Welcome to our New Board Members!

Welcome to our New Board Members!

As the individuals who have overall responsibility for the governance of Books Are Wings, our trustees are tasked with guiding the vision and mission of our organization. They are selected for their breadth of knowledge and experience in their respective fields, and have told us they are inspired to join our board because of their love of books and reading. We’re excited to introduce to you our newest trustees and tell you a little bit about each of them!

CARLENE FONSECA

Carlene hopes to bring her extensive work experience with under-served communities, community stakeholders, and educational institutions to Books Are Wings.

In her role as Associate Director, Carlene cultivates campus-community partnerships, directs the Feinstein Community Fellows program, and connects students with meaningful engaged learning opportunities in Rhode Island. Carlene is a life-long resident of Central Falls, RI. From 2015-2018 Carlene served as President Pro-Temp on the Central Falls City Council.

Carlene is a first generation Cape Verdean American who strongly believes education is the key to opening up doors. Carlene pursued her dream of going to school in Washington, DC., receiving her B.A. in Government from Georgetown University and her M.A. in Criminology at The George Washington University. Prior to her move back to RI, Carlene served as the Confidential Liaison to the White House Liaison at the United States Agency for International Development. Most recently, she served the Central Falls School District as Director of 21st Century Programs handling over half a million dollars in grant funding for all summer and after school programs in the district.

Carlene is extremely active in the RI community, serving on the RIC Upward Bound Board of Directors, Books Are Wings Board of Directors and on the Executive Board of the Central Falls Prevention Coalition. She is a current core member of Leadership RI, graduate of the RI Chapter of New Leaders Council and Boston Metro Area Chapter of Education Pioneers. Carlene hopes to bring her extensive work experience with under-served communities, community stakeholders, and educational institutions to the Books Are Wings organization.

DORA GARCIA

Dora believes that reading is a pathway to success and believes that books should be a resource that is readily available to all.

Dora Garcia has over twenty years of experience in Accounting and Finance where she held positions as Controller for Rhode Island Housing & Director of Finance for Atrion Networking Corporation. In 2019, Dora joined Cox Communications as a Business Manager in the Cox Business organization. In her current role she is the finance leader for the Northeast market, providing consultative services, presenting financial analysis and influencing operating decisions at the Senior Leadership level.

Dora is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University, earning both her Bachelor of Science degree and M.B.A. from the University. Dora is a member of the 2020 Leadership Rhode Island program.

At the age of five Dora & her family emigrated to the United States from Azores, Portugal. She attributes her love of reading to her success in learning the English language and to this day is a voracious reader.

Dora believes that reading is a pathway to success and believes that books should be a resource that is readily available to all. Some of her fondest memories from her childhood were those spent picking out books at the library.

In her free time Dora enjoys traveling, photography and of course reading!

MARY K. HALPIN

Books helped Mary imagine the world and encouraged her to dream. Reading a book was her happiest activity. Without them she would not be the woman she is today, who still loves to read.

Mary is a versatile human resource professional with more than 30 years of diverse experience in corporate roles, supporting senior leaders in the disciplines of talent management, leadership development, employee relations, performance management and change management. She is known for quickly establishing rapport, actively listening and collaborating to achieve win-win solutions. Mary is active within the human resources community, allowing her a view into industry trends and ongoing assessment of new delivery offerings.

Her passions are in coaching and consulting to uncover what drives individual performance, and in helping others pursue ongoing personal and professional development. She seizes every opportunity to assist others in the acceleration of their ability to realize their potential and push beyond their comfort zone.

Mary is currently working as the SVP, Chief Human Resources Officer for Centreville Bank in West Warwick RI. In her role, she is focused on all aspects of the Human Resources function, as well as leading the Marketing and Community Development functions. Mary is an integral part of the Centreville Bank leadership team and has taken an active role in leading many of the activities associated with the recent acquisition of Putnam Bank.

Mary spent 19 years at Fidelity Investments in a variety of human resources roles, including her last role where she was a human resource Vice President for the Workplace Investing business. Prior to joining Fidelity Investments, Mary worked in business partner roles at other financial services companies as well as many retail organizations. Mary is certified executive coach and works with a variety of leaders in the nonprofit arena. In addition she continues to coach senior level executives and graduating college students on how to maximize or start their careers.

Mary holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of Holy Cross with a major in Psychology. Mary also is an active volunteer and works with nonprofits focused primarily in helping women re-enter the workforce. Mary is an avid reader and learning and is currently exploring a certification program in executive coaching.

Mary wanted to join books are wings for two reasons. She was a shy child and her parents owned their own business so they used to take her to work with them, and she would sit in the office and read books. The books helped her imagine the world and encouraged her to dream. Reading a book was her happiest activity. Without them she would not be the woman she is today, who still loves to read! The other reason is her desire to pay back all that she has been given. She has lived a full and happy life for which she is grateful, however she wants to make sure she gives back to others who have not been as fortunate as she.

NATALIA LIMA

As a first generation of Portuguese-descent, Natalia knows first hand the importance of literacy for children in homes where opportunities are limited.

Natalia Lima has a diverse background in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors of business and enjoys building relationships with both individuals and community partners and pursues opportunities to connect with the community and make an impact on those that need it most.

Natalia earned her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies and pursued her Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Roger Williams University, where she will be joining the Individual Giving team as a Major Gifts Officer in early September.

Natalia is also an Adjunct Faculty member at Community College teaching core management courses and also previously taught at Johnson & Wales University.

Education has always been at the forefront of Natalia’s passions, and as a first generation of Portuguese-descent, Natalia knows first hand the importance of literacy for children in homes where opportunities are limited. For this reason, Natalia is so excited to be an incoming Board member of Books are Wings, where the focus is ensuring children have access to books where they can experience the magic that occurs in every story they read.

Natalia is also a graduate of Leadership Rhode Island and proudly sits on the board of the LRI Women’s Network whose mission is to empower, support and inspire women to connect more concretely on professional, personal and policy interests, and to create meaningful and positive change in the community.

Natalia lives in Riverside with her husband, Joseph and her two daughters, Kelsey and Alexandra and their pet Whoodle, Sophie.

TELISA RICHARDSON

As an educator and advocate for children of the incarcerated, TeLisa helps these children and their parents maintain and build bonds with books and reading.

Telisa believes in using her natural skills to provide at risk and diverse populations in need of quality social services support with a focus on advocacy, education, case management, and health and well-being. She is currently the Parenting Coordinator at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.She manages all parenting-related programs and issues within six RIDOC facilities. She assists incarcerated parents with any parenting issues upon incarceration and works as a liaison for incarcerated parents involved with the Child Welfare System, Child Support, and Family Courts. She facilitates parenting education trainings and classes to incarcerated fathers and helped to implement the Women’s Health Initiative at RIDOC.

TeLisa has served on the RISE committee as a community resource and voice for incarcerated parents. She is currently on the Board of South Side Charter Elementary School, serving for the past two school years. She has also served on the Office of Child Support Advisory Committee for eight years and the Rhode Island Fatherhood initiative for approximately 10 years. She is a licensed Clinical Social Worker serving as the Parenting Coordinator for the Rhode Island Department of Corrections. As an educator and advocate for children of the incarcerated, she helps these children and their parents maintain and build bonds with books and reading.

The RIDOC was once involved with Books Are Wings when she first began in the role of Parenting Coordinator. She continues to provide the children of incarcerated parents with new books through RIDOC’s Books Beyond program.

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