Meet Our Society

Board Member: Michael DeSapio

Mike is a life long resident of Kingwood Township located in rural Hunterdon County, New Jersey. While not necessarily an Italian enclave, it certainly felt like one growing up  in the close-knit (and sizable) De Sapio family – instilling in Mike, his five brothers, and numerous cousins a strong sense of pride in their Italian roots and culture.Mike first connected with his ancestral homeland during a study abroad experience, living in Milan for six months. His time abroad enabled him to study the Italian language and history, tour most regions of the country, and visit the hometown of both his paternal (Monteforte Irpino, Campania) and maternal (Benestare, Calabria) families. The highlight of the experience was the opportunity to become acquainted with his cousins from the De Sapio family still living in Monteforte, a relationship that continues today.  Mike has since made a dozen trips back to bellItalia, and tries to return whenever possible.  It always feels like going home again.Throughout the years, Mike has worked to promote the Italian and Italian-American cultures. He is a longtime member of several Italian American organizations, including the National Italian American Foundation, past president and Board member of the Italian American Heritage Club of Hunterdon County, and board member of the Italian American Baseball Foundation.Mike’s educational experience includes a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from Penn State University, a J.D. from Widener University. The love for all things Italian prompted Mike to established De Sapio Dual Citizenship Services to assist applicants for Italian Citizenship.

Board Member and Communications: Michael Grillo

Michael Grillo is an Italian Teacher and the proprietor of a tour company specializing group excursions to Italy. He enjoys promoting the rich Italian culture among both his students and travelers. Michael is very involved in the Italian Parish of Saint Lucy in Newark, NJ, where he proudly assists in carrying on the more than 120-year tradition of the feast of Saint Gerard each October as well as the Italian Parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, also located in Newark. A proud Italian American, Michael, is a founding member of The Rutgers University Italian Cultural Organization and is a long time member of The Federation of Italian American Societies of New Jersey. Throughout the years Michael has been a part of numerous Italian American philanthropic organizations specializing in scholarships for students in need. Michael looks forward to working with Italian Enclaves and is very proud of the work they are doing.

Board Member and Marketing: Danielle Ferrante

Danielle Ferrante Surace is Vice President of Sports Marketing company in New Jersey specializing in sponsorships.  Danielle serves as a mentor to young women seeking education and employment in the sports marketing industry.  A proud Italian American Danielle is a founding member of the Farleigh Dickinson University’s  Italian club and has been a long time member of the Federation of Italian American Societies of New Jersey. Danielle looks forward to lending her marketing and fundraising expertise to Italian Enclaves.  Danielle and her husband Anthony enjoy spending the summer in Anthony’s hometown of Pellegrina, Calabria. They are both active in philanthropic efforts with a focus on promoting Italian culture and heritage.
Board Member and Founder: Raymond Guarini
Ray began documenting Italian enclaves and Italian National parishes about nine years ago. The desire to create a finite list of Italian enclaves and corresponding churches in the United States propelled an almost decade long journey during which Ray realized the breadth of the endeavor would require a team of dedicated individuals from different walks of life who commonly possessed an interest in Italian American culture and history. Ray is a Managing Director of a venture capital firm in New York City and specializes in equity financing for companies in biotechnology, medical devices, healthcare and fintech.
Board Member and Content Creator: Michele Di Pietro

Italian food blogger and professional culinary consultant Michele Di Pietro is the creator and founder of ‘It’s All About The Food LLC’ Culinary Consulting and ‘Mangia With Michele, the expression of her lifelong passion and (self-admitted) obsession with all things Italian and Italian-American food-related, where she regularly serves up innovative and classic family-style inspiration and nostalgia in La Cucina Italiana online, creating delicious and easy-to-follow recipes based on a lifetime of cooking, eating and culinary travels to Italy. She is also a regular guest host on the Flavor of Italy podcast.

Her professional culinary experience in the foodservice industry spans more than 20 years at both large-scale retail establishments and growing start-up companies. With a degree in business from Georgetown University followed by 5 years as a Certified Public Accountant for Ernst & Young prior to graduating with top honors from The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College, Michele brings a unique “right brain + left brain” approach to her culinary business style and all of her projects. Thanks to this unique background and blended skill-set, Michele has become a valuable advisor and strategist for an eclectic lineup of foodservice operations, developing and commercializing hundreds of menus and recipes along the way.

Food has always been central to Michele’s life – raised in an Italian-American family in southern New Jersey, her culinary education began with a collection of relatives as teachers in a household where food and cooking were central daily household activities. With both Sicilian and Abruzzese roots, Michele experienced distinctive regional cuisines of Italy in an American setting while growing up and fell in love with the act giving of herself through preparing food for others. It was this beginning that eventually led her to her true professional calling. 
She is thrilled to be a Board member of the Italian Enclaves Historical Society and aims to document the enclaves through its traditional foods and unique food culture.
Podcast Name: Flavor of Italy
Board Member, Social Media, and Content Creator: Peter Battaglia
“I was born in Staten Italy NYC to parents of the first generation born in the USA.  My Maternal grandparents came from Avellino, Napoli, and Grassano (Matera).  My Paternal grandparents were both born in Sciacca, Sicily.  I’m a blend of Southern Italian regions and this was a huge part of growing up.  Being Italian American and from NYC has always been a source of pride for me.  My passions are my family, my wife of almost 40 years and our two beautiful daughters. My other passions are world travel, all things food, and especially Italian cuisine and Italian American cuisine.  For 40 years I’ve worked on Wall St, currently a Managing Director of Celadon Financial Corp. and currently living at the Jersey Shore.   On line I have a large presence with my Social Media accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as A FOOD OBSESSION where I highlight my passions, especially Italian and Italian American food and culture.  It’s a privilege to be working on the Board of the Italian Enclaves Historical Society.”
~ Peter Battaglia
Research and Social Media: Dominic Brucsca
Dominic was born and raised in an Italian American family in a small town in metro Detroit. He competes as a track athlete at DePaul University, and has been able to expand his knowledge of Italian American culture through his experiences living in Chicago. He has always been interested in his heritage, and grew to love the stories and history of Italians in America. He aspires to continue learning about Italian American culture with the goal of preserving the history and traditions for generations to come.