In June, 2004 Thomas B. Powers was named President of Boston Harbor Island Alliance. In this position he is responsible for raising funds to improve the park, developing and articulating Alliance positions on matters involving the park and the harbor, and (along with the rest of the Alliance staff) working closely with the National Park Service, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and the City of Boston to protect, promote and preserve the Boston Harbor Islands National Park area.
Powers has extensive experience in environmental affairs, particularly those involving Boston Harbor issues. Prior to coming to Island Alliance he worked in both the private and public sectors. Immediately before joining BHIA he was Director of External Relations and Environmental Affairs for USGen New England, Inc. From 1996 - 1999 he was Deputy Director of the Mass. Water Resources Authority. Before that he served in various positions in the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection over a nineteen-year period, including Acting Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner for the last seven.
Active in national discussions about philanthropy in the national parks, Powers currently serves as President of the Friends Alliance, an association of the Executive Directors of friends groups associated with many of the individual national parks.
Powers has a BA degree from Oberlin College, a law degree from Harvard Law School, and a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He lives in Newton with his wife, Patricia King.
Jane Peterson Ellis joined BHIA as Director of Finance and Administration after 20 years managing law firms, primarily with Anderson & Kreiger in Cambridge. Prior to this, she was the first director of the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank and the executive director of the Commonwealth’s Outdoor Advertising Board. She also has experience in public, community and media relations and was a broadcast news reporter. Jane graduated with an MS in Applied Management from Lesley University and a BA summa cum laude from Georgian Court University. She and her family live in Mansfield.
Laurie Jackson Cormier joined Boston Harbor Island Alliance in 2002 as a Development Intern, was hired as a full-time employee in 2003. Recently promoted to Director of Individual Giving in 2008, Laurie's focus is to secure funding from the private sector to support a variety of community, youth, science, and capital projects taking place on the islands.
Laurie is responsible for growing the individual arm of funding through major fundraising events, annual appeals, customized individual giving programs, and capital projects. She works in collaboration with the President, Director of Corporate & Foundation Giving, and the Board of Directors to organize and execute intimate events that foster new relationships and support Board and Trustee Development. She is also responsible for donor communications including the production of a yearly Annual Report.
Laurie received her BA in Clinical Psychology from Suffolk University in 2003 and currently serves as Vice President for College of Arts and Science Alumni Board, Chair of the Development Committee, and an Ambassador to the Department of Undergraduate Admissions.
After 10 years in Washington DC, Rebecca Smerling returned to her home state, joining BHIA as Director of Community Programs in early 2010. In this capacity, she creates plans and implements over 120 public programs on the islands under the umbrella themes of arts and culture, recreation, science and nature, history and self discovery. She also manages the community outreach program, providing free access for individuals from around Massachusetts to the islands.
Prior to this, Rebecca worked at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage where she helped produce the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall. While working as a part of both the creative and production teams, she helped develop the programming and logistical elements of such world renowned programs as the Silk Road: Connecting Cultures, Creating Trust, Been in the Storm So Long: New Orleans Evening Concert Series, Giving Voice: The Power of Words in African American Culture, and Forest Service, Culture, and Community. Additionally, Rebecca worked with the director to manage relationships with the Center’s financial and collaborative partners including domestic and foreign NGO's, foreign and state governments and the National Park Service. Rebecca also worked as a part of the team which produced the opening of the World War II Memorial, the grand opening of the National Museum of the American Indian and the Smithsonian's partnership with the Presidential Inaugural Committee for Presidents George W. Bush and Barak Obama..
Rebecca graduated from Brandeis University with BA in anthropology and art history.
Susan Abell joined the Boston Harbor Island Alliance in 2011 as Marketing Manager. Responsible for marketing strategy and execution, Susan works in collaboration with all Boston Harbor Island partners to increase awareness of Boston Harbor Island Alliance and to attract visitors to the Boston Harbor Islands national park area. Susan has a B.A. degree from the University of New Hampshire and an M.B.A. from Simmons School of Management. Susan has extensive prior experience in strategic marketing and brand management for New England-based non-profits. She has worked for American Management Association and NELINET, the New England Library Network.