» Leadership Board

The Institute Leadership Board is a non-governmental think tank comprising philanthropic supporters who engage in strategic and network development for the Ferrucci Institute for Italian Experience and Research. If you want to learn more about this group, please contact Board Chair, John Razzano at Razzano.iier@gmail.com.

photo of Vicky Colarossi Carabini

Vicky Colarossi Carabini

Since 2007 Vicky Carabini has served an appointment as Ambassador to San Juan Capistrano’s Sister City, Capestrano, Italy. She is actively involved in promoting Italian events in Orange County, including fundraising, Italian movie nights, parades, and food drives. In addition, she publishes a popular newsletter to inform the Italian American community of Southern California. She is Chair of the Italian Studies Council at Chapman University, on the Boards of the Mission Preservation Foundation, Mission Hospital, and is the former President of the Italian Arts Council. In 2015, along with Mr.Ferrucci she received the Columbus Day Heritage Award from the Sons of Italy, an award provided to Italian Americans for making significant contributions to the preservation and promotion of Italian heritage and culture. In 2020, the Honorable Silvia Chiave, Consul General of Italy in Los Angeles, Knighted Vicky, Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia (Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy) on behalf of Sergio Mattarella, President of Italy. This distinction is one of Italy’s highest honors for Italians abroad and is best owed upon individuals who have distinguished themselves in philanthropy, community activism, research, and promoting relations between Italy and other countries. Vicky lives with her husband, Michael, in Corona del Mar and has two daughters, Cristina and Anna Maria. Vicky is a second-generation Italian with all four grandparents from the Abruzzo and Molise regions. In 2003 Vicky and Michael purchased a farmhouse in southern Tuscany and have produced olive oil ever since. She is currently editing a book chronicling her journey of life in Tuscany. In 2009 Vicky and her family proudly attained Italian citizenship.
photo of Joseph Ferrucci

Joseph Ferrucci

Mr. Ferrucci is a first-generation Italian American. His parents, Gabriele and Maria, immigrated to the United States from a small farming community in the Province of Benevento, located in the Campania region of Italy. Eventually, Gabriele’s and Maria’s families also immigrated to the United States and Mr. Ferrucci was raised in an environment where the Italian language, culture, and traditions were proudly and steadfastly maintained. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut, which had a very large population of Italian immigrants, mostly from Southern Italy Mr. Ferrucci has been a member of the board of the Italian-American Lawyers of Orange County since 2009 and helped triple that group’s membership during his Presidency. Mr. Ferrucci is also a member of the National Italian American Bar Association, the Italian Studies Council at Chapman University, and a supporter of the National Italian American Foundation. In 2015, Mr. Ferrucci received the Columbus Day Heritage Award from the Sons of Italy, an award provided to Italian Americans for making significant contributions to the preservation and promotion of Italian heritage and culture. In 2022, Gabriele and Joe Ferrucci, in collaboration with Drs. Daniele Struppa and Federico Pacchioni, established the funding for the Ferrucci Institute for Italian Experience and Research to harness the educational potentials of Italy’s story and fabric and provide future generations of Chapman University students with the opportunity of broadening their horizon of education and personal development by learning the richness of the Italian culture. Mr. Ferrucci lives in San Clemente with his wife, Tania, who also embraces the Italian language and culture.
photo of Jill  Gillett

Jill Gillett

Jill Gillett is a second-generation Italian American whose grandparents came from the towns of Arnara and Gallesein the Lazio region of Italy. Jill is the Co-Head of the Literary Packaging Department at William Morris Endeavor (WME) and has been a motion picture and television agent for over thirty years. Jill’s team works with the writers at WME and with numerous other literary agencies from around the world, selling projects in film and television. Jill’s deep connection to Italy is rooted in her multi-generational family life in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California, where Sunday dinners took precedence over all other activities, and the traditions of Italy were in full effect. Jill’s family ate Roma tomatoes from the garden, grown from clippings taken from visits to Italy. She never ate store-bought bread and cooked all of the traditional dishes with her Nonna, Aunts, and Cousins while listening to their stories and learning about her family history. And even though some of the elders have passed away, she remains very close with her relatives and their children in Italy. Jill and her husband, Craig are currently searching for their perfect home in Italy. Having great pride as an Italian, Jill was shocked to learn of the negative stereotypes and assumptions about Italians as uneducated thugs and low-class mobsters when she moved to New York City for her first literary job. As a result, throughout her career in media, she has been devoted to dispelling the negative stereotypes of Italians portrayed in film and television and telling the larger story of the contributions of the Italian people. For the future, Jill has set her sights on Italian/US co-productions and working to bring Italian stories from Italian writers to the U.S.
photo of Mario Leone

Mario Leone

Mr. Leone is a first-generation Italian American, with family origins in Avellino, Italy. The Leone family here began its connection to Italy, through many summers spent on Mediterranean beaches, visits to cultural centers, and most importantly, expansive family dinners with their extended family in Boston where he was born and Avellino. The Leone family consolidated their connection to Italy in 1995 through a five-year expatriate work assignment living in Milan at the global oil and gas giant ENI and an additional five years spent as an executive at the prestigious automaker, FIAT headquarters in Turin. Mr. Leone and his wife Carol have claimed a small part of an Italian paradise for this and the next generation of “Leoncini”in Amelia, Italy restoring a 17th-century farmhouse. In the historic rolling hills of Umbria, once populated by the Etruscans and situated an hour from Rome, Villa Leone sits with acres of olives, figs, pomegranates, and wine vineyards decorating the countryside. In his present roles at Chapman University, he has taught more than 3000 students over the past 10 years both in the US and Europe while continuing board work at Transient Plasma Systems and DocVerify. He assumed the Director of the Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship & Business Ethics in 2019, but the University linkage that he most appreciates is the opportunity through the amazing work of Dr. Pacchioni to re-engage in a rediscovery of Italy’s amazing history and culture. Currently, Mr. Leone lives in Huntington Beach with wife Carol, and they travel extensively to visit their four children and four grandchildren throughout the country.
photo of John Razzano

John Razzano

Mr. Razzano is a third-generation Italian American with ancestral roots in Campania, Italy. He met Dr. Pacchioni in 2018, while attending the Italian Perspectives series. Impressed by the Italian Studies Program at Chapman, the two men struck up a friendship. After a distinguished career in business, Mr. Razzano retired in 2021 and became more fully engaged in the Italian Studies program as a patron, volunteer, and student. In 2022, he was named the inaugural chairman of the Institute Leadership Board. When asked why he chose to be involved with Chapman Italian Studies, he said, “When my grandparents emigrated here early in the last century, they wholly embraced their adopted country, but also instilled in the family a love for and appreciation of our Italian heritage. It is an honor to continue the work of my grandfather Giuseppe to promote an appreciation and understanding of Italian language, history, and culture to future generations.” Mr. Razzano has been a resident of Orange County since 1980, where he raised his family with his late wife, Mary. Currently, Mr. Razzano resides in Newport Beach, has three grown sons and two grandchildren, and is engaged to his fiancé Alison.
photo of Michael  Silvio

Michael Silvio

Michael is a third-generation Italian American. His family origins are from the small town of Ribera in the Agrigento region of Sicily. His grandfather and grandmother immigrated to the United States through New Orleans, Louisiana, on to Colorado, and then finally settled in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles, California. His father was one of eight brothers and sisters, so, naturally he grew up in a large Italian family. He has fond memories of getting together often with his many Italian aunts and uncles, and nieces and nephews to share good Italian food and family time. Michael is a Tax Partner in the Irvine, California office of the accounting firm of Macias, Gini, and O’Connell. He serves businesses in multiple industries, including high-tech, consumer products, software, biotech, life sciences, healthcare, manufacturing, construction, professional services, and nonprofits. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the California Society of Certified Public Accountants and the past President of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants Orange County-Long Beach Chapter. Michael is married to Lori and has two grown children, Nicole and Adam. He and his wife live in North Tustin, California. One of his favorite activities is traveling, and he considers Italy one of his favorite destinations. One of Michael’s favorite trips was the opportunity to visit the town of Ribera in Sicily and to show his children where their great-grandparents grew up. He is proud of his Italian heritage and is passionate about promoting and preserving the Italian culture for future generations to experience.