Board member profiles
Alison Christie, President
Alison joined the Alternatives' Board in 2001. She enjoys many training opportunities available to Board members. Alison brings Marketing and Cooperative experience to the Board. She worked at GreenStar Cooperative Market for twelve years, during which she became Marketing and Member Services Manager. Alison is drawn to participate as a board member at Alternatives to support our vital and worthy mission and also because she is captivated by the cooperative movement and its capacity to transform peoples' lives and offer a democratic economic alternative in our capitalist economy. Alison is honored to be a steward for such a precious community asset.
Kenny Christianson, Vice President
Kenny holds a Masters of Arts in Political Science and a Masters of Public Administration from Syracuse University. He is a lecturer of Economics at Binghamton University and Ithaca College and holds a position as Academic Consultant in the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Ithaca College. Kenny has been a member of Alternatives since 1992 and is committed, through his work on the Board, to meeting the needs of the underserved population in our area.
Jim Fravil, Treasurer
Jim has been a member of Alternatives for many years. He has been on the board since 1997. Jim leads a quiet, private life.
Kenneth McLaurin, Secretary
Kenneth graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta with a Liberal Arts Degree. He spent 12 years internationally leading community-based programs focused on servicing a wide range of needs for individuals, families, and communities. He has been a part of our Ithaca community since 2011 and recently served as the Interim Executive Director of Southside Community Center. Currently, Kenneth is working with Cornell Cooperative Extension as a Financial Management Educator.
Ariana is a certified business coach specializing in leadership coaching for women running small businesses. In 2015, in partnership with Rev: Ithaca Startup Works, she launched the Passenger to Pilot program which supports women growing their small businesses through mentorship, coaching, and workshops. She was the lead organizer for the annual Women Redefining Entrepreneurship conference held in Ithaca, NY.
Ariana’s eight years of coaching experience includes a range from the executive MBA students at Cornell University’s Samuel J. Curtis’ Management School on team dynamics, college staff looking to balance their work and home lives while reducing stress, and company executives needing to improve employee engagement. She has launched a series of year-long workshops teaching business skills in Oxford and Ithaca NY, while individually mentoring entrepreneurs throughout Tompkins County.
These days, Ariana is coaching women in business and leadership, addressing the challenge of retaining female employees in the technology industry, and delivering talks around Upstate NY. She serves on the Alternatives Federal Credit Union board. She is the mother of a sweet toddler who likes to start conversations at 3:00 in the morning. And she aspires to get back to writing on her Huffington Post blog.
Diane has been a member of the Ithaca community for more than 30 years. She worked in nonprofit management since 2001, and is the Executive Director of Finger Lakes ReUse, a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 with a triple bottom line mission to enhance community, economy, and environment through reuse. ReUse is a past recipient of Alternatives FCU’s Jeff Furman Award for Social Responsibility in Business and is deeply aligned with our mission of creating opportunities for underserved people and communities.
Diane currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Human Services Coalition of Tompkins County and is a member of the Environment Program Committee at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, the Get Your Green BackSteering Committee and the TST BOCES Technology Committee.
Gvozden grew up in Croatia and obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER) there. After the war, Gvozden moved to New York City, married, had two children, and started working in the banking industry. In 2009 he and his family decided to move to Ithaca after wanting a change of lifestyle and a more locally-orientated community. In Ithaca Gvozden has opened his own IT consulting company, XOrca.
Yvette is not a newcomer to the Alternatives FCU board. She served on the board from 2002-2011 – the last four as its President. In 2009 she was awarded the Volunteer of the Year by the Credit Union Association of the State of New York.
Yvette currently serves as the Coordinator for Volunteer Services at Tompkins County Public Library and continues to run her independent consulting business as an Organizational Development Consultant. She serves as secretary on the board of Foodnet/Meals on Wheels, represents the public library on the Diversity Consortium and as liaison to the County Office for the Aging. In the past she has served on numerous boards, including the Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca, and Grace House in New Orleans, LA and the Avila Foundation in Avila Beach, Ca. She has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity International and with Cornell Catholic Community in Guatemala, where her father was born, building homes in the western highlands near San Marcos, and constructing cooking stoves and clearing land for a coffee finca co-op in San Lucas Toliman.
Yvette's is committed to seeing that Alternatives FCU remains an organization dedicated solely to promoting economic justice through its programs and policies.
Leonardo is the Executive Director of the Cornell Public Service Center (CPSC), and a member of Cornell University’s Division of Student and Academic Services’ senior management team. Leonardo is Co-Principal Investigator for the Cornell Upward Bound Program and Co-Director of the Faculty Fellows-in-Service learning programs. He is Cornell University’s liaison to the New York Campus Compact Advisory Board and a member of the founding Board of this statewide higher education membership institution. He is also a Carl L. Becker House Faculty Fellow at Cornell University.
In addition to his Cornell responsibilities, Leonardo has served on the boards of many Tompkins County non-profit agencies and governmental committees, including the Board of Trustees of the Tompkins County Public Library; the Founding Board of the Latino Civic Association of Tompkins County Inc.; the Ithaca Alliance for Community Empowerment; the Advisory Board of the Suicide Prevention and Crisis Service of Tompkins County; the Tompkins County Workers Rights Center; the Board of the Tompkins County Human Services Coalition; the City of Ithaca’s Board of Public Works; and the Board of Planning and Development; the Board of the Tompkins County Human Rights Commission; and the Board of Planned Parenthood of Tompkins County. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Tompkins Community Action, and also a member of ATTAC International, Chile’s chapter.
Leonardo enjoys being a Board member for Alternatives on many levels, and he and his family have been Alternatives members for many years.