RI Black Business Association Announces and Welcomes Emerging Leaders Steering Committee Members

Business leaders throughout the state will play key role in guiding program and ensuring its success


Providence, RI – Tuesday, August 31, 2021 – The Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA), a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the business opportunities and vitality of Black-owned and minority businesses in Rhode Island, announces the launch of the Emerging Leaders Steering Committee and welcomes 14 members. The committee will be dedicated to the overall direction and success of the Emerging Leaders Development Program. 

The Emerging Leaders Development Program is a 6-month leadership program prepares high-performing BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, & People of Color) professionals for advancement into senior leadership and executive roles while raising their visibility as a force within their organization and community. The program will be delivered by RIBBA in partnership with the University of Rhode Island Office of Strategic Initiatives. 

“We’re so grateful to each of the steering committee members for being committed to our organization’s purpose. RIBBA’s mission-critical work is about creating access to resources, opportunities and building communities,” said Lisa Ranglin – Founder and Executive Director at RIBBA. “We advocate for equitable distribution of resources to underserved people to change the trajectory of people’s lives which sets the path for a huge difference in the outcomes and promotes career advance and economic sustainability. 


Steering Committee Members: 

  • Cicely Dove: Chief Program Officer of Shelter & Crisis Services at Crossroads Rhode Island 
  • Barbara Morse: Health Reporter/Weekend evening anchor at WJAR-RV 
  • Leah DeCesare: Award-Winning Author and TEDx speaker 
  • Grant Falconer: Head of PMO at Santander Bank 
  • Kyle Bennett: Director, Public Policy & Research at United Way of Rhode Island at United Way of Rhode Island 
  • Kilah Walters-Clinton M.Ed.: Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Executive Office for Health and Human Services 
  • Lawrence E. Wilson: Managing Director at The Wilson Organization, LLC 
  • Lorraine Lalli: Assistant Dean of Students at Roger Williams University, School of Law 
  • Sean Holley: Cranston Director for Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston  
  • Ana C Mendez: Officer; Operations Consultant at Bank of America  
  • Makeba Hardy- Thomas: Chief of Staff at the Department of Environmental Management  
  • Paul Cooney: Group Account Representative at Mutual of America 
  • Jael Lopes: Director of Strategic Community Partnerships at Providence Public School Department  
  • Arndres Mason: Associate Vice President Operations at Avalon Healthcare Solutions, Co-Owner & Program Administrator, Pathway Karate Academy. 


“I enjoy working with the team at RIBBA supporting the Emerging Leaders Development Program as it brings a new group of leaders to the table and provides the mentorship and support they need to continue to meet goals they set for themselves and the corporations they work for,” said Kyle Bennett – Director of Policy & Equity at United Way. “This work is a direct impact on Rhode Island Corporate Leadership Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging.”  

“I believe in the structure and value of this program and I’m honored to be a part of the committee supporting its launch,” said Leah DeCesare: Award-Winning Author and TEDx speaker 

The Emerging Leaders Development Program is free for participants and begins on October 12th. To apply by the deadline of September 20, 2021, please fill out the Application Form or learn more on the Emerging Leaders Web Page. For questions, contact Amanda Roman, Director of Program Development & Operations, at amanda@ri-bba.org 


About the Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA):RIBBA is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the business opportunities and vitality of Black-owned and minority businesses in Rhode Island through access to capital, contracting, business development resources, entrepreneur training, business advocacy, meaningful investor services, and workforce development.