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Keyvious Avery

Founder/Organization Lead + Systemic Shift Facilitator

Keyvious, a "Community-First Economist," initially came to the Hudson Valley for school and found a deep connection with economics, social transformation, and the Kingston, NY community. Armed with a Masters in Economic Theory and Policy from the Levy Institute of Economics and a Bachelors in Economics from Bard College, he now serves as Council President of the Kingston Food Co-op. Keyvious is the driving force behind THRIVE ON! Network, a non-traditional economic development and systemic change organization based in Kingston, NY. His focus lies in empowering communities by implementing innovative tools like complementary currencies and community-governance structures. Additionally, Keyvious has been an educator at Yale University's summer transitional programs, teaching Startup Entrepreneurship, Business Negotiation, and Business Management, and he founded the first local-currency based market in the neighborhood of Ponckhockie, Kingston, NY.

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Candace Garnes

Deputy Organization Lead + Early Thriver Facilitator

Candace has accumulated 8 years of experience in nonprofit management, serving as a Program Coordinator or Manager, including her most recent role at Brown University. Her responsibilities have encompassed system creation, project management, logistics oversight, event planning, and supervising up to 115 staff members. Prior to this, she excelled as the Assistant Director of Sales Services at a major regional theater in Washington, DC, driving her team to achieve sales and donation goals while providing exceptional customer service. Education has always been a central focus in her career, as evidenced by her roles as a teaching artist, mentor, tutor, and theater teacher for youth. Now, as THRIVE ON! Network's Deputy Organization Lead, she combines her skills and passion to address systemic issues and cater to the needs of marginalized communities in the Hudson Valley region.

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Dr. Michael Marks

Research Lead + Systemic Shift Supporter

Dr. Michael B. Marks, with over 35 years of experience in the juvenile justice and child welfare fields, now serves as a late career researcher/evaluator. Dr. Marks holds the distinction of completing the first doctoral dissertation focused on Time-Exchange currency systems, titled 'A theoretical and empirical investigation of co-production interventions for involuntary youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.' Since earning his Ph.D. in 2008, he has collaborated with social entrepreneurs, NGO leaders, and statutory officials as an action researcher, fostering community-level responses to address health, educational, and social challenges. Dr. Marks specializes in multi-site case study research and implementation, employing mixed method data collection approaches such as surveys, interviews, focus groups, and direct program observation. His expertise extends internationally, leading workshops for various social innovation initiatives and collaborating on alternative incarceration program models in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Actively engaged in the International Social Innovation Research Consortium (ISIRC) and the Research Association on Monetary Innovation, Community, and Complementary Currency Systems (RAMICS), Dr. Marks has contributed to numerous peer-reviewed publications.

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Dr. Leanne Ussher

Findings Facilitator

Dr. Leanne Ussher, an economist and monetary theorist, is currently associated with Copenhagen Business School, Wolfram Blockchain Labs, and Bard College, she also serves as an Associate Editor of Frontiers Blockchain. Leanne's journey into monetary systems began as a Securities Analyst at the Reserve Bank of Australia, and she further pursued graduate studies at The New School for Social Research in New York, focusing on heterodox economics. With a Ph.D. in Economics (post-Keynesian), she has dedicated the past 14 years to academia and research, exploring diverse topics such as financial systems' microstructure, agent-based modeling, network analysis of corporate finance and local currencies, redesigning the international monetary system, and applications of blockchain and decentralized ledgers. Leanne has a rich professional background, including roles as a Senior Researcher at Consensys, consultant to the CFA Institute on international monetary reform, and Senior Economist at the Hudson Valley Current (a local currency cooperative). Beyond her academic pursuits, she co-founded the New York City Computational Economics and Complexity Workshop and holds affiliations with various institutions and organizations. In her leisure time, Leanne enjoys baking bread, composting, and tending to a garden that attracts butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

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Board of Directors

The board of THRIVE ON! Network includes Barbara Bernier as Board Secretary, Melissa Donohue as Board Treasurer, and Gregory McCollough as a Board Member. Keyvious serves as the Founder and Board Chair, driving the organization's mission of empowering communities through innovative economic development and systemic change initiatives in Kingston, NY.

Board Member

Barbara Bernier, J.D.


Barbara Bernier, born and raised in Harlem, is a passionate advocate for education, social science, and law. She is a product of New York's State University system, having pursued undergraduate and graduate studies in anthropology and social science. Her lifelong interest in education and law led her to earn a JD from Howard University School of Law and an LL.M. in Legal Education from Temple University. Barbara's upbringing in a diverse family, with Haitian immigrant parents, instilled in her a strong belief in unity and perseverance. Recently, she has made significant contributions through teaching law courses, conducting workshops, and providing legal and diversity consulting services. She has also been involved in projects supporting underrepresented farmers, advancing social justice, and empowering high school students through career exploration in STEM and law.

Board Member

Melissa Donohue, Ed.D


Melissa Donohue, Ed.D. is the founder of Financial Nutrition, Inc., a venture focused on experiential financial education, holistic wealth management, and girls' and women's economic empowerment. She is an award-winning leader and author in financial education, economic empowerment, and wealth management with impact, with her book "Financial Education for Young Women: How (and Why) to Teach Girls about Money" winning an Independent Publisher Book Award Medal in Finance. Dr. Donohue has created in-person, virtual, and online programming and published in the area of financial education, utilizing innovative approaches to financial understanding, empowerment, impact, and connecting money with meaning. Dr. Donohue completed Undergrad at Oberlin College, has a Masters degree from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), a Doctoral degree in Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, with published dissertation research in women's financial literacy. Dr. Donohue is the President of the Board of CISV-USA, an organization focused on multicultural youth education. An avid global traveler and lover of art and dance, Dr. Donohue currently resides in New York City and the Hudson Valley.

Board Member

Gregory McCollough


Gregory McCollough, a native of Harlem and a resident of Kingston NY since 2000, dedicates his time to making a positive impact in the lives of others. He works full-time for a child welfare organization in NYC while also serving as the founder and executive director of the Beyond the 4 walls outreach program. This initiative tirelessly provides essential resources such as clothing, household items, furniture, and food to those in need, free of charge. Additionally, Gregory takes on the role of host for one of the community fridges, exemplifying his commitment to supporting the community and promoting selfless acts of kindness.

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