Anita Cunha has been in recovery from drug addiction and sexual brokenness for over 8 years. She is passionate about helping women who are currently struggling with similar issues. In her professional career. Anita is a Certified Drug Addiction Recovery Coach and works at Bridgewell in Lynn, MA and at the Suffolk County House of Correction. Lastly, she works as a group facilitator and mentor for Jasmine Grace Outreach. JGO is as an outreach ministry to vulnerable women who have been affected by sex trafficking, prostitution, drug addiction and homelessness. Anita finds great joy walking alongside hurting people, helping them find their way in recovery, hope and healing. She also dedicates her time to lead Alpha at the same prison she works and co-leads a weekly bible discussion at Ruth’s Way for Women in Lynn.
Gladys Agneta, has served as Program Director for CAPIC since 2016 and is bi-lingual in English and Spanish and was raised in the Chelsea community. She has worked to address gaps in services and identify needs, like a support group for Latino families affected by substance use. She also works closely with SELAH Resource Center, located at Luz De Cristo Church, which provides essential services for the homeless for those in need of a warm meal and place to shower. Ms. Agneta, is a well-respected and active member of the Chelsea HUB. She is also an active member of the Chelsea Downtown Task Force, Winnisimmet Regional Opioid Collaborative (WROC), the Healthy Chelsea Coalition, is a founding member of Recovery Coaches of Massachusetts, and coordinates the annual Point in Time Homeless Count for the City of Chelsea. In addition, Ms. Agneta facilitates weekly community navigator meetings on behalf of the City of Chelsea, serves as a Board member and Secretary for a community-based group, “For Those Who Can for Those in Need”, and is a domestic violence advocate. As if that wasn’t enough, she, along with the CAPIC SUDS Program have been active participants in the Chelsea Annual Overdose Vigil; which is known as a night of healing in remembrance of those who the community lost to substance use disorders. In October of 2019, Ms. Agneta and the SUDS Mobile Outreach Team presented an abstract on “Access to Clinical Preventative Services & Cancer Screening in Homeless Populations” at the MGH Chelsea HealthCare Center Community Research Day. Ms. Agneta has represented CAPIC at numerous Chelsea City Council meetings and has presented reports on the SUDS program. She is genuinely tireless, selfless and beyond dedicated to her community and those in need.
Allie is an experienced and internationally recognized subject matter expert, trainer, consultant, and speaker
on policing and the opioid epidemic. Allie currently serves as the Executive Director of the Police Assisted
Addiction & Recovery Initiative (PAARI), providing training, technical assistance, and strategic guidance to
hundreds of police executives to help create non-arrest pathways to treatment and recovery. Allie holds a
bachelor’s in politics from Ursinus College and a master’s in international development from Ohio University.
She also has a certificate in nonprofit leadership from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business.
In spring 2017, Allie received a Nonprofit Excellence Award from the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network and
in 2019 Allie was selected as the Lead Innovator for the Social Innovation Forum’s Social Innovator
Accelerator program. In fall 2018, Allie accepted an AmeriCorps Excellence Award for PAARI's first-of-its-kind program that embeds national service members in police departments to address the opioid epidemic. Allie is based in Massachusetts and travels nationwide to train and support PAARI's law enforcement partners. Like many, she has been personally touched by the disease of addiction and has a close family member who is in recovery from an opioid use disorder. She is based out of the Plymouth office and can be reached at email@example.com.
Ursel Hughes … A survivor of childhood trauma, human trafficking, sexual exploitation and active addiction. Now in long term recovery (11.5 years) Ursel has obtained certification for National Peer Support Specialist and Recovery Coaching. Ursel has completed the ACEP course out of UMass Boston for her LADC/CADC. At present Ursel works alongside the Boston Police Department’s Street Outreach Unit through PAARI, she also works with two organizations in combatting human trafficking and sexual exploitation; New England Coalition Against Trafficking (NECAT) and Jasmine Grace Ministries. Ursel has over 10 years of in-patient treatment experience working with women, where she found her passion. This passion is helping women find hope and reconnect with themselves, and she especially loves working with pregnant and postpartum mothers in early recovery. Together, Ursel supports women in finding ways to maintain their sobriety and advocate for themselves within the court systems and also when reuniting with their children. Ursel is a full-time parent of three young adults, a daughter, a friend, and a role model. Ursel firmly believes that by meeting people where they are at with compassion and non-judgement; only then can you support them in finding a pathway to recovery.
Dimple Rana is a fierce advocate for residents of Revere, Massachusetts. As Director of Community Engagement of the City's
Department of Healthy Community Initiatives and Co-Director of Revere On the Move, she works with residents, businesses, and
stakeholders to increase access to opportunities for active living, healthy eating, civic engagement, and youth leadership. Dimple's
organizing and leadership development is based in a bottom-up model in advocacy policy, systems, and enOver the past year
she has led Covid-19 response efforts as part of the City's Emergency Response Team particularly in food justice & language
justice, launching a Covid-19 Ambassador community engagement program, and leading the Revere Covid-19 Community
Response Network. Dimple is a 2017 graduate of Tufts University’s, with a Master in Public Policy from the Urban and
Environmental Policy and Planning program. Her commitment to building a vibrant, engaged, and active Revere also
extends to her work as a champion of small businesses and a longtime civic leader. Dimple is the first woman of color to run for office in Revere. She ran in 2017 and in 2019 for 1 of 5 seats for Councillor At-Large. A first generation Indian American, Dimple grew up in Revere, attending public schools and working in her family’s small, independent convenience stores in the North Shore. At the stores, she learned the value and struggles of a small family-owned business, from the unique perspective of immigrant families. In high school, she worked as a peer leader at a youth organization that fostered her love for youth leadership and organizing. After graduating from Hofstra University in Community Health and Education in 2002, she returned to Greater Boston and became a community organizer, working with many organizations focused on HIV/AIDS harm reduction, and LBGTQ and immigrants rights. From 2001 to 2010, she worked independently with grassroots and advocacy organizations as a community organizer and leader on the issue of deportation of Cambodians, other green card holders, and refugees within the National Immigration and Anti-Deportation Movement. She founded a youth leadership organization, Revere Youth in Action, where young people organize to ensure they have opportunities to grow, lead, and promote a safe, and inclusive community in Revere. In 2016, the Revere Chamber of Commerce named her Youth Mentor of the Year. In 2013 she joined the Women Encouraging Empowerment, Inc. board where she served as Vice-Chair until 2017. WEE is the only organization in Revere that works with immigrant and refugee women and their families through organizing, leadership development, and service delivery. Also, in 2016 she was appointed by former House Speaker Robert DeLeo as a commissioner to the Massachusetts Asian American Commission. In 2018, she served as the Secretary of the AAC. Currently, Dimple is serving her second term with the AAC. Dimple loves and is deeply committed to her family, especially her young nieces and nephews. Dimple looks up to the older and younger people around her who continue to push, ask questions, challenge the status quo, and who are the change we want to see in our world. Her passion for organizing and grassroots change is expressed through a quote by Audre Lorde “If I cannot air this pain and alter it, I will surely die of it. That's the beginning of social protest.”
Josie Santos is a socially engaged consultant, with more than 15 years’ experience both across business and nonprofit sectors. She has experience in local and aboard projects, consulting operations management, strategic social management, humans’ resources management, tripe Bottom line, Urbanization, and development. She is strong advocate for cross cultural communications and social-economic development projects.
Josie specializes in design programs which create unique experience to the provider and their audience. She develops Diversity and inclusive projects focus on linguistic and cross-cultural competence. Ms. Santos studied International Business Management from Sao Marcos University and holds a Master in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University.
Maryanne Frangules is a person in long term recovery, Maryanne Frangules cofounded MOAR, Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery in 1991 with Leroy Kelly. It began as a grassroots movement to highlight the addiction clinician profession, and then moved into building awareness for addiction recovery. Maryanne has been Executive Director of Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery since 1999, when it first received grant funding from
MA Bureau of Substance Addiction Services and SAMHSA, Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration via The New England School for Addiction Studies to form NEAAR, New England Alliance for Addiction Recovery, a 6 state consortium of recovery community support programs. NEAAR no longer exists, however, Maryanne on the national level serves on the board of Faces and Voices of Recovery. Maryanne has received recognition on the state and national level. She was very proud to have MOAR be a SAMHSA National Recovery Month Planning Partner for many years. That being said – MOAR will has spearheaded a statewide Recovery Month event for 30 years. She has mentored many recovery community members to use their voice to know their rights. Maryanne strongly believes that faces- who are visible; voices – who are vocal; will only prove that recovery is valuable to our communities.
Kathleen Duffy is a massage therapist and a certified yoga instructor in Winthrop and East Boston. She has been
a massage therapist for the past eight years and has her own practice out of Root + Sky Wellness in East Boston.
Kathleen also works for the Pace Wellness Center for The East Boston Neighborhood Health. There she does
fitness sessions and yoga/meditation with senior participants of the program. She is the yoga instructor for the
21st Century after School Program in Winthrop where she teaches yoga and meditation to children ages 9-11 both
virtually during the pandemic and in person after school. This past summer she taught at the summer camp
program teaching kids yoga and meditation in the local parks.
She had also started a chair yoga program two days a week at the Winthrop Senior Center, and was an instructor
at The Yoga Lounge in Winthrop for five years, where she taught all level classes including mindful, pre-natal and
mommy and me classes, but her favorite class to teach is beginners. Kathleen is a former board member of
CASA, Community Action for Safe Alternatives a coalition that educates the community on the effects of substance
abuse disorders and helps by providing prevention resources to the community and help the youth and families in
the community make healthy choices. Kathleen co-chaired the Fed-Up Rally Events for CASA brining awareness to the community regarding the Opioid Epidemic Crisis and a vigil for those who lost their lives to substance abuse. She has also volunteered at Ruth’s Way for Women by providing chair massage and meditation to the woman in recovery. Kathleen is a two time Boston Marathon Finisher raising money for Dana Farber Cancer Institute in honor of her grandparents. Raising her four children has been her biggest joy in life.
Rhonda D’Avolio Doherty has a bachelor’s degree from Merrimack College and a master’s degree in mental health counseling from Salem state university. Rhonda started her career as a Juvenile Diversion Coordinator at the Essex County District Attorney’s Office . She has been a probation officer for 23 years with the last 22 years being at the Brockton District court . Rhonda has been a team member of the Brockton Drug Court since 2015 . The role of probation officer in Drug court is one that she loves. The Brockton team is amazing . Seeing participants really change their lives is very rewarding.
Gail Poirier has been in recovery for 7 years. she is passionate about feeding and housing people experiencing homelessness and hunger. She is working in direct care in a shelter program for housing families. In her free time she volunteers at the Bread of Life and the Malden Warming Center. Gail is very active with her fellowship and values giving back. She speaks to others and shares her experience and message of hope. Gail is an advocate for mental wellness and those suffering from substance use disorder. She assists other organizations by volunteering her time and sharing the needs of missions and nonprofits with others. After being out of school for over 25 years she is now enrolled at UMASS/ Boston LADAC program. Gail has also just finished Recovery Coach Academy and is looking forward to helping others living their best sober life
Caroline Colarusso is the Republican nominee running for US Congress in the 5th Congressional District of Massachusetts. Caroline is also sitting Stoneham Selectwoman the only Republican elected on that board for the last six years.
Caroline, a retired Postmaster rose to the levels senior management during her 27 year career in the United States Postal Service. Caroline distinguished herself by becoming a fix it role specialist retiring after overseeing many large broken operations in the Greater Boston area.
Caroline has been married to her husband Joseph for 30 years they have three adult boys, Anthony a CPA and a youth pastor, Joey who works in Healthcare IT, and Ricky who is an electrician. Caroline graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emmanuel College in Boston.
Caroline is currently is the Republican State Committeewoman for the 5th Middlesex District of Massachusetts serving her second term. Caroline was proud to share the ballot with our great President. Caroline is a Delegate to the Republican National Convention next month in Jacksonville and an outspoken supporter of President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Most importantly, Caroline loves the Lord Jesus Christ.
Lauren DeRienzo is a clinical psychologist who has dedicated her career to helping others. She currently works in a biotech company helping pediatric patients who have severe rare pediatric diseases. Prior to joining the biotech industry, Lauren cared for patients in a range of settings from the Emergency Department, inpatient and partial hospitalization, community mental health and private practice. She has specialties in maternal mental health, complex trauma and mood disorders. Lauren continues to volunteer as a psychologist seeing patients pro bono who are front line clinicians in the COVID pandemic and those who are not able to find therapists during this pandemic. She also continues to guest lecture in topics such as the importance of maternal mental health and access to quality mental health care for everyone. She is a single mom of two energetic children and knows all too well the difficulty of balancing work, life and children, especially in a pandemic. She is grateful for her supports and mentors, and takes all the challenges she faces in life and uses that energy to help others in need. Her favorite quote in life is “Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm. As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” Audrey Hepburn”
Angelina Weyler was a teacher & coach for 8 years before starting my family. While teaching & coaching, She always looked for ways to involve my students in service--raking leaves for senior citizens, raising money for the homeless, making meals for soup kitchens, beach cleanups, etc. When she had her daughters, She knew it was imperative to instill a love of service in them; therefore, she include them (and any family, friends, and neighbors who want to participate) in every single service project she organizes. Her girls help decorate cards for senior citizens, organize food pantry items, load the car with baby items for foster care, fill bags of hope for women in need, pack lunches for the homeless...basically, anything I organize, the girls join in with me with excitement. It's super important that she raises strong, Godly young ladies who have hearts of service & generosity and who are constantly looking for ways to bless others. She wants them to know they can use whatever gifts & talents God has given them to bless people NOW and not just when they are adults making a salary. Since her girls enjoy helping with the projects, they now encourage their friends in the neighborhood to also get involved. These projects have built such great camaraderie & fellowship in my town. It's so awesome to see! Angelina loves this quote by Theodore Roosevelt: "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
Julie Bunch, who is very excited to be the MOAR Northeast and Metro Boston Regional Coordinator. Let me share a little about me that makes me want to help build the recovery community voice with you. I am a person in long term recovery I started using alcohol and drugs at the early age of 13, and asking for help was not “my thing.” As soon as I introduced a substance into my body, it owned me. After years of shame homelessness, hopelessness, and pain due to addiction, I became open to getting help. I didn't know there were places to go for people like me until I followed my boyfriend into detox, which offered me a ray of hope. A moment of clarity and professional support was all that helped set me on my recovery path. Treatment gave me the tool box to be a productive member of my community. I stumbled a few times and use of a support network put me back on the road to recovery. I was provided the resources I needed and used to reach back into that tool box to continue my journey. Today, my husband and I are homeowners in the Newton and Waltham area. We pay taxes and have raised an extended family. I am blessed in a big way.
I am forever grateful that I have worked the last twenty years in the human service field. Part of my work has been helping women in recovery become nurturing parents. I helped to create Waltham Overcoming Addiction with other individuals who are passionate about recovery and want everyone to have the chance to embark on this journey. Now as the MOAR Boston and Northeast Regional Coordinator, I am working tirelessly to replace the discrimination of addiction with the value of living in recovery.
Sara Stanley, Esq. is Executive Director of Healing Abuse Working for Change (HAWC), a non-profit serving survivors of domestic abuse in 23 cities and towns on the North Shore. HAWC’s mission is to create social change by taking action
against personal and societal patterns of violence and oppression. Sara joined HAWC in 2015 as Attorney Director of Legal Programs, was promoted to Deputy Director in 2017 and took the helm as Executive Director in 2018. Prior to joining HAWC Sara was in private legal practice and enjoyed doing pro bono cases with the Women’s Bar Foundation Family Law Project. Sara obtained her legal degree from Suffolk University School of Law in 2007 and received her Bachelor of Arts from Haverford College in 2002. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Jane Doe Inc. and was appointed to the Essex County Commission on the Status of Women in 2021. “I will keep fighting until everyone can live free from fear of violence and have equitable access to opportunity.”
My name is Cynthia Goldberg, and I am the Founder and Director of the F8 Foundation. A program I created to help those formerly incarcerated, and those who suffer from the insidious disease of substance use disorder. This program offers an out of the box approach to help with legal issues, recovery programs, introduction to pro social activities and all the obstacles one faces trying to rebuild their life after experiencing harsh roadblocks and a lack of self esteem or support. I often see the potential in my clients before they see it for themselves. A warm heart, a kind hand and helping someone navigate a system that has appeared to be failed is often the necessary foundation to a healthy and successful life.
I serve as an advocate to those still incarcerated and help with parole and probation requirements upon release in addition to helping with securing a release facility. Upon release, I continue my work on a one-to-one basis and to ensure a positive readjustment into society with proper resources and constant communication. As a former board member of Dress for Success for Women, and a former Board member for the homeless coalition, I instituted a Dress for Success in Men in my home. This was helpful for those gentlemen attending church, court dates or simply making them ready for a new life of success. Currently I serve as the President of the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition. CJPC is dedicated to improving our community through the advancement of effective, just, and humane criminal justice policy in Massachusetts.
Eileen Dern is a proud wife and mother of three adult sons, grandma to three beautiful grandchildren, and friend to three amazing
non-birth daughters. She has been a registered nurse for 45 years and blessed to do the work she loves each day.
She has been Director, Community Services for MelroseWakefield Healthcare (MWHC) since 2009. She oversees eight departments that
provide a range of community-based education and services to individuals and families across the North Suburban area. Prior to working
at MelroseWakefield Healthcare, Eileen was a Program Specialist for the Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Division and a
Program Resource Specialist for the Healthy Families Massachusetts Program. Leading a staff of more than 40 individuals, Eileen is
responsible for ensuring MWHC community programs-such as the Mobile Food Market- a 2016 Jackson Healthcare Program of
Excellence- exemplify distinction in community impact, innovation, collaboration, transferability, and best practice. For Eileen’s work, she
has been recognized through; the 2005 Champion for Children’s Health by the Joint Committee for Children’s Health Care in Everett; the
2011 Tri-City Haitian Relief Organization Community Award; in 2012, as a Woman of Distinction by the Malden YWCA; in 2014 she received the Baby Friendly Community Award, chosen a Hallmark Health Hero of the year, received the Malden YMCA Spirit Award, and received a Woman Making a Difference Award from the Malden Zonta Club. In 2019, she was recognized as a Malden Community Hero by Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD). Eileen and her team’s work has been published in the 2015 Health Care Without Harm, Healthy Food in Health Care publication titled Utilization of Community Benefits to Improve Healthy Food Access in Massachusetts and in the 2016 SG2 Intelligence publication, Developing a Market-Driven Chronic Care Strategy.
Andrea Baez began her career in non profit right out of college at For Kids Only Afterschool. In 2006, she made her move to the YMCA of Greater Boston. Andrea spent 13 years at YGB until 2013, when she began as the Operations Director for the Roxbury YMCA and then was promoted to Branch Executive for the Dorchester Y, where she spent almost 5 years building community and growing the reach of the Y. She doubled philanthropic efforts for the Dorchester Y, expanded their food program, partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield, for DOTRX, which brought healthy options to the residents of Dorchester, worked with BPS on Academic Credit Recovery, so young people needing credits to graduate could take online classes at the Y rather than be held back, and a multitude of other community efforts to better the Dorchester community. In 2019, Andrea assumed the role of Senior Branch Executive of the Metro North YMCA’s Lynn Branch, in preparation for the opening of the Demakes Family YMCA Campus. In addition to partnering with the City of Lynn to open a temporary homeless shelter as well as providing emergency child care to essential workers children during the COVID shut down. When children in Lynn began online learning, the Lynn Y again pivoted, and open their doors for 200 youth so families could continue to work, while their children were “in class” at the Y. May 7th, the doors to the new Demakes Family YMCA opened. She resides in Winthrop Ma, with her amazing husband Ricky, her two wonderful children Adrianna and Rj and her precious dog Donovan
Mary Wheeler of Health Innovations Inc., Healthy Streets Outreach Program. Mary began working in the HIV prevention field since 1999 as a volunteer outreach worker for JRI Health in Boston. From 1999 until 2001 Mary worked as the street outreach coordinator for an outreach program that targeted sex workers and people who inject drugs. From 2001 until 2005 Mary worked for both the Cambridge Needle Exchange and Boston Needle Exchange programs. In 2005 she took a position at CAB Health and Recovery Services, Inc. Healthy Streets Outreach Program in Lynn which provides services to both people who inject drugs and sex workers. Healthy Streets has since become a program of Health Innovations Inc, a woman and minority run organization. Mary is currently the Program Director at Healthy Streets Outreach Program in Lynn, MA where she has worked for over ten years. Healthy Streets provides harm services in 8 different cities and towns on the North Shore, operates four syringe service programs, overdose education and naloxone distribution and facilitates overdose follow-up visits with first responders in 5 cities and towns.
Our nonprofit is named after this incredible woman. Due to the death of her husband, in one day she lost her home, finances, and her social standing in the community. Her mother-in-law suggested that she make the safe and common decision to return to her family. Ruth chose to take the road less traveled and remained with her mother-in-law. She accepted suggestions and direction. They supported each other and sacrificed for one another. Because of her humility, love, and perseverance they overcame obstacles and increased in strength.
Karran Larson, MA, LMHC, LADC1, is the Statewide Coordinator for Substance and Recovery Services for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf Blind at the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf And Hard of Hearing. This includes Massachusetts Statewide recovery services and development of resources, professional training and program development as well as collaboration with recovery providers and regional programs. She is also a Deaf Recovery Coach, Recovery Coach trainer, and Supervisor of the first Deaf Recovery Coach program nationwide. Currently she supervises 13 Certified Addiction Recovery Coaches (CARC Board certified).
She is a member of the Western Massachusetts Substance Abuse Providers Association, and Berkshire County District Attorney Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Task Force. Karran is a person in long-term recovery with over 35 years of experience in the mental health and addiction field serving Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind individuals and families struggling with mental wellness and substance use issues. When the pandemic impacted access to meetings for Deaf and ASL users, she formed a multiple pathways Zoom ASL meeting fellowship that is now known as TGWS (Thank God We’re Sober) and has participants statewide daily. Karran is a grateful mother, grandmother and member of society because of Recovery and fellowship.
BG(MA) (ret) Andrea Gayle-Bennett earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from City College of New York’s Sophie Davis
School of Biomedical Education in Physician Assistant Studies in 1981, and a Master of Education degree from Lesley
College in Business Management in 1988. Andrea served over 35 years in the Massachusetts Army National Guard. She
was commissioned as a warrant officer in 1983 as a Physician Assistant in the Headquarters Company, 114th Medical
Battalion. BG(MA) (ret) Gayle-Bennett was commissioned as a 1LT in 1990. In 2008 she deployed to Paraguay and in 2009
she deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 101st Engineer Battalion. During her deployment to Iraq, she
worked as a PA providing medical care for the soldiers in the battalion. As the Battalion Surgeon, she spent countless hours
reorganizing and developing protocols that met the ever-changing needs of the military. While on deployment she was
involved in a motor vehicle accident and sustained head and knee injuries. The injuries did not slow her down as she
completed her tour. She continued to remain in contact with the soldiers that remained behind and supported their efforts.
In 2010 she toured the state as part of her state active duty, meeting with wounded Massachusetts soldiers, monitoring their
injury recovery and ensuring that they get the services they need. BG(MA) (ret) Gayle-Bennett represented the TAG in the
first-ever Joint African Partnership Flight in Kenya in June 2016. Airmen from U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa,
the Massachusetts National Guard and the 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron completed classroom instruction,
hands-on training, and medical and community outreach support.
In 2011 she was awarded the Deborah Sampson Award (formerly named the Outstanding Woman Veteran Award) by the MA Department of Veterans Services. In 2012 she became the first African American female O-6 in the history of the Massachusetts Army National Guard. She has served in various leadership positions within Medical Command and served as the State Surgeon for Joint Force Headquarters again making history in 2014 as the first non-physician and the first African American to hold that position. In 2012 she was one of several local female service members who were featured in “No Equal: The Trials of America's Female Soldier”, a documentary that provided a portrait of the historic evolution and contemporary challenges facing women in the US military. In 2015, she was a top 30 candidate for the John C. Maxwell Leadership Award. In June of 2016 she was appointed to the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence and later that same year she was appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Counsel for Veterans Services. In 2017 she was a panelist at the Wellesley Library for a discussion for and about female Veterans. She was an invited guest speaker at Seth Moulton’s Veterans Town Hall for Veterans Day 2018. In December of 2020 she was selected to the rank of Brigadier General (Massachusetts), again making history as the woman and the first African America woman O-7 in the Massachusetts Army National Guard.
In the civilian sector BG(MA) (ret) Gayle-Bennett worked as a Physician Assistant with Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates in Boston, MA where she has won the Key Contributor Award and the Black Achiever award. BG(MA) (ret) Gayle-Bennett has also been active within her community by serving on various veteran committees in Lynn and Saugus, MA. She currently serves on the Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver award committee through Mass General Hospital. She has also started a military ministry program at her church in Saugus, MA. Throughout the years she has served on various boards (Becket Chimney Corners YMCA, The Pingree School, The Brookwood School and the Veteran Business Owners Initiative). She serves as the Public Affairs officer for the Saugus Veterans Council, serves as the commander of the DAV Chapter 64 and is on the board of North Shore Community College. She resides in Lynn, MA with her husband and parents.
Elizabeth Hart is passionate about empowering women and girls on a local, national and international level. Since 2000,
Elizabeth “Liz” has been the driving force behind Tailored For Success, Inc. (TFS), a not-for-profit organization serving 14 communities in the Greater
Boston area. Liz proudly serves in the dual role as Founder and Executive Director of Tailored for Success whose mission is
“empower job seekers to achieve economic self-sufficiency by providing resources, skills training and supportive reinforcement”.
This mission is achieved by working with corporate and nonprofit partners to provide job seekers with free high quality professional
attire, career advice and the opportunity to participate in career development workshops.
In recognition of her many contributions to the Malden community, Liz has earned distinctions such as the 2002 Malden YWCA
Tribute to Women Award, the 2007 Malden Chamber of Commerce “Community Program of the Year” Award and was honored
to be presented with the 2010 Women Making a Difference Award from the Zonta Club of Malden. Described as the “highlight”
of her career, in 2007, Liz was appointed to serve as a Commissioner for the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women where she currently serves as Commissioner Emerita. In 2014, Liz was recognized for her service to the community by being an honoree at the North Shore Black Women’s Association 2014 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon. It is through her work with Tailored for Success, her volunteer obligations and work on behalf of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women that Liz strives to live up to her values of hard work, dedication and commitment.
Adriana Mendes-Sheldon is a natural storyteller and a connector of people and ideas. Born and raised in Brazil, in 2000 Monitor Deloitte
moved her to the US, where she has lived since. As a management consultant for two leading global companies, Adriana advised Fortune 500 companies
across the Americas and Asia. After over a decade, Adriana shifted her focus to helping families and small businesses with their financial
and business advisory needs. She also participated as a financial and money management expert on a weekly radio show and as a guest
teacher at her local high school. She has provides pro bono business advisory to fledgling small business owners. Adriana joined Woburn
Public Schools and leads the development of the Family and Community Engagement strategic plan. Her creative work and transformative
initiatives throughout the COVID pandemic have been recognized by the Commonwealth of MA leadership in Education (DESE -
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, ECC - Department of Early Education and Care, and the Executive Office of
Education). Adriana has been described as an expert in Strategic Partnerships and has presented as a panelist in statewide speaking
engagement events. She works closely with Woburn city leadership and nearby community partners and believes that creating lasting
impact requires “5Cs of change”: Collaboration, Communication, Consistency, Cultural Awareness, and Compassion. Her drive and focus
stem from her desire to promote diversity, inclusion, and equal access to all people, particularly children and youth. Adriana lobbies for the
resources needed to close the achievement gap, ease poverty, and eliminate social injustice. Adriana has studied Administration and Management at Harvard University, Metallurgical Engineering at Escola de Engenharia Maua (Brazil), and Corporate Finance at Ibmec (Brazil). She currently serves on the Winchester Hospital Advisory Board, WPS Equity and Access Advisory Council, The Harvard Business Review Advisory Council, and SCI - Social Capital Inc. Board of Directors.
Adriana and her husband Matt live in Woburn and have three children. They are extreme pet lovers and have five pets. She loves to cook and entertain, and her exquisitely burned food is legendary among friends and family