Sabrina Solares-Hand to serve as Associate Director of Purchasing; Grace Diaz as MBE/WBE Outreach Director; April Brown as Turnaround Arts Program Director
PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today announced that Melissa Malone will serve as Providence’s Chief Operating Officer where she will oversee all of the City of Providence’s operational functions while serving as senior advisor to the Mayor. She will begin work on August 28, 2017.
“Melissa brings a strong record of leadership and invaluable municipal and executive management experience,” said Mayor Elorza. “I’m pleased to welcome her and the other new members of our team.”
Most recently, Malone has served as Principal of M2 Consulting after founding the firm in May 2016. M2 specializes in providing a range of services such as: contract analysis; project and compliance management; strategic planning, design and evaluation; data curation and analysis; and policy creation to municipalities and non-profits.
“I am honored and excited to be joining Mayor Elorza’s team. He truly recognizes that the vitality of Providence is critical to Rhode Island’s future – as Providence flourishes so shall all of Rhode Island,” said Malone. “I look forward to working with the Mayor, the Council, and the dedicated employees of the City of Providence to continue to move Providence forward.”
Prior, Malone served as Municipal Finance Counsel for the State of Rhode Island where she functioned as Governor Gina Raimondo’s liaison to the Division of Municipal Finance. In her role she focused on distressed communities, fire districts, municipal directives, pensions, healthcare benefits, and related litigation.
Malone also served as General Counsel and Deputy Treasurer for then Rhode Island State Treasurer Raimondo. In her capacity in the Treasurer’s Office, she oversaw legal aspects of all office operations. She was also a designated representative for the State of Rhode Island Retirement Board Committees, Pension Study Commission, and bond issuances. Before taking on the role of General Counsel and Deputy Treasurer, Malone served as Assistant Director of Member Services for the Treasurer’s Office.
Malone received a Bachelor of Arts from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut before earning a Juris Doctorate from the University of Connecticut School of Law. Past work experience includes roles at Barton & Gilman, LLP. and Fidelity Investments. She is admitted to the State of Rhode Island Bar and served on the Providence Public School Board from 2009 to 2011.
In addition to announcing a new Chief Operating Officer, the Mayor announced that Sabrina Solares-Hand, a graduate of Johnson & Wales University and former External Affairs Associate for Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy will be serving as Associate Director of Purchasing. Prior to her role at Blackstone Valley Prep, Solares-Hand oversaw corporate and social sector events as Event Director for the Savory Affair Event Planning and Design firm. Her duties included overseeing contracted staff and vendors and developing and implementing strategic marketing and sales plans. Additionally, Grace Diaz, a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives who has been serving as Senior Adviser on Community Relations for the Mayor, will be transitioning to MBE/WBE Outreach Director for the city. Diaz is a former small business owner, licensed realtor, and earned bachelor and master degrees from Springfield College, in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The Mayor also announced that April Brown, a graduate of American University who received a Master’s in Education from the University of Rhode Island, will take on the role of Turnaround Arts Program Director. Turnaround Arts is a signature program of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts that will bring integrated arts education into three Providence public middle schools. Xenia Walker, who has worked for the Providence Public School Department as a Drama and English teacher at Gilbert Stuart Middle School since 2004, has taken on the role of Implementation Coordinator for the program.