Board of Directors

Venture’s Board of Directors and Corporate Donors are made up of people from all walks of life: small business owners, lawyers, carpenters, police officers, teachers—active people like you who want to be involved and make a difference in the lives of others.  Contact Mike Hyland for more information.

Current Board Members

Andrea Cropley has been working with the organization since 1988 and became a member of the Board of Directors in 2009.  She also serves as the Vice President for the Big Alum Lake Association in Sturbridge. Mrs. Cropley has decades of experience in working with people living with disabilities, both professional and personal.  She has a son with autism, which has prompted her to become interested in what the community has to offer those with special needs.  Mrs. Cropley is currently a teacher at the Charlton Street School in Southbridge, Massachusetts.  She holds a bachelor’s degree from Providence College and a Master of Education from Westfield State University.

Doris Dono was appointed to the Board of Directors in 2022. She has been retired for six years from a professional career in education as a classroom teacher and building principal in the Dudley Charlton Regional School District.  She guided and supported special education programs, inclusion models, and parent groups with a team of specialists.  Mrs. Dono received her Bachelors Degree in Education at Rivier University and a Masters Degree in Leadership and Administration from Worcester State College. Doris has resided in Charlton, MA since 1980 and has been involved in many community  activities and organizations such as The Helping Hand Society, Dudley Women’s Club, PTO, playground construction and multiple fundraisers. Community involvement is always exciting and rewarding for her. She is pleased to be a member of the Venture Board of Directors and to contribute to such an important and essential organization. “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles” ~ Christopher Reeve

Carl Ekman, Board Clerk joined the Board of Directors in 2007 following a 38 year career as a law enforcement officer for the Charlton Police Department.  Mr. Ekman earned a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice from Curry College and currently serves as the Emergency Management Director for the Town of Charlton.  He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Charlton REAS Foundation, which provides residential energy assistance to senior citizens.

Gail Fanning, Board Vice President  joined the Board in 2016, shortly after retiring as managing partner of Culliton & Fanning LLC, Certified Public Accountants.  During the course of her career she particularly enjoyed helping small businesses achieve and manage growth.  She is currently a member of the adjunct faculty at Worcester State University in the Business and Economics department.  She served as a Trustee of the Charlton Library during construction of the new Charlton Library, and also served as an original member of the Capen Hill Nature Sanctuary Board of Directors.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wyoming and earned a Master of Business degree from Clark University.  She resides in Charlton with her husband and their dog, Max.

Dr. Paul Haughey has been on the Life-Skills Board of Directors since 2015 and joined the Venture Board in July 2024. He has served on the Board of Selectmen in the Town of Blackstone, MA, and was an active member of the Blackstone Finance Committee. Most recently, Dr. Haughey has represented the Blackstone Board of Selectmen on the Central Massachusetts Planning Commission in an effort to work collaboratively with local, state, and federal officials, as well as legislators, to enhance the life and work of people living in the region.

Dr. Haughey has worked in the field of education since 1990 and has years of experience teaching at all levels of education (Preschool through Graduate School). At present, he teaches and oversees practicum supervision experiences in special education (grades K-8 & 5-12) as a Visiting Professor with his alma mater, Framingham State University’s Division of Graduate and Continuing Education and other local colleges/universities within Massachusetts. In July of 20218, he joined the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District to become the Superintendent of Schools, a role he still holds today. 

Dr. Haughey earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1990 from Framingham State University; a Master of Education degree in Educational Administration from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell (1995); a Master of Education degree in Special Education from Framingham State University (2000); and a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership from Johnson & Wales University (2002).

Patricia Lamoureux, Board Treasurer first joined the Board of Directors in 2009.  Now retired, Mrs. Lamoureaux enjoyed a rewarding career as a Registered Nurse, specializing in both pediatric and psychiatric nursing.  Her background has provided a unique insight regarding the agency’s support services.  Additionally, she has served as president of the Helping Hand Society and was also a member of the Alzheimer’s Association at Harrington Memorial Hospital.  She holds a degree from the David Hale School of Nursing.

Nancy Noonan is a Family Nurse Practice Practitioner, working at Commonwealth Care Alliance as a Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner. Nancy holds advanced board certifications in oncology, hospice, and palliative care. Nancy also practices at St. Anne (Shrewsbury Ma.) and St. Peter (Worcester MA.) free medical programs. The program’s are part of the Worcester Free Care Coalition, providing free medical care to those that are uninsured or under insured. Nancy is a member and current president of the Central MA. Chapter of the Oncology Nursing Society and a member of the St. Anne’s Free Medical program board of directors. Nancy was a member of the Life-Skills, Inc. Board of Directors from 2002 through 2024 and joined the Venture board in July 2024. 

Donna Peters, Board President, has been serving on the Board of Directors since 2000.  A lifelong resident of Charlton, Massachusetts, Ms. Peters has been dedicated to the community for decades.  She has served as Vice President of the Glen Echo Improvement Association in Charlton since 2008 and she has also been a member of the Charlton Helping Hand Society for over 20 years.  Ms. Peters has also volunteered as a Massachusetts State Committeewoman and Southbridge Savings Bank Cooperator.  Working in a variety of industries, including real estate development, restaurants, retail sales, life insurance and as a small business owner, Ms. Peters believes that people with disabilities are integral contributors to the community.

Janice Smith joined the Venture Board of Directors in July 2024 and served on the Life-Skills, Inc. Board of Directors from 2006-2024. She is a mother of two and lives with her husband, Marc Martin, in Rindge, New Hampshire. Janice is retired and is a very active member of her community. She volunteers at Meals on Wheels and her local food pantry. Previously, she worked at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, NH as an Administrative Specialist, at Advocates, Inc. as an Employment Consultant, and at Bose Corporation as a Project Coordinator and Documentation Supervisor. She is also a member of  Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts. (AFAM). Janice’s adult son has Autism, and this has formed the focus of her life. She is still very involved in her son’s life and spends as much time as possible with him. He is currently living in a group home in Webster, MA. Her daughter, Cassandra, and two grandchildren live in Iowa. Janice is very involved in promoting Autism awareness. She co-founded the Family Voice family support group and maintained an active role in the organization through the transition to the Autism Alliance of Metro-West.

Richard Whitney, joined the Board of Directors in 1995, continuing a long association with charitable organizations in central Massachusetts.  Mr. Whitney has served as a Trustee of the Jacob Edwards Library as well as Director of the Optical Heritage Museum.  He is also a co-founder of the Future of Southbridge Group.  Mr. Whitney has found his years of experience with the Board of Directors to be extremely rewarding.  He is devoted to ensuring that individuals with disabilities benefit from the services provided by Venture. Mr. Whitney retired as a Quality Management Standards Manager for Carl Zeiss Vision located in Southbridge, Massachusetts, where he first started work for American Optical in 1974.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Astronomy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.