Who We Are

The Lighthouse team is made up of a collection of experts and practitioners representing a range of skills, content areas and geographic experience.  This technical team is supported by an administrative staff that includes expertise in project and event management,  marketing and branding, research and editing, and business management.


Mark Amaral, MCP

DSC_0347Mark is the co-founder and President of Lighthouse Consulting Group, Inc. (LCG). LCG specializes in strategic facilitation: the art and practice of helping people communicate and listen more clearly through innovative and always interactive workshop designs and approaches to achieve measureable results.

Mark’s twenty-plus years’ experience spans both national and international topics ranging from flounder fishing in Rhode Island to water allocation in Kazakhstan. As a facilitator he has helped hundreds of people clarify their issues and work towards tractable solutions. Go here for more information about Mark.

Mark’s clients include the Word Bank, Global Partnership for the Ocean, United States Coral Reef Conservation Program, the RI Department of Environmental Management, The Nature Conservancy, National Grid, Center for Tropical Biology and Conservation, and Common Cause Rhode Island. Go here for a full list of clients.

Lesley Squilante

lesleyLesley has over 30 years’ experience at the leadership level in local and international nonprofits and university centers. As part of this work, she has helped groups and organizations design strategic processes and engage in critical dialogue to define new paths to greater results.

Lesley was Assistant Director for International Relations for PLAN International and, until her recent retirement, Assistant Director of the Coastal Resources Center (CRC) at the University of Rhode Island. She is now a team member of Lighthouse Consulting Group (LCG) providing writing, editing, and strategic design and facilitation services.

Other clients have included program implementers for the United States Agency for International Development and Rhode Island Sea Grant; the nongovernmental organization committee of UNICEF; Sierra Club RI; Providence Parks and Recreation Department; and most recently— through LCG—the RI Farm Farming in Rhode Island’s Future Strategy Symposium.

Ali Mitchell

Ali brings a wide range of interdisciplinary professional experience to bear on her research, coalition building and facilitation strategies—from documentary film to higher education administration, theatrical production to federal policy coordination. Ali earned a Bachelor’s from Williams College (MA) and a Master’s in Public Affairs from Brown University (RI). Her academic work focuses broadly on the power of storytelling for public good and the integration of sophisticated data analytics with ethnographic research methods to create, evaluate and implement effective programs. Her topical expertise includes oceans, coastal and maritime policy, agricultural research and extension, public narrative, strategic planning, organizational development, grant writing, and data systems design.

Before joining Lighthouse, Ali served as post-graduate NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellow in Washington D.C. at the Department of Transportation. As a fellow with the U.S. Committee on the Marine Transportation System, she was responsible for interagency collaboration, coalition building, coordination on National Ocean Policy, maritime activity in the U.S. Arctic, and maritime environmental stewardship. She also served as an advisor to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ Port Performance Freight Statistics Program. Her current clients include the Association of Northeast Extension Directors.

Go here for more information about Ali.

Eric Kretch

Eric Kretsch works with Lighthouse Consulting Group (LCG) clients primarily on priority identification and data collection. He works as the legislative coordinator for LCG’s client the Association of Marina Industries (AMI). He also supports other LCG clients in designing and delivering surveys and assisting them in various forms of social research.

Eric’s background is in marine and coastal policy planning. He has an undergraduate degree in Environmental and Natural Resources Economics and a master’s degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island (URI). At URI, Eric worked closely with Dennis Nixon, Professor of Marine Affairs and Director of the Rhode Island Sea Grant Program, teaching Introduction to Marine and Coastal Law. His graduate research, under the direction of URI’s Dr. Austin Becker, focused on studying climate resilience and adaptational change at the Port of Providence, R.I., examining gaps in leadership that inhibit transformational change. This research led to his presentation at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., on the importance of climate change adaptation leadership in complex port systems.

Eric is experienced in a wide range of social research techniques. He has been a speaker at key marine industry events, including the International Boatbuilders’ Expo and Conference, the Marina Association of Texas Annual Conference, and AMI’s International Marina and Boatyard Conference.