Joanne saw firsthand the emotional and financial challenges her mother faced, which is why she requires that both spouses participate in their meetings. Joanne strives to ensure that if something happens to one of them, the other will be better prepared to handle their financial affairs on their own. “Of course I will be there for them, to guide them and advocate for them,” she says, “helping them navigate through the overwhelming paperwork and helping them preserve their wealth so that they can live a comfortable lifestyle.”

Years ago, she helped her sister as she was going through a divorce after over 20 years of marriage, collaborating with the attorney and CPA to help ensure her sister could continue to live the lifestyle she envisioned. She realized then that many women needed help with managing the divorce process and taking back control of their financial future.

As a result of Joanne’s personal experiences, she has truly made it her mission to help her clients become financially informed and engaged in their finances, to help ensure they make smart decisions about their money. “I am their wealth coach, helping them navigate through their financial journey,” Joanne says. “I essentially act as their personal CFO, helping them in many financial aspects of their life and working in collaboration with their attorneys, mediators and CPAs to create a holistic wealth plan that incorporates their personal values and goals. I provide customized strategies to help them enhance, preserve and protect their wealth so they can achieve what’s most important to them.” Through ongoing financial education, coaching and planning, her clients feel confident in making informed financial decisions.

Joanne enjoys educating others through financial presentations to civic organizations and companies. She is a frequent guest speaker on various topics, including financial empowerment, divorce and wealth planning and has presented at Bryant University’s Women Summit, South County Hospital, URI Alumni Foundation and The Rhode Island Society of CPAs, to name a few.

Though Joanne’s office is in Providence, she often meets with clients in their home, office or the firm’s Newport office. Joanne has more than 25 years of financial services experience, was a former CPA Tax Manager for Ernst and Young and earned an M. S. in taxation from Bryant University. Joanne has attained Morgan Stanley’s Family Wealth Advisor (FWA) designation which is granted to those financial advisors who have successfully completed an extensive accreditation program focused on the skills needed to help families communicate about money and values, share their goals and grow and protect wealth across generations. She is also a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst.

Outside of work, Joanne is an active volunteer, including being a member of the: Women’s Fund of RI board, RI Partnership in Philanthropic Planning board, South County Hospital Development Committee (past Investment committee), GFWC Women’s Club of South County, United Way’s Alex de Tocqueville Committee, RI Society of CPAs and the Estate Planning Council of RI. Joanne lives in Narragansett with her husband and two daughters. 

Morgan Stanley

Providence 863-8467, 800-488-1241 


Leading Ladies 2019: Cheryl DeCaro

Spa Owner, Wells Street Spa

As a little girl, Cheryl DeCaro dreamed of owning her own salon. “I fell in love with making people feel great about themselves.” She worked at an Elizabeth Arden Spa before opening WELLS STREET SPA. Her state-of-the-art facility offers massages, skin regimens, body and detoxification treatments, and – new this year – hydrafacials. “I’m proud to work with an amazing and talented staff.” 

Wells Street Spa

Westerly | 952-5045


Leading Ladies 2019: Cindie DeMello & Tanya DiMarco

Healthy Meal Delivery Service Co-Owners, good4u

“We know that meal preparation is hard work, time consuming, and can be extremely stressful,” say Cindie DeMello and Tanya DiMarco, co-owners of good4U. “We take all of that off your plate...and put some healthy meals on it!”

Good4U is a healthy food prep and delivery service based out of the kitchens at Hope & Main in Warren. “We provide healthy, well-balanced, calorie conscious, nutrient dense meals,” Tanya says, adding that meals are catered around the customer’s goals. “Whether their goal is weight loss, portion control, restricting sodium, or just making life a little more manageable, we work with each customer to help meet their needs.” Cindie started her career over 25 years ago as a personal trainer. “One of the major roadblocks from keeping people from reaching their goals was time – time to plan, shop, and prepare healthy meals,” she says. With a degree in Exercise Science and Nutrition, Cindie headed back to school, this time JWU, to earn a culinary degree. “What makes Good4U different is that it comes with a personal trainer’s stamp of approval,” Cindie says. Tanya adds, “It’s part of our recipe for success.”

Indeed, planning, shopping, preparing, packaging, and delivering hundreds of meals is not an easy task. “The amazing feedback we get from our customers is what keeps us motivated...and that keeps them motivated!” says Cindie. “We truly value each customer, and take the time to get to know them as people and the challenges they face,” Tanya says.

They are both excited about the year ahead, especially a new pick-up retail location inside Body Natural Fitness Center in Barrington. “Customers are often lined up and waiting for us when we arrive with the meals. It’s been extremely well received,” they say. “We have a few plans on how to expand our services. Knowing that we help others achieve their goals is our greatest inspiration.” 


Warren | 401-580-4332


Leading Ladies 2019: Lisa Sweenor Dunham

Sweenor's Chocolates

For Lisa Sweenor Dunham, chocolate has been a family business for four generations. Along with her brother, Lisa runs SWEENOR’S CHOCOLATES, which specializes in handmade chocolates, fudge, truffles and sweet novelties. “We take great pride in working for a business that has had continued success for over 60 years.” I also get to eat chocolate every day. That’s always a plus!” 

Sweenor's Chocolates

Wakefield | 783-4433

Garden City | 942-2720


Leading Ladies 2019: Pat Durigan

Restaurant Co-Owner, Twin Willows

Pat Durigan, co-owner of TWIN WILLOWS, has many reasons to be proud of her restaurant. The beloved Narragansett establishment has a stellar reputation for its great food, atmosphere, and service. “Every day I’m proud of what we do here, but I’m most proud of the longevity of owning and running this business for 34 years,” Pat says.

Purchased by Pat and Phil Durigan in 1984, Twin Willows specializes in seafood, – freshly caught and perfectly prepared – that’s best enjoyed on their waterfront patio. Now run by Pat and her son David, the casual restaurant is much more than a place to have a meal. For decades people have gathered here to relax, take in the views, and enjoy the good company of old and new friends. “A lot of our customers have been coming for all 34 years,” Pat says. “We’re often referred to as the ‘Cheers’ of South County. Some people even have their own bar stools!”

When she purchased the restaurant in 1984, it was a tavern frequented by URI kids. “We completely transformed it into a full family restaurant. I am especially proud of

the lasting impact we’ve had after all these years, and how we cater to the entire family. We have a game room for the kids. We offer live music on the weekends. People know each other.” The friendly and welcoming atmosphere offers a genuine camaraderie between guests and staff alike.

While Twin Willows serves great seafood, they also serve up a full menu of American favorites influenced by New England’s culinary traditions. They have a great selection of shareable apps, burgers and sandwiches, pastas and steaks – plus tons of classic and modern seafood dishes. Their chowder, served in three varieties, always keeps people coming back for more.

Twin Willows offers entertainment on Saturday nights, and on Sunday afternoons after football season. There’s always a game on in the bar area – even the outside deck has two large screen TVs. “We have always aimed to provide something for everyone. It’s very gratifying to know that we have succeeded in creating a popular neighborhood restaurant that makes people feel comfortable.” 

Twin Willows

Narragansett | 789-8153


Leading Ladies 2019: Lynn Eglington

Owner, Fuel Coffee Bar

It’s been four years since Lynn Eglington left a career in the medical field to pursue a passion of owning her own coffeeshop. With the support of her family and a lot of hard work, Lynn opened FUEL COFFEE BAR in 2014. “It’s been so exciting to see the business flourish with so many loyal customers, some that travel quite a distance to experience our great coffee. It’s a dream come true.”

Serving coffee locally roasted by Rhody Roasters, Fuel brews over 15 flavors of iced coffee and 7 hot coffees daily. Lattes, cappuccinos and chai are house favorites. The menu offers a variety of fresh baked goods – including gluten-free and vegan options – as well as egg sandwiches, bagels, quiche, and soups. The cafe has recently introduced more healthy options, like overnight oats, salads and acai bowls, and is offering unsweetened flavor shots for lattes and cappuccino.

Also new is the redesigned interior, which doubled the seating area to offer more space for socializing, meeting and studying – all while maintaining its beachy, relaxed vibe. “I couldn’t do it without my extraordinarily dedicated staff. The entire crew is enthusiastic and committed to providing the best customer experience.” 

Fuel Coffee Bar

Narragansett | 792-3835


Leading Ladies 2019: Donna Evans

Realtor, Coldwell Banker

“I love my job,” says DONNA EVANS, a 20-year veteran in sales and realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential. An empathetic listener, Donna is keenly aware that the selling or buying process is unique to each client and one of their biggest decisions. “My mission is to make the process stress-free, from initial conversation to closing, and will go above and beyond and keep my clients best interest at heart.” 

Donna Evans, Coldwell Banker

East Greenwich | 486-3448


Leading Ladies 2019: Rachel Ferreira

Ambassador & Advocate, Sail to Prevail

Rachel Ferreira is a bright and active student at URI. She majors in Health Studies, minors in Leadership Studies, and spends her time advocating on behalf of people with disabilities – or “diffabilities” – a term she coined to illuminate that everyone offers something different. Rachel lives with Cerebral Palsy, but doesn’t define herself by the condition. She embraces it is a part of who she is and uses it as a platform to enlighten and inspire. Recently, Rachel auditioned to give a TEDx talk on campus and was one of a handful selected from 100. She auditioned with an impromptu speech about her own experiences sailing with SAIL TO PREVAIL, Rhode Island’s Disabled Sailing Center that offers therapeutic sailing to over 1500 children and adults with disabilities each year. “Sail to Prevail taught me I can do anything,” she says.

Founded in 1982, Sail to Prevail rebranded in 2010 to better reflect its mission. Programs promote the mind, body and spirit philosophy and encourage participation aboard their fleet of specially adapted 20- foot sailboats. Measurable outcomes include increased self-confidence and leadership skills. Says the organization’s CEO Paul Callahan, “Rachel truly is a Leading Lady among so many in Rhode Island. Sail To Prevail is fortunate and honored to have been part of her journey.” 

Sail to Prevail

Newport | 849-8898


Leading Ladies 2019: Aidile Ferro

Owner & Stylist, Aidile's Hair Skin & Nails

“I am so passionate about helping women reach their hair goals,” says Aidile Ferro, owner of AIDILE’S HAIR SKIN AND NAILS. With more than 25 years of experience as a master stylist and colorist, Aidile leads a professional and friendly team. A best-kept secret, the full service salon is passionate about trendsetting, yet affordable services. 

Aidile's Hair Skin & Nails

East Providence | 401-434-3665


Leading Ladies 2019: Beth Frenette

Vice President, The Washington Trust Company

Community, tradition, and family, are core values for Beth Frenette. As VP of Cash Management Municipal Services at THE WASHINGTON TRUST COMPANY, Beth works with municipalities to make sure they have the financial services they need. “I love what I do,” says Beth, who’s been with the institution for over 30 years. Beth is excited to be on the committee for Westerly’s 350th Birthday Celebration. 

The Washington Trust Company

Westerly | 348-1552


Leading Ladies 2019: Atabey Sánchez-Haiman

Artist & Gallery Owner, Giraffes and Robots

Atabey Sánchez-Haiman is an artist with a simple, yet meaningful vision. “I make art that makes people smile. My art’s purpose is to make people happy.” Bright and colorful – with a signature palette of yellow, orange, and red – her art is instantly recognizable as a GIRAFFES AND ROBOTS original.

Originally from Puerto Rico, the Brown graduate has made a significant impact on the local art scene in the last few years, from showcasing her work at artisan fairs to opening her own gallery. The Giraffes and Robots Studio is an immersive experience like no other. “I want people to feel like they are stepping into one of my paintings or illustrations.” The studio features her seemingly endless collection of fun and motivational art. From affordable unframed and framed prints to large-scale artwork, each piece is created to bring a pop of positivity to any space.

In the great tradition of pop art, her work is designed to be approachable. And like notable pop artists, her work has become quite popular in RI and beyond. Her iconic Rhode Island Red and Superman Building series, to name just a few, offer an unexpected twist on the familiar. These popular works are also constantly evolving with new imagery and colors, making each edition unique. Her smile-inducing art can also be found at local retailers like Stock Culinary Goods, Providence Picture Frame, and West Elm.

Her one-of-a-kind commissioned art has also been in demand. “I’ve done custom pieces for boardrooms, schools, residential kitchens and livingrooms, nurseries...even bathrooms!” She collaborates with interior designers, homeowners, and businesses to create large-scale pieces that literally and figuratively brighten up any environment. With a mission to spread joy, Atabey’s simple yet powerful art continues to leave its uniquely positive mark everywhere it goes. 

Giraffes and Robots

Pawtucket | 347-762-6871


Leading Ladies 2019: Debbie Heaney

Owner, Dakota's Pet Services

With a lifelong love and passion for animals, as well as years of hand-on experience, Debbie Heaney started DAKOTA’S PET SERVICES in 2011. The first of its kind in RI, the family owned and operated business offers safe and affordable pet walking and sitting services. “It’s the most rewarding profession, and I feel fortunate to be with dogs and cats every day,” Debbie says. “It’s my dream job, and I’m living proof that it’s never too late to accomplish your goals.”

Along with her husband Steve and daughter Courtney, Debbie provides a caring, stress-free environment for pets. All three are certified in Pet CPR and First Aid, and Debbie is certified in FEMA: Animals in Disaster, Awareness, and Preparedness. The business is bonded and insured, and even has a dog “equipped” SUV with a medical kit, toys, leashes, bowls, and treats on board. “Being parents of four corgi boys ourselves, we know how hard it is to leave them. Pets are cared for as they are our own - with love, safety, and the companionship they deserve,” Debbie says.

Dakota's Pet Services

Cranston | 862-6097


Leading Ladies 2019: Brenda Hilton

Office Manager, William Raveis

WILLIAM RAVEIS is the largest family-owned real estate company in the Northeast. With three locations in Rhode Island (Providence, Bristol, and Newport) and in Westport, MA, the agency is known for its distinctive luxury homes, commitment to the community, award-winning team, and is internationally recognized as the Top Luxury Broker by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.

Brenda Hilton, Office Manager of the Providence and Bristol offices, is an award-winning Realtor with nearly 20 years of a proven track record of success. Her negotiation training, strategic analysis of the market, and use of state-of-the-art technology gives her buyers and sellers an edge on achieving their real estate needs. As manager she states, “I’m helping the agents achieve new levels of success by utilizing the William Raveis tools and offering their clients the highest quality of real estate service.” 401-339-2222, brenda.hilton@ravies.com

William Raveis

Providence | 751-8100


Leading Ladies 2019: Sarah Isabella

Realtor, Randall Realtors

Sarah Isabella, a Realtor with RANDALL REALTORS, entered her career at the bottom of the market. “I was a buyer looking to purchase an investment property, and I knew little of the work entailed by the realtor,” Sarah tells. “Let’s just say I ran her ragged and after two years I finally purchased property. Throughout it all, I gained invaluable knowledge that inspired me to begin my real estate career.”

Sarah has been a full-time realtor and investor for many years now, and continues to enjoy the process of learning. “Market knowledge and diligent work are key and that benefits my clients as I assist them buying and selling their homes. Buying a home is one of the big life decisions and the path can be extremely stressful. As a client said to me ‘I had no idea how much goes into this process. I’m glad I have a trustworthy, detail oriented person like you on my side.” In addition to outstanding reviews on Zillow, she is a Randall Realtors Sapphire Award recipient for 2018, 5 star professional award and a Certified Relocation Specialist. “It’s a wonderful feeling to have a challenging process produce positive results for my clients. I eat, breath, and sleep real estate! I feel fortunate to have made so many connections and lifelong friendships in this wonderful field,” she says. “Guiding you every step of the way.” 

Randall Realtors

Wakefield | 996-5817


Leading Ladies 2019: Alison N. Izzi

Finance Manager, Providence Downtown Improvement District

Alison Izzi is passionate about Downtown Providence, and the mission of the PROVIDENCE DOWNTOWN IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT (DID). “Our mission is to continuously enhance the quality of life Downtown,” she says. “I feel beyond fortunate to love what I do.”

Described as extremely effective and competent, Alison manages all aspects of a $1.2 million budget for the Downtown Providence District Management Authority, which provides supplemental City services to the immediate downtown area. “It’s wonderful to have this opportunity and to be able to engage with this community. It’s really a perfect job that allows me to utilize all my skills.”

Alison earned her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Master’s in Accounting and Finance – both from Johnson & Wales University. She worked in admissions upon graduating, and then transitioned to public accounting where she worked as a CPA at local and national firms. Alison took some time away from her career to raise her family, a decision she calls her proudest achievement. She’s been with the DID for the past seven years, and continues to be inspired by “our small office with a big impact.”

Known for their bright yellow and black uniforms, the Clean and Safe Team is the DID’s most visible program. The streetscaping team focuses on keeping streets, sidewalks, public spaces and much more clean through a variety of initiatives including weeding, sidewalk sweeping, emptying of trash cans, and graffiti removal. The year-round team embraces each season and its challenges and opportunities, from snow shoveling curbs and decorating with wreaths in the winter, to addressing potholes and installing flowers in the spring.

“It’s an exciting team and an exciting time to be a part of it. 2019 is going to be a great year downtown.” Alison says. “There’s lots of new development and there’s always exciting things happening in our vibrant City.” 

Providence Downtown Improvement District

Providence | 421-4450 


Leading Ladies 2019: Heidi Keller

Boutique Owner, Capucine

“This is a perfect time spiritually to be a small business owner, says Heidi Keller. “CAPUCINE is more than beautiful clothing – it’s about connections.” Heidi opened her high-quality designer boutique in 2001 when she was in her 20s, and has literally grown with her die-hard customers. “I’ve made genuine relationships. My clients inspire me to work hard, eat healthy, support my community... and dress everyday in amazing style!” 


Providence | 401-273-6622


Leading Ladies 2019: Dr. Kathleen Kroessler, MD

Neurologist & Acupuncturist

In the office of DR. KATHLEEN KROESSLER, Eastern alternative therapies meet Western medicine practices. A practicing neurologist who specializes in alleviating headache pain, Dr. Kroessler uses acupuncture and other alternative therapies. “The ideas of health and wellness used in Eastern medicine treat the whole patient, and naturally complement the Western approaches to treating symptoms and diseases,” she says. “Acupuncture and other alternative modalities can be very effective for treating pain and the stress associated with chronic pain.”

“I focus on treating headaches and other causes of neuromuscular and neuropathic pain,” she says. In addition to acupuncture, she can employ cupping, therapeutic dry needling and trigger point injections, which can alleviate neck and shoulder tension, plus back and joint pain, when they’re appropriate to a patient’s treatment. Through her blend of holistic practices and medical science, Dr. Kroessler treats conditions like neuralgia, migraine headaches, whiplash injuries, chronic pain, and post-concussive headaches. She is also fellowship trained in EMGs, which are diagnostic tests for nerve and muscle problems. “It is quite gratify- ing to help patients with pain. Our bodies have an amazing capacity to heal when the energy of chronic strain/pain patterns are released.”

Dr. Kathleen Kroessler

Pawtucket | 401-305-3322


Leading Ladies 2019: The Leading Ladies at KSA Marketing + Partnerships

The Leading Ladies at KSA Marketing + Partnerships

Meet The KSA Team

With over 20 years in marketing, Katie Schibler Conn gained experience working for agencies from the east to the west coast including TracyLocke in New York and PlayStation in San Francisco before settling back in Rhode Island and founding KSA Marketing + Partnerships. She’s taken her experiences in the corporate world and cultural experiences through her travels to create a company that encompasses her passions and business perspectives. In 2018 Katie was accepted into the Forbes Agency Council, an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies.

As Chief-Operating-Officer, Laurie Lewis is the gatekeeper of the KSA “Kave.” With years of experience in business, she is versatile and detail oriented. Her interpersonal, planning and problem- solving skills shine through in every project she touches. Lewis wears many hats including: operations, account and sponsorships lead, as well as management, but excels in all areas. 

Though Susan Rentz works remotely from Raleigh, North Carolina, that doesn’t make her any less part of the team. Working on new business development and the administrative side, Rentz also helps out with proofreading and operations. With her background in client services, project management and media, she provides a broad-range of organizational expertise.

With a degree in journalism and minor in film and media, Melanie Roberts brings her passion for writing and creative skills to the forefront of her work as Media Relations manager. She focuses on creating social media content plans, writing blog posts, PR and building relationships, which she applies internally and externally for clients.

The newest addition to Team KSA, Allison Lindgren works on the global client team. Organization and attention to detail is her forte. Her work involves helping to create global toolkits for Pepsi, 7up and Lay’s campaigns, and reviewing all local submissions that include images of the talent represented. She also works on talent management to approve new designs and ideas. These images include packaging, point of sale, food service cups, out of home ads, key visuals, and any merchandise and giveaways. Lindgren’s ability to notice small details and everyday continuities, makes her an asset.

About KSA Marketing + Partnerships

As a full-service marketing agency, KSA MARKETING + PARTNERSHIPS works with small, medium, and large clients that need messaging and marketing across all channels.

It all began back in 2010 when Katie Schibler Conn left her dream job at PlayStation, and traded her Blackberry for a backpack. “It was a life-changing, 15-month journey through Southeast Asia and South America,” Katie says. Within 48 hours of landing at T.F. Green Airport, Katie founded the KSA agency from her kitchen table after a call from Pepsi. “They called asking for help on a project. The rest is history.”

Since then, the creative agency has grown into a seven-person team of “marketing heroes,” each bringing their own skill set and market knowledge that continues to shape who KSA is and what the boutique firm can do. “We treat our client relationships as partnerships,” Katie says. “We collaborate and work together to connect the dots of their marketing needs from online to offline. I’ve built a team that can efficiently work with clients both locally and globally.”

KSA works with clients to create integrated marketing content -- connecting the dots of marketing communication through advertising, public relations, social media, sales promotion, and direct marketing. “This allows consumers to interact with a brand seamlessly,” Katie explains.

You might think the initials KSA represent the founder’s initials, but rumor has it that KSA stands for Kick Some Ass Marketing. “We don’t deny it,” says Katie with a laugh. “Our passion and superhero mentality drive us, and we pride ourselves on our quick action in helping clients when they call us in a panic with an “oh shit” moment. We are always ready to come to the rescue.”

The team takes enormous pride in their continued success, especially their work with local non-profits like Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED), LIFEcycle, National GRACE Foundation, and Find Your Bold through BoldrDash Race. “We want to support environmentally- friendly companies that are trying to do good,” Katie says, adding that the team is committed to fostering meaningful community change. “Our goal this year is to create more partnerships that matter.”

Meet The KSA Team’s Leading Lady Clients

“We tip our hats to fellow trailblazers,” Katie says.” That’s why we are honored to work closely with these fellow four leading ladies, who have triumphed in typically male-dominated fields.” While all of ladies work with KSA for their branding and marketing needs, they are more than just clients, they are partners, and Team KSA is deeply committed to their success. 

Lynn Hall

Passionate for helping people reach their goals, Lynn Hall founded BOLDRDASH in 2010. The obstacle course event series is designed for people of all abilities, and allows participants to test their strength and compete from beginner to elite. The event President is also the founder of FIND YOUR BOLD, a non-profit that encourages all to overcome their personal limitations in life via physical activities in a supportive atmosphere.

“I love working with people on achieving goals they never thought were possible,” Lynn says. “At the end of the day, that is what BoldrDash is all about.” 

Carol Gaeta & Lois Ellis

Sisters Carol Gaeta and Lois Ellis, the faces behind SCIALO BROS. BAKERY, grew up in the iconic bakery their father established in 1916. Different career paths, as well as the passing of their parents, led the sisters to take over the beloved bakery in 1993.

The bakery’s interior – styled in its original Art Deco design – is a celebrated landmark on Federal Hill. Throughout the years, Carol and Lois have preserved the original recipes of their famed goods, as well as introduced new products. Carol and Lois offer customers kitchen tours, and demonstrate how all their products are made on-site in large brick ovens, using old world baking techniques. Known for their delicious variety of pastries and desserts, the bakery also has an extensive decorating department that creates custom wedding, birthday, and special occasion cakes.

Shannon Brawley

Shannon Brawley, trained as a landscape architect and geographer, is proud to serve as the Executive Director of the RHODE ISLAND NURSERY & LANDSCAPE ASSOCIATION. Shannon brings together diverse interests to create and grow initiatives for progress at the national, state, and local levels.

Currently, she is facilitating the collaboration of a first in the nation multi-employer Registered Apprenticeship program for the agriculture and plant- based industry. With a goal of workforce development, the program aims to raise the sophistication of “green collar” jobs in horticulture, environmental, agriculture, and landscape - to name just a few. “I hope to inspire young people to consider a future in these careers,” Shannon says. One of her goals is to engage young people to better understand there are meaningful and well- paying careers in the industry, especially as RI begins to design solutions to mitigate climate change and food insecurity. 

KSA Marketing and Partnerships

Warwick | 681-4900 


Leading Ladies 2019: Michaela Lamb

Real Estate Agent, North Star Realty Beachside

She believed she could. So she did. “I have this quote hanging in my office, and it really describes my attitude,” says realtor Michaela Lamb. “With desire, dedication, and hard work you can accomplish anything.” Michaela left a job in teaching to pursue a career in real estate, and never looked back. The top producer as a broker’s associate at NORTH STAR REALTY, a firm with 32 agents, Michaela also leads her own team at NORTH STAR REALTY BEACHSIDE. A lifelong resident of Westerly, Michaela has a keen sense of the local market. Licensed in both RI and CT, the multi-million dollar agent is still humbled when a home buyer selects her as their realtor. “It’s an honor to assist them, and so rewarding to see how proud they are to make this important purchase,” she says. “It comes with a lot of stress and excitement, but that’s why I am there - to guide them through the process.” Known for her passion for all things pink and her vibrant energy, Michaela is looking forward to growing her Youtube Channel, “Find Your Happy Space,” this year. “I offer tips for both sellers and buyers. I love every aspect of my profession!”


Westerly | 935-3390


Leading Ladies 2019: Karen LeBlanc

Realtor, Coldwell Banker

A realtor with an eye for design, KAREN LEBLANC is ready to meet new clients to discuss their real estate goals. A former developer who designed over 300 beautiful homes, Karen can suggest property improvements that will bring the highest capital return for her clients. With over 25 years of experience, Karen loves selling a coastal lifestyle here in RI. 

Karen LeBlanc, Coldwell Banker

Newport | 533-4888


Leading Ladies 2019: Alexus Lee

Special Events Manager, CAV Restaurant

When Alexus Lee began working at CAV RESTAURANT, she didn’t think that the job would become a platform for her true passion - music. What started as a bussing day job quickly became a stepping stone for a much larger career at the eclectic restaurant. Today, Alexus serves as CAV’s Special Events Manager, and performs for the restaurant audience as well.

Music has always been part of her life. Her family has a storied history in music dating back to before she was born. Her grandfather, father, and mother play numerous instruments including the guitar, piano, and bass. She honed her craft singing in high school productions, and eventually went on to enroll in the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2010. Always an overachiever, Alexus graduated ahead of schedule in 2013.

Upon graduation, Alexus knew that she wanted to pursue music as a career but needed a job to make ends meet. Necessity brought the young singer to CAV. Her aunt was working at the beloved restaurant as a bartender, and suggested her to the late, great owner Sylvia Moubayed for an interview. “The rest is history,” Alexus says. She quickly moved up as a busser and then a bartender, and soon found herself climbing the ranks to Sylvia’s personal assistant.

Over time, the two grew close. Alexus traveled to parts of Europe and the United States, but she always wound up back at CAV. Lee remarks that she shared a tight bond with the dynamic restaurant owner, stating, “Sylvia always encouraged my musical pursuits, often saying she wanted to bring music back to CAV, like they had done so many years ago.”

Sadly, Sylvia Moubayed passed away in 2017, leaving the entire staff, patrons, and the dining community devastated. “Losing Sylvia was like losing a friend, grandmother, and mentor all in one,” Alexus says. Sylvia’s son John Moubayed took over the restaurant, and soon fulfilled his mother’s wish by giving Alexus the chance to share her musical talents at CAV. Alexus can be found performing at CAV on Jazz Wednesdays from 6:30-9pm.

Throughout her life, Alexus has been most proud of her achievements in music. She believes that music is a universal language that “transcends all else.” She has rather big things in store for 2019, including several performances scheduled in various venues all over Rhode Island, Boston, and New York as a solo act and as part of a group. In addition, more of her original music will be soon released on major streaming services such as iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon Music. She also plans to continue working with special events and singing at CAV.

“Music brings together people from all backgrounds to share in very intimate and special moments. I treat both my music and my work at CAV with respect and care, and cherish the opportunity to connect with people and to spread light.”

CAV Restaurant

Providence | 751-9164 


Leading Ladies 2019: Nancy Lerner

Realtor, Coldwell Banker

“My belief is in hard work, open-mindedness and always having a sense of humor,” says Realtor NANCY LERNER, who is distinguished by her attention to detail, marketing savvy, and willingness to go the extra mile. “My real world experience and Coldwell Banker’s worldwide connections enable me to focus on a quality personal experience for clients.” 

Nancy Lerner, Coldwell Banker

East Greenwich | 741-0301


Leading Ladies 2019: Tracy LeRoux

Advertising & Real Estate Firm Owner, Link Real Estate

“Every day brings a new challenge,” says Tracy LeRoux. “I’m proud that I’ve had the resilience to evolve the company and continue to grow as a professional after all these years.”

Tracy began her impressive career in New York City, where she worked on the public relations team for Ralph Lauren. After earning her Master’s from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, she spent several pivotal years working at Leo Burnett and The Martin Agency. “My experience at these legendary advertising agencies gave me incredible access to the nation’s top advertisers and brands,” she says. Her track record in turning around troubled brands while increasing agency profits earned her vice president status at The Martin Agency before her 29th birthday. Soon thereafter, Tracy ventured out on her own and founded THE LINK AGENCY.

With little more than a laptop and cell phone, Tracy started one of the nation’s leading advertising agencies by landing Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, the world’s second-largest public charity, as her first client. Within a few months, TJX Corp., Goya Foods, Pulte Homebuilders, and Kellogg’s came aboard. A visionary brand strategist, Tracy helps businesses turn “issues” into “ideas,” and transforms a “broken brand” into a “breakthrough business.” “I’m passionate about inspiring others, reenergizing tired brands, and leading change,” she says.

Having such in-depth knowledge of her clients’ businesses, Tracy would often be involved in their real estate transactions. This prompted her to expand her firm’s capabilities into real estate marketing with LINK REAL ESTATE. The boutique real estate firm has seen a recent expansion of residential and commercial representation on the East Bay, as well as opened a storefront location in Barrington.

Whether she’s teaching at Roger Williams University, handling a real estate transaction, or advising CEO’s, her mission is to help others achieve their goals. “I do it because I love it. People trust me to help them, and that is extremely rewarding to me.” 

The Link Agency

Link Real Estate

Barrington | 401-289-2600


Leading Ladies 2019: Dr. Noni Thomas López

Head of School, The Gordon School

The moment Dr. Noni Thomas López was hired by THE GORDON SCHOOL, she made history: Dr. Thomas López is the first person of color to serve as the independent school’s Head of School. This is landmark, but it’s only the latest in a groundbreaking career in education. She earned her MA from Columbia University, where she was awarded a Joseph Klingenstein fellowship to study independent school leadership, and she later earned her EdD from the University of Pennsylvania.

“I benefited immensely from mentorship early in my career,” says Dr. Thomas López, “and I am proud that aspiring leaders, particularly women and people of color, seek me out for guidance and mentorship. I believe my purpose is to create spaces where others can discover and enact their purpose.”

She believes strongly in the Gordon School mission, which stresses justice, everyday activism, and service to others. She was also attracted to Gordon’s child-centered developmental approach, because students can enroll as toddlers and remain through eighth grade, encompassing their most formative years.

“Perhaps the best example is our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” she says. “Gordon started that work long before many independent schools realized its importance. I’ve been working in educational leadership for over two decades. Since my early days as an educator, Gordon has loomed large in my imagination for being a school on the cutting edge. I’m really excited for this new chapter in my career.”

Dr. Thomas López most recently lived in the Bronx, where she served as Assistant Head of School at Ethical Culture Fieldston School. She personally oversaw curriculum and instruction for a school of 1,750 students and 325 faculty and staff. Given this high level of discipline and community engagement, colleagues are often surprised by her demeanor.

“On a team of nine, I’m the only introvert, so they all know that I need solo time to recharge. But I think people who know me would say that I am authentic, that I put relationships first, and that I like to have fun.” 

The Gordon School

Providence | 401-434-3833


Leading Ladies 2019: Pamela Machon

Owner of Sophie's Brewhouse

There’s always plenty of new and exciting things happening at SOPHIE’S BREWHOUSE. “This is an exciting year for us,” says owner Pamela Machon. “We are introducing new features, and breaking ground to expand our kitchen and add a bar. I can’t wait to see it all come together.”

Part coffeehouse, part cafe, Sophie’s Brewhouse is all about serving freshly made drinks and food made with local ingredients. “As a small business owner, I make it a priority to use as many local vendors and businesses as possible.”

Currently open for breakfast and lunch, the eatery is planning on staying open in the evenings later this summer, and debuting an expanded menu of shareable plates and comfort-style fare. The new added bar, which should also be complete by late summer, will not only add more seating but also showcase their full liquor license. “I’ve been talking with local breweries about bringing in their beers,” she says, adding that her ultimate dream is to make it a brewhouse by day and by night. “From locally-brewed coffee to beer made onsite – that’s what I’d love to offer one day.”

Pamela continues to evolve the community-focused restaurant by adding live music on Sunday afternoons (starting mid-March), a mini farmer’s market (May-October), and patio activities (during warmer months). “I couldn’t do this without the dedication of my go-to team of Brian, Rachel, and Jeffrey. The whole dedicated staff allows me to keep dreaming about what’s next.” 

Sophie's Brewhouse

Exeter | 295-4273


Leading Ladies 2019: Nicki Maher

CEO & Co-Founder, Ella Stein

Nicki Maher believes all women should have their own version of “having it all.” A former Alex and Ani executive, she left a career at the nation’s fastest-growing retail brand to find a better work-life balance. “You could say I hung up my bangles in pursuit of a more mindful life,” Nicki says with a laugh. “I shifted from being a career executive to being an executive mama.” That shift in priorities - and taking some time to focus on her two children - made all the difference.

After a year of independent brand consulting, Nicki realized that one of her clients had an opportunity that seemed custom-tailored for her. She soon accepted a position as CEO and co-founder with fine jewelry company ELLA STEIN. The revolutionary brand - locally based with global goals - has a noble international mission of uplifting people with sustainable sourcing and transparent pricing.

As CEO and visionary, Nicki enthusiastically leads and mentors a team of driven creatives. “I like to think of myself as the Bill Belichick to the Ella Stein brand. That’s the fun part – com- ing up with the play-by-play to keep the communication clear and motivat- ing, and to keep the entire team and brand growing,” Nicki says, adding that she’s looking forward to their upcoming wholesale market launch. “I wholeheart- edly believe in this company, and I’m so excited about where we’re heading.” 

Ella Stein 



Leading Ladies 2019: Rose Maloney

Holistic Spa Owner, Pure Eco Spa & Boutique

PURE ECO SPA & BOUTIQUE, an organic spa, is a peaceful space where people relax, detoxify, and rejuvenate themselves. “My mission is to inspire health and wellness in others, bringing natural beauty from the inside out,” says owner and holistic esthetician Rose Maloney.

Spa services include facials, massages, body services, advanced skin care, makeup applications, and waxing. Pure’s advanced skin therapies are some of the most comprehensive in the state. Rose and her team offer LED Light Therapy for an unmatched glow, Microdermabrasion with Oxygenation to boost cellular turnover and Time Released Professional Peels to smooth fine lines and lighten the skin. The amazing new Neurotris Microcurrent (think non-surgical facelift) and ReZenerate NanoFacial reduce fine lines and wrinkles – with no down time.

“Our advanced skin care therapies take a more holistic approach than the traditional therapies, resulting in skin that is smoother, clearer, tightened, lightened and brightened for a more youthful glow without toxic ingredients.” An infrared sauna has many health benefits: weight loss, chronic pain, detoxification, anti- aging, relaxation, and cardio. “It makes for the complete experience to keep people healthy and well in mind, body, and spirit.”

“It is the greatest honor to be able to help others in a meaningful way. We take the time to really understand what their needs are, and we really care about making a difference in their lives on a lot of different levels,” Rose says. 

Pure Eco Spa & Boutique

Westerly | 326-9459


Leading Ladies 2019: Bethany Mazza

Boutique Owner, Green Ink

GREEN INK, a timeless boutique that has offered creative clothing for over 47 years in Wickford, recently added a second location in Wayland Square. Featuring a curated clothing, accessories and shoes, owner Bethany Mazza believes that women of all shapes and sizes deserve quality and style. “Being a part of the lives of our customers is a privilege. It’s beyond gratifying.” 

Green Ink

Providence | 421-0250

Wickford | 294-6266 

Leading Ladies 2019: Carrie A. McPherson, CRPS®

Registered Practice Associate And Practice Manager, Beacon Point Wealth Advisors

Carrie A. McPherson, a Registered Practice Associate and Practice Manager with BEACON POINT WEALTH ADVISORS, a financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Providence, never thought she’d choose a career in finance when she was in school. A University of Rhode Island graduate with a double major in US History and Political Science, she envisioned herself as a history professor or archivist, always enamored with documents and stories of the past. However, with two jobs, a family to support, and grad school out of the question, she pursued a new career path.

Fast forward to finance. In 2008, a friend of Carrie’s mentioned that his branch’s office was looking to fill an entry level position – a receptionist role – in the brokerage industry. During her interview, Carrie told management she was eager and willing to do whatever it took to grow and succeed in the company. She quickly studied for and passed the Series 7 and 63 licenses needed to be able to trade securities. She devoured the material. “It brought back memories of my seventh grade stock market club,” she recalls. It was the beginning of her passion for finance.

Ambitious, motivated, and devoted, Carrie quickly rose through the ranks at the branch, taking over her friend’s role when he left to open a restaurant. Carrie continued to seek ways to challenge herself and interact with people, so she pursued additional certification as a Chartered Retirement Plan Specialist (CRPS), the Series 65 – allowing for investment advisory advice – as well as separate Accident, Health and Life Insurance licenses.

This year, Carrie and Beacon Point Wealth Advisors are one of the newest members of the Ameriprise Financial family, a national diversified financial service company that serves with a client-first mindset and offers comprehensive financial advice. “I’m excited to be on such an amazing team dedicated to client service,” she shares.

Given Carrie’s past experiences, she explains that “not all investment advisors are financial planners.” It takes requisite education and experience to support that title.

In essence, though Carrie never did become an archivist, she still does what drew her to that aspiration in the first place: studying documents to gain a better understanding of the past, present and potential future. In this case, those documents are developments in the financial world, and the future is of her clients’ finances. She meets with clients, gets to know them and their goals, and helps develop solutions to address their concerns. In between those meetings, she keeps an eye on the markets, new developments or changes in tax strategies, develops portfolios, and helps creates financial plans for her team’s clients.

“I’m committed to working with my clients to develop creative and strategic plans to meet their unique goals,” Carrie says. “I love helping people – there’s nothing that makes me happier than that.” 


*Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and its affiliates do not offer tax or legal advice. Consumers should consult with their tax advisor or attorney regarding their specific situation. Ameriprise Financial cannot guarantee future financial results. Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., a registered investment adviser. Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA and SIPC. © 2019 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved. 

Beacon Point Wealth Advisors

Providence | 401-824-2557


Leading Ladies 2019: Kristen Prull Moonan & Amy Stratton

Estate Planning & Business Attorneys, Moonan, Stratton & Waldman

“We are a women-run boutique law firm with a focus on trusts and estates and elder law, as well as the business law and transactional matters critical throughout the life of your business. Our unwavering goal is a successful resolution of your legal issues, along with the utmost in client satisfaction.”

At MOONAN, STRATTON & WALDMAN, partners Kristen Prull Moonan and Amy Stratton take a hands-on approach... from the very first meeting to the conclusion of the legal matter. The firm’s roots date back three generations. “We are proud of our long-term relationships with clients and their families.”

“We appreciate that our clients come to us for our depth of technical knowledge, but also for our sensitivity to their current circumstances, which may, at times, be challenging and overwhelming.”

The firm is known for listening with compassion and consideration to clients’ most pressing concerns to determine the best legal strategies. They find creative solutions and, of equal importance, explain all the options, and their potential impact, in a way that is both respectful and understandable.

Moonan, Stratton & Waldman

Providence | 272-6300


Leading Ladies 2019: Paula Moskowitz MD, PHD

Dermatologist & Practice Co-Owner, Dermatology Professionals

“I’m so excited to be featured as a Leading Lady, and approaching my 20th year of practicing dermatology in Rhode Island... it just means the world to me,” says Paula Moskowitz. This is a major milestone for Paula, a proud Ocean State resident. She lived in several places – raised in Queens, NY, then moved to Chicago and Boston – but it was Providence that won her over. “I’ve never looked back,” she says.

Much of Paula’s career has been as an instructor. She taught dermatology residents at Roger Williams Medical Center, where she served as director of cosmetic training, and also at Brown University. Later, she brought her expertise to DERMATOLOGY PROFESSIONALS, a practice she started with her professional partners in East Greenwich 10 years ago.

“I have always loved my teaching roles,” says Paula, “first as an assistant professor and now teaching advanced cosmetic procedures to a dermatology fellow at my practice.” It is this level of expertise that distinguishes her from other providers of cosmetic services.

One of the most rewarding aspects of Paula’s job is her relationship with her patients. Over the past two decades, she has served as caregiver for up to three generations of the same family, attending to an astonishing range of dermatological needs, from the cosmetic to the life-saving. The field can be quite intimate; when one patient learned the gender of her anticipated first grandchild, she excitedly texted Paula. Longtime patients have also witnessed Paula’s own evolution, from young professional to expecting mother to the Mom of 15 year old twins.

“In my practice, I have always strived to provide cutting-edge and thoughtful treatments, whether my patient has acne, a rash, skin cancer, or is seeking a cosmetic enhancement,” she says. As technology evolves, she is excited about further expanding her services. “I’m thrilled about new innovations, such as the Pronox system of nitrous oxide, making laser treatments more comfortable, the Profound treatment for skin tightening, and PRP for female and male pattern hair loss. 2019 looks to be a great year at Dermatology Professionals,” Paula says. 

Dermatology Professionals

East Greenwich | 885-7546 

Leading Ladies 2019: Bethany Mascena Tracy, Cheryl Baker, Danielle Harbour & Caroline Maynard

Publishers, N2 Publishing

“At N2 PUBLISHING, we create customized, high quality publications that connect businesses with affluent neighborhoods throughout Rhode Island and across the country” say local Area Directors for Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts. Through resident-submitted stories and photos shared on the pages of the magazine, families learn about their neighbors. The result is a highly-anticipated monthly publication that connects businesses with exclusive neighborhoods.

N2 Publishing creates publications for neighborhoods including East Side in Providence, Hill & Harbour in East Greenwich, Warwick Neck in Warwick, Limerock in Lincoln, Nayatt & Rumstick Points in Barrington, Watch Hill in Westerly and The Cliffs in North Attleboro, MA.


There are more than 800+ N2 Area Directors across the nation, and they’re adding to the team. Area Directors are people who make a positive impact through their work on a daily basis – they turn neighborhoods into communities and offer an advertising avenue that places local businesses in the hands of affluent homeowners.

N2 Publishing

All of Rhode Island | 287-8482


Leading Ladies 2019: Diane S. Nahabedian

Director of Marketing, Roger Williams Park Zoo

As director of marketing for the ROGER WILLIAMS PARK ZOO, Diane Nahabedian is an integral part of the zoo’s team – and that role became even more exciting when the cutting-edge Faces of the Rainforest exhibit opened late last year. No matter what time of year, Nahabedian is busy promoting the zoo’s programming, from new animal acquisitions to infrastructure development. She also helps inform residents about the achievements of its sibling organization, the Rhode Island Zoological Society.

“I have the best job ever,” Diane says. “I tell the story of the greatest zoo in New England. I tell the story of the conservation work we do, the environmental education we provide to hundreds of school children, and the story of endangered animals that are vital to our ecosystem. I also work with committed professionals who are devoting their careers to the betterment of our environment.”

But that’s just part of her story. Diane earned her Bachelor of Arts from Brandeis University, and earned a Master’s of Science from Boston University – College of Communication. Since then, she has worked in marketing and public relations for nonprofit organizations for more than 30 years. This span includes her tenure as chief marketing and membership officer of the YMCA of Greater Providence. “Communication at this level is about more than writing press releases and getting the word out,” says Diane. “Communication helps people understand their community, and the communities around them. It’s the most important way to bridge divides.”

Diane also successfully developed a home-school curriculum for her son for 10 years, focusing on integrated arts. (He earned a degree from Sarah Lawrence College in 2016.) During that same decade, Nahabedian also served as a consultant, providing marketing, communications, and fund development strategies to organizations nationally and internationally.

“I’m proud of many aspects of my career, but mostly my ability to tell a story honestly and with feeling,” she says. 

Roger Williams Park Zoo

Providence| 785-3510 


Leading Ladies 2019: Laurie Neronha

Owner & Licensed Esthetician, Viriditas Beautiful Skin Therapies

Laurie Neronha is obsessed with healthy skin. “Beautiful skin is a side effect of healthy skin,” says the owner of VIRIDITAS BEAUTIFUL SKIN THERAPIES. “Skin wellness is more than beauty. It’s about health and self-love.” With a focus on herbal and science-based treat- ments, Laurie’s specialized approach heals compromised skin from the inside out.

Laurie’s impressive career began over two decades ago when she became a licensed esthetician. “I’m also obsessed with skin science,” she says, adding that becoming a certified Acne Specialist was a career game changer. A chronic acne sufferer as a teenager, Laurie understood the pain and insecurity firsthand. “It’s incredibly gratifying to help people with skin challenges like acne, and to do it in a noninvasive, drug-free way.” A regional trainer for Oncology Spa Solutions, Laurie teaches skincare professionals the specialized practice of treating oncology patients. “It’s empowering to know we improve the quality of life during such a challenging time.”

Heading into her twelfth year in business, Laurie is proud to have graduated the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program last year. “It’s so rewarding to have built a business that not only changed my life, but has changed the lives of others. It’s truly from my heart.” 

Viriditas Beautiful Skin Therapies

Providence | 632-4433


Leading Ladies 2019: Cortney Nicolato

President & CEO, United Way of Rhode Island

In September 2018, Cortney Nicolato began her role as President and CEO of UNITED WAY OF RHODE ISLAND, succeeding longtime executive Anthony Maione following his retirement. Born and raised in Pawtucket and a University of Rhode Island graduate, Cortney was recruited to Texas in 2005 to pursue her career. Following a progression of executive leadership positions with the American Heart Association, she later led the largest social services nonprofit serving aging adults in North Texas.

Humbled – and excited – to come back to the Ocean State and serve the community she’s always considered home, Nicolato hit the ground running and is approaching the six-month mark of her United Way tenure.

“Rhode Islanders are so passionate about helping Rhode Islanders and I see that passion each day in our community,” she says. “If we’re going to address our most pressing social issues, it’s imperative we work together – and Rhode Islanders work best when we collaborate.”

Cultivating strategic partnerships has been a theme throughout Nicolato’s career and a guiding force as she looks to build upon the impressive work being done in many areas. It is those same areas where she also sees opportunities to address issues at their root cause. Among them are identifying why 12 percent of third graders miss more than 10 percent (over 15 days) of the school year. This chronic absenteeism plays a significant role in students’ ability to learn, particularly at an age when a child’s grade-level reading proficiency is a strong indicator of future academic success and, subsequently, their career path.

“We know this issue is rooted deeply in meeting children’s basic needs. We also know it will take innovative programming and policy to solve it,” says Nicolato. “For example, every Rhode Islander should be able to find a home they can afford, but that’s not the case today.”

As United Way of Rhode Island sits uniquely at the intersection of nonprofit, business, government, and community, Nicolato is energized by the diversity of ideas presented to make our communities stronger.

“No matter where people stand on a particular issue, when they come to the table to find ways to help their neighbors, that is what comes before anything else,” she adds.

Nicolato is quick to highlight the important, yet evolving, role philanthropy plays in United Way’s work, embracing donors’ move to want to experience the mission firsthand – and then consider making a gift. “It’s cultivating these meaningful volunteer experiences and relationships that demonstrate the cumulative impact we can all have,” she says.

Two groups she points to as examples are United Way’s Young Leaders Circle and its Women United affinity group. More than 1,500 members strong, YLC raises funds to send local kids to summer learning programs, while Women United members dedicate their time and resources to improving childhood literacy.

“We’ve also grown the volunteer opportunities available to families and their children. There’s incredible interest in wanting to volunteer together and pass down the importance of helping others,” she says.

Throughout United Way of Rhode Island’s 92-year history, seeking innovative ideas and welcoming an outside-the-box approach to solve community challenges have been instrumental in defining the organization’s legacy. And as United Way moves forward into its next chapter, Nicolato welcomes all who wish to contribute and join “our” work. Follow her on Twitter @CortneyNic, or reach her at cortney.nicolato@uwri.org. 

United Way of Rhode Island

Providence | 401-444-0643


Leading Ladies 2019: Heather Paliotta

Executive Director, Charlestown Chamber of Commerce

Heather Paliotta has been with the CHARLESTOWN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE for 18 years, taking the lead with recruiting volunteers and growing membership. She’s especially proud of tripling the size of the Charlestown Seafood Festival, their largest fundraiser, and this year’s 35th annual celebration. “We are strong advocates for our members, and strong ambassadors for preserving our coastal heritage.” 

Charlestown Chamber of Commerce

Charlestown| 364-3878 


Leading Ladies 2019: Blythe Penna

Owner, Ruffin' Wranglers®

Blythe Penna started RUFFIN' WRANGLERS® in 2007 and RW has done over 165,000 dog excursions since! “We provide an exclusive experience for your dog,” Blythe says. RW excursions are much more than a leash walk. “If your dog is full of energy, tends to prefer the company of canines, and loves being outside running off-leash, then this is the perfect choice!” 

Ruffin’ Wranglers® has a private ranch, solely for their RW dogs, located in Rehoboth. The professional “wranglers” take care of pick-up, drop-off, and the fun time your dog has at the RW Ranch. These unique adventures provide your dog the space they need to safely run free, play, and socialize with their best pals. “Our ranch is about seven acres of fenced, beautiful land,” she says. “Come rain, shine, sleet, or snow... our wranglers are always there for your dogs.”

In 2014, The Rhode Island Small Business Journal recognized Blythe as one of the seven Entrepreneurial Women to Watch in RI. “I am extremely proud of the company that my Wranglers and I have built. We deliver canine nirvana on a daily basis, which in turn gives us immense joy.”

Their Facebook and Instagram pages are a must follow for any dog lover, and their website has videos and a virtual tour of the expansive RW Ranch. “There is nothing like connecting with an animal’s spirit,” Blythe says. “They are pure love and they teach us lessons in love every day.” 

Ruffin' Wranglers®

Providence | 401-419-4318


Leading Ladies 2019: Kim Peterson

Interior Designer, KEP Interior Designs

People often assume that you should only call in professional interior design help when doing a major home overhaul, but Kim Elliott-Peterson says this just isn’t true. For over 20 years, Kim has been helping clients refresh everything from single rooms to large scale comprehensive projects through her company KEP INTERIOR DESIGNS. Based from her home studio in West Greenwich, Kim works with clients all over the state, and in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Florida.

Natural Instincts

“I like to make people comfortable working with a designer,” says Kim. “I’m happy to work with anyone who feels the need for help with a design project.” Kim notes that design has always come with a natural ease for her. Armed with a BA in Textiles and Design from the University of Rhode Island, this self-proclaimed color junkie enjoys the process of color placement and coordination. “My training in the psychology of color is a great asset to my ability to match and pair colors for any given use,” she explains. Kim is not only able to choose shades, but is always cognizant of color hue, value, and saturation, and how shades and textures combine for the greatest effect.

Material Matters

A mix of color and texture are hallmarks of Kim’s interior designs. She pays sharp attention to detail including the mixing of fabrics which result in unique and special spaces. KEP offers conceptto-use design packages that include everything from furniture selections and room layouts to accessories, artwork and the final touches that make a space feel complete. The use of textures such as grass-cloth wallpaper, heavily woven linens or silks with deep sheens, combined with a mix of patterns, work to make to Kim’s designs visually appealing and layered. Her work is so well regarded that she has had several projects published and has won awards from trade shows and magazines both locally and nationally.

Building Character

For Kim, one of the best parts about living and working in Rhode Island is being able to work on historic buildings. “I enjoy working with all different types of people who have different tastes, budgets, and styles of living,” she says, “But I’m most proud of my work on historical properties. I love being part of the further years in homes that have such long pasts and histories.” “I’ve been called ‘guardian angel’ and ‘dream maker’ by my clients,” says Kim. “The ideal living space is different for everyone - but not everyone can take their dreams and create them in reality. I love feeling like I’m helping clients to love the place they live or work in,” she says. “I love the trust that people put in me to bring their dreams into reality.”


West Greenwich | 451-8922


Leading Ladies 2019: Doreen Picone

Realtor & Property Stager, Coastal Properties Group

A community focused realtor with COASTAL PROPERTIES GROUP, Doreen Picone, has a unique skill set. In addition to being a Senior Real Estate Specialist and Accredited Seller Representative, the North Kingstown resident is an Accredited Staging Professional, which is a huge asset in boosting a listing’s appeal. Doreen also has experience as an interior designer. “I never get tired of showing houses and working with people.” 

Coastal Properties Group

Wickford | 447-4492


Leading Ladies 2019: Kimberly J. Poland

Advertising Agency President, Poland Media Group

“When a client tells me that what we have put together has turned into true results – that’s what I’m most proud of,” says Kimberly J. Poland, founder of POLAND MEDIA GROUP, a full service advertising and public relations agency. Kimberly is a marketing expert who simplifies advertising plans, brand recognition and media buying for clients. “Business owners are approached with so many options. We help them make educated decisions.” 

Poland Media Group



Leading Ladies 2019: The Leading Ladies at Providence Picture Frame

The Leading Ladies at Providence Picture Frame

PROVIDENCE PICTURE FRAME started in 1850, and has been helping people making beautiful memories ever since. Over the decades, the store went from a tiny spot in The Arcade to the major art destination that it is now. Today, Providence Picture Frame is housed in a historic mill off North Main Street. They offer framing, and also photo and painting restoration, printing and appraisals, and sell antique maps, framed prints, and mirrors. Their Dryden Gallery, with three exhibition spaces that showcase art by local artists, has become a major art destination in the area, and can host events of up to 200 people. It all adds up to a full acre of space devoted to local art and fine craftsmanship, and a staff of people who spend their lives making spaces more beautiful. Meet the Leading Ladies Providence Picture Frame team.

Donna Parsons has been Gallery Director at Providence Picture Frame & Dryden Gallery for six years, and has been with the company for over 15 years. As Gallery Director, Donna is responsible for filling the gallery’s three exhibition rooms: the Red Gallery on the first floor, the Piano Room on the second, and the Grand Gallery upstairs, which is over 3,500 square feet and is considered one of the finest galleries in New England. 

Miranda Harreys came to Providence Picture Frame in 2013 as part of a career change. With some experience from another shop but, more importantly, with a friendly personality and a lifetime of sewing skills, she is now an expert in hand sewing and the archival treatment of everything from fine silk tapestries, to sports jerseys belonging, to members of major New England sports clubs.

Dale Ryan, sales manager, has been with Providence Picture Frame since it was a tiny shop in The Arcade. Her primary role, as she describes it, is meeting new people and improving their spaces, helping them to envision the difference that great framing can make not just to one photo or piece of art, but to a whole room. She works closely with local offices to place artwork that fits their business and their budget.

Diolinda Pereira started with the company 18 years ago and quickly demonstrated her skill as a craftsperson with an eye for detail. Once all of the various tasks have been performed on a customer’s project and components produced, she is the one who brings it all together for final assembly and inspection. She’s never afraid to kick something back into production if she is not happy with it. If it’s hanging on your wall, it’s probably because Diolinda said it could.

Lisa Lagory is the head of Providence Picture Frame’s matting and archival treatment department. She is an expert in the ancient art of paper hinges for high value works on paper, and at the same time, she is also recognized as one of North America’s most knowledgeable users of CAD mat cutting machines. Combine this with her design expertise, and she is a triple threat.

Lisa Bushee is half of the growing digital reproduction and printing department. With years of experience as professional photographer, photo editor and printmaker, she is able work with the most exacting professionals, but her warm personality allows her to also make the least tech-savvy customers feel right at home. In addition to her technical skills, Lisa is also works with customers to help frame anything that they have printed.

Mary Lindberg is the newest member of the team, and comes with a diverse background in art and design. An artist herself, she has a broad range of skills from painting on various substrates, sculpture, set design, and light carpentry. She is a triple threat – working with customers at the design counter, in their homes as an art installer, and in the workshop as a framer. 

Providence Picture Frame

Providence | 401-421-6196


Leading Ladies 2019: Laurie Ramaker

Marketing & Business Development, Ramaker Communications

Laurie Ramaker of RAMAKER COMMUNICATIONS is proud to be celebrating the company’s 20th year in business. Standing out as a unique RI Marketing Consultant, Ramaker values community relationships, past and potential stakeholders, and the economic impact of tourism. She has spear- headed marketing efforts for many of the region’s best-known public events, including the Rhythm & Roots Festival and The South County Balloon Festival.

Laurie’s diverse client base include the iconic Coast Guard House Restaurant, non-profit museums, “mom and pop” businesses, and community organizations. The go-to marketing consultant in southern RI, she is known for designing highly specialized visibility-to-profit programs for clients at a manageable price. “The most important thing I can do is listen well. Marketing is not one-size-fits all, and each business goal requires a different approach.”

Creative and collaborative, Laurie operates much like a business developer by helping clients define what makes them unique, then implementing a plan that targets the right audience with a blend of traditional, digital, and social media marketing. She considers herself an invested partner in her clients’ businesses. By applying her years of advertising, marketing and public relations experience, she frees up clients to do what they love. 

Ramaker Communications



Leading Ladies 2019: The Design + Build Team at RI Kitchen & Bath

The Design + Build Team at RI Kitchen & Bath

True creativity comes from the collaboration of inspired minds. The award-winning design team at RHODE ISLAND KITCHEN & BATH, led by President Tanya Donahue and Director of Design Prudence Stoddard, is known throughout the state for consistently delivering results that customers rave about. “Our Design + Build team remodels spaces where people raise their families, have friends gather, and celebrate holidays and milestones,” Tanya says. “I’m honored whenever a client chooses us to bring their vision to life.”

Their 3,000 square foot showroom in Warwick is full of kitchen and bath ideas. It’s also a space to educate and inspire. “I love developing and conducting design seminars,” Prudence says.

“Our entire team is committed to sharing the latest product and material trends, as well as providing tips on what homeowners need to know before tackling a remodeling project.”

Tanya and Prudence – along with design team members Kingsley Catalucci, Stephanie McShane, Erika Pearson, and Billie Senzek – have long hosted design seminars and cooking demonstrations, but this year they are taking them to the next level with over 25 events planned. Highlights include their annual Home Remodeling Fair on March 23, which will include a variety of mini-seminars like 10 Steps to a Successful Remodel and Kitchen and Bathroom Trends. A new ongoing series brings acclaimed chef Walter Potenza to the showroom’s state- of-the art kitchen for hands-on cooking workshops. Kevin O’Connor from This Old House returns to RIKB on October 26 for a not-to-be- missed seminar. The team is also looking forward to exhibiting at the RI Home Show, held at the RI Convention Center from April 4-7.

“We believe a home should be a reflection of the homeowner’s personality and style, designed to function for the way they live,” Tanya says. “As a full service Design + Build firm, we offer our clients the guidance and expertise to take any room in their home from drab to fab. We help our clients explore their options and manage every aspect of their project from idea to completion to ensure their vision becomes a reality.” 

Rhode Island Kitchen & Bath

Warwick | 401-463-1550


Leading Ladies 2019: Mikayla Roberts

Owner & Cleaning Expert, Cleaning By Mikayla

Mikayla Roberts is truly passionate about making people’s lives easier by cleaning their homes. Offering professional cleaning services for commercial and residential properties, she prides herself on her punctuality and her attention to detail. But what really makes CLEANING BY MIKAYLA a success is her customer service. “It’s important to meet all of my clients and customize a cleaning schedule tailored to their needs.” 

Cleaning By Mikayla

Serving all of Rhode Island | 249-9288


Leading Ladies 2019: Roz Rustigian

Owner, Rustigian Rugs

RUSTIGIAN RUGS offers a wide selection of hand-woven rugs and wall-to-wall carpeting, from traditional to contemporary and custom, primarily sourced from Near- and Middle East suppliers and allied American importers.

Roz Rustigian developed her work ethic and business acumen at the side of her father “Rusty,” who founded Rustigian Rugs in 1930. Her appreciation of the world’s cultural opportunities and refusal to accept traditional barriers have opened doors to her as a woman that would have been unimaginable in her father’s time and that have anchored her continued success in one of the world’s most male-dominated industries.

After three decades overseeing the growth of Rustigian Rugs and a lifetime immersed in fine carpets, Roz is in high demand as a consultant and bridge builder. Some of her many invitations and honors include:

  • Advisor, Istanbul Carpet Exporters Association, sponsored by the Turkish government

  • Advisor, inaugural USAID-sponsored Rug Fair in Kabul, Afghanistan

  • Two-time President, Oriental Rug Retailers of America

  • 2001 Retailer of the Year, AmericasMart in Atlanta, Georgia

In January 2019, Roz traveled to the international Domotex exhibition in Hanover, Germany where her accomplishments were celebrated at the Carpet Star Retailers of the Year ceremony. One of five honorees worldwide, she was honored with the Exemplary Rug Specialist Shop award, presented by Carpet! magazine. 

Rustigian Rugs

Providence | 401-751-5100

Leading Ladies 2019: Gerri Schiffman

Realtor, Residential Properties Ltd.

“I’m committed to listing any type of property as well as matching buyers with the home of their dreams,” says Gerri Schiffman, an award-winning realtor celebrating her 26th year with RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES LTD. A career professional with the leading agency since 1994, Gerri has an unparalleled level of institutional knowledge, expertise, and personal experience about the Providence area market.

“My husband Fred and I raised four children on the East Side. I know firsthand what buyers are looking for and how to help sellers make their properties appealing to these buyers.” Having built and renovated several homes of her own - along with working closely with contractors on many projects - Gerri really understands the potential of any property. “I love all kinds of houses - large or small, old or new, traditional or contemporary. I find beauty, purpose, and opportunity in all of them.”

Gerri also has a keen eye for preparing a home for sale, using staging, floor plans, professional photography, videos, individual websites, and digital media. “When I list a property, I am very particular about how that property is presented to potential buyers on the internet, in written advertising, during open houses, and for private showings.”

She is totally dedicated to her clients, always making herself available no matter the day or time, whether providing insightful feedback to sellers, or reviewing the necessary steps in the buying process with first time homebuyers who might need more guidance.

“Selling real estate is such a rewarding experience. It is a great feeling to help sellers find the right buyer who appreciates their unique property or to help buyers throughout the often arduous and competitive process of finding that special house that will become their new home.”

Client Testimonial

"Gerri’s reputation as the best realtor in Providence proved to be spot-on for us. Thanks to her insights and knowledge about the neighborhood, the real estate market, and the tactics to use in successfully presenting a property, we entered into a contract for the sale of our East Side condo within 48 hours of being listed. Gerri is simply a top notch professional, and we recommend her enthusiastically." - Don H. 

Residential Properties Ltd.

Providence | 474-3733 


Leading Ladies 2019: Lisa Sienkiewicz & Gail Parella

Co-Owners & Sisters, Gil's Appliances

GIL’S APPLIANCES is a family-owned and operated appliance store with locations in Bristol and Middletown. Lisa Sienkiewicz and Gail Parella, co-owners and sisters, are proud to continue a tradition of trust, integrity, and value started by their parents, Gil and Sarah Almeida, in 1961. Family and community values have always played an important role in their business strategy and they are proud to be a multi-generational local family business that can thrive in an age of big box stores and online shopping.

Lisa and Gail are careful to ensure that their focus stays on superior customer service, competitive pricing, and a strong connection to the communities they serve. Gil’s launched the hugely successful Gil’s Loves Local initiative in 2018 highlighting local foods, farms, chefs, and artisans through in-store cooking classes, events, and displays. Gil’s carries all major appliance brands, offers free delivery, free removal of old appliances, and free delivery and assembly on all outdoor grills. Financing is available for qualified customers.

Visit Gil’s for more details and follow them on Facebook and Instagram for information on upcoming promotions and Gil’s Loves Local events. You’ll see why Lisa and Gail are truly “Leading Ladies” in their field. 

Gil's Appliances

Bristol | 253-9789

Middletown | 314-9789


Leading Ladies 2019: Dr. Mary Christina Simpson, MD

Owner & Medical Director, SeaMist MedSpa

“If you are passionate about what you do, make it a priority to enjoy your life, and take care of yourself and those around you, the rest will just fall into place,” says Dr. Mary Christina Simpson. “But most of all, be unapologetically you!”

With a passion for empowering women to feel and look their best, Dr. Simpson balances two highly demanding - yet highly rewarding - careers in addition to being a mom of four young children. Prior to becoming the medical director and owner of SEAMIST MEDSPA, Dr. Simpson held the distinction of being the Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at South County Hospital.

SeaMist MedSpa has been a respected pioneer in innovative cosmetic services for over a decade. Medically licensed clinicians offer male and female clients a wide range of state-of-the-art treatments including Botox, dermal facial fillers, Hydrafacial, CoolSculpting, laser hair removal, skin tightening, and medical grade peels. “We strive to provide the most natural, youthful look our clients

desire, and also focus on healthy skin and preventative care,” Dr. Simpson says.

A graduate of Bowdoin College with a degree in biochemistry and psychology, Dr. Simpson earned her Master’s degree at Boston University and received her medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. She completed her residency at Women & Infants Hospital and has been providing comprehensive obstetrical and gynecological care in Rhode Island since 2004. She provides personalized care for her patients with compassionate and focused attention.

A native Rhode Islander, Dr. Simpson lives in East Greenwich with her husband and their four children. Balancing as much as she does, it’s no surprise that she is often described as energetic and motivated. “I always have my eyes set to the future, and how I can continue to exceed clients expectations. It’s quite rewarding to help clients look as youthful and refreshed as they feel. I get to help people look their very best...it doesn’t get much more rewarding than that.” 

SeaMist MedSpa

South Kingstown | 782-2400


Leading Ladies 2019: Melissa Siple

Pilates Instructor & Gym Owner, Benefitness

All gain with no pain? It’s possible with STOTT Pilates. The precise strengthening and stretching method developed a century ago by Joseph Pilates has had immense benefits for those who practice it, but the system was based on old knowledge about the body and its functions. That’s why Melissa Siple, owner of BENEFITNESS, is a STOTT Pilates Instructor Trainer, teaching the method to future trainers at her acclaimed studio and traveling globally to train future instructors. “STOTT is the contemporary approach. As science has evolved, our method has evolved to better fit clients’ needs,” Melissa says. She’s excited about her brand new Intensive Mat Plus teacher training session, adding “If you‘ve ever wanted to become a Pilates instructor, this is the class for you!”

Benefitness offers daily Group Mat and Reformer classes, as well as customized one- on-one sessions. “‘One size doesn’t fit all’ when it comes to personal training. Inspired, creative instruction is the best way to reach personal goals and overcome challenges.” The studio also offers TRX, Halo and Barre sessions. Melissa prides herself on having “the best of the best” trainers working for her – but that doesn’t mean she only trains top athletes. “People are looking to be fit and functional longer. We work with every body type and age to help you be your best self.” 


East Greenwich| 886-5661


Leading Ladies 2019: Dr. Valerie Tokarz

Board-Certified Dermatologist & Laser Specialist, Tokarz Laser & Aesthetic Dermatology

To say Dr. Valerie Tokarz takes a skin deep approach is an understatement. “I love my job,” says the board-certified dermatologist. “It’s incredibly rewarding to make a difference in someone’s life.”

Dr. Tokarz is excited to bring her expertise to her new practice, TOKARZ LASER AND AESTHETIC DERMATOLOGY. Her dermatology office, which is scheduled to open in March, will showcase her skilled experience in laser surgery for both cosmetic and scar treatments as well as anti-aging treatments such as Botox® and fillers.

Her journey to becoming a leader in laser surgery began with earning a degree in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University and a Doctorate of Osteopathy at the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine. Her training at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego was a pivotal, life-changing opportunity. Laser surgery is a highly specialized and critical treatment for the military, especially for scar victims. “Working with active military and veterans gave me a unique perspective on the lasting impact of laser surgery.”

Dr. Tokarz’s career took yet another groundbreaking turn in 2012, when she became the first U.S. physician to bring a laser onboard a U.S. Navy ship. “I had the honor to perform laser scar surgery during a humanitarian mission in Asia. My military experience was both humbling and empowering. It continues to shape the way I treat patients.”

In addition to scars, Dr. Tokarz uses state-of- the-art treatments for rosacea, acne, sunspots, wrinkles, and hair removal. “I personally treat my patients,” she adds, pointing out that clients are always treated by a medical doctor at Tokarz Laser and Aesthetic Dermatology. “The skin industry has many self-proclaimed ‘experts’ that have not had the thousands of hours of training required to medically treat patients. My vision for my practice is to provide patient awareness and education about their medically-proven options.”

As the largest organ in the body, skin is much more than its outer appearance. “From preventing skin cancer to reducing acne scars, I am committed to providing personalized healthy skin solutions and truly improving lives.” 

Tokarz Laser & Aesthetic Dermatology

East Greenwich | info@tokarzderm.com


Leading Ladies 2019: Jennifer Torbett, DMD

Dentist & Practice Owner, Crestview Dental Associates

“We aim to offer a calming environment that is accommodating for everybody,” says Jennifer Torbett, dentist-owner of CRESTVIEW DENTAL ASSOCIATES. Married with two young children, Jennifer knows the challenges of balancing work and family. She created her South County practice with accessibility in mind. “We treat our patients like family. We are prompt, friendly, and compassionate.”

Jennifer graduated from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 2004 and soon thereafter bought an existing practice in Westerly. With a focus on personalized family dentistry, the office earned a gleaming reputation and a large client following. Jennifer took another leap in 2017, when she expanded the practice by moving into a larger, more modern space. “It’s been a dream come true,” she says of the state- of-the art office.

Services include preventive treatments, comprehensive exams, cosmetic and restorative treatments, and implant dentistry. With a warm approach and a relaxing atmosphere, her professional team of hygienists and dentists works to put patients at ease. “We have been fortunate to have a new dentist and hygienist join our team and continue the same great patient care philosophy.”

An active member of the American Dental Association and the South County Dental District, Jennifer presides as president of the RI Dental Association for 2018-2019. “It’s an honor to service and represent the South County community I call home.” 

Crestview Dental Associates

Westerly | 596-0319


Leading Ladies 2019: Rebecca Traxler

Owner, Ocean Tile Gallery

Inspiration comes easy at OCEAN TILE GALLERY, the beautiful designer showroom Rebecca Traxler opened in Westerly in 2017. Featuring the latest trends and materials, the incredible 3,000-square-foot storefront showcases a seemingly endless collection of tile, flooring, countertops, and home accents. “My goal is to make people feel inspired in their own homes,” Rebecca says. “I want people to stay in love with their homes.”

Showroom Exclusives for 2019

“There is nothing like seeing color and touching material in person. I love when customers walk in and are amazed by the selection here, and tell me how beautiful the space is.” The designer’s showroom is literally a full-service shop: customers receive on-site consultations, select materials, discuss budget, and schedule on-site visits and expert installation. “We do it all,” Rebecca says. From backsplashes to heated floors, there isn’t a renovation project too small or too large for the team here.

New exclusive tile collections, sound-bearing materials, and state-of-the-art flooring are just a sampling of what’s in store this year at Ocean Tile Gallery. “I’m continuing to add hard-to-find exclusives to give our customers the best browsing and decision-making experience possible.”

“I’m really excited about the increasing popularity of COREtec, a terrific alternative for wide plank hardwood flooring.” The high-quality line offers a great variety of flooring with the realistic look of wood. Durable and waterproof, the flooring can transform basements, mudrooms, kitchens, and beyond. “It adds a very modern touch, yet a classic look and feel. COREtec is the industry’s best, and I’m thrilled to showcase this collection this year.”

The showroom also offers unique home accents (like lamps and wall art), a recent addition brought on by genuine customer interest. “People would come in and want to buy the accessories we used to stage our vignettes,” she says, adding that they now have a wide selection of coastal-inspired decor available to purchase. These personalized touches are what it’s all about for Rebecca, who aims to exceed her customers’ expectations.

“We also do a lot commercially,” she says, adding that she knows firsthand how overwhelmed business owners can be. “From restaurants to boutiques and large-scale housing developments, we know how to make any renovation project seamless for local businesses.”

An Artistic Approach

“I’m passionate about design,” Rebecca says. “I especially love how versatile tile can be, and how creative you can get with it.”

A creative problem solver, Rebecca aims to “marry the people with their house” by taking the time to really get to know her customers’ design goals and needs. “I really look to create a harmonious union between people and homes by finding the right design that matches their lifestyle,” she says. Her goal is to always give the client what they want, regardless of budget. “That’s where I really get creative,” she says. “I always feel like I’m leaving my artwork behind in someone’s home, but at the end of the day it’s their home. I’m just honored to help them see their visions come true.”

Staying ahead of industry trends has been one of the keys to her continued success. From attending trade shows to building relationships with local building and remodeling professionals, Rebecca prides herself for staying informed in the flooring industry. “Education is so important, especially in an industry that is always innovating with new ways to use materials,” she says, adding that educating her clients is also a priority. “I value the meaningful relationships I have with my clients, and empowering them to make the right decisions is important to me.”

Building Her Own Career

With a determined mindset and a personal approach, Rebecca began her impressive career in flooring over 15 years ago. She continues to expand her residential and commercial portfolio at Ocean Tile Gallery and Eastern CT Flooring, her second business located in Groton, CT. “Running two businesses in two states can be challenging, but I love every minute.” Owning both businesses – coupled with her ever-increasing volume – also gives Rebecca unique access to the industry’s top manufacturers.

“I’m proud to have built this company from the ground up, to have done it on my own, and to continue growing it in my own way,” Rebecca says. “The building and construction industry has been predominantly owned and run by men. It’s inspiring to know that I have had a part in changing that.”

“Being a business owner has been a dream come true for me. And now I get to make my customers’ dreams a reality in their own homes, and in their businesses. It’s an absolute pleasure to help people express their unique personalities through design.” 

Ocean Tile Gallery

Westerly | 401-322-7000


Leading Ladies 2019: Kristine S. Trocki & Monique M. Paquin

Attorneys & Counsellors at Law

Expertise. Persistence. Compassion. Resilient. These are just a few of the words clients use to describe attorneys Kristine S. Trocki and Monique M. Paquin of KRISTINE S. TROCKI, ATTORNEY AND COUNSELLOR AT LAW (KST Law). Kristine and Monique are not your average counselors at law. With utmost professionalism and a shared relentless focus, these leading women work together as a unified team to get the best possible outcome for their clients.

The Dynamic Team Approach

Kristine opened KST Law, a full-service community law firm, in 2006. Monique joined in November 2013, and has worked alongside Kristine ever since to offer creative and proactive legal solutions for their clients.

Practicing law as a team is just one way that distinguishes the leading women from their colleagues at other law firms. Both women are dedicated to providing the highest quality client care through transparency and communication. In fact, when you call KST Law, you will always speak directly with Kristine and/or Monique. Both attorneys are always fully informed of all details in every client’s matter.

This close-knit team approach provides incisive, comprehensive, and customized care, and allows clients to receive the full benefits of two attorneys while essentially only paying for one. “Our team is completely in sync, and it’s powerful,” says Kristine. “It’s our secret weapon.” The dynamic women bring a high level of preparedness, expertise, and determination to each case. “Never underestimate us,” Kristine says. As a client once told Kristine she “Loved the fact that we are not only highly intelligent, but can advocate on a wide spectrum- from thoughtful, practical and kind to full on pit bulls with lipstick, if need be.”

Stronger Together

Since Kristine and Monique work with clients so closely, often during highly-emotional periods of their clients’ lives, both women are focused on their clients’ overall well-being. “It’s not just about the biggest financial settlement or winning a tough case - it’s also about coming out of this personal challenge stronger than you were when it began,” Kristine says.

They also see clients at happier moments in their lives, be it starting a new business or crafting a will after the birth of a child. “We are grateful to be our clients ‘lawyers for life,’ and to help them navigate through the changes and challenges they may face throughout their lifetime,” Monique adds.

Community & Connections

As leaders in law and as well as in their respective communities, Kristine and Monique value their clients and work diligently to establish client satisfaction and long-term relationships. Making a meaningful and lasting impact in someone’s life comes with gratitude for both attorneys. “We care deeply, and that’s why we fight with a relentless drive for our clients.” Kristine says. “We are so grateful for the genuine, trusted connections we make with our clients. This makes all the difference.”

Kristine and Monique are each certified mediators and are each licensed to practice law in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Kristine completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees at University of Rhode Island and received her Law Degree in 1999 from Northeastern School of Law. Monique is a May 2013 graduate of Roger Williams University School of Law and also completed her Bachelor’s Degree at RWU. Kristine served as President of the Jamestown Town Council 2012-2018, and has served on the board of the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce. Monique has served as the Executive Director of the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce since June 2016. 


KST Law provides legal representation in a wide variety of practice areas including: Personal Injury & Auto Accidents; Divorce & Family Law; Mediation; Wills & Powers of Attorney; Probate; Business/Employment & Contract Law; Severance Agreements; Landlord/Tenant Law; Medical Malpractice; and Products Liability 

Kristine S. Trocki, Attorney and Counsellor at Law

Jamestown | 423-3390

kst@trockilaw.com | mmp@trockilaw.com


Leading Ladies 2019: Sarah Viveiros

Stylist & Salon Owner, Bella Hair & Nails

“It’s been my dream since I was a little girl to own a salon,” says Sarah Viveiros, owner of BELLA HAIR AND NAILS. The graduate of Toni & Guy is Keratin certified, and does manicures, pedicures and facial waxing in addition to hair cuts, color and style. Her clients describe her as passionate about her work, with an incredible attention to detail. “I love making people look and feel great.” 

Bella Hair & Nails

Barrington | 289-0888


Leading Ladies 2019: Jeremy White

Salon Owner & Hair Stylist, Sense of Style

“The most gratifying feeling is when someone leaves happy,” says SENSE OF STYLE owner Jeremy White. Her hair salon offers expert color, cut, and foils. With a commitment to stay ahead of trends and continued education through certificates, she finds inspiration in South County and from her supportive community. “I’m fortunate to live in a place of beauty and simplicity.” 

Sense of Style

Wakefield | 782-1273 


Leading Ladies 2019: Shelby White

Salon Owner & Stylist, SW Beauty

“I was putting lipstick on at age seven,” says SW BEAUTY owner Shelby White.“Beauty is my life’s passion.” Today the 28-year-old is the proud owner of a full service hair salon. In addition to fashion- forward hair care, SW Beauty offers bridal, makeup, and extensive skin services like peels and brow tinting. “Passion drives success. Follow your dreams and you will never ‘work’ another day.” 

SW Beauty

Wakefield | 515-5631


Leading Ladies 2019: Melanie Wolf

Gelato Chef & Owner, Pompelmo Gelateria

As a Spanish teacher at URI, Melanie Wolf didn’t know what to do with her summers. That’s when she and her husband started POMPELMO GELATERIA. The Argentine native grew up with gelato instead of ice cream, and wanted to share “a little piece of Italy in RI.” Crafted daily in small batches, each flavor is made with natural, local ingredients and without food coloring – the true Italian way. 

Pompelmo Gelateria

Westerly | 348-8586


Leading Ladies 2019: Alacyn Wolfe

Realtor, William Raveis

WILLIAM RAVEIS is the largest family-owned real estate company in the Northeast. With three locations in Rhode Island (Providence, Bristol, and Newport) and in Westport, MA, the agency is known for its distinctive luxury homes, commitment to the community, award-winning team, and is internationally recognized as the Top Luxury Broker by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.

Realtor Alacyn Wolfe offers her clients a multitude of benefits enhanced by her association with one of Rhode Island’s most successful real estate teams, The John Risica Team. She believes the key to success is embodying her core values of transparency, integrity, and professionalism with fierce client advocacy. “It is all about developing trustful and lasting relationships while being of service to my clients. It’s beyond rewarding to make a difference in clients lives.” Alacyn continues to work closely with the company’s Luxury Department and high-end developers. 619-713-3535, alacyn.wolfe@raveis.com 

William Raveis

Providence | 401-751-8100


Leading Ladies 2019: Elisa Wybraniec

Wine Director, The Coast Guard House

Elisa Wybraniec, Wine Director at THE COAST GUARD HOUSE, has been a key part of the incredible success and evolution of one of Rhode Island’s most iconic dining establishments. The oceanside restaurant continues to further invest its commitment to excellence and premier customer service through the education of their employees, specifically with Elisa’s staff wine training. “It’s been an incredible journey with plenty of challenges along the way,” Elisa says. “I’m so grateful that throughout it all I had the full support of the restaurant, to implement an extensive wine program and a terrific team to execute it.”

The Coast Guard House is celebrating the five-plus years of Elisa’s viticultural studies, and the lasting impact on its dining experience.

Elisa earned the coveted Diploma of Wine and Spirits (DWS) from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), and recently became a WSET Nominated Educator. She is also a certified sommelier, awarded by the Court of Master Sommeliers (the leading authority on wine service) and a CSW per studies through the Society of Wine Educators.

Elisa began her wine studies with the WSET at Johnson & Wales University, in Providence, under the instruction of her mentor Ed Korry; Department Chair of Dining Room & Beverage Services. To prepare for the WSET’s Diploma, Elisa enrolled with Adam Chase, a certified instructor from Boston’s Grape Experience: Wine and Spirit School. She tasted wines every week for nearly three years with a study group to refine her pallet, as well as gain knowledge of vintage, appellation, and varietal wines. All six units of study – from sparkling wines to fortified wines – ended with a written exam and a high-stakes taste test. The certified sommelier examination, which focuses on service, puts the student on the spot to recommend wine pairings, answer detailed questions, and serve wine flawlessly. “The training was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I’m simply thrilled to share my knowledge with the staff, patrons, and wine enthusiasts.”

This past fall, Elisa continued her education in working as a harvest intern for Alan Viader at Viader Vineyards in Deer Park, California. During her time in Napa Valley, Elisa was schooled in grape sorting, leaf pulling, manual punch downs, Brix readings, and many other processes in the winemaking trade.

Now an instructor herself, Elisa teaches WSET at Johnson and Wales University and at University of Rhode Island’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Elisa also enjoys sharing her passion at The Coast Guard House, holding classes for the staff and invited guests. Her willingness to teach her colleagues provides them with the confidence to provide patrons with thoughtful suggestions for their wine selections, and introduce new favorites.

Elisa’s curated wine list has over 350 bottles available and 30 selections by the glass. The list favors domestic wine producers, but there are also organic, vegan, biodynamic, and raw wines available as well as other countries represented.

The Coast Guard House features a vigorous wine pairing dinner schedule, hosting a wine dinner a month from October to June. (The restaurant also hosts beer dinners throughout the year.) Elisa selects the wine first, and then joins Chef Angel Cardona and his culinary team to have a tasting session to create a complimentary food menu.

“The wine pairing dinners really highlight our amazing cuisine and hand-selected wines, and the high level of dedication this staff puts into serving our guests. It’s a celebration for all of us.”

The Coast Guard House Restaurant is open seven days a week, serving lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday, and brunch and dinner on Sundays. Reservations suggested. Follow Elisa on Instagram at @girlandherglass and The Coast Guard House on Facebook and Instagram for Chef Angel’s food creations. 

The Coast Guard House

Narragansett | 401-789-0700


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