Who We Are

About Us: Our Story

In 1980, it all started around a kitchen table in Goffstown, NH. Four people, each living with a disability, came together to overcome countless barriers and the lack of services available.

They wanted to help people with disabilities in New Hampshire gain the confidence and control needed to realize their dream of living a full, complete and independent life just like everyone else.

With a shoestring budget of $40,000, created from personal bank accounts and donations from family and friends, Granite State Independent Living (GSIL) began its grassroots journey. These efforts soon grew to helping people with all types of disabilities overcome countless social and community barriers.

Today, as a statewide non-profit and New Hampshire’s only Center for Independent Living, we stay close to our roots with a focus on our 5 core services of education, information, advocacy, support and transition services for people with disabilities and underserved youth. We are able to speak and think with authority on behalf of the people we serve and support because we are led  by a board of directors and staff of which over 51% are people with disabilities.

We carry out our mission through our Home Care Services, Community-Based Disability Supports and Employment Services. With the help of our local New Hampshire communities, we assist people with tools for living life independently, so they can change their lives for the better. While much has changed over the years, one thing remains the same; GSIL is committed to the principle of personal choice and direction.

 

Our Values

Granite State Independent Living (GSIL) is a statewide nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote quality of life with independence for people with disabilities through advocacy, information, education, support and transition services.

 

  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Collaboration
  • Empowerment
  • Independence
  • Choices

Board of Directors

We are able to speak and think with authority on behalf of the people we serve and support because we are led by a board of directors and staff of which over 51% are people with disabilities.

gsil_team_photos_Geoffrey_Souther Geoffrey Souther Chair & Secretary
gsil_team_photos_Geoffrey_Souther

Geoffrey Souther

Chair & Secretary 2023-2

New Hampshire DHHS (Retired) – Resides in Canterbury, NH:

Mr. Souther recently retired after more than forty years’ experience serving people with mental illness in both the public and private non-profit sectors.  He served in several senior positions within the NH Department of Health and Human Services, including, as Chief Operating Officer at the New Hampshire Hospital, and as Director of Behavioral Health.

Mr. Souther’s community experience includes clinical and management positions at NH Community Mental Health Centers and as Executive Director of Community Mental Health Centers in Kansas and Connecticut.   He holds an undergraduate degree from Ottawa University, KS, Master’s degrees from the University of Southern California and Antioch New England Graduate School.

Mr. Souther is a veteran of United States Army and has been, and continues to be, active providing community service in both a volunteer and elected capacity on numerous boards, committees, and service organizations. He lives with his wife Bobbie, his oldest daughter and her three children in Canterbury, NH.

2007-Board-Member-Photos-039-862x1024 Lorna Greer 1st Vice Chair
2007-Board-Member-Photos-039-862x1024

Lorna Greer

1st Vice Chair 2024-1

Anti-Discrimination Investigator, NH Human Rights Commission (Retired) – Resides in Whitefield, NH:

Lorna is from Whitefield and has extensive community and political contacts in the North Country.  She was an Anti-Discrimination Investigator for the NH Human Rights Commission from 1984 to 2007. She has worked in social services, on political campaigns in Littleton and once ran for town select board, she is involved with both State and national politics and government, and she currently volunteers for the Whitefield Fire and Rescue. She also serves on the State Rehabilitation Council where she seeks to make Vocational Rehabilitation Services available to those who will benefit from using them. She has worked with state agencies, legislators, judges and community leaders to help formulate a new Child Protective Services System for a Western metropolitan area the size of NH.  She has interviewed and assessed situations where discrimination is alleged, and has mediated settlements where possible. Lorna also served for several years on the Board for the State Employees Association.

She holds a Master’s of Science in Management and Organization, which concentrates on consensus building and planning, from Antioch New England Graduate School; a B.A. in Political Science from UNH and she is also a Certified Paralegal.  She is currently a Discrimination Specialist with Discrimination Resolutions, a company she co-owns.

Lorna believes she could represent GSIL well and has a strong belief in its mission.  She is a strong believer in the dignity and resilience of the individual, in enhancing a person’s self-worth and self-esteem, especially those with disabilities.  Lorna’s osteoarthritis affects her mobility, and until she had knee replacement surgery she was unable to negotiate stairs, ordinary bathrooms, high steps or walking any distance.  Because of this she has experienced, first-hand, the isolation of being unable to enter places where others had no barriers.

(Experience with disability: Osteoarthritis)

gsil_team_photos_Ed Costa Rev. Edward L. Costa 2nd Vice Chair
gsil_team_photos_Ed Costa

Rev. Edward L. Costa

2nd Vice Chair 2022-1

Congregational Chaplain (Retired) – Resides in Milford, NH:

Reverend Ed Costa is a retired ordained Congregational Chaplain. Rev. Ed has served for twenty-seven years in prison ministry as a part-time volunteer. He currently serves as a chaplain in a local hospital.

Early in his career, he was an Army National Guard full-time technician working in rotary aviation and general depot maintenance. He then spent over ten years servicing commercial accounts throughout the northeastern US for ComputerLand. Working for Hewlett-Packard for twenty-three years, Rev. Ed has been in services, both technical and financial, and business/program management.

Rev. Ed has a BS in Business Management and an MBA in Leadership. He also has a Master’s Degree in Divinity. Rev. Ed is an active member of the NH Bible Society’s Board of Directors.

gsil_team_photos_Ken_Traum Ken Traum Treasurer
gsil_team_photos_Ken_Traum

Ken Traum

Treasurer 2022-2

Assistant Consumer Advocate, State of NH (Retired) – Resides in Contoocook, NH:

Kenneth Traum is a veteran of the GSIL Board.  While serving previous terms, Ken was Chair of the Board as well as Chair of the Finance Committee.  He also served on the Strategic Planning Committee, and was previously on the Bancroft Acquisition Committee.  His professional experience includes his work at the Office of the Consumer Advocate for over 21 years where he held the position as Assistant Consumer Advocate for the State of New Hampshire. While in that position he primarily dealt with public utility rates and quality of service.

Though retired, Ken continues to offer consulting in the area of utility regulation.  He is a Board member of the Concord Family YMCA where he serves on the Finance and Facilities Committees; a Hopkinton Rotarian, and an Instructor at the Learning Institute at New England College and sits on the Town of Hopkinton budget committee.   He is also active in bicycling (both indoors and out), nautilus and walking.  (Experience with disability – Physical limitation resulting from nerve signal issues)

Board Members

gsil_team_photos_Theo_Vouglas Theo Vougias Associate Devine Millimet
gsil_team_photos_Theo_Vouglas

Theo Vougias

Associate Devine Millimet 2022-2

Shareholder, Devine Millimet – Resides in Manchester, NH:

Theo is a Shareholder at Devine Millimet, and a member of the Trusts and Estates Practice Group, helping individuals and families prepare wills, revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, supplemental needs trusts, financial powers of attorney, advance directives for health, and other matters related to estate planning. He also helps clients with trust and estate administrative matters.

Theo has a particular interest in giving elders peace of mind through a comprehensive estate plan, which might include revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, or supplemental needs trusts, along with traditional wills.

Theo is a Manchester native, he lives there with his wife and children. Outside of work, Theo enjoys his children’s extra-curricular activities, including crew, band, baseball, hockey, and basketball. Theo is a lifelong member of St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, where he enjoys helping out with the annual Glendi festival. Community Involvement includes the St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Board of Directors, 2016 – present and Granite State Independent Living, Board of Directors, 2016 – present.

gsil_team_photos_Iris_Polley Iris Polley Board Member
gsil_team_photos_Iris_Polley

Iris Polley

Board Member 2022-1

Sobriety through Photography– Resides in Hinsdale, NH:

Iris Polley, faithful GSIL consumer since 2008, after a car accident placed her in the drivers seat of a wheelchair. She lives independently (thanks to GSIL) in her home with 2 felines: MacyGrae, and LilyAllen, and 2 young rats (Beyoncé and Adele) in training as therapy animals.

Iris is a 1986 Texas ATM BS in Sociology grad, with over 20yrs working in mental health and addictions with adults and children. She was self employed as a massage therapist until her accident.

She, is currently an active volunteer with the Monadnock Humane Society, assisting in dog therapy training. She is active in her community, enjoys reading, concerts, cooking for her partner (Jenny), is involved in adaptive skiing and kayaking, loves time outdoors, peer mentoring, nature photography, learning about health, animal welfare and ADA advocacy

gsil_team_photos_Larry_Smukler Larry Smukler Board Member
gsil_team_photos_Larry_Smukler

Larry Smukler

Board Member 2022-1

NH Superior Court Associate Justice (Retired), Artist – Resides in Concord, NH:

Larry was a NH Superior Court judge for 23 years before he retired in 2015. Since then, he has served in senior status and returned to school at Maine Media College, where he earned an MFA in 2019. Before his appointment as a judge, Larry was an attorney specializing in public utility law. In that capacity, he served as assistant counsel to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and counsel to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. Following his relocation to New Hampshire, Larry was a research fellow at the Franklin Pierce Law Center (now UNH Law), general counsel to the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, Senior Assistant Attorney General, and Chairman of the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, where he was serving when he was appointed to the bench. Larry earned a BS in psychology and an M Ed in counseling from Penn State University, a JD (cum laude) from Temple University School of Law and an MFA from Maine Media College. He is currently living with his family, pursuing a post-degree fellowship at Maine Media, and making art in Concord, New Hampshire.

gsil_team_photos_Kevin_Ennis Kevin Ennis Board Member
gsil_team_photos_Kevin_Ennis

Kevin Ennis

Board Member 2022-1

Medical Interpreter, Ascentia – Resides in Portsmouth, NH:

Kevin has had many years experience working in the disability rights and self-advocacy worlds. He is very excited to enter this new role with GSIL. Kevin is a consumer of GSIL’s Personal Care Attendant program (pca), and excited to bring fresh perspective to the board. He is a 2014 Graduate of the UNH Leadership series.  Kevin is always seeking new avenues to increase his involvement with organizations that serve the disability population. Kevin holds a bachelors’ degree from UNH, graduating in 2016. Kevin then went on to train as a medical interpreter through Boston University finishing in 2018.

Kyra_Headshot Kyra Leonard Board Member
Kyra_Headshot

Kyra Leonard

Board Member 2023-1

New Hampshire Division of Behavioral Health  – Resides in Derry, NH:

Kyra Leonard has worked for the State of New Hampshire for over twelve years. She served in various financial positions within the NH Department of Health and Human Services and the NH Department of Safety, including, as the Administrator of the Business Office at the Department of Safety, and most recently as the Financial Manager for the Division of Behavioral Health.

Kyra’s community experience includes board positions with Emerging Leaders in Communities of Color, as well as, the Treasurer role on the Greater Manchester Black Scholarship Foundation board of directors. She holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of New Hampshire, a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership and a Graduate Certificate in Accounting from Southern New Hampshire University.

Kyra is a Manchester, NH native and currently lives in Derry, NH with her husband David, her son Mason and their two pet cats and hamster. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and running with her sister.

gsil_team_photos_Dave_Qualey Dave Qualey Board Member
gsil_team_photos_Dave_Qualey

Dave Qualey

Board Member 2022-1

Certified Mobility Consultant, Mobility Works – Resides in Raymond, NH:

Dave joined Ride-Away (now Mobility Works) in 2004 because he wanted a career that would allow him to help people with disabilities achieve independence through mobility. Mobility Works is America’s largest provider of modified vehicles and adaptive equipment for people with disabilities. Dave is the father of three teenage boys, including one with cerebral palsy. He is actively involved within the physically challenged community whether it’s participating or donating to different organizations such as the MDA, MS Society, BIA and ALS Society. Dave is a United States Marine Corps Veteran of Operation Desert Storm and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Science from Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, MA.

Leadership Team

Granite State Independent Living (GSIL) is led by highly-qualified team of executives.

deb Deborah Ritcey, MPA/HA Chief Executive Officer
deb

Deborah Ritcey, MPA/HA

Chief Executive Officer 2017

Joined Granite State Independent Living in 2017 as a member of the board of directors, serving 2 ½ years prior to her appointment as CEO in July of 2019.

Deborah has over 30 years’ experience working with and raising a son with disabilities and has dedicated her career to improving the lives of those often left behind.

Early in her Career, Deborah started volunteering with local state and national nonprofit organizations, to educate folks on living with a loved one with a disability.  Additionally, she also assisted families with advocating for their child’s right to an education.

During her career tenure in the healthcare industry, Deborah has worked in the Medicare and Medicaid space, improving the lives of those recipients.  Deborah has a keen sense of what is needed for those living with a disability, to live as independently as possible, regardless of their abilities.

While at Granite State Independent Living, Deborah is looking forward to improving the lives of folks using services with Granite State Independent Living.  Additionally, she is excited to bring new opportunities to grow the business while maintaining the mission of promoting quality of life with independence for people living with a disability and seniors.

Deborah resides in Derry, NH with her husband Doug, her son Nicholas, the memory of her son Matthew, three dogs and a cat.

email: dritcey@gsil.org

gsil_team_photos_Jill_Bille Jill Bille, MBA Chief Financial Officer
gsil_team_photos_Jill_Bille

Jill Bille, MBA

Chief Financial Officer 2019

Jill leads all aspects of GSIL’s financial functions, including corporate finance, revenue management, financial planning, analysis, and strategy.

Throughout her career, Jill has established a reputation for leading and developing high functioning teams to improve performance and productivity and for driving cross-functional collaboration. Jill is committed to maintaining a high level of integrity and transparency.

Jill brings to the organization many years of leadership and versatile accounting, auditing and financial management experience in the private, public and nonprofit sectors. Prior to joining GSIL, Jill most recently held senior leadership positions in the nonprofit sector working in community healthcare for Community Health Connections and in human services for the J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center. Prior to this, Jill spent over 10 years in progressive leadership positions in the public sector working in financial and investment management services for Bank of Boston, Merrill Lynch Credit Corporation and Pioneer Investment Management. Jill also spent several years in the private sector working in a financial leadership role in small business establishing and implementing best practices, internal control systems and formal policies.

Outside of her responsibilities at GSIL, Jill serves on the board of directors and the finance committee for Amoskeag Health in Manchester, NH.

Jill holds a BS in Accounting from Northeastern University, an MBA in Management from Jacksonville University and a Masters Certificate in Community Health and Community Health Center Management from Suffolk University. Jill is also a strong advocate of continual life-long learning.

Outside of work, Jill enjoys traveling, playing tennis and reading. She loves being with her family and doting on her two schnauzers.

email: jbille@gsil.org

 

gsil_team_photos_Casey_Lavoie Casey Lavoie Senior Executive Assistant
gsil_team_photos_Casey_Lavoie

Casey Lavoie

Senior Executive Assistant 2015

Casey has over 15 years experience of Administrative, Customer Service and Office management experience. Casey currently works as the Senior Executive Assistant of Granite State Independent Living (GSIL). In her role she supports the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and other members of the Leadership team. She oversees the day to day operations of the main office, the Administrative Assistants and is the Liaison to GSIL’s Board of Directors.

Casey studied Business and Communications at Plymouth State College and The University of New Hampshire. Her organization, attention to detail and passion for helping others have driven the direction of her career.

Casey resides in Goffstown, NH with her husband Eric and their three daughters. She enjoys attending their extracurricular activities including softball, Field hockey, gymnastics, and lacrosse. She volunteers within the Goffstown Community and enjoys yoga and traveling.

email: clavoie@gsil.org

 

Our Locations in New Hampshire

GSIL is a statewide nonprofit organization with 6 offices located throughout the state. Find the GSIL office near you.

Concord, NH – Main Office

21 Chenell Drive
Concord, NH 03301

603- 228-9680
1-800-826-3700 (toll-free)
603-225-3304 (fax)
TTY 711 | 800-735-2964

Manchester, NH Office

60 Rogers Street, Suite 209
Manchester, NH 03104

603-518-4600
1-800-773-4033
603-627-3780 (fax)
TTY 711 | 800-735-2964

Littleton, NH Office

76 Main Street
Littleton, NH 03561

603-228-9680
1-800-826-3700 (toll-free)
603-444-3128 (fax)
TTY 711 | 800-735-2964

Nashua, NH Office

14 Celina Ave, Unit #14
Nashua, NH 03065

603-228-9680
1-800-826-3700 (toll-free)
603-883-5134 (fax)
TTY 711 | 800-735-2964

Keene, NH Office

105 Castle Street
Keene, NH 03431

603-228-9680
1-800-826-3700 (toll-free)
603-903-0869 (fax)
TTY 711 | 800-735-2964

Board & Staff Testimonials

"GSIL is not only an organization that offers significant services but a family of professionals who work with compassion, integrity, and humility.”
Ed Costa
Board of Directors Member
“As a GSIL BOD member, I’m proud to interface with other caring professionals.”
Mike Byrne
Board of Directors Member
“I have seen GSIL's extremely dedicated and caring aides, staff and leadership always striving to promote an independent lifestyle for those living with disabilities."
Ken Traum
GSIL Treasurer

GSIL Reports

Annual Reports

Stay up-to-date by checking out the latest GSIL Annual Reports. Track our progress each year to see where we’ve been, where we are and where we are heading as an organization.

990 – Our Financial Health

Stay up-to-date by checking out the latest GSIL Annual Reports. Track our progress each year to see where we’ve been, where we are and where we are heading as an organization. Learn more at our Guidestar.

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