What Makes a Strong Board of Directors

What makes a strong board of directors? At Hannah Grimes, we believe it’s a group of diverse individuals with different skill sets. From fundraising to facility management, we need individuals with passion and experience to make things happen. With a staff as small as ours, we rely on our board members to support key functional areas like fundraising and finance. That’s why we have committees made up of mostly board members and staff. It’s the best way for us to work together regularly and reach common goals that support the organization. Keep reading to meet the board of directors that keeps Hannah Grimes running.

President: Deirdre Fitzgerald, Marketing & PR Manager, W.S. Badger Company

Dee Fitzgerald has a vast skill set that she employs everyday in her career as Badger’s marketing & PR manager and as the Hannah Grimes Board of Directors president. She has been a huge asset, helping out with projects like a recent marketing campaign funded by the Community Navigator Pilot Program and participating in the Fundraising Committee. In addition to her volunteer work with Hannah Grimes, Dee also organizes the Monadnock International Film Festival

Vice President: Rachel Eschle, Founder & Partner, BCE Consulting

Rachel Eschle is a founding partner of BCE Consulting, a management consulting firm that specializes in providing highly customized market research and analysis to drive client profitability and revenue growth. In addition to her responsibilities as vice president of the board of directors, Rachel also serves on HGC’s Fundraising Committee and has really embraced the role, hosting our funders at her home for annual networking events.

Secretary: Alana Fiero, Senior Associate, Benefit Communications

Alana Fiero is the president of Keene Young Professionals, a program of Hannah Grimes. In her role there, she organizes networking events and shares resources for young professionals in the Monadnock Region. She also supports Hannah Grimes as secretary of the board of directors and volunteers her time to help with Radically Rural event logistics including our annual Solutions Slam.

Treasurer: David Sayles, retired, BlackRock

David Sayles is the treasurer of the board of directors and Finance Committee chair at Hannah Grimes. Since retiring from BlackRock where he worked as the managing director of client solutions, David has continued to keep his finance skills sharp by teaching and consulting. In addition to serving on the board of directors, David also volunteers with HGC as a pro-bono coach

Kate Cote, Senior Community Engagement & Events Specialist, C&S Wholesale Grocers

Kate is a recent addition to the HGC Board of Directors and has wasted no time jumping in to serve on the Fundraising Committee. In addition to her current role as senior community engagement & events specialist at C&S Wholesale Grocers, Kate has experience in the nonprofit sector. She is also no stranger to volunteer work with experience organizing TEDxKeene and serving on various community organizations’ boards of directors. 

Peter Hansel, retired, Filtrine Manufacturing

Peter Hansel is a long-time supporter of Hannah Grimes. He recently stepped down from the treasurer position, but continues to serve on the Finance Committee. Peter is retired from a career in the family business, Filtrine Manufacturing, a local drinking water solutions company. 

John Houston, President, Houston Advisors

Not only is John on the board of directors, but he is also a tenant of Hannah Grimes, running his revenue and sales consulting business, Houston Advisors, out of an office on the first floor of the Center.

Randyn Markelon, Graduate Student, Antioch University

Following a successful career in real estate, Randyn recently became a graduate student and dedicated non-profit volunteer. She now serves on the Hannah Grimes Board of Directors, chairing the Fundraising Committee and works regularly with Hundred Nights Shelter. Randyn is currently attending Antioch University, where she is working towards a graduate degree in clinical mental health. 

Scott Maslansky, Director of Clean Energy Finance, NH Community Development Finance Authority

In his role as the Director of Clean Energy Finance at NH CDFA, Scott helps partners develop, finance, and manage clean energy projects across the state. In addition to serving on the board of directors, Scott is also a member of HGC’s Building Committee, where he uses his background in clean energy to help make decisions about the facility. 

Josh Velasquez, Co-founder, Shire’s Naturals

Josh is the most recent addition to the HGC Board of Directors. He co-founded Shire’s Naturals in 2014 with his husband, Adam Hamilton. Josh has been engaged with the HGC community for many years, including participating in the PitchFork program multiple times and co-hosting a 2022 workshop on small business financing. His experience as a local business owner and HGC alumnus informs the unique perspective he offers the HGC Board of Directors.

Randall Walter, Architect, Randall Walter Design 

As an experienced architect and owner of @310, Randall is involved in the Keene community in a variety of ways. He chairs the Building Committee at HGC and supports entrepreneur networking opportunities by hosting “Sneak Peek” events at his mixed-use property, @310. In January, Hannah Grimes hosted a Sneak Peek at Granite Works Gym, the most recent business to take up residence in @310.