Barbara Cottam Garrahy P ‘15 P ‘17
Barbara Cottam was a member of the La Salle Academy Board of Trustees from 2014-2023. She currently serves as a senior advisor to US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo ‘89. In her role she is responsible for the external affairs strategy for the Commerce Department’s “Internet for All” initiative, a multibillion-dollar program designed to expand broadband.
Before joining Secretary Raimondo’s office, Barbara was with Citizens Financial Group, Inc. for more than 20 years, serving in a number of key positions including most recently as executive vice president and head of Corporate Affairs. Barbara joined Citizens in 1994 as director of Public Affairs after serving as director of communications and press secretary for Rhode Island Governor Bruce Sundlun from 1991-1994.
From 2015-2022, Barbara served as a member and chair of the State of Rhode Island Board of Education, which oversees both public K-12 and postsecondary education at Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI). During her tenure she garnered support for a number of initiatives including the implementation of a high-quality standardized curriculum in every school district, the expansion of public pre-kindergarten, historic levels of school construction funding and the Rhode Island Promise program at CCRI.
Barbara has lent her leadership and expertise to myriad organizations. She chairs the Providence College President’s Council and serves as a member of the strategic planning committee of the Board of Trustees. She served as vice chair of Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island and serves as its director. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Rhode Island Zoological Society and was a founding member of the Board of Directors of Rhode Island Kids Count and served for 10 years. She is a board member of Crossroads Rhode Island and a member of the Rhode Island Commodores.
Barbara earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and business management from Providence College. She and her husband, John Garrahy, are the parents of daughters Katherine ’15 and Elizabeth ’17.