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Marion Institute Team

Liz Wiley
Executive Director
Ext: 116

Liz Wiley comes to the Marion Institute with a diverse background focused on environmental and social sustainability.  Originally trained as a biologist, she helped pioneer methods to rescue mass stranded whales and dolphins, investigated the impact of noise on killer whales and logged thousands of hours identifying and mapping the location of critically endangered North Atlantic right whales.  While passionate about environmental protection, her experience as a woman in science led to a greater commitment in improving the lives of underserved women and the need to form healthy communities that combine environmental and social needs.  It was through her work at Bristol Community College (BCC) that she was able to develop and expand these principles through grant initiatives focused on workforce development and the green economy.

Most recently, Liz was the Food Security Lead at Spherical Analytics and Impact LABS where her work with farmers, fisheries and aquaculture focused on live piloting IoT technologies and designing, developing and marketing enterprise grade blockchain-enabled platform solutions.

Liz received her MS in Organizational Management and Leadership from Antioch University-New England, where her thesis focused on the ‘Role of Women in Creating and Maintaining Sustainable Communities’.  She has taught courses at Boston University and BCC and is a certified yoga teacher.  Liz and her family; Dave, Luke, Nathan live in Wareham.

Keri Cusson DeFusco, MSW, LCSW, E-RYT
FoodCorps Member

To learn more about Keri and the FoodCorps program, click here.

Adam Davenport
Grow Education Program Manager

Through the Grow Education program, Adam designs, manages, and connects residents to use the school based-community gardens.  His BS in Civil Engineering, Certificates in Integrative Nutrition and permaculture, and experience working as a SpEd. science teacher have helped develop his expertise in designing interactions between the ecological and social worlds.  In addition to his part-time role as Grow Education’s Garden Operations Manager, he is the co-Founder of Terra Cura, a Design and Consulting firm focused on regenerative social and ecological systems.  His interests range from philosophy to physics but center around nature.  In his free time he is rock climbing, practicing yoga, or traveling to experience and learn from worldwide cultures.

Portia DePina
Southcoast Food Policy Council Program Coordinator

After 21 years being out of the area, living in and out of the country, Portia is currently community organizing in her hometown in Southcoast, MA. Her diverse professional background includes roles as Copywriter, Blogger and Journalist, Yacht Cook and Corporate Flight Attendant. Portia is a big wellness advocate, lover of dance, Pilates, movement and her green smoothies in the a.m. Independent of occupation and lifestyle, one thing has always remained constant: her passion for social justice.

A fourth generation American with roots in Cape Verde, Portugal, and Norway, Portia’s world view was largely shaped by her experience growing up as “other” in a predominantly white bedroom community. Restless and itchy to spread her wings, she headed off for college in New York City when she was 17. It was there, while studying English, Cultural and Women’s Studies that she began to explore her own lived experience regarding race, gender, class, and identity. Recently back home, she has had the unique opportunity to confront racism in the school district. She and a small cohort have formed a grassroots organization, to address systemic and institutional racism within the school system. Portia hopes to bring real cultural change and progress regarding notions of race, while bringing equity and cultural awareness to the area, and beyond!


Cristiano Dias
Grow Education Garden Maintenance Contractor

Click here to learn more about Cristiano.

Katie Mannix
BioMed Program Coordinator

Katie Mannix joins the Marion Institute team having worked in schools for the last twelve years.  She is a passionate advocate for a more just and humane society, as well as matters of individual well-being and community and environmental health.  Her perspective and skills have been most informed by her experiences as an AmeriCorps volunteer; as a student of the fields of Education, Politics, and Theology; and through engagement with the world and its many teachers.  A Michigan native, Katie has grown roots in the South Coast and fallen in love with the region.  When not working, she enjoys learning and adventuring with her family and their beloved dog, Ozzy.

Patti Rego
Director of Marketing & Communications
Ext: 117

Born and raised in Fall River, MA, Patti returned to Southeastern Massachusetts in 2015 after over 17 years working in the marketing, communications, and event departments of notable publishing and media companies in New York City.  She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York with a BS in Advertising & Marketing Communications. It has long been a dream of Patti’s to be able to contribute to the economic and social fabric of the area in which she grew up, and she is thrilled to be able to work with the Marion Institute, an organization with both strong local ties and a keen eye on global concerns.  When not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, planning social events (like her daughter’s first birthday extravaganza), attending a diverse array of local events, and searching for the perfect cup of cold brewed iced coffee (one sip at a time.)

Angela Silva
Director of Finance and Operations
Ext: 111

Abigail Smith
Human Resources Manager
Ext: 113

Abby graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology and minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and has a personal interest and commitment to social justice and quality compassionate healthcare. Prior to working at the Marion Institute, Abby’s experience as the office manager at a chiropractic office developed her belief in a multi-faceted holistic approach to health and wellness encompassing mental and physical wellbeing as well as nutrition. Away from the office, you can find her gardening, reading, cooking, and spending time with her family.

Mikaela Thiboutot 

Mikaela Thiboutot
FoodCorps Member

To learn more about Mikaela and the FoodCorps program, click here.

Mary Twomey
Development & Greenhouse Initiative Coordinator
Ext: 114

Mary has lived in Southeastern MA for most of her life and loves all the area has to offer. She has a degree in Business Administration from Bryant College in Rhode Island. Prior to joining the Marion Institute Mary worked in healthcare finance for 13 years. Personal experience has led Mary to become passionate about the importance of nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices. She is excited to join the Marion Institute as the development associate and be part of an organization promoting sustainability, nutrition and health. Away from work Mary enjoys being with her family, historic homes, beekeeping, and simple living.

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