We are honored to be led by the following amazing and resourceful women.

Melanie Puorto Conte

Board Co-President
Melanie Puorto Conte has been a member of the WGGS Board of Directors since 2014 & serves as our Resource Developer. She is an adjunct professor at The Sage Graduate School, Division of Health Sciences, Forensic Mental Health Masters Program. Melanie is also active in The Schenectady Foundation Call To Action For Youth and Youth Advisory Council and she leads a “Life Worth Living” Group at New Choices Recovery Center. Melanie is a volunteer advocate for a number of trafficked women in the Capital Region.

Simone Miranda

Board Co-President
Simone Miranda is the Community Learning Center Project Manager at Schenectady City School District (SCSD), where she manages the 21st Century Program. Her goal is to inspire students in the afterschool program to become leaders of the future. She was recently accepted in the 2019-2020 cohort of the Network for Youth Success Power of 3:00 Ambassadors and serves on other Boards in Schenectady County. She currently holds a M.S. degree in Public Administration, B.S. degree in Public Policy and an A.S. degree in Computer Programming.

Louise DiFabbio

Board Vice President
Louise has been an active member of WGGS for five years. She is the Director of Operations at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady. Louise provides leadership, direction and support to managerial staff, administers school programs, Job Junction employment services, grant programs and special projects. Grant writing and maintaining collaborative partnerships is an important part of Louise’s job, especially BGCS’s relationship with the SCSD and Schenectady Job Training Agency, which have both been ongoing since her tenure with the organization in 1986.

Laura LaFontaine

Program Coordinator
Laura has been a Muse since 2014. She also facilitates workshops for Girls Day Out.

Suzanne DeWald

Board Treasurer
Suzanne holds a B.A. in English Education as well as a Masters of Public Administration. She recently retired after 23 years as the Development Officer for the Schenectady City School District. Prior to her work with the District, Suzanne held leadership positions in public and non-profit organizations. Since retirement she has begun providing grant consulting services.

Mary Lynn Olbrych

Board Secretary
Mary Lynn retired from NYS after working over 35 years as a computer programmer and business analyst. After retirement she became a mentor in the Promises Program at the Boys and Girls Club of Schenectady. A couple of years ago Mary Lynn got involved with WGGS as a volunteer for Girls Day Out, the Celebration Dinner and serves on the Fundraising Committee.

Eileen Berlanti

Board Member
Eileen is an SCSD school social worker who began facilitating girls circles in 2015. She is currently facilitating two girls' circles at the high school level, an experience she says has been extremely rewarding.

Lakeia Allen Bowman

Board Member /Former Muse
Lakeia served as a Muse at Central Park Middle School and currently works as a mental health counselor for SEAT (Social Enterprise and Training for 16-24 year old out-of-school youth). Lakeia grew up in Schenectady, and her dad was Schenectady City Councilman Joe Allen.

Pam Carter

Board Member/Muse
Pam was a previous Muse at Central Park Middle School, and for the past two years she has been a Muse at Oneida Middle School. She will transition to Schenectady High School as a Muse to maintain a connection with her Oneida girls. Pam is active at her church and in the community. She volunteers with the SICM Food Pantry, serves as a Board Member with Safe Inc. of Schenectady County and with the YWCA in Schenectady.

Ginny Casper

Board Member /Former Muse
Ginny has always had an interest in travel and serving her community (“Think Globally, Act Locally). She’s a former Literacy Volunteer as well as working as a small business volunteer with the Peace Corps in Paraguay. She served as a Muse at CPMS for 2 years. She is currently the Assistant Director of International Programs at Union College, where she has worked for almost a decade. Ginny lives in Schenectady, has a rising senior and freshman at SCSD, and enjoys doing outdoor activities with her husband Pete.

Tanya Hull

Board Member/Muse
Having learned of the program from a former Executive Director of WGGS, Tanya has been a muse since 2015. She has served at Paige Elementary School and Central Park Middle School. Although she is involved in various organizations within the community, working with the girls in the Schenectady City School District has been the most rewarding.

Carol Lotano

Board Member

Miranda Rand

Board Member /Former Muse
Miranda has been a passionate supporter of WGGS for more than five years. She served as lead muse at Jessie Zoller Elementary for three consecutive years and now acts as Muse Recruitment Coordinator.

Monique Wade

Board Member Muse/Former High School Girls' Circle Participant

Kerrie Wolf-Piechota

Board Member/Muse
Kerrie first joined WGGS as a muse during the 2015-16 school year. She serves on several boards and committees in the area. She also volunteers with Community Hospice's Camp Erin and Wave Riders programs, at her church, and in a number of other organizations. Kerrie currently works in development and communications at the YWCA NorthEastern NY.