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  Your Commissioners

The Commissioners on the Cape Cod and Islands Commission on the Status of Women have diverse backgrounds, interests and perspectives. Together, these Commissioners, all unique in their own way, work together to ensure that issues held dear by women on Cape Cod and the Islands are heard and addressed. Read about their eclectic backgrounds here:

Penelope Duby, Chair, Falmouth, serves as the chair of SWIFT: Supporting Women in Financial Transition and is co-founder of Cape Cod Women for Change. She has extensive experience in public health and urban public education, assessment and evaluation, and is fortunate to have the privilege to focus her time at this stage of her life on women’s issues. She serves as administrator and moderator of a number of online women’s advocacy and support groups dedicated to encouraging women’s civic engagement, and support for issues that affect women’s lives.

Liz Rabideau, Vice Chair, Barnstable, is engaged in work with non-profit organizations as a consultant. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and holds a Master’s Certificate from UMass Boston in Gender, Leadership and Public Policy. She was the former co-owner of Rabideau Media Group, LLC, publishers of several life-style magazines on Cape Cod and the South Shore. She is currently on the Board of Directors of the YMCA Cape Cod, NAMI Cape & Island, Cape Women’s Coalition and an active volunteer at WE CAN. Liz’s passion for women and girl issues dates back to the late 1980s with her involvement in women’s reproductive rights. Her participation in CCICSW is in-line with her beliefs that every woman has a right to be heard and should have a voice in policy decisions that affect their and their family’s lives.
Deb Bryant Archivist, Bourne is a new member of CCICSW as of January 2017. Deb has experience in the IT/Communications and Outreach field. Deb retired from the Army in 2003 and has worked on the civilian side of the Federal government for 30 years. She recently relocated back to MA from TX after 32 years and looks forward to serving in her community. Deb is an Associate Member on the Bourne Zoning Board of Appeals, and is a member of the VFW, American Association of Notaries and has a medical, security and process server background. Her diverse background as an openly gay soldier, overseas experiences, and medical/legal studies and work makes her a welcome addition to CCICSW.

Dr. Susan C. Gardner, Recording Secretary, is the Deputy Science and Research Director of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, MA where she has been employed since 2012. After earning a Ph.D. in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences in 1995, Dr. Gardner spent 10 years in Mexico conducting research on sea turtle conservation. During that time period she worked as a volunteer and professional doula (birthing coach) in Mexico and developed educational materials both in English and Spanish to help prepare and empower women during labor and maternity. She returned to the United States in 2006 to work at the U.S. Department of State where a particularly rewarding focus of her career was serving as the lead for the Department of State on foreign policy to advance women and girls in science including working with the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and the U.N. Economic and Social Council. In recognition of her work, Dr. Gardner has received a Meritorious Honor Award and a Superior Honor Award from the Department of State and a Gold Medal for Exceptional Service from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Janet Joakim (emerita) Media/Outreach, Centerville, is a retired Barnstable Town Councilor serving full term limits, 12 years and recently finished a degree she began in 1980, a bachelors in Social Justice Advocacy and Public Policy. As councilor she was liaison to the Barnstable Council on Aging and the Barnstable Community Preservation Committee for 12 years and spent many years working with other councilors, school committee members and school and town administrators to bridge the relationship between Barnstable's school and municipal governments and administrations on a team that ultimately created a combined finance office and developed shared policies. She has been concerned about issues involving seniors, struggling families, open space water protection and women and has sponsored related local legislation and advocated at the state and national level. Janet was the chair of a Cape-wide committee to change school funding and once appeared as part of a cover-story for a local magazine profiling powerful women. She has worked on many political campaigns from volunteer to coordinator and is passionate about encouraging women to run for office and is currently a member of the Cape Women's Coalition seeking to achieve that goal. Janet owned a successful website design, development and marketing company for 12 years.

Helen Bresnahan (emerita)
has been a CCICSW Commissioner since its establishment. A retired schoolteacher for over 25 years, she received her B.A. in Education and an M.A. in Student Personnel Services from New Jersey City University. Her postgraduate research study was in the vocational choice of 11-12 year old girls. Living as a child on fragile Cape Cod, she was aware of the effects water had on her surroundings. Retiring on Cape Cod, she volunteered for the Buzzards Bay Coalition, an environmental non-profit. In the capacity of volunteer, she tested and sampled river water flowing into the Buzzards Bay watershed. This experience led to her position on the Bourne Pollution Committee and the Study Committee of the Bourne Rotary Land Use Task Force. She was a docent at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History. Presently, she is Chair of the League of Women Voters of the Cape Cod Area membership Committee, and past Chair of the Legislative Committee. Helen is a ham radio operator (call sign N1HVB) with the Amateur Radio Emergency Service at Falmouth Hospital. Her present interests include housing for incarcerated women with addiction. She lives with her husband in Pocassett and is caretaker to her grandson.

Tracy Clouse Johnson, Chair Communications and Public Relations Committee,
is from Brewster.   Tracy previously worked for the State of Connecticut in the Prison & Parole Systems; she retired from this position in 2012. Tracy is also the Program Coordinator for WE CAN Corp. in Harwich Port as well as an Affiliate Community Minister for the First Parish Brewster Unitarian Universalist Church. Tracy is a member of: UU Society for Community Ministries, UU Minister's Association, Nauset Interfaith Association Steering Committee. She brings a wealth of life-long knowledge to the Commission and is sure to be an asset.

Joan Walsh Freedman, Treasurer,
has a M. Ed, C.A.G.S. in School Psychology and Educational Leadership and has worked with students Pre-K through college. She is also a Mediator and Mediation Trainer. While living in Fitchburg, MA, Joan was a City Councilor serving on most committees including the Finance Committee. She has served on numerous boards and committees, including the Alumni Board at Fitchburg State University and as President of Mediation Services of North Central MA. On the Cape Joan, spends her time volunteering at WE CAN, raising money for different charities every month with a group of friends, and enjoying her varied activities with CCICSW.

Tina Games, Programs Committee Chair, Harwich, 
is passionate about women's issues, having served as a six-year Commissioner in Alexandria, Virginia for the Commission for Women. She has also served on numerous committees for the Virginia Chapter of the National Organization for Women and the Virginia League of Women Voters. Tina is also the Chair of the Harwich Cultural Council and Public Relations Chair for the Harwich Voter Information Committee, and is heavily involved on school-related issues for the Monomoy Regional School District. She is also an accomplished fundraiser, having raised significant amounts of money for a variety of nonprofit organizations, causes, and campaigns focused on the general welfare of women and children, as well as charitable organizations focused on the arts and education. Tina owns her own consulting/coaching business where she serves highly-creative women who want to make their mark in the world through creative activism and artistic endeavors. She is also a contributing writer for a variety of print and online publications, and a licensed workshop facilitator. As the Chair of the CCICSW Programs Committee where she utilizes her creative, visionary, and organizational skills to plan and execute an array of programs, projects, and events for the Commission.

Laura Innis, Pocasset grew up on Cape Cod and has always been an advocate for gender equality and the environment. She worked at the State House as a legislative aide for Bourne, Falmouth & Mashpee. In 1992, Laura helped start the DPH Family Planning Program. She developed and implemented Emergency Contraceptive protocols, birth control brochures in 9 languages, created an Abortion Advisory Council & began an initiative called Dads Make a Difference. While serving as the Director of Outreach, Education & Training for the Women's Health Network she created the Women's Health Passport & acquired extensive experience developing social marketing strategies, programs, materials, conferences, events, managing large budgets, preparing public policy & building relationships & coalitions with diverse communities. Laura later worked for the Commissioner of Public Health in the Office of Healthy Communities. She created an online resource called Community Corner & convened the DPH Health Communication Committee to share strategies, best practice and resources. She also coordinated the 27 Community Health Network Areas (CHNAs). Her DPH career concluded in the WIC Program and in 2013 Laura returned to the Cape with her family.

Lisa McNeill, Yarmouth is currently the Chair for the Pilgrim’s Landing Board. Lisa is currently a consultant following more than 25 years of work to help strengthen the capacity of people and organizations to address community issues, including groups on Cape Cod, in New York and Washington, DC, and in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and El Salvador. Lisa moved to Cape Cod in 1996, and since then, she has worked for the Cape Cod Center for Sustainability and Cape Cod Foundation and founded Cape Cod Volunteers. Her work has also included researching and reporting on social, environmental, and economic issues facing Cape Cod. Lisa and her husband were foster parents for over 10 years, and she is particularly interested in healthy development of girls and young women as well as economic instability of older women.

Lisa Malcolm, Osterville is one of our newest members on the Commission. Lisa has graciously volunteered on two of the committees, Program & Planning and Legislation & Policy. Lisa is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and has worked in this field for over 30 years. Lisa currently works at the Center for Behavioral Health at Cape Cod Hospital as the Utilization Review Coordinator for the inpatient psychiatric unit. She has long been an advocate for those with special needs whose voices are so often unheard. Lisa received her BS in psychology from Bridgewater State College and her Master’s Degree in social work from Tulane University in New Orleans. She has also earned a post Masters Certification in Guidance Counseling for children PreK-12 from Bridgewater State College. Lisa has lived on the Cape since 1998 with her two children. Lisa is a very knowledgeable addition to the Commission with her extensive background in mental health and disabilities.

Katia Regina Dacunha

Marie Younger Blackburn, Falmouth,  is the owner of Simply Black & White Events and Creator and Planner of Cape Cod’s Conference for Women entitled Driven. She attended Johnson & Whales University as well as certificate programs at Cape Cod Community College, and is certified in both Public Housing Management and Human Services. Marie is an Alumnus of the Community Leadership Institute (CLI) as well as a current board member of both the Cape Cod YMCA, and the Cape and Islands Wedding Group. She is also Vice Chair of Mashpee SEPAC. Marie's passion for community has earned her the title of Community Outreach Coordinator for the Sand Dollars Chapter BNI. Marie is the creator of the Driven Women Cable Show  on Falmouth Community Television. She is the former Chair of both the Mashpee Housing Authority and Falmouth Human Services. Marie lives with her husband and son Chase, who has Down syndrome, thus making her a staunch advocate for children with disabilities.

From l-r  front row, Tracy Johnson, Susan Gardner, Lauren Scribi, Exec. Dir, Women’s Legislator Caucus and MCSW comm, Susan Cushing, Tina Games, Helen Bresnahan, Emerita, Marydith Tuitt MCSW Commissioner,     Second row,  Joan Walsh Freedmen, Penelope Duby, Katia Regina Dacunha, Debbie Bryant, Laura Innis, Alice Bowen  (missing from the photo, CCICSW Commissioner Liz Rabideau and Janet Joakim, Emerita)
From L-R  Front row:
 Tracy Johnson, Susan Gardner,
 Lauren Scribi, Exec. Dir, Women’s Legislator Caucus and Massachusetts Commissioner, 
Susan Cushing, Tina Games, Helen Bresnahan, Emerita, 
Marydith Tuitt Massachusetts Commissioner,

Second row:
Joan Walsh Freedmen, Penelope Duby, 
Katia Regina Dacunha, Debbie Bryant, 
Laura Innis, Alice Bowen
(missing from the photo, Liz Rabideau, Marie Younger Blackburn, Janet Joakim, Emerita)