STRATEGIC TEAM MEMBERS
Melissa Raffoni, Founder and CEO
Melissa Raffoni has worked with CEOs of growth-oriented companies in the Boston area for more than 15 years, helping them make the right decisions about the direction of their businesses. Her client roster includes some of the most successful, well-known companies in the area. Melissa is recognized for her ability to isolate complex issues facing CEOs and working with clients to address them with clear, tangible and measurable results.
Prior to founding The Raffoni Group, Melissa was a Managing Principal Consultant at Oracle, where she helped build the Organizational Change Management practice and coach senior executives on how to communicate and execute change. Melissa also played a vital role in building Inc. Magazine's Eagles CEO Program as the Managing Director.
She has served on the Communication Faculty at the MIT Sloan School, the Kennedy School of Harvard, and Simmons College. Melissa has published various articles & maintains a regular blog post with the Harvard Business Review. She holds an MS from the MIT Sloan School with a concentration in Communications and Strategy and a BA from Colby College.
Melissa "finds flow" in adventure travel, soulful music, long hiking treks, contemporary art and design, belly-laughing, running, weightlifting, snow skiing and hanging with her two kids, who keep her grounded and on her game.
Erin Mullen, Director of Operations and Client Development
Erin Mullen has been with The Raffoni Group since 2008 when she joined as an Executive Assistant. Over the last 9 years, she has risen to be the backbone of the firm, managing all operations, including finance, admin, HR, operational processes, member satisfaction, the Annual CEO Summit, new member on-boarding, and CEO collective program management. Additionally, Erin supports the Strategic Leaders Program as a consulting associate.
Erin began her business career in the hospitality industry where she traveled with Princess Tours and implemented training programs onsite in Denali, AK. As an independent contractor, she managed residential and commercial real estate transactions for multi-million dollar portfolios (Coldwell Banker) in Cambridge, MA. She has also worked in the education sector. Erin earned a BA in English from Catholic University and a Post Baccalaureate in Education from Bridgewater State.
When she is not managing The Raffoni Group, Erin enjoys laughing with her three kids, playing music with her hubby or reading a really great novel.
Long term CEO Collective Member and Strategic Leader client, Brian O'Donnell joins our team focused on improving the overall program value of our CEO Collective Program.
Brian has over eight years of operating experience as CEO of A.W. Chesterton Company, which he joined in 1996 where he played many roles, helping to drive profitability and re-position the company for future growth.
As a valued member of the The Raffoni Group's CEO Collective for eight years, Brian has been exposed to multiple companies, CEOs and business issues through our program. Brian was recruited to the board of the Double E Company and most recently participated in their successful transaction to a new private equity owner after helping increase the value of the business from $38 million to $85 million in five years. Brian's experience scaling companies, playing multiple functional roles, and with the Collective as a valued member, clearly make him a tremendous asset to our team.
Mark's experience as a member of The Raffoni Group CEO Collective for 5 years, a Strategic Leader client, an adviser to Private Equity backed companies, and as a board member make him a great addition to our team focused on improving the overall program value of our CEO Collective Program.
Mark has over 13 years of CEO/President experience as CEO of Core Security and President of Sophos, North America. His experience spans from global operations, to M&A, to investor management, to founder transitioning, to restructuring, to re-positioning, and the list goes on.
Primarily, his career has focused on growing and scaling organizations, and he has led organizations ranging from $15 million to over $150 million. Mark is recognized for his astuteness in the software/security industry coupled with his cross functional perspective as a marketer, salesperson, service provider, operator and tech strategist.
Caroline W. Ren, Partner Program Director
Caroline's responsible for client development and partner channel management. She also plays an active role on the Raffoni Group leadership team, helping to identify and execute on key strategic goals and operational objectives.
As a Martin Trust Fellow from the MIT Sloan School of Business with an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Economics from Smith College, Caroline brings a variety of skills to our group.
She began her career as a Management Consultant with an expertise in the retail industry. Her projects included streamlining retail operations for major shoe retailers throughout New England, including Mercantile, Ames, J. Baker, and The Stride Rite Corporation. While she became a leader in retail operations, she also has over thirteen years of experience volunteering and working in educational environments, including coaching, facilitating, and introducing cultural as well as communication enrichment programs into local and private school systems. She also spent time working as an education specialist with Chyten Educational Services and coaching privately.
Christa Benjamin, Program Coordinator
Christa Benjamin comes to the Raffoni Group with an excellent entrepreneurial and communications background. As the founder of her own PR firm, Bowen Public Relations, she lead PR efforts for clients in various industries. Prior to running her company, Christa worked as an executive producer for Wunderkind Studios, a boutique web design agency and as a senior account executive for Beaupre & Co. Public Relations. Christa’s favorite things in life are spending time with her family, reading a good book, skiing, traveling, running — and teaching kids to run competitively. Drive by Rye Elementary School and you might see her coaching 4th and 5th graders.
Theresa Higgs, Strategic Facilitator, Executive Learning and Development
As a former Raffoni Group Strategic Leaders client, Theresa understands the impact of a well-facilitated process. After her stint in the Peace Corps and getting her Master's degree, Theresa spent 11 years in Executive Leadership for an international non-profit organization. She focused on strategy execution, team learning and development, program excellence and new partner development. She designed and delivered on-line and in-person training for staff, clients and partners ensuring program success and client satisfaction. She is passionate about exploring the far corners of the world in a sustainable way while learning about various cultures. She occasionally moonlights as a salsa dance instructor.
Amy Black, Strategy, Client Development & Marketing
Amy Black has 20 years of experience in marketing, sales and building brands for companies including Constant Contact, TimeTrade and Qvidian. Before joining the Raffoni Group, she was the VP of Marketing and Membership for the Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC). She left the marketing world several years ago to commit to a successful career in music, but we didn't want her marketing talent to go to waste, so whether she's making music in Tulane, Maine or Spain, she's also working to spread the good news of our CEO Collective members and Strategic Leadership. Yes, she's our resident rock star.
Melissa Coulacos "MC", Marketing Communications Assistant
Melissa creates our CEO Newsletter and works on marketing projects. The staff here refers to her as "MC" to avoid confusion with Melissa Raffoni. A Johnson & Wales graduate, MC held many roles in the hospitality industry in catering sales, event planning and hotel management. Later, as a working mom, she moved to the nonprofit sector, combining her talents and passions serving those in need. MC splits time between Massachusetts and her residence along the Connecticut shoreline, and currently also works part time for the Connecticut Family Support Network, facilitating support groups and events for parents and caregivers of families with special needs. She enjoys art, nature, and hiking with her 3 teenagers when she's not driving them places!
Yvonne Daboul, Controller
Yvonne knows her way around the books. She's kept them for various companies for 15 plus years. She's a valued member of the Raffoni team with her knowledge of all things tax and financial. She also runs the Surf Club of Rye, New Hampshire which means she's the coolest accountant you'll ever meet.
WAYS TO ENGAGE The Raffoni Group
The Raffoni Group offers a full suite of integrated strategic facilitation services to CEOs and their leadership teams. Starting at the core with our CEO Collective, we offer organizations extended programs aimed at strengthening organizational alignment and leadership across all facets of the business. Learn more.