Leadership and Staff
Claude Rwaganje, Founder & Executive Director
Claude Rwaganje is the Founder and Executive Director of ProsperityME. Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Claude learned through his own immigration experience that financial stability is essential to building a new life in the United States. It was his vision to create a non-profit organization where new Mainers can go for free financial education and support.
In addition to his leadership responsibilities at ProsperityME, Claude currently serves on the board of the Portland Chamber of Commerce and was appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Community Development Advisory Council in the Spring of 2017. Claude also serves as a member of the Financial Literacy Advisory Council (FAME) and the Avesta Housing Home Ownership Center Advisory Committee. Previously, he served a three-year term as a member of Portland’s Community Development Block Grant Committee. Claude has received numerous awards for his service to the community, including Bowdoin College’s Spirit of Service Award (2012), Bates College Harward Center’s Community Partner Award for Outstanding New Initiative (2013), Portland Press Herald’s “10 Mainers to be Thankful For” (2012) and the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce award for Public Sector Leadership (2017). Claude holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration and is a certified coach and housing counselor through NeighborWorks America.
Joanna Caouette, Program Director
Joanna and her mother moved to Maine from Burundi in 2015. She first worked for Greater Portland Health as an outreach provider, helping underserved and at-risk patients access vital health care and social services. In this role, she was able to apply the financial literacy skills she learned when she took ProsperityME’s Basic Money Management class. In fact, she was so inspired by the impact her newfound financial knowledge had on her life and the lives of those she served that she decided to join ProsperityME as an instructor. Since then, she has helped countless New Mainers gain their financial footing.
Prior to coming to Maine, Joanna held the position of Knowledge Management and Communication Officer for Global Health Corps at Care International in Burundi. She holds a B.A. in Communication Sciences from Lumiere University of Bujumbura, Burundi. Joanna, who speaks five languages, lives in New Gloucester with her husband, Matthew, and their daughter.
Byron Bartlett, Director of Administration
Byron Barlett, a Maine native who grew up in Poland, manages all day-to-day operations at ProsperityME including facilities, finance, human resources and information technology. Byron’s experience in the corporate world, which includes more than 20 years at large financial institutions, coupled with his most recent role as School Administrator at Wayfinder Schools, made him the ideal candidate for the job. In addition, he has experienced firsthand the positive contributions immigrants make in our state and is dedicated to keeping the ProsperityME organization running smoothly as we continue to grow and serve an ever-expanding client base. Byron attended Roanoke College, Fitchburg State College and the University of Southern Maine. He has served on the Board of Directors of The Maine State Chapter of the March of Dimes and the Portland Ballet, and has fundraised for countless nonprofit organizations throughout Maine. Byron lives in Portland with his husband, Chris, and their Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Stella Blue.
Clement Yombe, Program Consultant
Clement joined ProsperityME in 2012 and served as our Program Coordinator and Program director for eight years. Clement is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo and holds a law degree from the Protestant University of Congo. He continued his education after arriving in the United States earning an M.A in Community Development Policy and Practice from the University of New Hampshire. Prior to joining ProsperityME, Clement held training and managerial positions at Staples, International Paper and Windham Hotels. He serves on the board of HomeWorks, a Maine-based non-profit dedicated to consumer homebuyer education. When he is not helping New Mainers achieve financial stability, Clement enjoys a busy home life with his wife Nancy and three children.
Matteson Nadeau, Event and Marketing Manager
Matteson manages all of ProsperityME’s events and marketing programs. Her daily responsibilities include all outbound communications, our social media and website, and orchestrating our donor and community recognition campaigns and events. Matteson lives in Auburn with two cats and an adorable, three-legged dog appropriately named Bucky Barnes. A graduate of the University of Southern Maine, Matteson holds a B.A. in English Literature and a professional certificate in Grant Writing.
Rasha Al Shareefi, Administrative Assistant
Just a few short years ago, Rasha and her family emigrated from Jordan to Westbrook, Maine. As our Administrative Assistant, hers is often the first voice our ‘customers’ hear when they call to sign up for our classes. Her encouragement and friendly manner put them at ease while she efficiently provides them with the information and support they need. Prior to coming to the U.S., Rasha attended Balqa’ Applied University where she was pursuing a degree in Accounting Information Systems and Marketing. She also worked at the Intercultural Community Center as a math and science teacher. Since moving to Maine, she has become a strong advocate as well as a role model for immigrants seeking to become educated and self-reliant. Fluent in Arabic and English, Rasha is a new member of the Kiwanis Westbrook chapter and aspires to become a journalist.