Katje Afonseca is the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island and the Big Sisters Fund, collectively known as BBBSRI. The two 501(c)3 non-profit organizations have one mission: To create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.
Katje joined BBBSRI in 2003 as a marketing intern finishing her Bachelor’s Degree at Johnson and Wales University. She later returned to eventually become Executive Director in 2016. Under her leadership BBBSRI has improved and increased their service delivery, grown their endowment, and streamlined their operations resulting in BBBSRI’s gross profit margin increasing from 3% in 2015 to 13% in 2020. The organization has been named “Best Places to Work” by Providence Business News in 2019, 2020 and 2021, and received the 2020 PBN Diversity and Inclusion award. Katje launched a partnership with Alex and Ani and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America that resulted in more than $350,000 being raised for Big Brother Big Sister organizations across the USA. Throughout her career, Katje has raised millions of dollars for non-profit organizations throughout Southern New England.
Katje has served on the Board of FabNewport and currently serves on the RISE Women’s Leadership Advisory Council. She was a Big Sister mentor for five years, is a graduate of Leadership SouthCoast and Leadership Rhode Island, and was named one of PBN’s Forty under 40 in 2016.
Known for her top Gallup Strength of Strategic, Katje led BBBSRI through its first formal 3-year strategic plan, which kicked off in January of 2020.
Having worked in youth mentoring for 17 years and serving as a Big Sister, Katje’s first-hand experience with the power and impact of youth mentoring has been the force behind her success in the field. Becoming a first-time mother and Executive in the same year led to a passion for creating a work environment where employees feel valued as individuals and don’t feel that their home and work lives have to compete, but rather that they can exist in tandem.
Katje lives in North Providence with her two young daughters, Lua and Stella, and husband, Donaldo.