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Our Team

Karina Holyoak Wood Karina Holyoak Wood

Executive Director

An experienced and energetic leader, with a background in communications, education and government relations, Karina is passionate about improving quality of life in Rhode Island by fostering local entrepreneurial and community development. Karina holds a Master of Arts degree in English Literature from Clark University. She is the Vice-Chair of the Open Providence Commission for Transparency and Accountability, and among her awards are Providence Monthly’s Most Outspoken, 2011, and Providence Monthly’s Ten to Watch, 2015. Karina lives in Providence with her two daughters who attend Classical High School.

mdElizabeth Russo

Outreach Director

Elizabeth joined the 10,000 Small Businesses team in April, 2016, with experience in workforce development, applicant recruitment, and program management.  She previously served as the Operations Specialist at Year Up Providence, a workforce training program for low-income young adults. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Saint Anselm College and is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in Public Administration from The University of Rhode Island.  

mdStephan Rodriguez

Alumni Manager

Stephan Rodriguez is CCRI’s 10,000 Small Businesses’ Alumni Manager. As the Alumni Manager, Stephan is responsible with implementing and managing the site’s alumni program, which is aimed at building a strong community of growth-minded business owners acting to support the growth of their own and their peers’ businesses, ultimately contributing to the local and national economy and society.

Stephan’s background is in political and public affairs, having experience as a campaign manager, community and political organizer, consultant, and non-profit leader. 

Stephan holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Journalism from the University of Rhode Island’s Harrington School of Communication and Media.  Stephan is a proud alum of AmeriCorps, first serving as part of City Year New Hampshire and then joining a start-up team for City Year in Miami, Florida.   Stephan was born and raised in Rhode Island and in his free time, he runs an apparel company dedicated to restoring pride in Rhode Island.

HMHelen Morales

Program Manager

Originally from Guatemala, Helen holds 4 years of courses in Business Administration from the Mariano Gálvez University in Guatemala. She is a motivated professional with creative problem solving skills, and a vast experience in Micro Business assistance. 

Helen had previously held a long relationship with the Guatemalan Consulate in Providence, working directly with the Consul General and on a team responsible with providing customer service to the Guatemalan community residing in the New England area, as well as organizing receptions and cultural community events. 

Most recently, Helen worked for Urban Ventures Inc., where she provided administrative support, working alongside the Executive Director to coordinate strategy development, and provide the support needed for Micro Businesses in RI. During her time at Urban Ventures, Helen worked closely with the Executive Director in crafting the Micro Business Bill, which passed in 2016. 

Helen is also involved with several organizations as she serves as board member at Urban Ventures Inc. She was part of the event planning subcommittee in 2017 for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Opportunity for the State of Rhode Island. Also in 2017, Helen worked with a team to coordinate the Latino Business Expo in Providence.

ThaoThao Dang

Program Assistant

Thao is a Phi Theta Kappa graduate from Community College of Rhode Island in General Business and a recent summa cum laude graduate from Johnson & Wales University. She joins the 10,000 Small Businesses team with an enterprising spirit and has over 10 plus years’ of experience in customer service. In the near future, Thao has plans to start a non-profit organization helping families reach their full potential.

Thao has lived in Philadelphia, Michigan, Chicago, and is now residing in Cranston, Rhode Island. She spends free time getting involved in the community with various organizations and Thao loves to explore hiking trails around New England with her two children.

LinaLina Echeverry-Hart

Business Advisor

Lina has experience in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. She recently managed a microloan program in Rhode Island and worked in microlending in Bogota, Colombia in past years. Lina has experience in management and financial consulting in Boston, then transitioned to New York City where she assisted companies in Latin America seeking financing in the agricultural and mining sectors. Her passion for social economic issues and helping diverse groups to become financially self-sufficient led her to found a project in Colombia that provides tools to individuals to grow their businesses.

PeterPeter D. Conopask 

Business Advisor 

Peter is the founder of Make IT Happen!, a business advisory, interim management and process improvement consultancy that is focused on delivering cost effective leadership, process improvement, business model and human capital development for companies that want to improve their performance in the marketplace.

 Peter’s industry experience includes management and technology consulting in discrete and process manufacturing, distribution, healthcare, textile, chemicals and plastics, software development and scientific research. Besides his consulting background, Peter has served as a Vice President and Chief Information Officer for several private and public international corporations. Earlier in his career, he served as the Director of Management Consulting for Ernst and Young in Providence, RI and founded Accsys, Inc. a software development and consulting company.

Passionate about combining formal and experiential education, Peter recently completed a three year assignment at a large, private University where he served as the Assistant Director for the Student Entrepreneurship Center and implemented an accelerator program where students can work on their business models for credit.

KarriemKarriem Kanston

Director of Program Delivery, Module 1 & Module 9 Faculty

Karriem has been with our team since September, previously serving as a Business Advisor in our inaugural cohort. Prior to joining 10KSB at CCRI, Karriem served as Program Manager for the RI Black Business Association. Karriem is the founder and president of Kanston Development, a small business development group in Providence that he has led for 17 years. Karriem holds an MAT in Entrepreneurship and Business from Johnson and Wales University and has extensive experience teaching college students and business owners courses related to entrepreneurship, business, leadership and finance.

JohnAlan Harlam

Module 2 Faculty 

Alan Harlam is the Director of Spiritual Entrepreneurship of the Glean Incubator that supports the discovery and development of new models of faith in action that serve. His most recent work was as the founding Director of Social Entrepreneurship at Brown University where he developed award-winning courses and entrepreneurship programming to support students who were developing and launching innovative social impact ventures. The Social Innovation Fellowship was widely recognized by AshokaU and other social entrepreneurship foundations as one of the most successful programs in higher education. Alan’s background also includes more than 25 years of experience in consulting to large government and corporate clients, and as an entrepreneurial turnaround manager and investor with Rhode Island small business.

Alan is active as a Board member of Eye to Eye, a national organization helping students overcome the stigma associated with LD, City Year that is deploying Americorps members in underperforming schools to help all students succeed, and Social Enterprise Greenhouse that supports social entrepreneurs in Rhode Island.

 Alan lives in Cranston, Rhode Island with his wife, Bari but travels to Denver and Ithaca to visit his children, Jeremy, Gregory and Sophie whenever he can. He loves to travel and eat good food - and takes every opportunity to go scuba diving.

lizziLizzi Ross

Associate Director of Executive Education at Rhode Island School of Design 

Lizzi is responsible for leading the strategic creation of the Executive Education Program, leveraging RISD’s core strengths in art, design, critical making and innovation.

With a background in cultural management and leadership, Lizzi comes to RISD from 5 years’ experience as founder and principal of Dialog Projects, a strategy and public engagement consultancy dedicated to developing cross sector programs, initiatives and organizations that foster cultural innovation, social enterprise and business development. Prior to that, she spent 12 years in program strategy, learning development and audience engagement at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston and at the City of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries. Previously, she worked as a community based artist in Scotland and Argentina.

Lizzi holds a BA in Creative Arts (Nottingham Trent University, UK) and an MSc in Cultural Management and Policy (Queen Margaret University, UK). She is an adjunct lecturer in arts management and the creative industries.

DanielDaniel Hewett

RISD Faculty 

Daniel Hewett is executive director of research at RISD, and he teaches in the departments of Landscape Architecture, Interior Architecture and Executive Education. He has also held teaching and research appointments at Northeastern University’s Graduate School of Architecture and MIT, where he lectures in the Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies. He is a frequent critic at architecture schools in the US and abroad and serves on several community-based design advisory boards. 

Hewett’s research explores new models for culturally generative infrastructure in rapidly changing cities.

CecileCecile M. Roberti

Financial Statements Workshop and Module 3 Faculty 

Cecile M. Roberti is an Associate Professor and the Department Chair of the Business Department at the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to being an instructor she has been involved in curriculum development, learning outcome and assessment, accreditation and strategic planning for the college. Cecile was awarded the NISOD Excellence Award for teaching and leadership excellence at Community Colleges.

Cecile is a licensed Certified Public Accountant. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Bryant University where she majored in accounting and a Master of Science degree in Taxation from Bentley University.

Previously, Cecile held the positions of Senior Tax Specialist at Fleet Financial Group, Corporate Tax Manager at International Data Group, Inc. and Senior Tax Consultant and Senior Auditor at Deloitte Haskins and Sells. She was also a self-employed CPA providing full accounting and tax services to small businesses.

Cecile is a member of Rhode Island Association of Accounting Professors. She is on the board of the Center for Innovative Teaching Learning and Assessment at CCRI.

Cecile is a faculty member in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses National Blended Learning Program.

Maria CoclinMaria Coclin

Module 3 Faculty

Maria Coclin is a graduate of Boston College, holding a Bachelor of Science with a major in Accounting and a graduate of The University of Rhode Island holding a Masters of Business Administration. Maria holds her CPA, Series 6, 63 and 7 licenses, and is currently a full-time faculty member in the Business Department of The Community College of Rhode Island.

Maria is also the Chief Financial Officer of Coclin Associates, Inc., a company she co-owns with her husband. Coclin Associates Inc. provides internal audit, federal and state compliance, and information technology services to bank and credit union clients. Previously, Maria was the Director of International Finance at Fidelity Investment in Smithfield, RI and a Senior Accountant with Ernst & Young. Maria is a member of The Rhode Island Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Maria resides in Cranston, Rhode Island with her husband George and two children.

lc Lori A. Coakley, Ph. D

Module 4 Faculty

Dr. Coakley is a Professor in the Department of Management at Bryant University. She received her Ph. D in Organizational Studies from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Dr. Coakley is Senior Research Fellow for the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership, conducting workshops on leadership, team building, power and influence, negotiation and communication.

She served as the Principal Investigator for Bryant University’s major studies of defense conversion and technology transfer for the Department of Defense. Specifically, she compared/contrasted Russian Defense Conversion practices with those in the Northeast United States, and assessed the social impact of defense conversion on industry and the labor force. Her work resulted in six major research publications.

Dr. Coakley is a certified facilitator in Innovation and Design Thinking. Her consulting work and research center on design thinking and business pedagogy, customer service and communication, personal branding, negotiation, and strategic management. In addition, she has been a speaker at national academic and professional conferences, as well as international universities.

Dr. Coakley teaches myriad courses at both the graduate and undergraduate level management, including Women and Leadership, International Management and Leading Effective Organizations, and is the recipient of several awards for teaching, service, and leadership.

michelle Michelle A. O’Brien

Module 5 Faculty

Michelle is an accomplished HR professional with over 20 years’ experience in higher education and workforce development, currently serving as the Director of Human Resources, Division of Biology and Medicine at Brown University.  She also currently serves as Adjunct Professor for CCRI’s Business Department. Previously, Michelle was the associate director of human resources at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) and the director of enrollment management and planning at CCRI’s Center for Workforce and Community Education.

She is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business education, and of the University of Rhode Island, where she earned a master of education in adult education. Michelle achieved Senior Professional in Human Resources Certification in 2009 and serves as president of the local chapter of the Association for Talent Development.

She is the proud mother of two grown children, Meagan and Daniel, and resides in Cumberland with her husband, Jamie.

CRChristopher Ratcliffe

Module 6 Faculty 

Christopher Ratcliffe is the co-founder of Triple M Productions, a marketing and management consulting firm founded in 2002. He has extensive experience in the broadcasting industry, including years as a national and local advertising sales manager. Chris also served as the vice
president of MGP Media, a unit of Merv Griffin Productions from 1998-2002.  

He was selected as a RI Campus Compact, Presidential Faculty Fellow in 2011, authoring a study on the non-proficiency of RI high school graduates titled Not College Ready. Chris is also the author of a book that chronicles the journey of Boston Marathon bombing survivor, Jarrod Clowery, titled Tuesday Will Come. He currently teaches management and business strategy at Bryant University.

Jerry FalconeJerry Falcone

Module 7 Faculty

Jerry has been an adjunct professor for the Business Department at The Community College of Rhode Island for over 25 years.  He has taught classes in Principles of Management, Management  Strategy, Marketing, Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Small Business Administration, and Introduction to Business.

Jerry currently serves at the Director of Quality Assurance at Atlas Global Solutions in Sutton, MA.  In this role he is responsible for all Quality Assurance functions in 3 US and EU sites as well as Creating and Implementing Training and Development Programs.  Jerry has over 30 years of experience as a business professional with proven abilities in creative leadership, strategic planning, team building, and determining effective functions for operations to improve productivity, motivation, quality and efficiency.

He has held a variety of senior management positions throughout his career including General Manager, Director of Operations, Plant Manager, Manager of Manufacturing, Plant Superintendent  and Production Engineering Supervisor; but he actually began as an hourly worker and advanced to a CEO/minority owner of a Small Business that he helped grow from a small job shop into a World Class enterprise.

Jerry holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Providence College. 

tony Anthony A. Botelho

You Are The Lender Clinic & Module 8 Faculty

Tony comes to The 10,000 Small Business team at The Community College of Rhode Island with 32 years of experience in Financial Services. In his current role as CEO at Freedom National Bank, Tony is responsible for day to day and strategic direction of the entire organization which presently includes a $110 million asset base. Prior to joining Freedom National Bank, Tony most recently served as Chief Administrative Officer/Senior Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Finance at Citizens Bank and had also spent over 10 years in Corporate Banking at Citizens. Previously, Tony held the roles of Team Leader, Relationship Manager, and Vice President at Fleet Financial Group as well as Assistant Vice President, Officer, and Management Trainee at Eastland Bank.

Tony holds a Masters of Business Administration from Bryant University and is also a graduate of The University of Rhode Island, holding a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Management and Marketing.



She is a faculty member in the Goldman Sachs 10000 Small Business National Blended Learning Program

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Last Updated: 9/6/18