Executive Staff

Michael W. Ames, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer, was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Perkins, now RFK Community Alliance, in September of 2015. Michael holds a PhD from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University; a Master of Business Administration and Master of Social Work, both from Boston College; and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York. He sits on the boards of the Children’s League of Massachusetts where he serves as the Board’s Treasurer, maaps (the Massachusetts Association of Approved Private Schools) where he serves as the Board’s President, and UMass Memorial Health – Health Alliance-Clinton Hospital.

Throughout his career, Michael has been employed by a number of human services agencies including Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath), the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC), and the Key Program. He has held direct service, supervisory, and leadership positions in those organizations. As President and CEO of RFK Community Alliance, Michael takes a strategic, mission-focused approach that emphasizes the empowerment of team members, use of data, and innovation to build capacity focused on meeting the diverse needs of the children, youth, adults, and families served by RFK Community Alliance.

Lisa Harrington, MBA, Chief Financial Officer, has been on staff at RFK Community Alliance (formerly Perkins) since 1995.  She has held a variety of roles within the finance department including Accounting Manager, Controller, Director of Administration and Finance, and, ultimately, her current role as RFK Community Alliance CFO.  Lisa graduated from Fitchburg State College with a Bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems and a Master’s degree in Business Management.

Derek J. Padon, Vice President of Human Resources, joined RFK Community Alliance (formerly Perkins) in October 2016. Derek holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management from Johnson and Wales University and a Human Resources certificate from Northeastern University.

Derek brings to his role more than 15 years of human resources experience focused on talent acquisition and employee/labor relations. Prior to joining Perkins, Derek spent five years as the Director of Human Resources for Steward Norwood Hospital. He also worked for CharterCare Health Partners in Providence RI, and the May Institute in Randolph, MA.

Jessica Pepple, MBA, Chief Diversity and Culture Officer. Few people have the combination of data analysis skills, experience in the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and engaging presence that Jessica has brought to her role as RFK Community Alliance’s inaugural CDCO. She holds an Ed. Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from National Louis University, a MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management at DeVry University, a BA in risk management-insurance from Florida State University, and an Associate’s in business administration from Valencia Community College. She is also currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies from Boston University.

Prior to joining RFK Community Alliance in 2022, Jessica worked for the King Phillip School District as Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Before that, she served in a variety of Administrator and Instructional Coach roles at Browne Middle School in Chelsea, Prospect Hill Academy in Cambridge, and Orange County Public Schools in Florida. She is a strategic thinker and thoughtful contributor who is intuitive and gregarious. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family and going to the movies, as well as visiting local museums and art exhibitions.

Felicia Riffelmacher, MBA, CFRE, Senior Vice President of Advancement, joined RFK Community Alliance in October 2022.  Felicia earned her MBA at Suffolk University and has a Bachelor of Science – Business Administration degree from Becker College as well as an Associate of Science – Occupational Therapy degree from Quinsigamond Community College.  She received her Certified Fund Raising Executive credential earlier this year.

After more than a decade in the private sector, Felicia has spent the last 14 years in the non-profit realm, most recently as the Senior Director of Development at Quinsigamond Community College where she implemented innovative and strategic fundraising initiatives, including growing the annual fund and major gifts programs, building alumni and corporate engagement support, as well as planning and executing the college’s first annual fundraising gala. Prior to joining QCC, as the Director of Development at Framingham State University, she led the advancement team and secured several endowed scholarships– most notably an endowed scholarship from a major food retailer to increase diversity in the food and nutrition industry.

Cindy Wing, MEd, Chief Operating Officer, has been on staff at RFK Community Alliance (formerly Perkins) since 2006. Cindy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Atlantic Union College and a Master of Education Degree from the same institution. She also holds certificates as an Administrator of Special Education, Educator of English in grades 8-12, Elementary Principal grades K-6, Middle School Principal grades 5-8 and High School Principal grades 8-12. She also developed a state-of-the-art curriculum for K-12, and she was a key player in the Doctor Franklin Perkins School receiving New England Association of Schools and College’s accreditation.

Steven D. Young, Vice President of Facilities and Technology, joined RFK Community Alliance (formerly Perkins) in 2003 managing the agency’s physical plant and grounds. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Babson College. Steve brings 15 years of construction management experience with him having previously served as president of Corporate Offices, Inc., specializing in commercial space build-outs and office renovations throughout New England. Since arriving here, Steve has overseen numerous capital building and repair projects including construction of our Child Development Center, riding arena, solar electric system, and many renovations and conservation projects.