Recent Speakers at Club Meetings

Rich Larochelle, Speaker, October 9

Rich is currently an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Mary Washington (UMW) where he co-teaches a course on Cooperative Business. He is Chair of the Cooperative Development Foundation, a national c (3) organization that supports the creation of cooperatives as a way of positively impacting economic and social problems.

Rich worked for cooperatives for 40 years prior to moving to Fredericksburg in 2014 with his wife Linda who is an accomplished artist, retired art teacher and member of Art First, a co-op art gallery on Caroline Street in Downtown Fredericksburg. Rich was Senior Vice President at the Cooperative Finance Corporation until retiring from there at the end of 2013, and Legislative Director at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association where he worked for 12 years. He began his coop career in 1974 with the Rural Electrification Administration (now RUS). Rich was inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame in 2017. Rich is active in volunteer activities and is a founding director of the Fredericksburg Food Cooperative.

Rich and Linda have two sons, including Jeremy who is a professor at UMW and David who lives in California. They are the proud grandparents of a wonderful 7 year old.

The speaker for the August 21 meeting was Cathleen Pessolano, the Executive Director at Mental Health America of Fredericksburg. She has a background in Developmental Psychology, Substance Abuse Prevention practices, Mental Health Awareness and Advocacy, and Domestic Violence Intervention services. She and her husband are long-time local residents and have three college-age children.

Before starting as Executive Director in July, Cathleen spent five years in secondary education and nineteen years in human services program management.  After a successful career in helping individuals and families exposed to trauma, Cathleen is eager to advance the mission of Mental Health America of Fredericksburg: to improve people’s mental health and wellness through advocacy, education and supportive services.

The speaker for our July 24 meeting was Sarah Chiles, Director of Fredericksburg SPCA

As Shelter Programs Director, Sarah oversees the staff that runs the foster, intake, transfer, volunteer, social media and outreach programs. With a constantly changing population of animals, Sarah enables the SPCA to scale, while keeping animals, foster and volunteer families, shelter partners, adopters, and staff supported. When Sarah is not saving lives, she is spending time with children, husband, and 4 dogs while binge-watching the latest releases on Netflix and Hulu.

The speaker for the August 7 meeting was Doug Gately. Doug is the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Mary Washington.  Each year, the UMW Jazz Ensemble, under Doug’s direction, and Legal Aid Works ®, formerly known as Rappahannock Legal Services, team up for an extraordinary event called Jazz 4 Justice to benefit our community.  Legal Aid Works ® is a non-profit corporation that provides free, high-quality, civil legal assistance to low income individuals and families.  Doug is the Artistic Director for Jazz 4 Justice, and his professional experience has contributed to the event’s success as an annual fund-raiser for

Legal Aid Works ®.   Doug is the conductor and director of the UMW Jazz Ensemble, Concert Band, Flute Ensemble and various Chamber Groups. He is the principle instructor of applied studies in flute, clarinet, saxophone, and jazz piano.  He has toured and performed throughout the United States, South America, and Europe.  Credits include performances with numerous ‘name artists” including Doc Severinsen, Arturo Sandoval, Dizzy Gillespie, Henry Mancini, Natalie Cole, Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, Nancy Wilson, Manhattan Transfer, the Temptations, Mathew Morrison, Seth McFarlane, Patti Labelle, Gregory Porter, Michael Feinstein and many other Jazz Artists.  Doug was also a former member of the U.S Air Force’s Premier Jazz Ensemble, the Airmen of Note.  He is currently an adjunct with the National Symphony Orchestra, an MITP Artist/Clinician, an Artist/Clinician for KHS America (Jupiter Flutes).  Doug is an active jazz pianist, composer, arranger and leads his own Trio.  For several years Doug’s talent, professional experience and hard work have helped Legal Aid Works ® raise funds to ensure providing legal services for the Fredericksburg community.