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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.

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.

JohnJohn Whaley

Module 2 Faculty 

John is a strategic business planner that serves as a business advisor as well as a Modules 2 - Growth and Opportunity and Module 6 - Marketing and Sales Mod Faculty for the program. John filed his first DBA at the age of 16 and worked passionately in the community to support entrepreneurship at all levels for the past 30 years. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Western Governors University as well as his Masters of Business Administration degree.

CecileCecile M. Roberti

Financial Statements Workshop 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.

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. She currently serves as the Associate Director of Human Resources at the Community College of Rhode Island as well as Adjunct Professor for CCRI’s Business Department focusing primarily on management and HR management.

She serves on the board of the Center for Innovative Teaching Learning & Assessment at CCRI, president of the RI Association for Talent Development, and board member of the RI Higher Education Training Consortium.

Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Education from Johnson & Wales University and Master’s degree in Adult Education from the University of Rhode Island.

She is the proud mother of two children 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.

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.

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.

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Last Updated: 1/17/18