Schedule Your In-Person or Virtual Tour Today!

(401) 654-5259

101 Highland Ave. Providence, RI 02906

Meet Our Staff

Karen Van Gorden, CDP, Executive Director

Karen brings a youthful vitality and enthusiasm, along with maturity and a dedicated sense of purpose, to her position as Executive Director.

Karen’s dedication to the growth of our team, families, and most importantly our residents has proven true in her 23 years of experience in Assisted Living. In addition to a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Administration from Quinnipiac, Karen brings extensive expertise regarding Sales and Marketing as well as working closely with families to ensure the best possible outcome for their loved ones.
In her most recent role of eight years as the Director of Community Relations at the Highlands, Karen has learned a great wealth of knowledge for not only Assisted Living but Memory Care as well.

Born and raised in Smithfield, RI, Karen is the mother of two active sons, 11 and 16 years of age. Whenever she’s not assisting families with the important details and considerations of quality senior living, she can be found at an ice rink or traveling with her family for a hockey tournament. She also enjoys her time as the President, raising money for Smithfield High School Hockey Booster Club. 

Pamela Tetreault, Business Office Manager

Pamela joined the Highlands team in June 2021.  Although new to our team, we couldn’t have asked for a better fit. Residents and staff alike have welcomed Pamela with open arms. She has extensive experience in a geriatric setting. Starting at the age of eighteen, Pamela began working in various office roles in nursing communities and knew right away, this was her passion.  Her expertise ranges from Accounts Payable/Receivable, to Human Resources and everything in between.
Born and raised in Rhode Island, Pamela lives in Rumford, raising two teenagers. She is currently learning the joys of teaching them both to drive. She is family oriented and loves spending time with her children. When not at work you can find Pamela by the water, a good fire pit, taking day trips, and enjoying a show at PPAC.


Joseph Barreiro, Food Service Director

Chef Barreiro comes to The Highlands with an impressive resume that includes tours as a head chef, kitchen supervisor, and food service director at some of southern New England’s most well respected dining and food service establishments. These include more than 20 years creating delicious menus and enhancing the resident dining experience at several assisted living communities in the region.

Joe’s skills and creativity as a chef are eclipsed only by the work ethic and integrity he brings to his position. His vast experience and organizational skills are evidenced in the numerous charitable fundraising events he has participated in and the various cooking competitions he has won, including winner of the Iron Chef title in Kentucky in 2008.

A former semi-pro soccer player and premier club coach, Joe still plays the game competitively. We, too, are proud and privileged to have him as a member of our team.

Caroline Geeze, Programs Director

Caroline comes to the Highlands with much experience in Senior Living and Skilled Nursing Care. She was born and raised in Central Massachusetts, before attending Belmont University in Nashville, TN, where she majored in Social Work, with an emphasis in Geriatric care. Caroline has a passion for helping others achieve their highest potential. She prioritizes relationships and is a fierce advocate for those in need.
Caroline enjoys musical theater and performing live. She loves to bring that energy into activities, often leading sing-alongs and Open Mic events. She also appreciates exploring new places, going on hikes, and trying to find the perfect cup of coffee. Caroline will frequently take the residents on trips throughout New England, discovering fun new places. 
When she isn’t on stage, Caroline enjoys snuggling with her cat, Mush, and watching a movie.

Chloe Mete, Director of Marketing

A familiar face in our Community, Chloé is always eager to assist, ask how someone is doing, and do whatever she can to brighten our resident’s days. She is passionate about helping others and supporting the individual needs of each resident to their satisfaction. Coming from a Hospitality Management background, she places a strong emphasis on teamwork, personal development, and positivity. She is enthusiastic and passionate about her career here at Highlands, where residents and staff become family.
Growing up with four siblings has taught Chloé the true values of spending time with with loved ones and honoring traditions. This has contributed immensely to her successes in her role here at the Highlands on the East Side.
Outside of the Community, Chloé explores a more creative side. She and her twin sister own their own wood sign and rustic décor business and paint everything by hand. From local vendor events to teaching paint classes for Charity, Chloé enjoys staying busy and giving back to her community. When she is not covered in paint, you can find her chasing a rainbow or full moon, photographing nature. Aside from these hobbies, she also enjoys antiquing with her sisters and tackling home renovation projects.

Mary Corvese, CDP, Memory Care Director

Mary is an experienced Memory Care Director with a demonstrated history working in long term care. Mary comes to the Highlands with over 21 years experience and specializes in understanding and working with Dementia and Alzheimer’s residents. She is skilled in Dementia Care; has a nurturing and positive approach with her residents and is a compassionate leader, who provides hands-on training to her staff.
Mary is always available to support her staff and family members. She ensures the rights and needs of her residents through advocacy, and regulatory standards. Mary is a Certified Dementia Practitioner, Certified Montessori Dementia Care Professional, Nationally Certified Activity Director-Speciality in Dementia, State Representative Activity Director, Association of Rhode Island/RIHCAPrograms, and Dementia Care Certified.
When Mary is not at work she enjoys spending time with her family, her boyfriend Paul who is an Executive Chef, her two sons and two granddaughters. Mary can be found knitting, reading, visiting California to visit with one of her sons. Aside from these interests, she is also has a pet Yorkie, Zoey.

Ernie Parfitt, Director of Maintenance

Ernie was born and raised in Pawtucket, RI. He was influenced at a very young age to respect his elders and admire their accomplishments. His beloved grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease when he was eight, so Ernie feels especially close to the mission here at The Highlands.

He has fond memories of visiting his grandfather on weekends, first at home and, eventually, in a nursing home. Like his father and father before him, Ernie is a hands-on, can-do kind of man. Ernie can fix just about anything and enjoys doing so!

Ernie worked in the maintenance department for HallKeen Management for over four years when he jumped at the opportunity to transfer to The Highlands. His skills, knowledge and dedication to our residents are invaluable. If your television remote is not working, Ernie will fix it. If you need a picture hung, Ernie will hang it. In short, he can do it all and is happy to do it.

Cara Bernardo, RN, BSN, Resident Care Director

Cara graduated from UMASS in 2013 with her Bachelors in Science of Nursing. She enjoys taking care of others which is evident through her radiant and benevolent personality. Cara comes to us with previous years of experience in Assisted Living from both New York and Connecticut. She is personable and approachable by residents and Care Staff alike.
Aside from her dedication to her career, Cara is the mother of young boys and is happily married of 5 years. In her “free time,” she enjoys seeing friends and family.

Highlands Vaccinated Employees: 71%

last updated 09.27.2021