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Board of Trustees

  • Melony Swasey, Chair
  • Eric Warasta, Treasurer
  • Karen Smith McGarity, Secretary
  • Neema Chaiban
  • Joanna Damp
  • Marion Davis
  • Jamie Day
  • Edward Forte
  • Karen Haas
  • Farzana Mohamed
  • Fifile Nguyen
  • Dana Rashti
  • Jae Williams

Press Release: Eliot School Announces Six New Board Members (Oct 2019) Download pdf.

Board Profiles

Melony Swasey (Chair) is a residential realtor, affiliated with Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty, based in Brookline and Boston. She initially settled in Boston to work for a small non-profit that funds social-movement organizations of small farmers, women and youth in economically and environmentally fragile parts of the world. With a degree in urban planning from Cornell University's College of Architecture, Art and Planning, Melony is passionate about environmental sustainability. Her interests in practical design and community development lend well to the Eliot School's commitment to the applied arts and racial equity, and to its growth as a Boston institution.

Eric Warasta (Treasurer) is Principal and Portfolio Manager at Moody, Lynn & Lieberson, LLC, where he manages client portfolios and provides research coverage of the industrial and consumer cyclical sectors. He is a member of CFA Society Boston, through which he serves as a mentor to Suffolk University in the annual CFA Institute Research Challenge. Earlier positions include Cambridge Trust Company, where he was portfolio manager for the Equity Income Strategy, and the Macroeconomic Analysis Division of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Karen Smith McGarity (Secretary) is an avid craft aficionado. Among the applied arts, she works in textiles, woodcraft, paper craft and mosaics. She has taken many classes at the Eliot School and numerous national craft institutions including Haystack, Penland and Coupeville. Professionally, Karen has worked as Asst. Comptroller of Southern National Bank, Auditor for Texas Southern University Employee Credit Union, Purchasing Agent at Rice University, and as a Constituent Issues staff member for Congressman Robert C. Eckhardt. She has continuously been engaged in civic activities. She worked in her family’s political and civic events, as a teenager, and in an after-school program as an American University undergraduate. As a parent, she worked on projects and programming with PTOs, Boy Scout Districts and assorted community organizations in Houston and Brookline. Later she moved to the Bay Area to attend CCAC and volunteered at a church program for homeless families. Once back in Greater Boston, she focused on fiber arts, learning appropriate repair solutions for her 1785 home and assisting in restoration efforts for an 1816 church designed by Charles Bulfinch in her town.

Neema Chaiban is an Associate at Goulston & Storrs, a national law firm, where she focuses her practice on the acquisition, disposition, leasing and development of commercial real estate. She works with clients who own and develop office, retail and mixed-used properties across the United States. Neema has an undergraduate degree from Tufts University, Masters in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School and JD from Northeastern University School of Law. She recently moved to Jamaica Plain and is pleased to be active in her new community.

Joanna Damp is a marketing consultant currently working with Liberty Mutual. She was Vice President of Marketing & Communications at the New England Conservatory, and previously Vice President of Intermediary Marketing Programs at at State Street Global Advisors. She also has been a Director of Marketing, Assistant Vice President of Marketing and held other marketing and sales positions for organizations including SunGard Financial, Boston Technologies, Old Mutual Asset Management, FundQuest and NCR Corporation. She is on the Advisory Board of the Center for Women & Enterprise, is Director of Member Engagement for Tomorrow’s Women Today, a member of The Boston Club and a member of the Boston Women's Leadership Council.

Marion Davis is a communications strategist, writer and editor focused on policy advocacy, working with major clients in the US and Europe, and with Latinx- and immigrant-focused nonprofits in the Boston area. Born and raised in Costa Rica, with an American father and a Costa Rican mother, she came to the US for college and chose to make her life here. She worked as a journalist for 15+ years, in New York, Providence and Boston, before joining the Stockholm Environment Institute, where she worked on global climate and sustainable development issues for seven years. Most recently, she led communications for the Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition for over three years. She has a BA from Georgetown University and MS in journalism from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Marion came to the Eliot School through the Board Match program at Latinos for Education.

Jamie Day is Creative Director at LiteBoxer, and before that was Associate Creative Director at MullenLowe, an advertising and marketing agency headquartered in Boston. Throughout his career, he has created award-winning work for a wide variety of national and global clients across many forms of media, including broadcast, digital, outdoor, brand experience and social content. He is passionate about art, design and the creative process. Jamie lives on Holbrook Street, across the street from the Eliot schoolhouse, and his wife, Deirdre, sits on the Eliot School’s Advisory Council and Marketing Committee. Their young children attend classes at the Eliot School.

Edward Forte is principal and founder of Forte Architecture + Design, a professional architectural and design services firm serving commercial, retail, government and residential clients in the northeastern United States and beyond. An architect with over 30 years of professional experience, he is a graduate of the Boston Architectural College and has studied urban design, planning and restoration architecture at L'Universita' della Sapienza, in Rome. He is active with Boston Centre/South Main Streets, which named him Volunteer of the Year in 2014.

Karen Haas is Lane Collection Curator of Photographs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she is responsible for photographs by American modernists. She previously held numerous curatorial positions in Boston-area museums and private collections, including the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston University Art Gallery and the Addison Gallery of American Art. She has taught the history of photography at Boston University and Boston College. Her publications include Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott; An Enduring Vision: Photographs from the Lane Collection; Ansel Adams and The Photography of Charles Sheeler: American Modernist.

Farzana Mohamed advises organizations on strategic planning and implementation for long-term financial and managerial sustainability. She earlier served as Chief of Staff and Director of Strategic Planning for Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham, managing strategic initiatives, including a major facility expansion plan; and as an education consultant at the Education Development Center. A native of Kenya, she has lived, worked and traveled extensively in the developing world. She has an undergraduate degree in environmental engineering and graduate degrees in environmental engineering and urban planning, all from MIT. She has been a woodworking student at the Eliot School since 2002.

Fifile Nguyen is a strategic planner with expertise in design thinking, service design and innovation management. Before joining the Eliot School board, she served on its Advisory Council, creating a Community Insights Study to help with strategic planning. Fi was a member of our sewing faculty from 2013-17, during which time she worked with a team to develop our fashion curriculum and skills pathway. At the same time, she worked as Marketing Coordinator at Cengage Learning and then Marketing Manager at John Wiley & Sons, academic publishers. She temporarily left Boston to attend the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management, where she earned an MBA in Business Design. Today, she works independently and in partnership with Nonfiction Design as a design strategy consultant for clients in education, government, health tech and electronics-based technology.

Dana Rashti is Chief of Staff to the President and CEO at AllWays Health Partners. He was previously Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer for Neighborhood Health Plan, and before that Harvard Pilgrim Health Care’s Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Communications, with earlier positions in financial services marketing with Bank of America and its antecedents. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Ad Club of Boston, the Board of Overseers of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the Board of Directors of the Boston Public Market Association.

Jae Williams is Director of Special Projects in the Equity, Diversity and Social Justice Center at Emerson College. He sits on the faculty of Emerson's Communication Studies Dept. and served four years as Digital Media Producer and as a mentor for film and media production students. He is an award-winning filmmaker (Kay Borne Emerging Filmmaker award, Brother Thomas Artist Fellowship Award) and arts advocate. In 2008, Williams founded Forever Ink, producing short films and executing a monthly film series and an annual charity event. Jae was earlier Director of Marketing & Content Strategy for OneClass, Marketing Director for Myton, Inc., Communications Coordinator for Perkins School for the Blind. In addition to Emerson College, he has also taught Digital Storytelling at Berklee College of Music and video and marketing classes at community centers and schools. He holds a BA in media production and MA in Integrated Marketing from Emerson College.


Board Emeriti

  • Bridgit Brown
  • Bob Cunha
  • Braulio Felipe, Dept of Property & Construction Management, City of Boston
  • Charles Fox, Charles Fox Architect
  • David Hodes Friedman, Dept of Architecture, MIT (emeritus)
  • Curdina Hill, Clearways to Freedom
  • John Iappini, Marathon Associates
  • Carolyn Ingles, Shattuck Hospital (retired)
  • Aaron Krakow, Krakow & Souris, LLC
  • Ramón Martin, Brigham & Women’s Hospital
  • Marilyn Mase, Artist; Wentworth Institute of Technology
  • Bonnie McBride, Sportsmen's Tennis & Enrichment Center (retired)
  • Michelle Millar Fisher, Museum of Fine Arts Boston
  • Kevin Moloney, Barron & Stadfeld, PC (retired)
  • Terry Murray, Eliot Street Capital
  • Margaret Patterson
  • Martha Rizzoli, Citigroup (retired)
  • Onur Sergici, Hancock Whitney Bank
  • Terry Power, The Power Company
  • Joy Silverstein, Fresh Hair Salon
  • Mary Smoyer, Boston Public Schools (retired)
  • Melvin Tutiven, East Boston Savings Bank
  • Jessica Welch, Lowell, Blake & Associates


Advisory Council

  • Henry Allen, Discount Foundation (retired)
  • Robert Amelio, Emerson College (retired)
  • Drew Bagdasarian, DRB Associates
  • Enerio “Tony” Barros, Senior Advisor on Neighborhood Issues, City of Boston
  • Lori Smith Britton, Community Resource Consulting
  • Raquel Cardoso
  • Cornell Coley, Coley Communications
  • Katie Connolly, Milton Academy
  • Deirdre Day, Channel Maven Consulting
  • James Dorsey, IHC Global Insight (retired)
  • Lee Englert, Steppingstone Foundation
  • Fabio Fernandez, Artist, Educator, Private Dealer
  • Nicole Fernandez
  • Julio Fuentes
  • Curtis Henderson, Boston Neighborhood Network (retired)
  • William Henderson, Henderson Elementary School (retired)
  • Devin Hill, JP Morgan Securities
  • Andrea Howard, West End House
  • Alex Jacobson, Jameson & Thompson Picture Framers
  • Janet Kawada, Massachusetts College of Art & Design (retired)
  • Jordan Krasnow, Goulston & Storrs, PC
  • Paul Levy
  • Toni Loiacano, CannonDesign
  • George Mallett, Artists for Humanity
  • Kris Manjapra, Dept. of Studies in Race, Colonialism & Diaspora, Tufts University 
  • Michelle Millar Fisher, Museum of Fine Arts Boston
  • Nicole Murray
  • Michael Reiskind, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council; Jamaica Pond Association
  • Leslie Reid, Madison Park Development Corporation
  • Molly Rubenstein, MIT D-Lab
  • Antoinette Russell, Eaton Vance Investment Counsel
  • Mitch Ryerson, Ryerson Design
  • Paul Spinale, Islington Capital Partners
  • Jan Spitz, Norman B. Leventhal Map Center (retired)
  • Sandra Storey, Jamaica Plain & Mission Hill Gazettes (retired)
  • Robert Tuchmann, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LP (retired)
  • Meredith Olson Wallace, Brigham Health/Brigham & Women's Hospital
  • Thomas Welch, Thomas F. Welch Associates

Project Committee


  • Ed Forte, Co-Chair
  • Melony Swasey, Co-Chair
  • Farzana Mohamed
  • Charlie Fox, Trustee Emeritus
  • Bonnie McBride, Trustee Emerita
  • Martha Rizzoli, Trustee Emerita


  • Robert King, AW Perry
  • Jordan Krasnow, Goulston & Storrs, PC
  • Bart Mitchell, The Community Builders
  • Leslie Reid, Madison Park Development Corp.
  • Robert Tuchmann, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LP (retired)
  • Susan Elsbree, InkHouse Media + Marketing
  • Don Wiest, Dain, Torpy, LeRay, Wiest & Garner, PC
  • Wayne Ysaguirre, The Nurtury (retired)

Organizational affiliations for identification only