Who We Are - Gsil

Who We Are

About Us: Our Story

In 1980, it all started around a kitchen table in Goffstown, NH. Four people, each living with a disability, came together to overcome countless barriers and the lack of services available.

They wanted to help people with disabilities in New Hampshire gain the confidence and control needed to realize their dream of living a full, complete and independent life just like everyone else.

With a shoestring budget of $40,000, created from personal bank accounts and donations from family and friends, Granite State Independent Living (GSIL) began its grassroots journey. These efforts soon grew to helping people with all types of disabilities overcome countless social and community barriers.

Today, as a statewide non-profit and New Hampshire’s only Center for Independent Living, we stay close to our roots with a focus on our 5 core services of education, information, advocacy, support and transition services for people with disabilities and underserved youth. We are able to speak and think with authority on behalf of the people we serve and support because we are led  by a board of directors and staff of which over 51% are people with disabilities.

We carry out our mission through our Home Care Services, Community-Based Disability Supports and Employment Services. With the help of our local New Hampshire communities, we assist people with tools for living life independently, so they can change their lives for the better. While much has changed over the years, one thing remains the same; GSIL is committed to the principle of personal choice and direction.

 

Our Values

Granite State Independent Living (GSIL) is a statewide nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote quality of life with independence for people with disabilities through advocacy, information, education, support and transition services.

 

  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Collaboration
  • Empowerment
  • Independence
  • Choices

Board Executives

We are able to speak and think with authority on behalf of the people we serve and support because we are led by a board of directors and staff of which over 51% are people with disabilities.

lorna Lorna Greer Board Chair
lorna

Lorna Greer

Board Chair

Anti-Discrimination Investigator, NH Human Rights Commission (retired), Resides in Whitefield, NH

Lorna was an Anti-Discrimination Investigator for the NH Human Rights Commission from 1984 to 2007. She has worked in social services, on political campaigns in Littleton, and ran for town select board. She served several years as a volunteer for the Whitefield Fire and Rescue completing EMT classes.  She also served on the State Rehabilitation Council where she sought to make Vocational Rehabilitation Services available to those who were eligible. She worked with state agencies, legislators, judges and community leaders to help formulate a new Child Protective Services System for a Western metropolitan area the size of NH.  She interviewed and assessed situations where discrimination was alleged and mediated settlements where possible.  She spent 17 years as a Child Protective Services Social Worker, performing group and family counseling. Lorna also served for several years on the Board for the State Employees Association. She ran her own restaurant and a private consulting firm doing investigations.

Lorna holds a Master’s in Management and Organization, from Antioch New England Graduate School; a B.A. in Political Science from UNH and she is also a Certified Paralegal and Justice of the Peace.

Lorna believes she represents GSIL well and has a strong belief in its mission.  She is a strong believer in the dignity and resilience of the individual, in enhancing a person’s self-worth and self-esteem, especially those with disabilities.  Lorna’s osteoarthritis affects her mobility, and until she had knee replacement surgery, she was unable to negotiate stairs, ordinary bathrooms, high steps or walking any distance.  Her back now prevents her from doing what others can. Because of this she has experienced, first-hand, the isolation of being unable to enter places where others had no barriers. She also believes in the right of every individual with disabilities to be independent and valued for who they are, and not for what impairs them. In being able to believe in themselves and know that they are valued, it will give them the impetus to reach heights never believed possible.

Larry Smukler Larry Smukler 1st Vice Chair
Larry Smukler

Larry Smukler

1st Vice Chair

NH Superior Court Associate Justice (Retired), Artist, Resides in Concord, NH

Larry was a NH Superior Court judge for 23 years before he retired in 2015. Since then, he has served in senior status and returned to school at Maine Media College, where he earned an MFA in 2019. Before his appointment as a judge, Larry was an attorney specializing in public utility law. In that capacity, he served as assistant counsel to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and counsel to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities.

Following his relocation to New Hampshire, Larry was a research fellow at the Franklin Pierce Law Center (now UNH Law), general counsel to the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, Senior Assistant Attorney General, and Chairman of the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, where he was serving when he was appointed to the bench. Larry earned a BS in psychology and an M Ed in counseling from Penn State University, a JD (cum laude) from Temple University School of Law and an MFA from Maine Media College.

He is currently living with his family, pursuing a post-degree fellowship at Maine Media, and making art in Concord, New Hampshire.

Eric Schlepphorst Eric Schlepphorst Treasurer
Eric Schlepphorst

Eric Schlepphorst

Treasurer

Dr. Schlepphorst is a retired physician after practicing in the Concord and Manchester communities for over 20 years. Since retirement he has served on the boards of several area non- profits including Granite State Independent Living. He is active in the Hopkinton Rotary Club, serving as club President 2014-15 and is presently serving as the Rotary Foundation Chair. He enjoys spending time with his family, cooking, handcycling, travelling and camping.

Image Lisabritt Solsky Stevens Secretary
Image

Lisabritt Solsky Stevens

Secretary

Lisabritt Solsky Stevens

Lisabritt Solsky Stevens has made a career in the public interest. A lawyer by trade, she graduated from the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, a public interest law school and HBCU recognized for the diversity of its student body. After several years working in legal aid in Massachusetts, Lisabritt worked for 15 years for the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services in a variety of roles including Deputy Medicaid Director. More recently she has worked in Medicaid managed care, for GSIL and Easterseals New Hampshire. She has served on several boards since 2010. She was recognized by the Union Leader’s Forty Under 40 in 2010, and as Business NH Magazine’s Top Female NonProfit Leader in 2016 and honored as a Best Place to work in 2017 and 2018 while serving as Executive Director of Wellsense Health Plan. She is a proud mother of three, step-mom to one bonus daughter, and lives in Concord with her husband, children, and a menagerie of rescue animals. She is an avid gardener and crafter and loves live music.

Board Members

Iris Polley Iris Polley Board Member
Iris Polley

Iris Polley

Board Member

Sobriety through Photography, Resides in Hinsdale, NH

Iris Polley, faithful GSIL consumer since 2008, after a car accident placed her in the driver seat of a wheelchair. She lives independently in her home with 2 felines: MacyGrae, and LilyAllen, and 2 young rats (Beyoncé and Adele) in training as therapy animals.

Iris earned a BS in Sociology from Texas ATM and has over 20yrs working in mental health and addictions with adults and children. She was self-employed as a massage therapist until her accident.

Iris, is currently an active volunteer with the Monadnock Humane Society, assisting in dog therapy training. She is active in her community, enjoys reading, concerts, cooking for her partner (Jenny), adaptive skiing and kayaking, loves time outdoors, peer mentoring, nature photography, learning about health, animal welfare and ADA advocacy.

Kevin Ennis Kevin Ennis Board Member
Kevin Ennis

Kevin Ennis

Board Member

Kevin has had many years’ experience working in the disability rights and self-advocacy worlds. Kevin is a consumer of GSIL’s Personal Care Attendant Program and excited to bring fresh perspective to the board. He is a 2014 Graduate of the UNH Leadership series.  Kevin is always seeking new avenues to increase his involvement with organizations that serve the disability population. Kevin holds a bachelors’ degree from UNH. Kevin then went on to train as a medical interpreter through Boston University.

Don McDonah Don McDonah, M.D. Board Member
Don McDonah

Don McDonah, M.D.

Board Member

Board Certified Physician in Family Medicine and Hospice & Palliative Care, Resides in Nashua, NH.

Practicing for over 40 years, Don has spent 28 of those years at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Nashua, NH. With a keen understanding of the diverse populations throughout Southern NH, Don found it critical to do house calls to ensure patients received the care they needed.

Don is confident his personal experiences will serve him well carrying out GSIL’s mission to promote quality of life with independence for people disabilities.

Grant Van Der Beken Grant Van Der Beken Board Member
Grant Van Der Beken

Grant Van Der Beken

Board Member

Regional Sales Director, The Hartford, Resides in Bedford, NH

Grant has been in Group Benefits sales with The Hartford since 2005. In his current role, Grant oversees the Hartford’s Group Benefits New England region. In addition to the regional responsibilities, Grant is the national sales lead for The Hartford's Public and Education vertical and provide sales support to our Paid Family Medical Leave product organizations.

Since 2010, Grant is involved in the CrossFit community and has participated in some small competitions around the region. Currently, Grant holds a CrossFit Level 1 training certificate. Grant resides in Bedford, NH with his two young sons and enjoys everything the Granite State has to offer. Grant holds a B.A. in Economics from Union College (Schenectady, NY).

Bruce Higginbotham Bruce Higginbotham Board Member
Bruce Higginbotham

Bruce Higginbotham

Board Member

Resides in Contoocook, NH

Bruce has over 25 years working in the human services industry managing and consulting in the staffing industry. While working in technology, legal and healthcare arenas, Bruce gained broad network of contacts. Bruce started his career in Boston where he met his wife, Amy. They are proud parents of Nicholas, Annie, and Ty. Bruce currently works for Total Golf Management part time and can often be found on the golf course.

Dave Qualey headshot Dave Qualey Board Member
Dave Qualey headshot

Dave Qualey

Board Member

Certified Mobility Consultant, Mobility Works, Resides in Raymond, NH

Dave joined Mobility Works in 2004 because he wanted a career that would allow him to help people with disabilities achieve independence through mobility. Mobility Works is America’s largest provider of modified vehicles and adaptive equipment for people with disabilities. Dave is the father of three teenage boys, including one with cerebral palsy. He is actively involved within the mobility challenged community whether it’s participating or donating to different organizations such as the MDA, MS Society, BIA and ALS Society. Dave is a United States Marine Corps Veteran of Operation Desert Storm and has a Bachelor in Management from Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, MA.

Anne-Vallette Anne L. Vallette Board Member
Anne-Vallette

Anne L. Vallette

Board Member

Senior Benefits Consultant, CGI Business Solutions, Resides in Beverly MA

Anne has been a benefits consultant for 30 years, working at CGI Business Solutions for the past 14 years.  In her current role, Anne is responsible for obtaining and retaining employer groups in New England by creating benefit offerings that meet their and their employees’ needs to make them an employer of choice.  Anne has been very involved in the NH HR community over the past 25 years serving in local SHRM chapters, SHRM NH State Council, and the Granite State HR Conference.  Anne was chosen as the 2011 HR Volunteer of the Year and was given the distinct honor of being the Granite State HR Hero Award recipient in 2017.  Anne enjoys playing softball during the summer and in her communities annual Momball Tournament.   With her children grown, Anne lives in Beverly with her husband and looks forward to what will happen next in her life.

newboard Ken Traum Board Member
newboard

Ken Traum

Board Member

Ken Traum

Ken Traum of Hopkinton was re-elected to the Board of GSIL, where he has previously served 3 years as Board Chair as well as several years as Vice Chair, and Treasurer.

Mr. Traum is in his 11th year as a member of the Hopkinton Select Board.  He is currently Vice Chair and represents the Board on the Town’s Budget, Energy, and Community Power Committees.

He is a member and officer with the Hopkinton Rotary, as well as a member of the Concord YMCA Advisory Board.

Prior to retirement, after earning an MBA,  his career was spent in public utility regulation primarily on the consumer advocacy side.  He is also a former marathon runner.

He and his wife, Catherine have lived in Hopkinton for over 33 years.

Leadership Team

Granite State Independent Living (GSIL) is led by highly-qualified team of executives.

Deborah Deborah Ritcey MPA/HA, President & Chief Executive Officer
Deborah

Deborah Ritcey

MPA/HA, President & Chief Executive Officer

Has led Granite State Independent Living since 2019, serving as its leader during one of the most challenging times in our history, preserving programs and serving clients as needed throughout the pandemic. During that timeframe, she worked with legislative leaders to target budget dollars towards essential services and helped secure one of the largest pay increases ever for workers in the disability services field. Deb previously served 2 ½ years on the Board of Directors holding several critical positions prior to her appointment as CEO.

This work is personal. Deborah has over 30 years’ experience working with and raising a son with disabilities. Her life’s path has steered her to this work as she has dedicated her career to improving the lives of those often left behind.

She began this effort like so many others, by volunteering to give back and help others, through her work with local state and national nonprofit organizations. Her goal was to help educate folks on living with a loved one with a disability, to be a voice for those who have none and an advocate for people who felt disenfranchised from our daily lives and routines. In finding her voice, Deb discovered a passion for working with other families in similar situations, and she taught them to advocate for their child’s right to an education. She has developed a reputation in the industry as passionate and tough, but kind-hearted and a team-builder.

During her career tenure in the healthcare industry, Deborah has worked in the Medicare and Medicaid space, improving the lives of program recipients. Deborah has a keen sense of what is needed for those living with a disability and to live as independently as possible, regardless of their abilities. She uses those instincts to improve programs, help individuals and affect change for the better.

While at Granite State Independent Living, Deborah is looking forward to improving the lives of folks using services with GSIL. Additionally, she is excited to bring new opportunities to grow the business while maintaining the mission of promoting quality of life with independence for people living with a disability.

Deborah resides in Derry, NH with her husband Doug, the memory of her son Matthew, and three dogs.

Jill Bille Jill Bille (pronounced Billy), MBA Chief Financial Officer
Jill Bille

Jill Bille (pronounced Billy), MBA

Chief Financial Officer

Jill joined GSIL as Chief Financial Officer in September 2019. Jill leads all aspects of GSIL’s financial, information technology and facilities functions. Throughout her career, Jill has established a reputation for leading and developing high functioning teams to improve performance and productivity and for driving cross-functional collaboration. Jill is committed to maintaining a high level of integrity and transparency.

Jill brings to the organization many years of leadership and versatile accounting, auditing and financial management experience in the private, public and nonprofit sectors. Prior to joining GSIL, Jill most recently held senior leadership positions in the nonprofit sector working in

community healthcare and in human services for individuals with developmental disabilities. This mission driven work led Jill to become very passionate about working to improve the lives of those living with a disability and underserved populations. Prior to this, Jill spent many years in progressive leadership positions in the public sector working in financial and investment management services for large banks and investment management companies. Outside of her responsibilities at GSIL, Jill serves on the Board of Directors, Finance Committee and Governance & Nominations Committee for Amoskeag Health in Manchester, NH.

DSC_0533 Marcia Bagley Marcia Bagley Chief Program Officer
DSC_0533 Marcia Bagley

Marcia Bagley

Chief Program Officer

Marcia has worked for the past fifteen years in the Nashua School District, most recently in the role of Special Education Director.  As the Director, Marcia oversaw special education programming for over 2000 students across eighteen schools. She collaborated with other district leaders to ensure all students received equal access to high quality educational opportunities. Marcia worked closely with school-based teams and created family partnerships to ensure positive outcomes for all. In December 2021, she was named one of two NH Special Education Administrators of the Year. Prior to the Director position, Marcia was Assistant Director and Preschool Coordinator.

Before joining the Nashua School District, Marcia was a special education teacher at private providers of special education in Maryland and New Hampshire.  While in college and graduate school, she was a Direct Support Provider and Community Living Manager for adults with disabilities living in community living houses.  This has always been her true passion.

Marcia obtained her Bachelor’s in Special and Elementary Education from Marywood University in Scranton, PA and her Master’s in Human Services Management from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD.

Marcia lives in Merrimack with her husband.  In her life outside of work, Marcia enjoys travelling and reading

headshot Michael Goodwin Vice President of Strategy & Business Development
headshot

Michael Goodwin

Vice President of Strategy & Business Development

Mike has been actively working on behalf of New Hampshire youth and families for 17 years serving as CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem for 12 years and the past 5 years at the Souhegan Valley Cub in Milford.  Prior to his time in Milford, he spent 5 years as the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs where he was responsible for Lobbying, Corporate Relations, and Advocacy for all 42 Boys & Girls Clubs in the State of MA.

Mike earned his bachelor’s in Education & Health from Plymouth State College where he also played soccer.  He loves spending time boating, fly fishing and hiking in the Western Maine mountains with his wife Linda, their two sons Jack and Shea and dog Maddie.

In total, he has spent 37 years advocating and working to make a better life for youth, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances.  He looks forward to serving as the VP of Strategy and Business Development for Granite State Independent Living and working with the GSIL team to make a positive impact on the clients served throughout the state of NH.

Ann Malburne Ann Malburne Director of Human Resources
Ann Malburne

Ann Malburne

Director of Human Resources

Ann leads the Human Resources department in areas of recruitment & retention, talent management, compensation, employee relations, benefits, and workplace safety. Ann brings 20 years of diverse Human Resources experience to GSIL from working in various industries throughout her career.

Ann holds a BA in Business Administration from Southern New Hampshire University and is also hold certifications in PHR and SHRM. Ann loves her Human Resources work and can’t imagine doing anything else!

In her free time, Ann enjoys being with her family and friends and escaping to the beach.

Cheryl Pinheiro 1 Cheryl Pinheiro Sr. Director of Long Term Supports
Cheryl Pinheiro 1

Cheryl Pinheiro

Sr. Director of Long Term Supports

While at GSIL, Cheryl has been improving the lives of Granite Staters for the past 14 years. She received her nursing degree from NH Technical Institute in Manchester in 1995 and has been working in a community-based setting providing nursing support for Seniors and those living with a disability throughout NH and Massachusetts for the last 25 years. As a believer in continued education, Cheryl received her Case Management Certification in 2017. She has been part of UNH Project ECHO since Feb 2022.

When not advocating for consumers or attendant care employees, Cheryl enjoys spending time with her chihuahuas and three granddaughters.

Jill-Bille-683x1024 Brianna Smith Director of Education Services
Jill-Bille-683x1024

Brianna Smith

Director of Education Services
Val Kidder Valerie Kidder Director of Community Outreach
Val Kidder

Valerie Kidder

Director of Community Outreach

Valerie Kidder joined GSIL in 2012 and is currently the Director Administration. Prior to this role, Valerie also held various other leadership positions within GSIL. For the last 20 years, Valerie has devoted her career to the Health Care Industry and remains very passionate about her work in this area. She received her MBA from Rivier University. Valerie was a former Board Member for the NH Conference on Aging, was a committee member for the NH Caregivers Conference, and has worked as a back-up personal care attendant helping individuals remain independent in their home. She also volunteered at the Southern NH Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter in Nashua.

K. Jenkins Krystyl Jenkins Executive Assistant
K. Jenkins

Krystyl Jenkins

Executive Assistant

Krystyl Jenkins is the Executive Assistant here at Granite State Independent Living (GSIL) and brings with her years of experience and a variety of skills from multiple industries throughout her career. She holds a B.S. in Equine Science from UNH and a B.S. in Paralegal Studies from Kaplan University. She is a Certified Paralegal, a certified Professional in HR, and a trained Mediator.

Krystyl resides in Gilford with her son and in her free time, she can be found spending time with her family and friends, boating, at the beach, or curled up with a good book.

Michelle Cutting Head shot Michelle Cutting Director of Community Supports
Michelle Cutting Head shot

Michelle Cutting

Director of Community Supports

Our Locations in New Hampshire

GSIL is a statewide nonprofit organization with 6 offices located throughout the state. Find the GSIL office near you.

Concord, NH – Main Office

21 Chenell Drive
Concord, NH 03301

603- 228-9680
1-800-826-3700 (toll-free)
603-225-3304 (fax)
TTY 711 | 800-735-2964

Manchester, NH Office

60 Rogers Street, Suite 209
Manchester, NH 03104

603-518-4600
1-800-773-4033
603-627-3780 (fax)
TTY 711 | 800-735-2964

Littleton, NH Office

76 Main Street
Littleton, NH 03561

603-228-9680
1-800-826-3700 (toll-free)
603-444-3128 (fax)
TTY 711 | 800-735-2964

Nashua, NH Office

14 Celina Ave, Unit #14
Nashua, NH 03065

603-228-9680
1-800-826-3700 (toll-free)
603-883-5134 (fax)
TTY 711 | 800-735-2964

Dover, NH Office

McConnell Center
61 Locust Street
Dover, NH 03820

603-228-9680
800-826-3700
TTY 711 | 800-735-2694

Board & Staff Testimonials

"GSIL is not only an organization that offers significant services but a family of professionals who work with compassion, integrity, and humility.”
Ed Costa
Former Board Member
“I have seen GSIL's extremely dedicated and caring aides, staff and leadership always striving to promote an independent lifestyle for those living with disabilities."
Ken Traum
Former Board Member

GSIL Reports

Annual Reports

Stay up-to-date by checking out the latest GSIL Annual Reports. Track our progress each year to see where we’ve been, where we are and where we are heading as an organization.

See our 2019 Annual Report here

990 – Our Financial Health

Stay up-to-date by checking out the latest GSIL Annual Reports. Track our progress each year to see where we’ve been, where we are and where we are heading as an organization. Learn more at our Guidestar.