SSRI Announces Leadership Opportunity in DC for RI Women: 2019 Cherry Blossom

Are you an ambitious young Rhode Island leader between the ages of 19 and 24 (as of April 1, 2019)? Would you like to represent Rhode Island in Washington in spring 2019 at a leadership and networking program sponsored in part by the Embassy of Japan and several internationally oriented corporations?  Would you like to develop valuable professional relationships and new friendships in a program that has produced two alumnae who are now United States Senators?  Would you like to have a 1 in 55 opportunity to win an all expenses paid trip to Japan for an even more extensive international leadership development experience? If so, we encourage you to apply for selection by the State Society of Rhode Island as the 2019 Rhode Island Cherry Blossom Princess!

The Cherry Blossom Princess Program is a week-long program that offers cultural, educational, and professional development opportunities for young women leaders, ages 19 through 24, from across the United States and around the world. The program takes place each year during the National Cherry Blossom Festival© in Washington, DC and is proudly managed by the National Conference of State Societies.

Young women leaders are selected by a State/Territorial Society or International Embassy to be Cherry Blossom Princesses based on their leadership and academic achievements along with their interest in social, civic, community, and world affairs. As Cherry Blossom Princesses, you will represent your respective state, territory or country in both public and private events held each day across the Washington, DC area and engage with top government, business, arts, and media leaders.

Interested candidates should contact SSRI through our email ( to receive an application.  All applications should include a current resume.  Students at Rhode Island colleges and graduate schools, young women entrepreneurs across Rhode Island and Rhode Islander women living in Washington, D.C. who satisfy the eligibility criteria are especially encouraged to apply. 

Please help us spread the word at Brown University, Bryant University, Johnson & Wales, Rhode Island College, RISD, Roger Williams University, Salve Regina and the University of Rhode Island, along with the alumni communities for each.  

More information about the National Council on State Societies Cherry Blossom Princess Program is available here!

Sponsorship Opportunities

Rhode Island based businesses interested in helping us support this leadership opportunity at any level through tax deductible corporate sponsorship should also contact us.  Contributions of any amount are valued and appreciated.  

State Society of Rhode Island to Honor 2018 Leadership Awardees at Annual "Rhode to DC" Event

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                    

Washington, D.C., October 8, 2018  – The State Society of Rhode Island will host its annual Rhode to DC  event on Thursday, November 1, 2018 to celebrate Rhode Island in the District!  Similar to last year, the State Society of Rhode Island will be featuring Rhode Island businesses, organizations, and their products in Washington.  Rhode Islanders who have made important contributions to the state will also be honored with the State Society of Rhode Island 2018 Leadership Award.  This event will be held at the Apollo Rooftop on H Street.

Tickets for Rhode to DC can be purchased at a member or non-member rate: $20 for current members; $25 for non-members and $50 for new membership dues + a Rhode to DC event ticket.

About Our Rhode to DC Supporters

Rhode to DC is made possible through the support of corporate and institutional sponsors as well as individual donors, member dues and the invaluable support of enthusiastic volunteers.  SSRI is pleased to announce our current and growing list of Rhode to DC 2018 sponsors: The Narragansett Brewing Company, Yacht Club Soda, Granny Squibb’s Iced Tea, Rhode Island Red Food Tours, Eat Drink RI, Kate Wilson Fine Art, Blackstone Valley Tourism Council.

SSRI welcomes event or annual sponsorships from additional corporations or non-profit organizations that operate in Rhode Island.

Several opportunities also exist for individuals to sponsor Rhode to DC or annual State Society of Rhode Island programs that will strengthen relationships between Rhode Island and the nation’s capital.

The State Society of Rhode Island is pleased to announce the recipients of the SSRI 2018 Leadership Awards.

Francesca Craig, Motion Picture Association of America

Travis Escobar, Co-Founder, Millennial Professionals Group 

Asher Schofield, Owner, Frog and Toad 

Marta Martinez, RI Latino Arts 

Barrett Hazeltine, Professor Emeritus, Brown University 

Neil Campbell, Chief of Staff, Office of U.S. Senator Jack Reed

Distinguished recipients of the 2017 SSRI Leadership Award honorees included Brian D. Goldner, CEO of Hasbro, Inc.; Mark Hellendrung, President of Narragansett Beer; Christian McBurney, Founder of Small State Big History project; and Pat Moran, Development Chair for Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy.

About the State Society of Rhode Island

As one of several vibrant state society organizations, the State Society of Rhode Island (SSRI) is a 501(c)(3), nonpartisan organization in Washington, D.C., serving as the premier resource for Rhode Islanders and friends of Rhode Island who live, work, or study in the nation’s capital.  Our active Board of Directors provides social, community service, cultural, and educational events to our membership, creating networking opportunities and a strong Ocean State community in Washington along with ever stronger relationships between Rhode Island and Washington.  SSRI is a member of the National Conference of State Societies (NCSS), the non-profit umbrella association for each of the 50 states and 5 territories that have an active society. SSRI works with NCSS on programming throughout the year, apart from the events that are hosted by SSRI exclusively for our members. 

For more information about the State Society of Rhode Island, visit

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Follow us on Twitter: @RIStatesociety and #statesocietyRI  

Follow us on Instagram:  @RIStatesociety

Media Contacts:  Lauren Broccoli, Chair, 401-225-9440;

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State Society of Rhode Island Announces New Executive Team and Board of Directors for 2018-2019

Washington, D.C. – The State Society of Rhode Island (SSRI), a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan organization, announces the election of a new executive team, as well as the full slate of board of directors for 2018-2019.

After 5 years of unwavering leadership as Chair of SSRI, Chris Simeone will continue to contribute his time, expertise, and enthusiasm on the Board of Directors. Lauren Broccoli will lead the executive team for 2018-2019 as Chairwoman, with Vice Chair Nicole Henry, Treasurer Michael Giblin, and Secretary Francesca D’Andrea. Former Vice Chair Stefan Brathwaite will continue to lead corporate sponsorship and strategic communications initiatives as the new Chair of Communications. Former Secretary Amy Pellegrino will continue to support events planning and coordination as a Board Member.

Lauren Broccoli was born and raised in Rhode Island, where she attended St. Mary’s Academy-Bay View in East Providence. After earning her undergraduate degree at Boston University, Lauren returned to Rhode Island to attend Roger Williams University School of Law, where she earned her J.D. in 2012. After working for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse's 2014 Senate campaign, Lauren relocated to DC and worked for Congressman Jim Langevin.  

Currently, Lauren is a lobbyist at Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, a full-service government relations firm based in D.C. specializing in higher education and research policy. Lauren is extremely passionate about preserving the unique traditions of Rhode Island in Washington, DC. and has previously served as SSRI Treasurer for the past 4 years.

Nicole Henry was born and raised in Newport and Middletown Rhode Island. Upon graduating from the University of Rhode Island, Nicole became involved in Rhode Island Politics where she interned with the Rhode Island Democratic Party and worked for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s 2014 Senate campaign. Currently, Nicole supports the executive team at CTIA, a trade association representing the wireless industry.

In addition to her role as Vice Chair for SSRI, Nicole servers on the leadership committee of GenR DC Metro as the organization’s Communications Chair. Ever the passionate Rhode Islander, Nicole also promotes Narragansett Brewing Company in and around the District as a member of their Promotions Team.

Michael Giblin was born and raised in Rhode Island. Michael is a graduate of Portsmouth High School and the University of Rhode Island, where he earned his B.A. in History and M.A. in Political Science.

Michael has been actively involved in Rhode Island politics, having interned with Senator Jack Reed, worked on numerous campaigns, and served as Treasurer of the Young Democrats of Rhode Island. He moved to DC in 2013 to work in the Political Law Group at Perkins Coie, LLP. He now works in Political Affairs for the American Academy of Dermatology.

Michael has been a state society board member since 2014. He is passionate about Rhode Island's history, culture, food, and the Rhode Island Rams basketball team.

Francesca D’Andrea, a native of Cranston, spent the last three years living on the West End and East sides of Providence before moving to Washington, D.C. to complete a graduate degree in Public Administration. 

Prior to moving to D.C., Francesca graduated from Cranston High School East and then pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Spanish at the University of Rhode Island. Upon graduation, Francesca spent two years serving her community as an educator though the AmeriCorps program in the International Charter School and at Save The Bay. Continuing her focus on community service, Francesca spent the last three years working a Case Manager for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Francesca finds civil service and community building crucial elements to her professional life and is excited to foster a sense of community for Rhode Islanders in Washington D.C. through her new role as Secretary of the SSRI Board of Directors.

In addition to the new SSRI Executive Team, several new members have been elected to serve on the Board of Directors for 2018-2019: Colleen Creighton, Emily Brockway, and Vimala Phongsavanh.

Colleen Creighton currently serves as Executive Director of the American Association of Suicidology.  Previously, she served as Executive Director of the Alliance for Consumer Education (ACE), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to the safe and responsible use of consumer household products.

Emily Brockway is a program manager at the Outdoor Advertisers Association of America
(OAAA), where she dreams of her childhood summers in Barrington, RI.

Vimala Phongsavanh is the proud daughter of Laotian refugees and is the Public Policy Director at the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) where she advocates and organizes to build power for AAPI women and girls in the country. Vimala was born, raised, and educated in Woonsocket, Rhode Island and is now a new and proud resident of Virginia. 

Along with these new faces, SSRI welcomes back the following Board of Directors for 2018 – 2019:

Stefan Brathwaite, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty

Andrew Odgren, U.S. Senate

Andrew Cutler, SSRI

Andrew DiIorio, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Amy Pellegrino, U.S. Senate

Chris Simeone, BGR Group

Jason Soules, Schafer Corporation

Kristen Helmstetter, Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO


The State Society of Rhode Island (SSRI) is a 501(c)(3), nonpartisan organization in Washington, D.C., serving as a the premier resource for Rhode Islanders who live, work, or study in the nation’s capital.  Our active Board of Directors provides social, community service, cultural, and educational events to our membership, creating networking opportunities and a strong Ocean State community in Washington.