CONCORD — The New Hampshire Women’s Foundation announced the election of six new members to the organization’s board of directors.

The six new board members are: Rochester City Councilor and former Trans Justice Organizer for ACLU of New Hampshire Palana Belken of Rochester; Managing Director of New Hampshire chapter of the International Institute of New England and former senior management of Boston Public Health Commission Elsy Cipriani of Derry; constitutional and administrative law professor at UNH School of Law and former Supreme Court Justice clerk Maggie Goodlander of Portsmouth; president of TCS of America Enterprises and former State Senator Melanie Levesque of Brookline; Executive Director of Lakes Region Community Developers and former Director of the Division of Economic Development at the NH Department of Resources and Economic Development Carmen Lorentz of Belmont; and Vice President of Human Resources at Northeast Delta Dental and University Systems of New Hampshire Trustee Connie Roy-Czyzowski of Manchester.

The six women were elected to three-year terms ending 2023. Current NHWF board members re-elected to a three-year term include Board Chair Martha Fuller Clark, Vice Chair Linda Johnson and Member Rashida Mohamed.

“We are thrilled to welcome these new board members to the Foundation. Each of them are leaders in their fields and communities, and have demonstrated a passion for and commitment to our work.” said NH Women’s Foundation CEO Tanna Clews.

During The Annual Meeting in December, the Foundation Board also re-elected board officers: The Honorable Martha Fuller Clark, Chair; Linda Johnson, vice-chair; Mica Stark, secretary; and At-Large Executive Committee members Sue Ratnoff and Dan Weeks. Sheila McNeil, senior manager, Audit at Wipfli, was elected treasurer, replacing Kyung Kim who is retiring from board service.

“I am excited to welcome Palana, Elsy, Carmen, Maggie, Melanie and Connie to the Foundation,” said Board Chair Martha Fuller Clark. “Each has been a friend to the organization for a number of years, and they all will add tremendous value to our Board and to the organization. I am grateful for their leadership and willingness to serve.”

More information about the new Board members:

● Palana Belken is an activist, organizer, and city counselor who has called the seacoast home since 2014. In November 2019, she made history when she won a city council seat in the city of Rochester against a long-time incumbent. She is the first openly transgender person to ever get elected to a city council in the state of New Hampshire. Palana has spent the past two years as the Trans Justice Organizer for the ACLU of New Hampshire, where she worked as a community organizer and advocate. Palana lives in Rochester.

● Elsy Cipriani serves as the managing director of the New Hampshire branch of the International Institute of New England, the organization’s largest reception and placement program for newly arrived refugees. She leads the effort in NH to expand education and career services to both refugees and immigrants. Elsy started her career with the Jesuit Refugee Service in South America working with refugees and immigrants in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Elsy now lives in Derry, NH with her husband and son.

● Maggie Goodlander is a lawyer and teaches constitutional law and administrative law at UNH School of Law. She has spent much of the past decade working in legal and policy positions in each branch of the United States government and in both houses of Congress. Maggie is a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve and serves on the board of directors of New Hampshire Legal Assistance and the World Affairs Council of NH. Maggie lives in Portsmouth.

● Melanie Levesque is a Nashua native and president of TCS of America Enterprises, a communications consulting company. From 2006 to 2010, and from 2012 to 2014, Melanie represented Hollis, Brookline, and Mason in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Melanie served in the State Senate for one term from 2018 – 2020. Melanie has also served as a trustee for the New Hampshire Community College System, advisory committee member for New Hampshire Endowment for Health, deacon and trustee for the Brookline Community Church, trustee for the Town of Brookline and secretary on the Hollis Brookline Coop Schoolboard. Melanie Levesque lives in Brookline.

● Carmen Lorentz is from the Lakes Region and currently serves as the executive director of Lakes Region Community Developers. LRCD helps the Lakes Region thrive by developing healthy homes, creating vibrant community assets and engaging residents. Prior to joining LRCD, Carmen was the director of the Division of Economic Development at the NH Department of Resources and Economic Development. Carmen lives in Belmont.

● Connie Roy-Czyzowski is the vice president of human resources at Northeast Delta Dental. She has over 30 years of experience in human resources and has served as vice president, human resources with Northeast Delta Dental for over 15 years. Connie also serves as a trustee of the Community College System of New Hampshire, a member of the HR Advisory Board for Moore Center Services, Inc., a member of the Advisory Council for the NH Department of Employment Security, Corporator for the Canterbury Shaker Village, and a member of the Board of Directors for the YWCA NH. Connie lives in Manchester.

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