John Tousignant – Executive Director
John P. Tousignant has served as executive director of the Franco-American Centre since January 2013. An experienced business executive with successes in operations management, volunteer coordination and international trade, he has applied his bilingual (English/French) skills in for-profit, nonprofit and educational environments.
A life-long New Hampshire resident and product of Québécois and Acadian ancestry, John has been passionate about the promotion of Franco-American heritage since his youth. He started his professional career as a French and theater teacher at the secondary and post-secondary levels. Moving into international business, he served as senior vice president of ACA Assurance, an international fraternal benefit society promoting French language and culture. In that capacity, he was responsible for overseeing the social, cultural and educational activities of 46 local volunteer-led chapters located throughout the eastern United States, Canada and Louisiana.
John also serves as principal of Partnership Frontiers LLC, a management consulting firm that offers relationship development assistance through targeted marketing strategies, training programs and event planning support. Specializing in trade and cultural relations between the U.S. and Canada, he was Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s market representative in New Hampshire for several years. John assists diverse public and private entities from Québec and the Atlantic Provinces as they develop their U.S. market awareness and presence. He provides training and speaking programs throughout North America and the Caribbean.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES, 2015-2016
Thomas Colantuono, Esq., President
Attorney Thomas Colantuono joined Bianco Professional Association after having served as the United States Attorney for the District of New Hampshire from December 2001 to March 2009. Tom served as an Assistant Attorney General in the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office from March 1978 to August 1981. He then owned and operated his own law office in Derry from 1981 to 2001. Tom has been a member of the New Hampshire Bar Association since 1976, and has served on the Ethics Committee and the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee of the Bar Association.
In 1990, Tom was elected to the New Hampshire Senate from District 14, where he served until 1996 when he left the Senate to run for Congress. In 1998, he was elected to the Executive Council from District 4, representing the greater Manchester area.
Tom graduated cum laude and with distinction in history from Duke University in Durham, N.C. He earned his Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School. He has taught legal subjects as an adjunct professor at Rivier College, New Hampshire College (now Southern New Hampshire University), and the Nashua Regional Vocational Technical College.
Maurice Demers, LTC, USAR, (Ret.), Vice-President
Maurice is a retired social worker and U.S. Army officer. He received a bilingual French-Canadian education from St. Anthony Grammar School and High School on Manchester’s east side. He holds a Bachelor of Art degree in sociology from Saint Anselm College in Manchester and a Master of Social Work degree in community organization and social planning from Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. Maurice is an honors graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. He holds a certificate in photography from the New Hampshire Institute of Art.
Maurice had a long and distinguished career of more than 40 years in human services in the public, private nonprofit and private corporate sectors. He has also worked as a private consultant to the federal government and to local attorneys.
Over the years, Maurice has served his community in many capacities including with the Jaycees, as past club president and district lt. governor of Optimist International, and as a co-president of the board of Manchester Emergency Housing. He has also served as a budget committee member for the town of Goffstown, N.H.
Maurice is a member of the American Canadian Genealogical Society. He joined the Franco-American Centre about six years ago, and has served as program committee chairman. He currently chairs the FAC’s annual wine pairing dinner, which he started five years ago. Maurice has been an FAC board member since 2011, and served as board president from 2013 to 2014. As president he oversaw the successful sale of FAC’s former headquarters building in downtown Manchester.
Joanne Craighead, Esq., Secretary
A native of New Hampshire, Joanne received her bachelors degree from Notre Dame College in 1983 and her juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law (formerly known as Franklin Pierce Law Center) in 1986. In 1992 she and her husband, Rodkey, opened the law firm Craighead and Martin in Manchester, N.H. Joanne’s public service work includes past membership on the pamphlets subcommittee and the law week subcommittee of the New Hampshire Bar Association and The United States Commission on Civil Rights. She has been an incorporator of the Franco-American Centre at Saint Anselm College for the last five years, and volunteers for numerous PTO events at her sons’ elementary and middle schools. Both of Joanne’s parents are of French Canadian ancestry.
Marianne Molleur, Treasurer
Marianne Molleur retired as ProPhotonix Limited’s Vice President of Human Resources. Prior to the Company’s name change she served as Stocker Yale’s Chief Financial Officer.
Previously Ms. Molleur served as Vice President of finance and information technology at Brickmill Marketing Services and served in executive roles at publicly traded companies, including tenures as director of financial reporting at Ekco Group, Inc., and controller and director of investor relations at Storage Computer Corporation. She came to New Hampshire in 1986, working as a Certified Public Accountant with Mason and Rich mainly as an auditor for non-profits and municipalities.
After taking French classes with us for several years, Marianne began volunteering with the Franco-American Center in 2015.
Ed Moquin, Esq., Immediate Past President
Edward Moquin grew up in the Pinardville area of Goffstown, N.H., where he was exposed to the French language and customs. Although his parents had no education beyond grammar school, Edward and his brother, Richard, received B.A. degrees from Saint Anselm College in Manchester while working for their tuition. They both later graduated from law school.
Edward and Richard now practice law at Moquin & Daley, P.A. in Manchester on the French West Side. With this background, French culture and language have always been a part of their lives and a source of enrichment.
Born and raised in Manchester, NH to Franco-American parents. Pauline attended St. Anthony grade school and graduated St. Anthony High School.
She worked in insurance agencies for 39 years as a customer service representative, holding property & casualty and life insurance agent/broker licenses. I earned a CPIW (Certified Professional Insurance Woman) designation from the National Association of Insurance Woman after taking insurance courses and passing national exams. Member of the NHIWL (New Hampshire Insurance Women’s League) for 37 years, serving on the board for 35 years on various committees, President from 1979-1981, Vice- Pres. 1977-1979 and Secretary.
Pauline also volunteered in her parish, St. Antony of Padua for many years. She started assisting the sacristan in 7th grade. For 30+ years she spent most Sunday mornings counting the weekly collection. Served on the Worship committee for 20 years and was the chairperson for 12 years and decorating the church for Christmas, Easter and other Holy Days and festivities. Served on many committees including the 75th & 100th year anniversary celebrations, parish council for 20 years chairing the council for 2 years. Member of the Folk Group for 22 years and occasionally joining the other parish choirs and a member of the combined parish choir. Member of the Ladies of St. Anne serving as a committee chairman and a committee chair for our Christmas Fair.
Pauline is also a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem since 2009.
Pauline became involved in the Franco-American Centre several years ago and has been an active member and volunteer. She has served on various committee such as: the Auction committee, Golf committee, Fete St.Jean/Franco-American of the Year celebration in 2014, 2013 & 2011. She has served as co-chair with her husband Ray for the 2015 celebration. Voted to the Board of Incorporators and Board of Trustees in 2012 and has served as Chairman of the Board for 2012-13 and Secretary for 2013-14.
Now that she’s “retired” she enjoys being active with the Centre but most of all spending time with her husband whether it be at home, at the lake or at their Florida home in the winter. They enjoy traveling but best of all spending time with family and friends.
A native of Quebec, Céline Desrosiers has lived in New Hampshire since 1992. She is the producer and host of “People, Places and Things with Céline,” which can be seen on her website ManyRoses.com. Named one of the 20 Most Outstanding Women in New Hampshire in 2013 by WZID-FM, she is a professional photographer and a graduate of the New Hampshire Institute of Art. Céline runs the “Prêt a Parler” French conversation program at the Franco-American Centre at Saint Anselm College in Manchester. She has three children, Viviane, born in 1994, Yanick, born in 1995, and Vincent, born in 1997. When she isn’t helping at the Franco-American Centre, Céline enjoys volunteering at local hospitals and at the Bedford schools. Proud and grateful for her French heritage, Céline works at the Euro Skin and Body Spa at The Executive Health Club in Manchester.
Michelle St. Denis
A native of Manchester’s West side, Michelle was immersed in the language and culture of her Québécois grandparents and extended family as a child. She was fortunate enough to spend many summers in Quebec with her great aunt and uncle, eating the best ice cream from the Coaticook dairy farms, picking wild strawberries and enjoying childhood friendships in a second language.
She continued her interest in language by acquiring a Bachelor of International Studies from the School for International Training in the former World Issues Program in Brattleboro, Vt. Michelle was able to experience internships in New York City for the International Center of Photography as well as L’AFI (Agence Femme Information) in Paris, France.
In 1988 Michelle became a licensed esthetican and founded and opened “Organic Skin Care” where she served her clientele for over 20 years. She enjoys being a master gardener volunteer and pursuing all things Francophile.
Josée Vachon has been involved with Franco-American culture for more than 30 years. Born in Quebec and raised in Maine, she discovered other Franco-Americans while a student at the University of Maine in Orono.
During that time, she was managing editor of the Le Farog Forum (now Le Forum), began singing at local festivals and concerts, and was on the board of ActFANE (Action for F.A. of New England). She continued singing after graduation, and has performed hundreds of shows for all ages ever since.
Her warm vocals and increasing popularity led to an 11-year run (1987 to 1998) as host of Bonjour! produced in Manchester, N.H., by ACA & MediaOne Cable. It became the most widely seen French language cable TV show produced in the U.S., airing in markets from Eastern Canada and New England, down to Louisiana.
Vachon has 12 solo albums, and two with the folk group Chanterelle. She has performed internationally in Martinique, Germany, France and Canada, and has appeared on Paris television’s Le Grand Echiquier and Espace Francophone, as well as on shows on TV Ontario and Radio-Canada.
Awards include the 1999 National Culture Through the Arts Award from NYSAFLT for her work in schools and induction in the AFGS French-Canadian Hall of Fame Class of 2007. She was chosen for NEA´s American Traditions Training and Touring Project, and has proudly been given the key to the city of Woonsocket, R.I. She made Yankee Magazine’s Top 40 Music picks (July 2001), and has an original song on Smithsonian Folkways’ CD, Mademoiselle Voulez-Vous Danser: Franco-American Music from the New England Borderlands, a Top Ten Folk Music pick from NPR in 1999. Josée recently had one of her songs used for a Christmas commercial in South Korea.
Tim currently serves as program committee chairman and works to build the Centre’s social media presence.
As a child, Tim’s parents and grandparents taught him to “educate” people on how to pronounce their last name correctly. That one small connection to the family’s history started a curiosity and affinity for Franco-American heritage and culture that is still with Tim today.
Professionally, Tim has over ten years’ experience in the financial services industry. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire (Go Wildcats!) and went on to receive his M.B.A. from Plymouth State University. While at Plymouth he studied at the University’s renowned Small Business Institute (SBI). Tim’s SBI team won 1st place at the National Small Business Institute® Project of the Year Competition. Tim is also a member of Delta Mu Delta, international business honor society, and Tau Kappa Epsilon International Fraternity.