PROVIDENCE, RI - Julie Duffy, an executive at Textron Inc. and active member of the Rhode Island business, legal, civic, and philanthropic communities, was appointed chair of the Crossroads RI board of trustees last night during the organization’s annual meeting. Duffy succeeds U.S. District Chief Judge Jack McConnell who led the board for more than a decade. During his tenure as chair, Judge McConnell was instrumental in Crossroads’ work to shift toward a Housing First approach. Under his leadership, the organization expanded its impact as Rhode Island’s leading provider of housing and services for those experiencing homelessness. Judge McConnell will continue to serve on Crossroads’ board of directors.
“Thousands of people experiencing homelessness in Rhode Island have housing today thanks to Judge McConnell’s work as Chair of the Crossroads board. Under his leadership, we transformed our agency and adopted a Housing First model which has helped thousands of individuals and families find a new place to call home,” said Crossroads CEO Karen Santilli. “Julie Duffy will build on that strong foundation. Her business sense, compassion, empathy, and firm commitment to Crossroads’ mission will further drive our efforts to end homelessness in Rhode Island.”
“Jack McConnell has been an exceptional board chair and mentor. I am honored to have the opportunity to build on his legacy,” Duffy said. “Crossroads is unique in many ways, executing its mission and measuring impact by outcomes rather than output. Crossroads’ board and leadership team will remain focused on creating better outcomes for every individual and every family we serve.”
Duffy is an executive vice president at Textron. She leads the company’s worldwide human resources function and oversees the company’s communications, corporate real estate, community affairs, and aviation departments. Before being appointed EVP, she led Textron’s in-house litigation team. She was a commissioner for the Rhode Island Judicial Nominating Commission from 2015 through 2021 and currently serves on several other nonprofit boards. She first joined the Crossroads RI board in 2015 and has served on several committees and initiatives over the years.
“Over the last ten years, Crossroads has transformed its approach and focus on ending homelessness. While there is still a great deal of work to be done, we have made tremendous progress. I am convinced that Julie is going to be the board chair who helps lead Crossroads and the State of Rhode Island to effectively end homelessness,” said Judge McConnell. “Crossroads remains the state’s leading provider of housing and services for people experiencing homelessness because of strong, steady, and focused leadership from the staff and board. This organization saves lives every day and gives Rhode Islanders the hope and support they need to become financially independent. Being part of this organization is one of the proudest achievements of my career.”
Judge McConnell has served on the Crossroads board since 2006 and became chair in 2011. During his tenure, Crossroads launched several new initiatives, including the creation of a domestic violence program through its 2016 merger with the Women’s Center of Rhode Island; management of Harrington Hall, the largest men’s shelter in the state; and partnership with Whitmarsh House to develop the Mike Terry apartments in Providence. More recently, the agency began work on converting a former family shelter in Warwick into permanent apartments for families experiencing homelessness.
In addition to the transition of chairs, Mark Stewart, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, was appointed treasurer, succeeding Edwin Santos.
Crossroads also welcomed five new board members during its annual meeting.
Judge Christopher Smith was appointed to the Rhode Island District Court in 2019 by then-Governor Gina Raimondo. Prior to joining the bench, Judge Smith served as the Chief of the District Court division at the Rhode Island Public Defender’s Office.
Bruce Messier is the president of Butler & Messier Inc., a family-owned insurance company based in Pawtucket. Messier is deeply involved in the Rhode Island community, serving on the Judicial Nominating Commission, the Governor’s Insurance Council, and the board of directors for the Pawtucket Boys and Girls Club.
David Ortiz is Ørsted’s head of Northeast Government Affairs and Market Strategy, leading the development of the company’s government relations and market strategy and overseeing its execution across New York and New England. Ortiz previously served as former Governor Gina Raimondo’s chief of staff and helped lead the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beth Ann McQuade grew up in Barrington, Rhode Island and previously held top communications positions for St. Joseph Hospital and the Providence Center. While living in New York, McQuade launched McQuade Marketing Consultants. In addition to Crossroads, McQuade also serves on the board of the Ronald McDonald House NYC.
Kevin Tracy was named president of Bank of Rhode Island by Bank of America last summer. Tracy has more than 35 years of experience as a leader in the financial industry and previously served as a Business Banking Market Executive for Rhode Island. He is a past chairman of the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce and has been an active volunteer with Junior Achievement of Rhode Island for the past decade.