2020 Visionaries: Changing the Cape and the World One Person At a Time

Cape Cod Life  /  Annual Life 2020 /

Writer: Elizabeth Shaw

2020 Visionaries: Changing the Cape and the World One Person At a Time


Cape Cod Life  /  Annual Life 2020 /

Writer: Elizabeth Shaw

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.”

-John F. Kennedy

The dawning of a new year always brings about the promise of change and new beginnings, but the start of a whole new decade awakens a deep-rooted need for change and a desire to reevaluate our goals. For 2020, we at Cape Cod Life are looking toward the future by highlighting visionaries from across the Cape and Islands who inspire us going into this next decade. While the term visionary can seem vague and thrown around, here, we’ve put together an extraordinary list of people that are looking towards a better future. A visionary is, by definition, a person thinking about or planning the future with imagination or wisdom. 

In the following pages, we cover 20 visionaries looking to the future with 20/20 vision. From the upper to the outer Cape, to the Islands, from high schoolers to filmmakers to environmental researchers, this region is home to so many working to make a difference, not just in our area, but around the world. 

Read ahead to learn more about visionaries like Allison Argo, an Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker who is using the power and reach of film to bring awareness to animals in crisis around the world. Richard Delaney, president and CEO of the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, has been working tirelessly to help research and educate as well as advocate for the importance of ocean preservation in the midst of climate change. The Black Dog has been keeping the Cape, Islands and nation comfy, cozy and stylish with their iconic sweatshirts for decades and founder Bob Douglas has no plans of slowing down. Darcy Creech has been putting the finishing touches on outfits for celebrities and first ladies with her signature hats. Matt Tropeano and his team at Spoon and Seed have set out to change the way Cape Cod eats, with a focus on homemade everything and hospitality that can’t be beat. Julian Cyr has been working hard on behalf of the Cape and Islands to represent residents’ interests in the Senate. Do you enjoy taking a stroll through beautiful Mashpee Commons? You have Buff Chance to thank for that. Fiona Jensen has made it her mission to bring kindness back, starting with the kids of Cape Cod, and Jitka Borowick is making the Cape greener with her service Cleangreen.

The saying “change begins at home” rings true for high school junior Izzy Nobili, president of the high school’s Green Club. Robbin Orbison wants to change the way Cape Cod works by providing work spaces for those who are self employed, telecommuters or mobile workers. At 80 years young, Betsy Siggins is hoping to keep the future bright by keeping the past alive through the New England Folk network. In 2016, Alan Worden noticed alarming changes in the Nantucket community but had no way of tracking these patterns or explaining them. So, he and a group of fellow islanders created a reliable data platform to help those on Nantucket and beyond. Cyndy Jones, founder of Heroes in Transition turned tragedy into hope by helping veterans readjust to life on the Cape. For decades, the Housing Assistance Corporation of Cape Cod has been helping those in need find a safe home, and Chief Development Officer Anne Van Vleck continues to change lives into the new decade. Darby Lyons is bringing Hollywood to the Cape, filming a sci-fi film right here on Cape Cod. Wendy Northcross has been advocating for Cape businesses and promoting local economic vitality through her work as CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. Have you enjoyed some fish lately? How about some clams? You can thank John Pappalardo and his work as the Executive Director of the Cape Cod Commercial Fisherman Alliance. Robert Viamari has been keeping the area up to date with the Cape and Plymouth Business magazine and continues to expand the brand’s reach. And finally, Mary LeClair looks back on her time in local government and toward a busy future working with deserving local organizations. 

Eleanor Roosevelt once said “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” In learning about these inspiring visionaries, we hope you are inspired to dream and believe in the future. 

Check back with Cape Cod Life Magazine and at throughout the year as we cover even more visionaries!

2020 Visionaries

Allison Argo

Richard Delaney

Bob Douglas

Darcy Creech

Matt Tropeano

Julian Cyr

Buff Chance

Fiona Jensen

Jitka Borowick

Izzy Nobili

Robbin Orbison

Betsy Siggins

Alan Worden

Cyndy Jones

Anne Van Vleck

Darby Lyons

Wendy Northcross

John Pappalardo

Robert Viamari

Mary LeClair

Seaside Bridal Couture

Elizabeth Shaw

Elizabeth Shaw is a former assistant editor, photographer & videographer for Cape Cod Life Publications. Born and raised in Massachusetts, Elizabeth spent many summers on the Cape, before she and her family moved down full time in 2016. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island as a double major in Writing & Rhetoric and Film Media, and started at Cape Cod Life the following fall. In her free time, she takes as many pictures of her dog, Watson, as possible, in between beach trips.