THRIVE2027 COUNCIL MEMBERS
The Thrive2027 Council includes executives, administrators, and public officials from throughout Greater Portland who will provide the overall guidance and oversight of efforts to ensure the success of Thrive2027.
Tony Cipollone is President and CEO of the John T. Gorman Foundation, a Portland-based private foundation dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged people in Maine. He joined the foundation in 2011 and since then has helped advance a range of new investment strategies aimed at improving results for children, youth and families. Prior to that, he was Vice President for Civic Sites and Initiatives at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, where he worked in senior leadership for over 20 years and helped develop and lead numerous initiatives related to education, community redevelopment and policy advocacy, including Casey’s national KIDS COUNT project. Tony received his doctorate in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Katie Fullam Harris serves as Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Accountable Care Strategy for MaineHealth, Maine’s largest health care system. She works with policymakers and employers to shape and respond to public policy and market changes; she leads the System’s efforts to develop new system initiatives that support MaineHealth’s accountable care goals; and she is presently helping to lead a system-wide effort to respond to the opioid epidemic. Prior to joining MaineHealth, Katie was the Director of Government Relations for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine. She has also served as a program director for the Maine Development Foundation and as Assistant to the Commissioner for the Maine Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services.
Katie currently serves on the Boards of the Maine Community Foundation, the Alfond Scholarship Foundation, and the Edward Daveis Benevolent Trust. She also volunteers for the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute, the American Heart Association in Maine, and Rippleffect.
A native of Maine, Katie has an MS in Health Care Policy and Management from the Muskie School at the University of Southern Maine and a BA from Columbia University. She is an active runner and outdoor sports enthusiast, and she and her husband live in Cumberland with their 2 dogs.
Xavier Botana has been Superintendent of the Portland Public Schools since July 1, 2016. The Portland Board of Public Education selected him after conducting a nationwide search that drew more than 40 applicants. In choosing Mr. Botana, the board cited his credentials and his work as an innovative school leader in such key areas as parent engagement, budget development and curriculum alignment. In his seven months leading the Portland Public Schools, Mr. Botana has spearheaded a successful update of the district’s Comprehensive Plan; worked with school and city officials, families and the community to draft a transformative proposal for critical renovations at four elementary schools; and aided in the process of developing a new family partnership policy for the district. Mr. Botana, 53, was born in Cuba during the Castro regime. His family’s experience immigrating to the United States from Cuba motivated his work in education. Growing up bilingual in Spanish, he began his educational career as an ESL teacher and worked his way up to leadership roles.
Prior to coming to Portland, Mr. Botana served as Associate Superintendent of the Michigan City Area Schools in Indiana for six years. He held a variety of educational positions before that time, including serving as Chief Academic Officer for the Portland, Oregon, public schools and working as an administrator and teacher in the Chicago area.
Mr. Botana holds a Master’s degree in Educational Administration and has completed doctoral program coursework.
Mr. Botana frequently can be found interacting with Portland Public Schools students, staff and families, and he attends many school and community events. He sees being superintendent of Maine’s largest and most diverse school district as an opportunity to make a positive and meaningful difference in the lives of thousands of children. He has found Portland to be a very welcoming community where he can make a permanent home with his wife and son.
Julie Chase is the Dean of Business and Community Partnerships at Southern Maine Community College. She has been with SMCC for almost thirteen years in roles supporting workforce and economic development. Prior to joining SMCC, she was a small business owner and was among the first employees that helped establish York County Community College. Julie serves on Boards for Coastal Counties Workforce Inc. and the Greater Portland Economic Development Corporation and is a member of the Education Committee for the Manufacturers Association of Maine. Other community leadership roles include being a member of the New Mainers Resource Advisory Board, The Greater Portland Workforce Initiative, and various other committees that help connect businesses and individuals to the higher education community and resources that can help them thrive. A graduate of the Leadership Maine program through the Maine Development Foundation, she is passionate about linking resources to support the economic vitality of Maine. Julie loves volunteering in her community as well as on service trips to Guatemala, most recently bringing a team of business people, SMCC students and staff to work in a remote village.
Dr. Glenn Cummings presently serves as the 13th president of the University of Southern Maine (USM), a public university with close to 9,000 students on three campuses in Portland, Gorham and Lewiston-Auburn.
Dr. Cummings has a long and distinguished career in education and public service. Beginning as a high school history and economics teacher, he later went on to teach at both Southern Maine Community College and at the University of Southern Maine.
In 2000, Dr. Cummings was elected to the Maine State House of Representatives, serving as Chair of the Education Committee for one term before being elected as House Majority Leader. Two years later, his colleagues elected him Speaker of the House.
After serving in the State Legislature, Dr. Cummings relocated to Washington DC to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Education. There, he helped manage a $1.9 billion annual budget focusing on improving access to adult education and literacy training, career and technical education, and community colleges.
In 2010, Dr. Cummings returned to Maine to become the President of Good Will-Hinckley, an historic 121-year-old school for high school youth.
In 2014, Dr. Cummings was named Interim President of the University of Maine at Augusta, a position he held until being tapped as President of USM.
Dr. Cummings earned his Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania. He previously earned a Masters of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Brown University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Ohio Wesleyan University.
Anne Dalton is the Chief Officer for Strategic Initiatives with the Association of Junior Leagues International Inc. (AJLI). The Junior League is an organization committed to promoting women's community and civic leadership through volunteer service. There are 292 Junior Leagues collectively in the US, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom, comprising 150,000 individual members. Anne joined AJLI in 1983 and has been involved in consultative services, training and senior management ever since.
Currently, Anne manages the Strategic Transformation Rollout which is a comprehensive change initiative focused on redefining Junior League governance and management systems, community program strategy, and the membership model to strengthen the ability of each League to advance the Junior League Mission. In addition, Anne provides strategic consulting and training in governance and community impact, manages the affiliation process and is a member of the senior leadership team.
Previously, Anne was Girls Club of New York's Executive Director, Henry Street Settlement's Director of Youth Employment Services and Senior Planner with the Vera Institute of Justice.
Anne holds a BA in English from Cornell University, an MSW from Hunter College and is a graduate of the Carver Policy Governance Academy and the Lift360 Leadership Intensive. She is a sustaining member of the Junior League of Portland, Maine, a member of the Board of the International Policy Governance Association where she serves as Secretary, a member of the Board of the United Way of Greater Portland where she serves on the Community Impact Steering Committee and the Board Development Committee, and a member of the Board of the Portland Public Library.
As a long term United Way volunteer, Jim chairs the Public Policy Committee and serves on the Community Impact Steering Committee. He also is on the Board of Directors for both the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce and Project G.R.A.C.E., a Scarborough-based social service agency.
Since 1985, Jim has operated Career Planning Services, a private practice in career planning. He holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in personnel counseling from Miami University and has completed advanced graduate work in counseling at Pennsylvania State University. Jim specializes in career planning and previously held career planning, counseling, and administrative positions in higher education, government, and the public schools. He also was one of the original staff members of the New Horizons Academy, where he served as Coordinator of Career Planning and provided training on the Academy model to the Job Corps and Houston Works.
Jim is a member of the American Counseling Association and the National Career Development Association; is a National Certified Career Counselor, Master Career Counselor, and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor; and has authored several nationally distributed career planning publications. He lives in Scarborough with his wife Kathy, who is an Educational Consultant.
Katherine Ferguson is VP/Head of Marketing at WEX Inc. For the Fleet North America business, she is responsible for linking the innovations of the company’s product team to the customer-focused operations to build the brand, create consumer awareness and advocacy, and drive customer preference through channels. In this role, Katherine oversees the management of WEX Fleet brand including digital marketing, creative development and agency management, marketing effectiveness, social media, and sponsorships. She leverages a data driven and analytical approach to deliver compelling marketing assets.
Chris Hall is the former CEO of the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, where he served from 2007 to 2017. From 1990 to 2007 Hall served as Senior VP and General Counsel for the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, representing the state’s business community before lawmakers on all major public policy issues. Prior to 1990 Hall practiced law in Portland for several years after graduating from Boston University School of Law. A Bowdoin graduate, Hall has lived in Buxton, Maine since 1986.
Felicia Knight is President of The Knight Canney Group, a strategic public relations consultancy based in Portland, Maine, specializing in public and media relations, crisis communications, and government policy. The company serves local, regional, national, and international businesses ranging from tech start-ups to Fortune 500 companies; colleges and universities; national non-profits; and state and federal agencies.
Felicia’s 20-year award-winning on-air broadcast journalism career was followed by a decade at the center of government in Washington, DC—as Communications Director for United States Senator Susan Collins and Collins for Senator re-election campaigns.
Following her service with Senator Collins, Felicia moved to the Executive Branch as Communications Director for the National Endowment for the Arts under then-Chairman Dana Gioia. While there, she oversaw communications for award winning, multi-million dollar national initiatives such as Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, The Big Read, Poetry Out Loud, and Shakespeare in American Communities.
In 2009, Felicia returned to Maine full time where she launched the PR firm Knight Vision International. In 2014, she merged KVI with Crystal Canney’s Canney Communications to form The Knight Canney Group.
Felicia has always considered volunteering a vital part of her life. She has served on many state and local boards and volunteered for countless non-profits. Currently, Felicia serves as President of the Board of Directors for Portland Ovations.
Felicia is married to Towle Tompkins, Executive Director of the American Heart Association in Maine. She and her husband live in Scarborough.
Mary Jane Krebs, APRN, BC, FACHE, is the President of Spring Harbor Hospital and Senior Vice President of the Intensive Service Line at Maine Behavioral Healthcare. Spring Harbor, southern Maine’s only nonprofit, private psychiatric hospital providing child and adult inpatient services, is a division of Maine Behavioral Healthcare, part of the MaineHealth system.
Today, Mary Jane is involved in strategic planning at Maine Behavioral Healthcare to fully integrate acute psychiatric services with community-based treatment options, including the provision of mental health services in over 40 primary care practices in the MaineHealth system. She is also leading the priority of safe patient flow and lowering lengths of stay for adult patients at Spring Harbor, as well as cultivating employee engagement across the Maine Behavioral Healthcare system to attract and retain the best professionals in the field.
Previously, Mary Jane was the CEO of Community Counseling Center, now also part of Maine Behavioral Healthcare; Chief Clinical and Nursing Officer at Spring Harbor and Maine Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry; and Vice President of Clinical Services at Jackson Brook Institute.
Mary Jane completed her undergraduate nursing degree at the College of New Jersey and her graduate degree at New York University. She is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, a steering committee member of the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems, serves on the Southern Maine Area on Aging Board of Trustees, the Maine Hospital Association Board of Directors and chairs the MHA Mental Health Council.
The Reverend Kenneth I. Lewis, Jr. is an Ordained Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church of America, Inc. who has amassed more than 25 years of active ministry as a member of the New England Annual Conference.
Appointed May 18, 2003, Rev. Lewis is humbled to serve as the longest tenured and current pastor of the Historic Green Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church in Portland, Maine. Not only has Green Memorial served as a spiritual and cultural center for African Americans for over 120 years, but now represents one of the most diverse, multi-racial, and multi-ethnic congregations in Maine.
In the regional and national church, Rev. Lewis currently serves as Chief of Protocol, President of Overseas Missions, Finance Committee and Trustee of the New England Annual Conference. Nationally, Rev. Lewis serves as a member of the the Connectional Council and Board of Publications for the denomination.
As a community leader, Rev. Lewis has contributed to the following organizations: Portland Branch of the NAACP; United Way of Greater Portland; City of Portland Community Development Block Grant Allocation Committee, Maine Boys to Men, and Venture Hall.
In addition to active ministry, Rev. Lewis has amassed over thirty years of effective leadership as a senior manager for some of New England’s largest financial services corporations such as: Fidelity Investments, State Street Bank & Trust, Putnam Investments and Prudential Insurance; as well as the following health care organizations: Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA, Health New England. He presently serves as the Executive Director, MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence with a mission to reduce tobacco use through the provision of evidence-based treatment, education, policy development and research.
Rev. Lewis is a devoted husband to Mrs. Ethel W. Lewis and the proud father of Alyssa Kerynne Lewis and Chanel Marie Lewis-Jones.
Police Chief Michael Sauschuck has served the City of Portland since 1997 when he began his law enforcement career as a patrol officer. Chief Sauschuck was appointed Chief of Police in January of 2012. He leads a team of highly trained, professional men and women committed to the department’s core values of leadership, integrity and service.
After graduating from high school, Sauschuck joined the Marines where he was sent to Camp Pendleton, San Mateo, California. During his five-year tenure, he served as a Corporal, then Sergeant with the Marine Security Guards in San Salvador, El Salvador and Moscow, Russia. After four years as a reserve police officer with the Old Orchard Beach Police Department, Sauschuck joined the Portland Police Department, where he worked in a variety of specialties including the crisis intervention team, special reaction team and as a field training officer. He was also a special agent and supervisor assigned to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, investigating and suppressing illegal narcotic activity in Cumberland County.
In March 2011, Lieutenant Sauschuck was selected as the department’s Assistant Chief, where he served as Chief James Craig’s second in command, and directly oversaw criminal investigations, uniformed operations and emergency communications. Upon Chief Craig’s departure in August 2011, Sauschuck led the Police Department as Acting Police Chief, overseeing a department of more than two hundred employees and an annual budget of $13.4 million. He was selected as the department’s permanent Chief in January of 2012.
Over the past decade, Sauschuck has received a number of awards for his commitment to the department including the Sergeant Michael J. Wallace Award, the Enrique Camarena Memorial Award from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Heroes with a Heart Award.
Liz assumed leadership of United Way of Greater Portland in January 2015. As President & CEO, she guides United Way’s strategies that achieve community change in the areas of education, financial stability, and health to improve people’s lives.
Liz started her United Way career at United Way of Dane County (Madison, WI) in 1998 after working for four years in other nonprofit organizations including KaBOOM!, Up with People, and the Partnership for National Service/Points of Light Foundation. She served as Campaign Director in Dane County until December 2000, when she left to pursue graduate studies.
Upon completion of her master’s degree, Liz joined the management training program at Deere & Company, more commonly known as John Deere. During her six years with John Deere, Liz became a trained Examiner for the Iowa affiliate of Baldrige National Quality Program while she served in marketing and strategic planning roles in Moline, IL; Cary, NC; Zweibruecken, Germany; and Johnston, IA.
Liz returned to United Way in Des Moines, IA in January, 2009 and until December of 2014 led United Way of Central Iowa’s Advancement Division, which included corporate engagement, grants, individual engagement, and marketing staff.
Liz serves on the Board of Directors of the Portland Community Chamber of Commerce.
Liz grew up in Waterville, Maine, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Harvard University and a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University. Liz and her husband, Michael, have two school-aged daughters.
On January 4, 2016, Stephen Smith became the fourth President and CEO of L.L.Bean.
Steve began his career in 1992 at J. Walter Thompson in New York City. He moved to Maine in 1997 and rose to become the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Resort Sports Network. In 2002, he began his retail career at Hannaford Supermarket and this launched nine years at the Delhaize Group where he gained experience in merchandising, commercial planning, marketing and customer relationship management in the US and Belgium.
In 2011, Steve joined Walmart International as SVP and General Manager of Sam's Club and Chief Marketing Officer for Walmart China in Shenzhen, China. There he gained general management responsibility, integrating e-commerce into the core business and improving annual sales growth. A year later, Steve became Chief Customer Officer of ASDA (part of Walmart International), a $30+ billion food, fashion and general merchandise omnichannel business in the United Kingdom. In 2015, Steve became Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer for Yihaodian (part of Walmart Global Ecommerce), a pure e-commerce business located in Shanghai.
Steve is a graduate of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he studied Art History and Physics. He grew up in Westchester County, New York and Amherst, Massachusetts. He spent summers on Canada Lake in the Adirondacks at a lake house that has been in his family for generations.
Steve is very active in outdoor sports and enjoys a wide variety of activities. He and his family are excited to be back in Maine where they have deep ties and where they can embrace their love of the outdoors and commitment to community.
As president and chief executive officer for Unum US, Mike Simonds is responsible for Unum Group’s largest business unit. Unum is one of the world’s leading providers of workplace financial protection benefits.
Simonds was named president and CEO of Unum US in July 2013. Since beginning his career with Unum in 1994, Simonds has worked in leadership roles including chief operating officer and chief marketing officer for Unum US. During the five years before he was named CEO, Simonds played a pivotal part in leading the company’s work to strategically align sales, service, enrollment and underwriting functions towards a more consumer-centric benefits model.
After earning bachelor’s degrees in economics and anthropology from Bowdoin College, Simonds began his career with Unum. He worked in management positions in finance, marketing and sales before leaving the company to earn his master’s in business administration from Harvard Business School. He then advised a range of financial institutions as a consultant for McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, before returning to Unum in 2004.
Simonds lives in Falmouth, Maine, with his wife, Ruby, and their four boys. He is active in youth athletics, is Board Chair for the United Way of Greater Portland, and sits on the Board of Maine Medical Center.
Michael J. Tarpinian currently serves as President and CEO of The Opportunity Alliance, CAP Agency (Community Action Program) for Cumberland County. The Opportunity Alliance partners with communities and individuals to deliver a full spectrum of social services and mental health care. An accomplished administrator, Mike has more than 40 years of experience working on behalf of children, youth, adults and families as a leader and advocate at The Opportunity Alliance and Maine’s Department of Mental Health & Mental Retardation.
During his tenure at The Opportunity Alliance, Mike has overseen two mergers, first between Ingraham and Youth Alternatives, Inc. in 2007 and then with PROP (People’s Regional Opportunity Program) in 2011. He has dramatically expanded the Agency’s services and supports for Maine’s most vulnerable children, youth, and families. Today, The Opportunity Alliance is a nationally accredited CAP agency with more than 500 employees serving more than 20,000 individuals annually.
In addition to his professional experience, Mike is the co-founder of the Maine Behavioral Health Collaborative, a seven-member organization focusing on policies and legislation related to child welfare and behavioral health. Mike is a past Board member of the Child Welfare League of America, currently serves on the Board of Maine Equal Justice Programs and sits on the Portland ConnectEd Steering Committee.
A graduate of LeMoyne College and Cheverus High School, Mike is known as a leader throughout the community. A long-time Westbrook resident and a native of Portland, he and his wife Nancy have two married daughters and three grandchildren.
Dana Totman is President and CEO of Avesta Housing, a position he assumed in 2000. Avesta Housing is a nonprofit affordable housing organization that develops and manages affordable housing in Maine and New Hampshire. Avesta Housing also owns and manages an assisted living facility, operates a homeownership center, and provides advocacy support to the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition. Avesta Housing has an affordable housing portfolio of 2400 housing units, an annual budget of $32,000,000 and has assets of $257,000,000.
Prior to coming to Avesta Housing, Dana was the Deputy Director for Maine State Housing Authority in Augusta, Maine for six years and prior to that he was Executive Director of Coastal Economic Development Corporation in Bath, Maine for 10 years. Dana currently serves on the Boards of the Maine Real Estate and Development Association, Seventy Five State Street, the Maine Winter Sports Center, and United Way of Greater Portland. Dana was named the Nonprofit Business Leader of the Year by Maine Biz in 2013 and received the Robert Patterson Jr. Founders award from the Maine Real Estate and Development Association in 2013.
Dana received his B.A. from the University of Maine, his MBA from Southern New Hampshire University and attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government.