March 15, 2018
March is Women’s History Month. As a woman-owned and women-run business, we know that running an organization is difficult work. We wish we could spotlight every female business owner-operator, policy and academic guru in Rhode Island (and across the world!) For now, we have put together this list of 12 women who are making a difference in peoples lives and helping to move Rhode Island forward with their daily actions. Whether they are writing bestselling novels, leading non-profits, or providing people with fresh, local produce they are influencing and inspiring the next generation of Rhody ladies.
Take some time this month to appreciate the women in your life and all around us. And if you happen to be a woman, take some time out to celebrate you!
Rhode Island Director of Food Strategy
Rhode Island’s food scene is booming! As foodies, it’s a very exciting place to be and at the helm of it all is Sue AnderBois. Sue is paving paths as Rhode Island’s very first Director of Food Strategy. She is at the helm of Relish Rhody, which is the state’s initiative to build a stronger food system. Sue began as Director in the summer of 2016 and by May 2017, Relish Rhody was unveiled. In her first year as Director, Sue worked with government colleagues and throughout Rhode Island’s food system to develop Relish Rhody. Sue continues her work through Relish Rhody to build a bigger and better food system.
Sue’s background is in policy and strategy. She has great knowledge of food systems and clean energy. Since coming to Rhode Island, she has been consistently involved in both worlds. If you couldn’t tell already, she’s also a super smarty-pants! Sue has an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College.
CEO & Executive Director of The Preservation Society of Newport County
Trudy has been the CEO of Newport Preservation Society for nearly 20 years. She has seen a great deal of growth and has overseen it all. During her time as CEO, the Preservation Society received accreditation from the American Association of Museums, becoming one of only 750 accredited museums. Ten of the Preservation Society’s properties were designated as Official Projects of Save America’s Treasures.
Trudy has an impressive history of preserving and bettering New England. Prior to joining the Preservation Society, Trudy served as Massachusetts Secretary of Environmental Affairs and was the Executive Director of Rhode Island’s Save the Bay. During her 11 years with Save the Bay, Trudy turned it into the largest citizen action organization in New England.
When she isn’t leading the Preservation Society, Trudy is volunteering. She serves on several boards, including Grow Smart Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Commodores, the Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting, and the CCRI Foundation. We could go on more, but we have more ladies to recognize! Learn more about Trudy’s impressive accomplishments, here.
Melissa Denmark & Jordan Goldsmith
Owners & Farmers of Moonrose Farm
These two very cool ladies own and run Moonrose Farm in Cranston, RI. Moonrose is chemical-free and specializes in vegetables and cut flowers for their small CSA and restaurant sales. If you’ve dined at Ellie’s Bakery or Gracie’s in Providence, you’ve probably tasted some of their goodies. Melissa is the executive pastry chef at both Ellie’s and Gracie’s. Her partner, Jordan, holds down the fort at Moonrose with their trusty farm dog, Jax.
Moonrose Farm “harmonizes feeding the land and feeding the people.” Everything is done very thoughtfully at Moonrose. Seeds are saved year after year and everything is loving planted and harvested. Melissa and Jordan put so much love and tenderness into their farm. Moonrose is the perfect example of the passion of Rhode Island’s farmers. Plus, did you know that 25% of Rhode Island’s farms are run by women? According to Relish Rhody, that’s nearly twice the national average!
As Moonrose Farm continues to grow (literally) we cannot wait to see the impact Melissa and Jordan have on Rhode Island’s food system.
Moonrose Farm is now accepting applications for the summer 2018 CSA, so hop on that ASAP! Their CSA fills up quickly. Learn more about the Moonrose Farm CSA here.
Follow Rhode Island Red Food Tours on social media to keep up with all of the fun happenings in Rhode Island this month (and every month!)
Deloris Davis Grant
English teacher at Central Falls High School and Education Advocate
So, let’s just get this out of the way… yes, Deloris is the sister of famous actress and Rhode Island native, Viola Davis. Deloris is a star in her own right, working to inspire Rhode Island youth. As a teacher at Central Falls High School, she encourages academic excellence and inspires her students to dream bigger and do better. “Grant is the troupe leader of the CFHS International Thespian Society and a member of the English Speaking Union, which sponsors the National Shakespeare Oration Competition.” She is a clinical teacher and supervisor at the Rhode Island College/Central Falls Innovation Lab. In addition to teaching, she is the author of “Macbeth in an Hour” and Deloris is a world traveler. She’s explored more than 80 countries and enjoys learning about other cultures. She always returns to share what she’s learned. Cambodia and Myanmar hold a special place in her heart, as she’s donated time and effort to help children in need. It is no surprise that Deloris is the most recent recipient of YWCA Rhode Island’s Women of Achievement Award. In 2016, Deloris gave the undergraduate commencement address at her alma mater, RIC. Deloris has her bachelor’s degree in English and a Masters of Art and Teaching from RIC. She was awarded an honorary doctorate of education. She is also a co-founder of the Upward Bound Alumni Scholarship Fund at RIC.
Deloris has been involved in her community for decades and we can’t see her slowing down anytime soon. Be on the lookout for Deloris’ latest adventures in and beyond Rhode Island!
New York Times Bestselling Author
A Rhode Island native, Ann grew up in West Warwick, dreaming of one day becoming an author. She traveled the world as a flight attendant, even drawing from her experiences to write several of her stories. She ultimately returned home and currently resides in Providence. Ann hasn’t strayed away from writing about difficult topics in her female-driven stories. She often explores gender roles, grief, and the complications of romantic love in her works. Her bestselling memoir, Comfort: A Journey Through Grief, shares her personal journey mourning the death of her daughter.
It is important for women (and men!) to read about dynamic, powerful women. A woman is not just one thing. She can be all things – happy, sad, mother, boss, feminine, and strong. Ann describes the bulk of her writing as “literary women’s fiction.”
During her career, Ann has won many awards, including two Pushcart Prizes, two Best American Food Writing Awards, Best American Spiritual Writing and Travel Writing Awards, and a Boston Public Library Literary Light Award. Her works have been published in the New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly, and the Paris Review.
You can learn more about Ann and her works here.
Marta V. Martinez
Founder and Executive Director of Rhode Island Latino Arts
A Texas native, Marta founded the Hispanic Heritage Committee of RI in 1988. As the HHCRI evolved, Marta transitioned into Executive Director of Rhode Island Latino Arts. In addition, she is the founder and Project Director of the Latino Oral History Project of RI. Marta has a passion for preserving and sharing history. In 2014, she published a book based on her work with the Latino Oral History Project. She has curated museum exhibits sharing Latino traditions, culture, and history.
Marta strongly believes in collaboration. She collaborates with all sorts of people, so long as they have a story to tell. “I strongly believe that people must work together and learn from each other, share knowledge, and pool resources.” She enjoys connecting older people with younger. It’s a way to keep their stories alive and share. It’s not just the young folks who learn something new, the young people she works with often have their own stories and perspectives to share. It’s all in the name of change and progress.
In her position as Executive Director of RILA, Marta puts on community events and festivals to promote and preserve the art, history, heritage, and cultures of the Latino communities of Rhode Island. There are several coming up and you can find more information here. You can learn more about Marta and her mission here.
Founder & President of Hope & Main
Lisa keeps busy and hands-on at Hope & Main while also working as Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Roger Williams University. As Rhode Island’s first culinary incubator, Hope & Main helps local food entrepreneurs jump-start their ventures. Hope & Main provides access to shared commercial kitchens and other industry-specific resources. Hope & Main plays an integral part in growing Rhode Island’s food strategy. Hope & Main’s success stories include Sacred Cow Granola, Avonaise, The Backyard Food Company, and many more. The list keeps on growing!
Lisa opened Hope & Main in 2014 and four years later, it is now a hub for Rhode Island food. Makers are supported and elevated by Lisa and her team. It’s not just about the commercial kitchens. Makers are schooled on branding, retail, packaging, and marketing techniques. Often times, that’s the stuff that can make or break a business.
Ever the innovator, Lisa recently launched a new app at Hope & Main. As she says, it’s “screen to mouth.” The app is in collaboration with Rhode Island tech company, Crave Food Systems Corp. The app brings Hope & Main’s food businesses online for easy ordering, delivery, and pick-up. For those who would rather avoid the farmers market rush, the app is life changing. It’s the perfect compromise of convenience and supporting local business.
Hope & Main makes it easy to support Rhode Island’s growing food scene. Whether you’re about enjoying or joining in, Hope & Main has something for everyone.
Hope & Main regularly hosts farmers markets and workshops for food-lovers and foodie-preneurs. You can find more information here.
Founder & President of Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA)
The Rhode Island Black Business Association was formed in 2010. Now in its eighth year, Lisa Ranglin is leading the RIBBA forward with new members and collaborators. In 2001, Lisa was determined to close the technological disparity in the African American community. A year later, she founded the Black Data Processing Associates Rhode Island Chapter. BDPA chapters provide information, networking opportunities, and education to minority tech professionals. Since then, she has channeled her passion into founding and growing RIBBA. RIBBA’s mission is to provide assistance to black and minority-owned businesses in Rhode Island so that they may reach their full potential.
In addition to founding RIBBA, Lisa is now the President and CEO of Ranglin & Associates Consulting Services. R&A is a multidisciplinary consulting firm that provides integrated program and project management services.
Among her many accomplishments, Lisa was named “10 To Watch” for 2013 by Providence Monthly. She was also named 2013 Community Person of Year by RI Affirmative Acton Professionals and received the Rosa Parks Award from NAACP Providence Branch. She won the 2014 Extraordinary Woman Award in the category of Business Development.
Learn more about Lisa and her work here.
Founder & Owner of Easy Entertaining
Chef Kaitlyn founded Easy Entertaining Catering in 2006 and 12 years later, it’s a staple in the Rhode Island foodie community. Kaitlyn’s mission to share seasonal, local and gourmet cuisine has been a success. 70% of Easy Entertaining’s products are sourced within a 250-mile radius, year round. Impressive, right!? Kaitlyn and her Executive Chef, Ashley Vanesse, pride themselves on baking fresh bread and pastries and in-house butchering.
In 2012, Easy Entertaining opened the cafe at Easy Entertaining in Rising Sun Mills. The cafe is open for breakfast, lunch, cooking classes, private events, tastings, and more. In its 12 years, Easy Entertaining continues to grow and thrive in Rhode Island’s food system. It is a great example of a dedicated farm-to-table business in Rhode Island.
Mim. L Runey
Johnson & Wales University Providence Campus President and COO
Mim has long been involved at Johnson & Wales. After graduating from Clemson University with an English degree, her first job was in the communications department at JWU’s South Carolina campus. From there, she was promoted to director of administrative services and taught communications as an adjunct professor. She rose even further up the ranks, becoming president of the Charleston campus. As Charleston president, she oversaw the consolidation of two of JWU’s campuses and a big move to Charlotte, North Carolina. After a successful move, Mim moved up to Rhode Island as vice president of institutional planning for the entire JWU franchise. Soon after moving north, she pursued a doctorate in law and policy from Northeastern University.
Mim ultimately found her place as Providence Campus President in 2011 and has been a visible, hands-on presence ever since. She has played an integral part in Johnson & Wales’ growth and strategic plan. She has helped move Rhode Island and Providence forward by forming a public private partnership in it’s 195 realignment plans by investing in a $42 million School of Engineering and Design in the John J. Bowen Center for Science and Innovation in 2016.
Mim’s story of rising up the ranks is inspiring and impressive. We know that JWU founders Gertrude I. Johnson and Mary T. Wales would be as proud as we are.
Learn more about Mim and her journey here.
Founding Executive Director of the Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education (ARISE)
Chanda’s life experiences inspired her to create ARISE as an organization dedicated to educational access, equity, and success. She was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and immigrated to the United States with her family in 1981. Chanda has over a decade of experience in grassroots community activism and educational justice. In recognition of her dedicated work, Chanda is the recipient of an NAACP Thurgood Marshall, YWCA’s Women in Achievement Award and the Providence Youth Student Movement POWER Award.
“ARISE’s mission is to prepare, promote, and empower Rhode Island’s Southeast Asian students for educational and career success.” ARISE and Chanda’s work played a major role in the historical passage of the All Students Count Act in the Rhode Island House of Representatives. The legislation aims to “ensure data disaggregation among Asian students, which will allow for data transparency as it pertains to educational outcomes for Southeast Asian students, giving way to providing appropriate supports, services, and interventions.”
In addition to her tireless work at ARISE, Chanda is the president of the Board for the Cambodian Society of RI, a member of the Racial Justice Coalition, and serves on the Inclusive Excellence Commission for Rhode Island College.
Learn more about Chanda and ARISE here.
Stay tuned for exciting updates to our Downcity Providence and Newport Neighborhood Food Tours. Keep up with us on social media.