Executive Management

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Bill Rybczyk

President & Chief Executive Officer

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(203) 575-4202

Bill Rybcyzk is originally from Bristol, CT.  His family later relocated to Torrington, where they still reside today.   Bill graduated from Torrington High School, and went on to complete his Bachelor’s Degree in Communication at Eastern Connecticut State University.  After graduating from ECSU, Bill began his involvement with non-profit service work by completing a 10-month term in the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corp (NCCC).  Based out of its Denver campus, Bill participated in projects that included tutoring at-risk middle school students, developing a mentoring project at an alternative High School in southern Colorado, and rebuilding a state park impacted by a forest fire in the Black Hills of South Dakota.


In 1998, Bill commenced his career at New Opportunities, Inc., as the Assistant Director for a State AmeriCorps project which included recruiting 20 Corps members to work with students at the Ancestors Community Charter High School (ACCHS) which was the first of its kind in the City of Waterbury.  He worked at ACCHS for three years with students on tutoring, community service, and school to career learning activities until the school’s closing in June of 2001.  He then moved on to begin work in the agency’s Planning Department, where he gathered and analyzed data for grant submissions while also providing direct oversight to the agency’s Youth Employment Program and Individual Development Account (IDA) Program.  Bill also established the agency’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Site which has been in operation for 15 years.  He was promoted to the positions of Senior Planner, then Director of Planning, and the Division Director of Research, Development and Planning.  In this capacity, Bill was responsible for the oversight of grants/contract development as well as the budget development process.  He also provided supervisory oversight to the agency’s Meriden and Torrington programming.  Bill is a Nationally Certified Results Oriented Management and Accountability (ROMA) trainer which provides a performance and evaluation platform for community action agency activities.  Bill currently serves as the Treasurer on the Board of Directors for the Waterbury Development Corporation, while also serving on the Board of the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board, and the Waterbury School Readiness Council.  


Bill began his appointment as President/CEO of New Opportunities, Inc. on April 1st, 2021.  Bill has also served as the past Secretary for the Board of Directors for Cornerstone Church in Oxford and resides in Seymour, where he lives with his wife Cynthia of 21 years.

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Toni Hirst

Chief Administrative Officer

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Toni Hirst is the Chief Administrative Officer at New Opportunities. Her background includes over thirty years of experience of serving the community, and over two decades of senior leadership experience.

Toni began her career at New Opportunities working as the Director of Weatherization programs and quickly progressed into a role as a Director of the Research, Development and Planning division. Today, she is Chief Administrative Officer and has full operational accountability for the agency.In 2014, Toni was appointed to the Finance Audit Review Commission for the City of Waterbury where she is currently serving as a member. 

Within the community, Toni is involved with Post University's Human Services Advisory Committee, the Northeast Institute for Quality Community Action and the Bobby Bonds Memorial Scholarship Committee. She has also served as past Chairman for the Northeast Institute for Quality Community Action.

Toni has also been a speaker and presenter at national events on issues related to community action. She was a Co-Facilitator at the 2009 and 2010 national Community Action Partnership conference, served as a panel member at the 2007 National Symposium on Poverty and Economic Security, and has presented various workshops for the Tri-State and Connecticut Community Action Network Conferences on Integrated Service Delivery Models and Leading Transitional Leadership and Organizational Change Initiatives.

Toni holds a Master of Science degree in Urban Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences from Doane College. She has also earned the designation of as Family Development for Leaders Certificate from the Children's Trust Fund & University of Connecticut School of Development and Family Studies, has been designated as a Peer Reviewer by NIQCA (Northeast Institute for Quality Community Action), and received a Human Services certificate from the Hartford Seminary.

Toni has been honored with a Leadership Award from the Rivera Memorial Foundation in 2009 and the B. Bernard Gillam Award for Altruism from the Bobby Bonds Memorial Scholarship Classic in 2008.

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(203) 575-4211

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Mark E. Kovitch

Chief Financial Officer

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(203) 575-4293

Mark is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in Connecticut and Massachusetts. His background includes over twenty-five years of experience providing accounting, auditing, consulting, technology implementation, and governmental interaction services for not-for-profits, housing projects, higher education and governmental entities.

At New Opportunities, Mark is responsible for managing all financial and accounting operations, including internal and external financial reporting, financial and administrative controls. Providing senior management with strategic guidance and presenting financial status and projection reports to the Board of Directors. The management of fiscal operations includes New Opportunities, Inc, its affiliate entities, and fiscal sponsorship of another non-for-profit.

Prior to joining New Opportunities in 2019, Mark was CFO of Geer Corporation, a non-for-profit, which provides a continuum of care for seniors. As CFO, Mark was responsible for providing direction and guidance to maintain the financial systems, audit activities, strategic objectives, information technology, human resources, financial policies, and control systems.

Prior to that, Mark was the CFO of Key Human Services, Inc. a non-for-profit, supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities. His responsibilities included financial management, technology implementation, monitoring internal accounting controls and compliance with financial, State, and Federal regulations.

Mark started his career in the public accounting firm environment for eight years specializing in providing accounting, auditing and consulting services to not-for-profit, higher education, and governmental entities.

Mark is a member of the American Institute of CPA’s, National Society of Accountants and Connecticut Society of CPA’s. Mark is an active member of Connecticut Society of CPA’s Not-for-profit Committee. Mark is a board member of Greater Hartford Legal Aid.

Mark was a member of the Connecticut Nonprofit Human Service Cabinet which was instrumental in developing of the Connecticut Cost Standards and Single Audit regulations implemented by the State of Connecticut Office of Policy and Management. Mark graduated from Lyndon State College with a B.S. in Accounting and A.S. in Computer Science.

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Joanne Balaschak

Director of Energy Services

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Joanne Balaschak is the Director of Energy programs at New Opportunities. Her background includes over thirty years of experience working in the energy services field.

At New Opportunities, Joanne is responsible for overseeing the agency's largest operating division which includes energy and weatherization services for a region that includes over sixty-five municipalities. Joanne also serves on the Board of Directors of Operation Fuel, the Low Income Energy Board and is a Weatherization Policy Advisory Committee Member. She is also an on-staff advisor for CAFCA, the Connecticut Association for Community Action, regarding energy related issues.

Prior to joining New Opportunities in 1988, Joanne worked for the State of Connecticut monitoring energy programs for nearly a decade.

Joanne holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work from Southern Connecticut State University. She has also earned the designation of as Family Development for Leaders Certificate from the Children's Trust Fund & University of Connecticut School of Development and Family Studies.

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(203) 575-4233

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James Perry, Ph.D

Director of Family Empowerment Services

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(203) 575-4289

Dr. Perry is an alumni of the Harvard Program of Refugee Trauma, (HPRT) at the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) with support of Istituto Superiore di Sanita (ISS-Italian Ministry of Health) in Global Mental Health: Trauma and Recovery 2008. Since his participation in HPRT, he became a member of a global partnership, working with the CoMission Against Diseases of Poverty which has implementing several international economic, medical, agricultural and mental health initiatives.

Dr. Perry met with leaders from Rwanda, planning the development of a faith-based approach of addressing trauma and economic development for the survivor of the genocide. He was the Care Coordinator for TraumAid in Australia, an international non-profit organization that seeks to empower traumatized communities globally.

Dr. Perry's paper was accepted for presentation on "Foster Parent Attunement" by the International Foster Care Organization at the World Conference 2013 in Osaka, Japan. In 2019 Dr. Perry’s paper was accepted by Harvard University’s Alumni Global Mental Health Masterclass in Italy: “The Art and Science of Trauma-Informed Clinical Care and Reflective Practice”.

Dr. Perry is a long–time member of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. Dr. Perry has served as the Clinical Director of Community-Based Services for Youth and Family Services, Inc. in Emporia, Virginia. Dr. Perry is currently the Division Director of Family Empowerment Services and past Director of Family Development Services at New Opportunities, Inc. Waterbury, CT.

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Patricia Donovan

Director of Human Resources

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Patricia Donovan was the Deputy Secretary of Administration (DSA) for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) for the State of Maryland with direct oversight of Finance, Procurement, Fleet Management, Information Technology and Human Resources. Prior to her appointment as DSA she held the position of Executive Director of Human Resources since joining DPSCS in January of 2013.

Patricia Donovan was the Chief Operations Officer of Community Renewal Team, Inc., Connecticut’s largest nonprofit agency. She had the responsibility of overseeing both the administrative departments of quality assurance, human resources and training, and program divisions including community services, housing services, and youth and training services. She previously served as CRT’s Director of Human Resources.

A decorated member of the U.S. military, Donovan served 23 years in the United States Army, retiring in 2001 at the rank of Major. She served in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm as a Military Police Officer, and rounded out her distinguished career as an Inspector General. Among her many honors she has been awarded the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal and multiple Army Commendation Medals for her service to our county.

In 2003, she again served our country as Director of Logistics and In-Country Human Resources for a civilian company working in Taji, Iraq, specializing in neutralizing ground explosives and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Donovan has more than 20 years of experience in human resources, including stints as Vice President of Talent Management for Berkshire Heath Systems, Senior Vice President of Human Resources for WebMD and Director of Human Resources for the St. Petersburg Kennel Club.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a minor in management from North Adams State College and is certified in strategic human resources management. She is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management and a Lifetime Member, Reserve Officers Association, Washington, D.C.

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(203) 575-4343

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Gawdys Grullon, MPA

Director of Vocational, Education & Training

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(203) 575-4285

Gawdys Grullon is the Director of Vocational, Education & Training at New Opportunities, Inc. As of 2012, Gawdys has served a vast range of populations in the community, such as the unemployed, underemployed, economically disadvantaged, Latinx, people living with HIV/AIDS and individuals with mental, physical, developmental and learning disabilities.

At New Opportunities, Gawdys began her career as a Family Development Specialist and AHAP Housing Case Manager. Simultaneously, she provided case management services under the Society of Support (SOS). Gawdys advanced into a role as an Employment Manager, ultimately positioning her to oversee the Vocational, Education & Training programs.

In 2013, as a member of NOI’s Relationship Strategy team, Gawdys presented the team’s missions and goals in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In 2021, Gawdys was appointed to Wheeler Board of Trustees, where she is currently serving as a Board Member.

Gawdys holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Management, with a concentration in Health Care Management from Kaplan University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Post University, John P. Burke School of Public Service.                

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Brian Bonds, M.Ed.

Director of Regional Programs, Greater Meriden region

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Brian Bonds is the director of Regional programs for New Opportunities Meriden CT area, including the David J. Dudley New Beginnings Emergency Shelter and Hospitality Center and New Opportunities of Greater Meriden (NOGM).

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(203) 639-5060 ext 417

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