PROVIDENCE, RIONE Neighborhood Builders (ONE|NB), one of the state’s leading nonprofit affordable housing developers and community development corporations, announced the appointment of four new members to the organization’s board of directors. Sam Azar, Christopher Koller, Joelle Rocha, and Claribel Shavers will join a seasoned slate of directors leading the organization.

“We are thrilled to welcome these four outstanding individuals to the ONE|NB board of directors. Their diverse expertise and commitment to our mission will undoubtedly strengthen our efforts to improve lives across Rhode Island by building homes and connecting communities,” said Lorraine Lalli, Chair of the Board, ONE|NB. “Each new director brings a unique set of skills and experiences that will help us meet the urgent need for housing in our state.” 

Sam Azar is the Founder and CEO of Ascend Impact Advisors, a consulting firm advancing social impact through strategy, data, and artificial intelligence. Previously, Azar served as a Senior Director of US Research and Measurement of Habitat for Humanity International, Director of Global Strategy at United Way Worldwide, and Director of National Impact at Compass Working Capital. Azar also served as a manager in Deloitte Consulting’s Strategy and Operations Practice where he advised federal government agencies, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Christopher Koller currently serves as President of the Milbank Memorial Fund and Publisher of the Milbank Quarterly. The Fund is a more than 115-year-old operating foundation that improves population health and health equity by connecting leaders with evidence and sound experience. Before joining the Fund in 2013, he served the State of Rhode Island for eight years as the country’s first state health insurance commissioner. Prior to that, he was CEO of Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island for eight years. Koller is a professor of practice in the School of Public Health at Brown University and was elected to the National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine in 2023. 

Joelle Rocha brings nearly two decades of experience as an attorney in Southern New England. She is a Partner with Duffy & Sweeney, LTD focusing on real estate development, environmental law, business litigation, land use litigation, employment law, commercial law, and general civil litigation as well as serving as a legal and policy advisory for the House Policy Office of the Rhode Island General Assembly. Rocha has held legal counsel roles with Edwards, Angell, Palmer & Dodge, LLC; the City of New Bedford; Anthony DeSisto & Associates; and Kelly, Souza, Rocha & Parmenter, P.C. She is a member of the Rhode Island Builders Association, Professional Women in Building (National Association of Home Builders), Rhode Island Women’s Bar Association, and the Real Estate Advisory Board (Roger Williams University). 

Claribel Shavers serves as the SVP of Asset Management for Opportunity Communities. She has 25 years of dedicated service in the affordable housing industry with specific expertise in asset management, specializing in administering a multitude of HUD and other subsidy programs. Prior to joining Opportunity Communities, she served as Principal Associate and Manager of the Capacity Building and Learning Team at Abt Associates, providing technical assistance to housing finance agencies and public housing authorities across the country. Prior to Abt, Shavers was Director of Leased Housing and Rental Services at RIHousing and Chief of Asset Management for HUD’s Boston Office.

“Sam, Chris, Joelle, and Claribel collectively bring decades of experience in the nonprofit, housing, and public health space to our highly skilled and experienced board of directors,” said Jennifer Hawkins, President and CEO, ONE|NB. “We have a long history of disrupting the status quo and creating lasting change in our community; their desire to join the board is a reflection of their trust in and commitment to our work and I am thankful to have their expertise as we continue to create change and work towards a more equitable Rhode Island.” 

View the full ONE|NB board of directors membership at


ONE Neighborhood Builders (ONE|NB) is a nonprofit community development leader that improves lives across Rhode Island by building homes and connecting communities. They use their 35 years of practical experience in the housing and community development fields to test new ideas and challenge entrenched systems. ONE|NB is the convening entity of Central Providence Opportunities: A Health Equity Zone (CPO-HEZ), a place-based collective impact initiative of more than 60 stakeholders across the nine neighborhoods of Central Providence. CPO-HEZ advances the shared vision for greater health and economic equity in the 02908 and 02909 zip codes.