Founder and Executive Director
Matt served 11 years in the Vermont House and Senate, enacting the state’s first broadband grants, brownfields revitalization funding, and downtown redevelopment program. He helped grow a VT-based software company to over 100 people and was Associate Director of the Rockefeller Center on Public Policy at Dartmouth College.
In 1999 Matt was appointed director of AmeriCorps*VISTA under President Clinton, where he led PowerUp, one of the first national efforts to bridge the digital divide, and launched an Entrepreneur Corps to focus on micro-finance in high-need communities.
In 2007, he started Google’s Community Affairs division out of a former bread factory in White River Jct, VT, where he led all local US philanthropy and engagement, including the Google Fiber rollout and orchestrating educational and development initiatives in Google’s data center communities across rural America.
Matt has a BA from Brown University, and also held an appointment at the MIT Media Lab. He is a lifelong Vermonter who lives on the 100 acre farm where he was raised.
Head of Rural Innovation Network
Mark Rembert is a regional economist and was the co-founder of Energize Clinton County (ECC).
Mark began his work in rural development in 2008 when his hometown of Wilmington, Ohio faced the loss of 10,000 jobs. In his role at ECC and later as the Executive Director of the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce, Mark developed and led innovative programs that increased the economic vitality of the community from the ground up by catalyzing entrepreneurship, investment in human capital, and community planning.
Mark earned his Ph.D. in Regional Economics from the Ohio State University’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, & Development Economics. His policy research has influenced state decision making on the opioid crisis, broadband expansion, and school choice. Mark has B.A. in Economics from Haverford College.
Before joining CORI, Mark was a management consultant at CFAR where he advised family enterprises, non-profits, and hospitals on issues of strategy, succession, governance, and team performance.
Rebecca graduated from Brown University in May 2020, and has experience in the private and not-for-profit sectors. At Brown, she wrote an economics honors thesis on the impacts of policy changes to the Georgia HOPE Scholarship, a state financed merit-aid program. In 2019, she interned at the management consulting firm Bain & Company in the Atlanta office; she will be returning to Bain in December. Rebecca became passionate about inclusive growth through her work at the YMCA of Metro Atlanta and the Center for Civic Innovation, a non-profit startup incubator for civic and social enterprises. She also worked as a policy intern on an Atlanta mayoral campaign in 2017.
An Atlanta native, Rebecca graduated from The Galloway School. Rebecca holds a BA from Brown University in Economics and Public Policy.
Research and Communications Analyst
Aidan’s experience has focused on political writing and organizing. He has edited books, articles, and essays about the Constitution and the presidency. He has also been an organizer for political campaigns at the local, state, and national level, and while in college he founded a local political advocacy group.
Aidan grew up in Rochester, NY, and Shelburne, VT, and graduated from Brown University with an A.B. in Political Theory.
Chen Chen has years of experience working on data and has led multiple projects to fight against the emerging climate and air pollution issues globally. His expertise includes data management, data analysis and data visualization. He also has extensive experience working with the geospatial data and also the web map development.
Prior to joining the CORI, he worked at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), an environmental think tank in Washington, DC, focusing on estimating the ship emission and its related impacts to both climate and human health.
Chen Chen hold a B.S. degree with honor in Marine Science and Chemistry from University of Miami, and a M.S. in Environmental Science from Emory University.
Rebekah Collinsworth is a strategic communicator and storyteller committed to broadening the dialog about rural America.
Rebekah grew up in rural New Hampshire before attending the University of New Hampshire, where she studied journalism and linguistics on her way to receiving a bachelors degree in English. Upon graduation, Rebekah entered the publishing world and helped people across the country preserve and share their histories. From mushroom farming to world fairs, Rebekah worked with authors and historians to champion unique experiences and heritage found in every community.
After relocating to Charleston, South Carolina, Rebekah focused on strategic communications, marketing, and public relations. She served nonprofit organizations and startups committed to improving the lives of Lowcountry residents and business owners. A local advocate and community builder, Rebekah worked passionately to expand her clients’ impact and highlight the valuable work being done in coastal South Carolina.
Before joining CORI, Rebekah was the managing director of a strategic growth marketing firm that serves underrepresented founders and rural innovators.
In addition to working on various local and statewide campaigns, Nora spent three years working as a junior planner at an environmental planning and consulting firm in the Pacific Northwest. Prior to her time there, she worked in the communications department at a political action committee in Washington, DC, and served one year as a City Year Boston Corps Member.
Nora grew up in Hartland, VT and holds a BA from Lewis & Clark College.
Director of Capacity Building
Rebecca comes to CORI from a successful career as a a strategy and development consultant for institutions, researchers, and communities across the country. She has a deep background in program design and grantseeking, including many years of experience teaching grantseekers how to approach and manage the funding process—from idea to impact. Before she was a consultant, Rebecca was a nonprofit manager, working on the ground with rural community development organizations.
Rebecca holds a BA from Brown University. She grew up on a small farm in southern West Virginia, and she now lives in a small village in southern Vermont.
Veronique Husser has years of experience in financial management and reporting with organizations from small start-ups to multi-national corporations. Prior to joining the CORI team, she spent almost two decades as a translation consultant and corporate accountant. She is fluent in French and German, and through all of her work, she strives to empower all team members to become positive contributors to the organizational mission.
Veronique is an avid equestrian, and lives on her beloved Springfield, VT farm with her husband, daughter, and many animals. She holds a university degree in Economics from Université Louis Pasteur in her native France.
Broadband Deployment and Future of Work Program Manager
Alex’s career has been split between professional services in Silicon Valley and rural organizing and political strategy. He served as a Project Manager and then Creative Manager at the global branding firm Catchword, based in Oakland, CA, where he worked with Fortune 500 companies in the food and beverage, e-commerce, and automotive sectors, among others. He also led research efforts around market and branding trends, as well as the impact of the introduction of thousands of new gTLDs that started in 2013.
Alex has also served as Senior Staff in various capacities on four political campaigns in New England and upstate New York. At RISI, he has focused his research on rural workforce automation, business acceleration and incubation, and rural entrepreneurship.
Alex holds a BA from Wesleyan University.
Director, Strategic Partnerships
Ann has led multiple efforts to design, implement, and scale new programs at the national level. As an executive at the U.S. Department of Labor, Ann piloted new approaches to promote labor law compliance, including expanding the use of data to drive strategic and operational decision-making. Ann has established communities of practice and helped distributed teams to develop and implement new ideas and drive continuous learning. She has broad experience managing partnerships, communications, and intergovernmental relations.
Ann began her career at the U.S. Department of Labor working with rural community leaders from around the country on workforce development issues. As an attorney at Hogan Lovells, she advised clients on managing their federal research grants and contracts.
Ann grew up in Elkins, West Virginia. She is a Truman Scholar and has a B.A. in cultural anthropology from Wellesley College and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.
Dolley has years of experience working with web based technologies and social impact organizations.
Dolley worked on various projects with Singularity University, an organization dedicated to anticipating how AI and machine learning will shape our lives.
Previously, she provided software consulting support and customer service management for social impact oriented organizations.
Dolley earned her BA from the University of New Hampshire. She also has been a licensed EMT for 9+ years operating in both Connecticut and New Hampshire.
Geospatial Products Manager
Chris has worked as a product owner, project manager, and digital strategist for over ten years with a focus on building web-based tools. In that time he has worked with a wide range of organizations from small non-profits to fortune 50 companies on distributed teams spanning six continents. Collecting, analyzing and using data has been a part of his process from the beginning, including GIS mapping, IoT data logging, server monitoring, and web analytics. Chris is a certified Scrum Product Owner with experience managing agile teams, process improvement, and continuous integration.
Chris has a BA from Hampshire College and a M.Ed. Educational Technology from University of Texas at Brownsville with a year at University of Bergen (UiB) in System Dynamic.
Community Development Manager
Logan is on secondment to CORI from McKinsey & Company. At McKinsey Logan advised clients on a range of topcs, especially public finance and the impact of digital disruptions in manufacturing, infrastructure, and the extractive industries.
Logan grew up in Butte, Montana and has a B.S. from the Colorado School of Mines in Mechanical Engineering
Manager, Rural Innovation Initiative
Leah’s career has been dedicated to community development through a variety of economic and social change projects with communities across the United States and Canada. Leah fosters community engagement for positive change through partnership building, facilitating consensus amongst disparate groups, leading strategic planning efforts, and managing academic research initiatives designed to inform impactful projects.
As Senior Associate for the social enterprise, I DO BUSINESS. Inc., Leah managed the development and implementation of Indigenous youth entrepreneurship programs with First Nations across Canada, as well as supporting Indigenous and far north businesses in bidding on government and corporate procurement opportunities. Her most recent role, based in Augusta, Georgia with the U.S. non-profit, America’s Warrior Partnership, was managing a nationwide, community-based veteran suicide study in collaboration with 14 communities across the United States.
Leah grew up on a small farm in rural Canada, and immigrated to the United States in 2010. She has a B.A. in International Development Studies from York University and a Masters Degree in Globalization Studies from McMaster University, focused on exploring economic shifts in North American rural areas.
Director, Technology and Data Analytics
Alex is a data scientist whose career has focused on renewable energy and entrepreneurship.
Alex was born and raised in rural Vermont. After college he served as a quantitative analyst for The Brattle Group in Washington, DC, contributing to the creation of software and economic analyses to inform integral energy decisions across the country. In 2011, Alex attended Yale’s School of Management and School of Forestry & Environmental Studies joint degree program before co-founding a technology start-up creating low energy environmental sensors. Most recently, he consulted as a Senior Analyst for a variety of energy and environmental clients.
Alex has a BA from Connecticut College and spent two years at the Yale School of Management and School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
The CORI Innovation Fund is a program run by the Center on Rural Innovation and is not run or operated by Rural Innovation Strategies, Inc (RISI).
Managing Partner, CORI's Innovation Fund
From Wall Street to Main Street, Jay brings a wealth of experience to his role as Managing Partner of CORI's Innovation Fund, which provides investment capital to growth businesses located in opportunity zones in small communities. Jay began his career advising on mergers and acquisitions at Gleacher & Co. and Allen & Company. Subsequently, Jay spent a decade at NBCUniveral, which culminated in his running strategy and development for the Entertainment and Digital Networks division. After NBCU, Jay joined Emigrant Bank where he served as Executive Advisor to the Chairman and led investments in several small growth businesses. During that time, Jay was chairman of the board of GolfLogix, one of the largest apps in the golf segment.
Jay was one of the founding board members and still serves as Treasurer of Venture for America, a non-profit organization helping revitalize American cities through entrepreneurship. Jay actively mentors several VFA entrepreneurs building startup businesses in American communities.
Jay has a BA from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs as well as certificate degrees in East Asian Studies and Japanese Language. Jay attended high school at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. Living about 10 miles from the small town where he was born, Jay resides in Connecticut with his wife and two daughters.