Leading Ladies 2020

Leading Ladies 2020: Katje Afonseca

Executive Director


“Mentoring is important to me — personally and professionally,” says Katje N. Afonseca, Executive Director at BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF RHODE ISLAND (BBBSRI). “Losing my sister when I was 12 highlighted the importance of connections and support for youth as they navigate life.” Praised as an excellent communicator and visionary leader, Katje and her team ensure kids in Rhode Island have positive role models in their lives.

A graduate of Johnson & Wales University, Katje has worked in the non-profit sector for over 15 years, and has multifaceted experience with program management and fund development, including strategic planning, donor cultivation and stewardship, and grant writing. Katje has been with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island since 2013, when she was hired as Director of Development. In 2016 Katje was promoted to Executive Director of two 501(c)3’s: Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS), which focuses on youth development; and a social enterprise organization (the Donation

Center), which raises funds for BBBS. “Running organizations with a human services focus means the work is always evolving. While challenging, it is also very fulfilling. I love it because it truly changes

lives, and that feels good,” she says. Described as forward thinking and passionate, Katje and her team are embarking on a new three-year strategic plan, which they look forward to implementing. Katje is especially proud of leading an organization that was named one of PBN “Best Places to Work” in 2019. “I believe happy, healthy employees working in an environment with a positive internal impact will create a greater external impact.”

In addition to extensive volunteer work and mentoring, Katje sits on committees that focus on youth empowerment and women’s leadership, to name a few. “I am passionate about building strong relationships,” Katje says. “Mentoring is a deep-rooted investment in our community as a whole.”


Big Brothers Big Sisters of RI • 1540 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston • 401-921-2434


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