Board of Directors

Mary Johanna BrownMary Johanna Brown (Chair) In addition to being the current chair of the New Hampshire Women’s Initiative, Mary Jo is the Founder and President of Brown & Company Design, a nationally recognized strategic design firm, and big brown books, a publishing company. An active volunteer, Mary Jo has also served on several New Hampshire not-for-profit boards and is engaged in many community activities.



Jennifer Alford-Teaster headshot

Jennifer Alford-Teaster,  is an Applied Research and Geospatial Project Manager in the Biostatistics and Epidemiology Section of Community and Family Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. Jennifer has combined her training in geography with her public health degree to provide analytic research support in the Breast Cancer Trials group at Dartmouth.



JerriAnn Boggis is the founder and Director of the Harriet Wilson Project and and is the director of diversity education and community outreach at the University of New Hampshire. As a community activist, Ms. Boggis has developed several community programs that dealt with history and race. These programs served to raise awareness of New Hampshire’s diverse heritage and increase the visibility of Black history in the state. Ms. Boggis received her M.A. in Writing from Rivier College.



Rashida Eltag Mohamed works at the Manchester Police Department and lives in Hooksett, NH.



Iris Estabrook has been involved in public education in a variety of roles;  teacher, mentor teacher, educational researcher, school board member and policy maker.  As a NH Senator, she chaired the Senate Education and Health and Human Services Committees while serving as Senate Vice President for Policy.  She was a member of the Women’s Policy Institute Board.




Mary Ellen Hettinger headshot

Mary Ellen Hettinger is Communications Manager for Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains and was the last chair of the NH Commission on the Status of Women. This is her third year as an appointee on Girl Scouts of the USA’s national communications team, the MarComm Network. Previously she was a reporter for The Cabinet Press, where she won two New Hampshire Press Association awards for best feature, and is an award-winning writer and editor for websites and books. Hettinger chairs the annual Messiah Sing! in Mont Vernon, and is a deacon at Amherst Congregational Church. She was a certified volunteer guardian ad litem in Broward County, Florida, and a Girl Scout leader. A longtime member of the Association for Women in Communications, she is also a director for the Yankee Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.


EllenKoenigEllen Koenig is the Director of Education and Resources at the NH Center for Nonprofits. Ellen has worked all of her professional life in the NH nonprofit sector, including time as the Co-Executive Director of Granite State Independent Living and as a grantmaker at the NH Charitable Foundation. In addition to her volunteer work with the NH Women’s Initiative, she is also involved with the Circle Program (for at risk girls) and the Lake Wicwas (Meredith, NH) Association. Ellen lives in Concord with her family, and is generally up for anything that is creative, interesting and fun.


Sarah Mattson is a native of Center Harbor, NH, and lives in Contoocook.  She works as the public policy director at New Hampshire Legal Assistance, a statewide non-profit law firm that serves low-income and elderly clients.  Sarah received her undergraduate degree from Harvard College and her law degree from Harvard Law School.




Debora Pignatelli, of Nashua, is a graduate of the University of Denver. She is a former member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives and State Senate, and is a former and future member of the NH Executive Council. She served as the first Executive Director of the Nashua Girl’s Club. She is married to Michael, and is mother to Adam and Benjamin.




Alison PyottAlison Pyott, Treasurer, is a Wealth Manager and Certified Financial Planner™ at Veris Wealth Partners in Portsmouth. She is the former Board Chair for Leadership Seacoast, and currently serves on the Advisory Board of Coastal Enterprises, Inc. Community Investment Notes, NH Charitable Foundation Piscataqua Region, and NEARBY Registry™, a NH women-owned start-up company. Alison is a member of the Seacoast Women’s Giving Circle and the Financial Planning Association of New England.  Alison graduated from UNH’s Whittemore School of Business and Economics with a B.S. in Hotel Administration and Merrimack College with a Certificate in Financial Planning. She lives with her husband in Portsmouth, NH.


Connie Rakowsky Connie Rakowsky is the Executive Director of a legal aid organization providing help to low income and vulnerable populations, Legal Advice and Referral Center. Her work as a mediator and a business and bankruptcy lawyer with Orr & Reno prepared her for her “second” career.   She graduated from Northwestern University, and received her Juris Doctorate from Chicago-Kent College of Law.



Mary Rauh, of New Castle, is the chair of the Founding Mothers Panel and was on the board of the Women’s Policy Institute from its founding.  She is also on the boards of NHPR and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, and is also a past chair of PPNNE and has served on the national board of PPFA. She is a founder and past chair of the Women’s Fund of NH, and is retired from her career as an organizational consultant.



Lisabritt Solsky is an attorney and administrator at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services where she serves as Deputy Medicaid Director.  She is a Leadership New Hampshire alum, was selected for the Union Leader’s Forty Under Forty designation in 2010 and was honored with a Business and Industry Association “Above and Beyond Award” in 2011.  She lives with her children in Concord.



Laura Thibault headshotLaura Thibault is a nonprofit consultant currently serving as Interim Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice NH. A graduate of the University of New Hampshire and a native of the state, her background includes more than a decade of non-profit advocacy and management. Laura has a passion for mission based work and her focus is to build nonprofit capacity through fundraising, strategic planning and communications. Laura serves in several volunteer roles in her community, including Stewardship co-chair of the Starr King Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and with the Pease Public Library Association. She particularly enjoys volunteering with her two children during the summer months with the Plymouth Area Eco-Learning Farm Stand (ELFS).

Gemma Waite FrenchGemma Waite French is the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. Prior to joining the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Gemma was the Director of Public Relations and Marketing for the Daniel Webster Council, Boy Scouts of America. From 2003‐2006 she returned to WCSH‐TV (Portland) and WLBZ‐TV (Bangor) as a reporter and anchor covering general news stories. Gemma graduated from Boston University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in journalism with a concentration in political science. Gemma is a 2010 graduate of the Leadership Greater Manchester program. She currently serves on the Leadership Steering Committee and organizes “Media & Communications” day. Gemma serves on the Advisory Board for the Palace Theatre. She is a Board Member for the Exeter Theater Company and chairs the Marketing and Membership Committee for that organization. Additionally, Gemma represents the Chamber annually at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Gemma lives in Exeter with her husband Ben.