About the Board

Susan Whitcomb, Founder

Susan Whitcomb, Ph.D. founded Haitian Educational Initiatives in December 2010 after serving as a volunteer teacher with Global Volunteer Network in Jacmel.  She taught English and French to adults recovering from the earthquake and also assisted in childcare facilities in the city. Dr. Whitcomb’s background is in education: she has taught at Purchase College and the University of Saint Joseph, where she also directed the Honors Program. She has a strong interest in curriculum design and faculty development. In addition, Dr. Whitcomb served on the Board of Directors of the A Better Chance program in Ridgefield, CT, a non-profit organization that sends talented minority students to public and private high schools. She earned her B.A. from Wellesley College and Ph.D. from Yale University. She lives in Fairfield, CT.

Jim Whitcomb, President

Jim Whitcomb is a Managing Director at the Westbury Group, an investment banking firm headquartered in Westport, CT. Previously with firms such as Lehman Brothers and predecessor firms of JPMorgan Chase, Jim has advised corporate clients on mergers, acquisitions and corporate finance in markets around the world. He served as Director, President and Treasurer of The Southport Conservancy, a non-profit organization dedicated to architectural preservation. Jim was educated in England at Rugby School, received an B.A. in History from Williams College and an M.B.A. from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He and his wife live in Southport, CT.

Abigail Franklin has twenty-five years of senior management experience in fundraising and marketing and most recently worked as the Vice President for Development and Communications at The New York Academy of Medicine. Previously, she has served as Director of Development and Communications for Yorkville Common Pantry in East Harlem, the Ms. Foundation for Women, and has had a long association with Columbia University where she held successively more responsible positions including: Director of Development for the School of the Arts; Director of Development for Columbia College; and Senior Development Officer for the Arts and Sciences. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and holds a graduate degree from Yale School of Drama.

Abigail Franklin, Secretary
 

William M. Duncan II, Treasurer

Bill Duncan is a retired executive of JPMorganChase where he held a variety of management positions over a thirty-five year career including President of the New Jersey subsidiary bank; Head of European operations; and Head of the Energy and Mining Industries group. He sits on the Board of Directors and the Audit Committee of Conair Corporation, Stamford, CT. and has served as Director of International Studies at Stony Brook State University’s College of Business. As a volunteer, Bill served as Chairman of the Finance Committee and Junior and Senior Warden of Christ Episcopal Church, Greenwich in the 1980s. In 2008 Bill was elected to the Vestry of Trinity Church, Southport and has served as Treasurer and financial advisor. He was also on the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Finance and Audit Committees of Lighthouse International, NYC. Bill and his wife, Peggy, live in Southport, CT.

Gerard Azor, Jr.

Gerard Azor, Jr. is Sales Manager for Cardinal Health. He is also the Vice-Chairman of the United Haitian-American Society of Connecticut and the Executive Director of the Haiti Relief Fund. He has been a leader in the Haitian-American community for over 30 years, organizing numerous activities in the tri-state area. He serves as an advisor to many Haitian-American media outlets. He brings a compassionate volunteer’s heart, desiring to help the people of Fairfield County as well as the people of Haiti understand and work towards a better future. Gerry studied Business Management at Sacred Heart University and lives in Fairfield, CT.

Joanne Delone

Joanne Delone has over eight years of experience providing clinical, management, program development, fundraising and event planning services to the nonprofit sector. She is the Co-Founder of Haitian Building Unity, Inc (BU) . She earned a Masters degree in Global Development and Peace at the University of Bridgeport, where she resides.

Joan O'Connell

Joan O'Connell brings 40 years of experience in computer software.  She recently retired from a career in software sales and consulting. Joan graduated from Boston College, and lives in Darien, CT, with her husband Rick Agresta.  She is a member of the Technology and Communications Committee of Project Redwood, spends too much time on a computer, and is always reading more than one book.

Nelson North

Nelson North recently retired as Executive Director of the Connecticut Audubon Society.  Prior to this he enjoyed a successful career in domestic and international sales management. A committed volunteer, he has chaired fundraising campaigns for The Ruffed Grouse Society, Ducks unlimited ad the Coastal Conservation Society.  In addition, Nelson has chaired the Fairfield Harbor Management Commission and served as the Senior Warden of Trinity Episcopal Church.   A graduate of Suffield Academy, he earned a BS from the University of Maryland and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force. Nelson and his wife, Peg are residents of Southport.

Yvrose Romulus

Yvrose Romulus has over twenty years of experience in Higher Education and has been the Associate Dean/Associate Director of the School of Professional Studies & UB Online at the University of Bridgeport.  She has been the President of Fraternité Valléenne of CT for 3 years.   Yvrose has served as an Advisory Council Member for Family Economic Security Program (FESP) for Fairfield County’s Community Foundation at Housatonic Community College and as Senior Advisor for the Advising Department at Gateway Community College.  In 2009, Yvrose was the Marilyn Gordon Woman of the Year Award recipient at the University of Bridgeport and the 2014 Purple Knight Partnership Award Recipient.  Yvrose has a keen ability to assist, inspire, and guide others.  She earned her M.A. in Counseling with a focus in College Student Personnel from the University of Bridgeport. She lives in Monroe, CT.

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Haitian Educational Initiatives