Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network
Northeast Regional Office

Staff Directory



The MSBDC Network's Northeast Regional Office is staffed by professionals with extensive business experience and excellent educational backgrounds. Click on a link below to go to a staff member's biography.

Nancy Gerardi  |  Awilda Irizarry  |  Walter Manninen  |  Kaitlin Muldoon  |  Rosa Taormina




Nancy Gerardi, Regional Director

Nancy joined the staff of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center’s Northeast Regional Office as regional director in June 2019.

Prior to working for the MSBDC, Nancy was the proud owner of Gerardi & Associates LLC. G&A, LLC was comprised of a highly-qualify network of individuals who process real estate transactions throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. In addition, G&A, LLC offered consulting services for over ten years in multiple facets of business operations and management with a concentration in organization leadership, project management, information processing; planning and allocation of resources. Giving clients ability to manage cross-functional teams and provide guidance that enhanced their performance in a manner that incorporates the organizations vision and culture. G&A, LLC was a strategic partner for business advising on financial and human resource matters with a focus on financial sustainability and the long-term success of their clients.

Nancy holds a BS from Salem State University and a J.D. from New England School of Law. Her interests are volunteering at her daughters’ school and the local food bank. 




Awilda Irizarry, Senior Business Advisor

Awilda has over seven years of experience in banking. Her areas of expertise include all phases of small business operations, including business planning, financing, and market research. Awilda is fluent in both English and Spanish, and is familiar with the Hispanic market from soup to nuts. As a business advisor, Awilda helps business owners build sales and marketing operations.   

With her unique combination of skills in strategic planning, marketing, sales, financing, business development and performance management, she has helped business owners launching successful businesses. 

Awilda holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Salem State University in geography and a Master’s degree from Lesley College in international relations.

La señora Irizarry tiene sobre siete años de experiencia en la banca. Sus áreas de conocimiento incluye todas las fases de operaciones de empresas incluyendo planeación, financiamiento, y análisis del mercado. Awilda domina la lengua inglesa y española y esta muy familiarizada con el mercado hispano de la a la z. Como consejera de negocios, Awilda ayuda a los empresarios a incrementar operaciones de ventas y mercadeo.   

Con su única combinación de destrezas en planeamiento estratégico, mercadeo, ventas, finanzas, desarrollo de negocios y gestión del rendimiento corporativo, ella ha ayudado a dueños de negocios arrancar negocios exitosos. 

Awilda es licenciada en Geografía por la Universidad de Salem y cuenta con un Máster de Relaciones Internacionales por la Universidad de Lesley.  



Walter Manninen, Senior Business Advisor and Financial Specialist

Walter joined the staff of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center's Northeast Regional Office in November 2005. 

A former entrepreneur, Walter served as president and chief executive officer of CXO Media Inc. which published Chief Information Officer, Chief Security Officer and Chief Marketing Officer magazines for senior managers bridging technology and businesses along with associated professional conferences. 

Walter also brings to the MSBDC ten years of experience in banking as a treasurer, controller, vice president and loan officer. His outstanding performance was noted in 2004, when he was nominated for an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and was later given the IDG Chairman’s Award for Entrepreneurial Leadership. 

In 2005, Walter partnered with the director of the Secret Service and the director of CERT Coordination Center to conduct a comprehensive research study on cyber security.

Walter holds a BS from Salem State College and an MBA from Suffolk University. His interest in art, demonstrated through his philanthropy, has resulted in an endowed chair and a building named in his honor at Endicott College, the Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts. Walter’s art collection has been highlighted in several feature articles both in U.S. News and World Report and CFO Magazine.




Kaitlin Muldoon, Client Services Coordinator

Kaitlin joined the staff of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center’s Northeast Regional Office as a client services coordinator in December 2019.

Prior to joining the MSBDC, Kaitlin was a member services counselor for AAA Northeast. Kaitlin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Salem State University with a minor in Sociology.

In her spare time, Kaitlin enjoys spending time with her Golden Retriever, Cooper, and designing and selling handmade jewelry.



Rosa Taormina, Business Advisor

Rosa joined Salem State University in July 2017 as an administrative assistant in the Bertolon School of Business and was promoted to the role of assistant director of Operations, Assessment and Accreditation less than a year later. In this role, she received the Commonwealth Citation for Outstanding Performance. After helping the school achieve initial AACSB accreditation in December 2020, Rosa accepted a new position with the MSBDC as a business advisor working on the CARES Act helping small business owners negatively impacted by COVID-19.

In addition to her role at the MSBDC, Rosa is also a resource for fellow union members, serving as the grievance officer for the Association of Professional Administrators, Salem Chapter.

Rosa lives with her husband, two daughters, and Boston Terrier Liz Lemon, in neighboring Beverly. She holds a BA from Providence College and a JD from Massachusetts School of Law. In her spare time, she runs her own small business [Little Lemon Boutique] where she specializes in making and selling handmade goods.