Mark Cote, President
Mark is currently a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, working as Director of Child Welfare at Community Care Alliance.  Originally from rural Maine, he moved to Vermont to obtain his B.A. and M.A. from Saint Michael’s College, a small Liberal Arts College outside Burlington, Vermont.  Through his work in Woonsocket at CCA he became familiar with Riverzedge Arts and referred many youth to the program, and then in his desire to become more invested in the program, he decided to join the Board of Directors in 2016.  He soon after became Board Chair in the Summer of 2017. His work as a therapist, particularly working with at-risk youth, has contributed to the development as a program working to provide the youth of Woonsocket a safe and stimulating environment that helps to meet several social-emotional needs.

Somphone Savasit, Vice President
Somphone is originally from California and moved to Woonsocket, Rhode Island in 1995. Both personally and professionally, she strives "to become the change [she] wants to see in the world".  Somphone is passionate and motivated about improving self and community. She received her Bachelor and Master degrees in Social Work from Rhode Island College and is currently enrolled in a Post-Graduate Trauma Certificate Program at the Boston University School of Social Work. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker working as a Therapeutic Foster Care Clinician at Community Care Alliance. Somphone previously worked at Center for Southeast Asians which she benefits with helping her deepen her expertise with working with multicultural communities. In her spare time, Somphone enjoys volleyball, yoga, chocolate and spicy foods.
Bryan Leet, Treasurer
Bryan has spent the bulk of his career working in various finance positions at two large companies within the financial services industry, covering both business line support roles as well as corporate FP&A. This experience has given him a strong background in budgeting/forecasting, reporting, business partnering, working with data sets, and conducting various analyses. Much of his free time is spent either traveling (both domestically and internationally) or staying local with friends to go out for food/drinks, attend board game days and trivia nights, etc. Bryan holds a BA in Economics from Boston University and an MBA with a concentration in Finance from Providence College. He also serves on the finance oversight committee of another local RI non-profit, the Providence Public Library.
Elizabeth Santana, Secretary
Elizabeth was born and raised in Bronx, NY and now lives in Woonsocket, RI. Married in 2000 and the mother of three girls, she was first introduced to Riverzedge when her middle daughter became a studio participant. Prior to relocating to RI, she lived in Puerto Rico for thirteen years, during which time she studied fashion design. In 2004, she enrolled in Mount Ida College where she earned her BA in Interior Design. In addition, she is a graduate of the Parent Leadership Training Institute, where she focused on advocacy support strategies for special needs students in public schools and represented her class at the national conference in Denver, CO. Elizabeth currently works at Community Care Alliance where she serves as a Clinician Case Manager.
Sharon Berube, Member
Sharon was born and raised in Northern Maine and attended college at Boston University earning a Bachelor of Arts. Her professional career includes 8 years at New York Life Insurance and Investments with roles in sales, marketing, and analytics and most recently, 2.5 years at Johnson & Johnson Medical Device as a Senior Analyst in Commercial Operations specializing in market data & analytics. At Johnson & Johnson, Sharon enjoys being involved in multiple volunteer organizations such as United Way, Homes for Soldiers, & Operation Smile. Sharon is also an alumna of Upward Bound at Bowdoin College in Maine, a high school-based program with college preparatory focus, to which she owes much of her educational and professional success. Sharon lives in Providence, RI with her beloved golden-doodle, Teagan, and enjoys fitness, travel, and outings with friends.
Paul Cote, Member
Paul is a Cumberland, R.I. based artist best associated with Abstract Expressionism. His work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian, Butler Hospital , Mass. General Hospital, Harvard , the Alzheimer's Association , as well as other public and private collections. Paul uses his art as a platform to raise money for Alzheimer's disease and other organizations including RI Project Autism, Big Brothers- Big Sisters of RI and the State Ballet of RI. He is currently on the Art and History Committee at Butler Hospital , the Board at the Hope Center and a mentor with Big Brothers-Big Sisters.
Keri Dennison-Leidecker, Member
Keri grew up in Sturbridge, Massachusetts and moved to Rhode Island in 2003. She earned her AFA at The Community College of Rhode Island and her BFA in photography at The University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. She is currently attending The Vermont College of Fine Arts, working towards her MFA in graphic design. For 13 years, Keri worked for URBN Inc. at Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie in various positions, including Visual Manager, Store Manager, and Operations Manager. At Anthropologie, she also opened new stores across the country as a New Store Opening Lead. She currently works at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island as a Digital Channel Manager, helping support members through a variety of digital communications. Her work experience supports knowledge of visual design, store operations, managing small and large teams, and communicating and marketing to consumers. Outside of school and work, Keri does volunteer work and photography for after-school arts programs in Rhode Island. She enjoys spending time with her husband and senior rescue dogs as well as writing, illustrating, researching, and creating lots of artwork!
Frank Gaschen, Member
Frank has been an attorney with the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights since January 2004, while also maintaining a private law practice since his admission to the bar in 1975. He was a RI State Legislator for seventeen years, and a Deputy Majority Leader, where he sponsored, among other bills, the civil rights legislation that barred discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation as well as the legislation mandating federal deposit insurance for credit unions, passage of which would have prevented the RISDIC crisis. He served Mayor of the Town of Cumberland for four years. He has spoken on employment and housing discrimination law at state and national conferences and has authored and co-authored chapters in two legal treatises. He was graduated from the University of Rhode Island and the University of Villanova, School of Law; he is an Eisenhower Fellow. Having lived in Spain for three years as a navy brat, and three years in Thailand practicing law, he developed a passion for international travel. When not traveling, he calls Cumberland home, which he shares with two dogs. He is the proud father of three children and three grandchildren.
Jim Lyons, Member
Jim Lyons has always been interested in social justice and political activism. He has worked in various capacities from canvassing to testifying in a Senate Judiciary hearing on issues such as marriage equality, repealing of Don't Ask Don't Tell, and strengthening of the Clean Water Act. Most recently he has been a mentor with Year Up, a nonprofit group that addresses the opportunity gap faced by young, urban adults. Professionally Jim earned a BS in Civil / Environmental Engineering from URI following 8 years of service in the US Navy as a Nuclear Machinist Mate. For the last 20 years he has been employed as a Quality Engineer and a Business Analyst with IGT (formerly Gtech).
Brian Powrie, Member
Brian Powrie is a Human Resources professional with expertise in Strategic Human Resources, Performance Management, Talent Management, and Organizational Design & Effectiveness. Brian is known for strategic and pragmatic solutions to complex Human Resources problems; driving the use of Human Resources technology to obtain critical data insights; and building leadership capability in complex organizations. His professional background includes various specialized global Talent Development and Human Resources roles for Royal Ahold Delhaize in Boston & Amsterdam and eight years in various Human Resources delivery and strategy roles for public sector Human Resources for the State of Ohio and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts respectively. During his time at Ahold Delhaize, Brian was recognized for his leadership of the PRIDE Business Resources Group and his commitment to Diversity & Inclusion and played a leadership role on the Business Transformation team. Currently, Brian leads and executes the Performance Management strategy for CVS Health where he is actively transforming the way performance management is approached. Brian holds a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) from The Ohio University Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and a Bachelor’s of Science from The Ohio University Scripts College of Communication. Brian is a certified Senior Human Resources Professional (SHRM-SCP) by the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM). In his spare time Brian enjoys cycling, kayaking, volunteering for causes to better Rhode Island, and travel. Brian and his husband Adam live in Providence and have a cat named Moe.
Nick Roach, Member
Nick Roach serves as a Vice President and Portfolio Manager for U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management. He began his private banking career at U.S. Trust in New York City in 2006. From 2006 to 2014, he served as a Product Team Lead in the U.S. Trust Family Office. Prior to rejoining U.S. Trust, he served as a Platform Consultant for Merrill Edge. Having grown up in Woonsocket, RI, Nick is passionate about volunteerism. He is also involved with NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley and Save The Bay. In addition, he serves as the Chair of Community Development for the Rhode Island Bank of America Community Volunteers. Nick holds a BA in Business Economics from Brown University and a MBA from the Zicklin School of Business. His interests include traveling with his wife, cross training, and continuing education.
James Tierney, Member
James joined Riverzedge Arts in 2016 and serve as a member of the Finance Committee. James is the 1st Vice President of Commercial Lending for Ocean State Business Development. Currently, James is responsible for business development, credit analysis, customer service, and portfolio management. Prior to joining OSBDA, James worked for Coastway Community Bank as a Commercial Credit Analyst. At Coastway, James was responsible for both SBA and non-SBA loan underwriting and portfolio management. James is a graduate of Bryant University, where he received his Bachelor of Science with a concentration in finance. James has also received a certification from the Massachusetts Bankers Association.
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