ABOUT US

Kriola’s Professional Association

We are the first 501c3 dedicated to helping Kriolas and women of color broaden their knowledge and grow their network through resource sharing and programming. Our mission is to bring together Cabo Verdean women of diverse occupations and provide opportunities for them to help themselves and others grow personally and professionally through leadership, education, networking, and support.

Our Principles

CONNECT

We seek to meet like-minded Kriolas and other women of color who might become a potential mentor, partner, or employee.

IMPROVE

We pursue continuous learning opportunities that help us develop essential skills to achieve personal and professional goals.

GIVE BACK

We believe in enhancing our knowledge and, while at it, advancing our community. Getting involved will strenghten our business, career, and personal growth.

Meet the  Leadership Team

Tamara Tavares

FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

In 2019, Tamara founded KPA, the first 501(c)3 professional association in the U.S. for Cabo Verdean and other women of color professional advancement.

Tamara is originally from Fogo, Cabo Verde. She moved to Boston in 2012, and upon graduating Magma Cum Laude in 2016 with a BSBA in Global Business and Marketing, she pursued her MBA degree from Suffolk University while working full-time. Tamara enjoys connecting people with data-driven stories and bringing the scholarly world of strategy to everyday use. She has worked with companies like Santander Brazil and Boston Red Sox in adjusting their short-term marketing strategy.

As the youngest hired faculty, and only Kriola, at the Sawyer Business School, her focus is helping her students go through the full learning cycle. She also serves as the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Programs and Experiential Learning. Beyond work, Tamara is a wife, a cool aunt, and a food lover. 

Nicole Veiga

CO-FOUNDER & LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE ADVISOR

Nicole is a founding member of KPA and currently serves as a Leadership Experience Advisor and ensures the team is supported both personally and professionally.

Nicole is originally from Cabo Verde. She moved to Boston, MA, in 2008. Nicole studied International Business at Newbury College, where she graduated Magma Cum Laude. Currently, she is a consultant in the sales area at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, where she works with businesses and brokers to ensure needs are being met. Nicole has 5 years of professional experience in training, development, supervision, customer service, strong problem-solving communication, and leadership skills. Outside of her career, Nicole is a mom of a baby boy, a feminist, and a great friend. She enjoys traveling and going on new adventures.

Chantal Lima Barbosa

CO-FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

Chantal is a founding member of KPA and currently serves as KPA’s Executive Assistant. She manages fundraising initiatives such as KPA Kares and supports our community involvement and partnerships.

Born in Boston, MA, and raised in Praia, Cabo Verde, Chantal is a proud graduate of the Jeremiah E. Burke High School. She went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science of Political Science in 2016 and a Masters of Higher Education and Administration in 2018 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In February of 2020, Chantal began working as the Cabo Verde Liaison in Mayor Walsh’s Office of Neighborhood Services, where she helped Mid Dorchester and Cabo Verdean residents in Boston navigate city services and resources through the COVID-19 pandemic. Chantal currently serves as Mayor Walsh’s Intergovernmental Relations – City Council Liaison and looks forward to continuing to advocate on behalf of her community.

Melanie DeBarros

DIRECTOR OF MEMBERSHIP

Melanie currently serves as the Director of Membership for KPA, supporting the membership experience and collaborating with KPA leadership to promote membership benefits.

Melanie DeBarros is a first-generation Kriola, born and raised in Brockton, MA. She is a graduate of Bryant University, where she graduated with a degree in Business Administration with a management concentration and a second major in Politics & Law. Melanie started her career at Liberty Mutual after graduating college. She developed a passion for technology while working at Liberty Mutual with software development teams. She is currently a Manager of Software Engineering at Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Neilda Alves

CO-FOUNDER & VP OF PROGRAMMING

Neilda is a founding member of KPA and currently serves as KPA’s Vice President of Programming. She oversees strategic planning efforts, operational program projects, and event management to execute and support KPA’s mission and principles.

Neilda was born on the island of Santiago and raised in Fogo, Cabo Verde. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Business Management with a minor in Organizational Leadership from Emmanuel College and later earned her Masters of Business Administration from Simmons College. She is a Practice Manager at Massachusetts General Hospital and has over ten years of experience in the healthcare industry. Neilda also has a creative heart, which led her to start, Nballoons, offering customized balloons, floral arrangements, and decor services. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, trying new dishes, and spending time with family and friends.

Marynee Pontes

DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT

Marynee currently serves as the Director of Development with KPA, managing the business and community partnerships and providing KPA members resources. 

Marynee Pontes is a first-generation Kriola born and raised in Roxbury, MA. She received her B.A. from Tufts University in 2016 in International Relations, Economics, and Africana Studies. She works as the Deputy Director with the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), overseeing the Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) program, a leadership training program designed to help small businesses build capacity, access capital, and create jobs in their local communities. Outside of work, Marynee loves to travel, try new foods, and spend time with family and friends.

Tamara Tavares

FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

In 2019, Tamara founded KPA, the first 501(c)3 professional association in the U.S. for Cabo Verdean and other women of color professional advancement.

Tamara is originally from Fogo, Cabo Verde. She moved to Boston in 2012, and upon graduating Magma Cum Laude in 2016 with a BSBA in Global Business and Marketing, she pursued her MBA degree from Suffolk University while working full-time. Tamara enjoys connecting people with data-driven stories and bringing the scholarly world of strategy to everyday use. She has worked with companies like Santander Brazil and Boston Red Sox in adjusting their short-term marketing strategy.

As the youngest hired faculty, and only Kriola, at the Sawyer Business School, her focus is helping her students go through the full learning cycle. She also serves as the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Programs and Experiential Learning. Beyond work, Tamara is a wife, a cool aunt, and a food lover. 

Chantal Lima Barbosa

CO-FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

Chantal is a founding member of KPA and currently serves as KPA’s Executive Assistant. She manages fundraising initiatives such as KPA Kares and supports our community involvement and partnerships.

Born in Boston, MA, and raised in Praia, Cabo Verde, Chantal is a proud graduate of the Jeremiah E. Burke High School. She went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science of Political Science in 2016 and a Masters of Higher Education and Administration in 2018 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In February of 2020, Chantal began working as the Cabo Verde Liaison in Mayor Walsh’s Office of Neighborhood Services, where she helped Mid Dorchester and Cabo Verdean residents in Boston navigate city services and resources through the COVID-19 pandemic. Chantal currently serves as Mayor Walsh’s Intergovernmental Relations – City Council Liaison and looks forward to continuing to advocate on behalf of her community.

Neilda Alves

CO-FOUNDER & VP OF PROGRAMMING

Neilda is a founding member of KPA and currently serves as KPA’s Vice President of Programming. She oversees strategic planning efforts, operational program projects, and event management to execute and support KPA’s mission and principles.

Neilda was born on the island of Santiago and raised in Fogo, Cabo Verde. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Business Management with a minor in Organizational Leadership from Emmanuel College and later earned her Masters of Business Administration from Simmons College. She is a Practice Manager at Massachusetts General Hospital and has over ten years of experience in the healthcare industry. Neilda also has a creative heart, which led her to start, Nballoons, offering customized balloons, floral arrangements, and decor services. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, trying new dishes, and spending time with family and friends.

Nicole Veiga

CO-FOUNDER & LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE ADVISOR

Nicole is a founding member of KPA and currently serves as a Leadership Experience Advisor and ensures the team is supported both personally and professionally.

Nicole is originally from Cabo Verde. She moved to Boston, MA, in 2008. Nicole studied International Business at Newbury College, where she graduated Magma Cum Laude. Currently, she is a consultant in the sales area at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, where she works with businesses and brokers to ensure needs are being met. Nicole has 5 years of professional experience in training, development, supervision, customer service, strong problem-solving communication, and leadership skills. Outside of her career, Nicole is a mom of a baby boy, a feminist, and a great friend. She enjoys traveling and going on new adventures.

Melanie DeBarros

DIRECTOR OF MEMBERSHIP

Melanie currently serves as the Director of Membership for KPA, supporting the membership experience and collaborating with KPA leadership to promote membership benefits.

Melanie DeBarros is a first-generation Kriola, born and raised in Brockton, MA. She is a graduate of Bryant University, where she graduated with a degree in Business Administration with a management concentration and a second major in Politics & Law. Melanie started her career at Liberty Mutual after graduating college. She developed a passion for technology while working at Liberty Mutual with software development teams. She is currently a Manager of Software Engineering at Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Marynee Pontes

DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT

Marynee currently serves as the Director of Development with KPA, managing the business and community partnerships and providing KPA members resources. 

Marynee Pontes is a first-generation Kriola born and raised in Roxbury, MA. She received her B.A. from Tufts University in 2016 in International Relations, Economics, and Africana Studies. She works as the Deputy Director with the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), overseeing the Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) program, a leadership training program designed to help small businesses build capacity, access capital, and create jobs in their local communities. Outside of work, Marynee loves to travel, try new foods, and spend time with family and friends.

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