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Maine Development Foundation


Anne Ball - Program Director, Maine Downtown Center 207.512.4906,
Anne became Program Director in 2016. She originally joined the Foundation in 2012 as a consultant to coordinate Healthy Maine Streets, a three-year CDC Community Transformation Grant and Grants to Green Maine, a partnership with Maine Community Foundation and Efficiency Maine. Previously Anne was the Cultural and Heritage Tourism Coordinator for DECD and has consulted for many organizations including: Maine Preservation, Maine Humanities Council, Maine State Museum, and private architecture firms and communities. Anne has a BS from St. Lawrence University and an MA in Historic Preservation from Boston University.

Julie Beane– Program & Advancement Specialist – 207-626-3121,
Julie joined the Foundation in 2018 to help ensure effective delivery of programs and advancement functions through logistics coordination, outreach activities, and data management. She has over 20 years of experience in the fields of environmental consulting, conservation, and economic development where she focused on business sustainability, forest management, and fundraising. Julie also co-owns a coffee shop in Brunswick where she lives with her family, both human and furry. She holds a joint B.A. in Economics and Environmental Studies from Middlebury College and an M.E.M. from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Born and raised in Maine, with multi-generational roots here, she is happy to be back and helping to make it a better place to live and work.

Yellow Light Breen - President & CEO - 207.626.3112,
Yellow’s passion is promoting economic and educational opportunity for all Mainers regardless of geography or background. He became CEO in August 2015, where he develops strategic direction, integration, and partnerships across MDF’s mission and programs. Yellow is a sought-after public speaker with a diverse background in business, public policy, and law. He spent twelve years as an executive with Bangor Savings Bank, overseeing strategic planning, marketing, online banking, community development, and charitable activities. Prior, he was a senior official at the Maine Department of Education and an advisor to Independent Governor Angus King. Yellow was born and raised in rural, central Maine, a product of Maine public schools, and earned undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University. He has been an active volunteer in many education and economic development efforts, including the boards of the Maine Community Foundation and Educate Maine. He previously served on the MDF Board and chaired Realize Maine, an ongoing initiative to attract, retain, and support young professionals. Yellow lives in Holden and loves to hike, swim, and ski with his wife and children.

Lisa MacDonald Cooper - Program Director Education & Workforce - 207.626.3117,
Lisa joined the Foundation in 2017 as Program Director for Education and Workforce, continuing the work that MDF has done to support collaborative industry, education, and community efforts to align workforce educational credentials and skill attainment with the current and future needs of Employers in Maine. Lisa has a long professional history in relationship building between diverse stakeholders. Her aim: facilitate connections, get everyone on the same page, and work toward common goals. As the previous Director of two University College Centers in Western Maine, Lisa’s main focus was working with Community Partners to strengthen relationships with the University of Maine System. Prior to that, Lisa gained experience as the Director of Outreach for Central Maine Community College. She has several years in as a college instructor, was an Associate in Cyon Business Solutions developing appropriate-sized marketing strategies for local farms and small businesses, worked as a Project Administrator for an Environmental Consulting firm, and as a Regional Marketing Coordinator for Stantec Consulting, an international Engineering firm. Lisa holds a BA in English from Bates College, and a MA in Composition Studies from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington.

Sarah Curran – Program Director for the Maine Forest Economy – 207.626.3116,
Sarah joined the Foundation in 2016 as Program Director for the Maine Forest Economy, a three-year federal grant to support collaborative industry and community efforts to strengthen and revitalize Maine’s forest products industry and reinvest in rural communities impacted by recent mill closures. Sarah has more than a decade of community and economic development experience working with Maine communities and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining MDF, Sarah was a Senior Planner with Planning Decisions, Inc. a Maine-based research and planning firm. Sarah has a Master's Degree in Community Planning and Development from the Muskie School for Public Service at the University of Southern Maine.

Dianne Heino – Senior Executive & Finance Associate – 207.626.3120,
Dianne rejoined the Foundation in 1998. Dianne provides support to the senior staff with scheduling, membership, and finance tasks. She also supports the Leadership Maine alumni program, and assists with the office database and website. She also provides finance support to the Alfond Scholarship Foundation and Maine Higher Education Council. Dianne previously worked for MDF for a total of ten years as bookkeeper and an administrative assistant. She has an associate’s degree from the University of Maine at Augusta.

Michael Higgins – Program & Special Projects Manager – 207.520.0427,
Mike joined the Foundation in October 2015 as a consultant to assist with Policy Leaders Academy, our experiential learning program for Maine Legislators, and our Adult Learner and Workforce Initiatives. Mike has spent his career working in Maine’s public and nonprofit sectors. He served as nonpartisan staff to the Maine Legislature for 6 years, as a senior official at the Maine Department of Education, and as a senior executive at Spurwink Services in Portland for nearly 15 years. He is an experienced executive, policy analyst and fundraiser. Mike was raised in rural Maine and educated in the University of Maine System, from which he holds an undergraduate degree in English from USM and a graduate degree in Public Policy and Management from the Muskie School of Public Service. Mike has served on a number of local and statewide boards, including the Coalition for Excellence in Education, the Maine Compact for Higher Education, and the Institute for Civic Leadership. Mike lives in Raymond with his wife, Judy Ryan.

Jan Kearce – VP of Program Impact - 207.626.3123,
Jan joined the Foundation April of 2017. She is a change leader, strategic partner, facilitator and coach who brings deep passion and experience to her work with leaders, teams and organizations. Perhaps equal to Jan’s depth of passion and experience is her commitment to building leadership capacity and operational excellence that leads to sustainable, thriving organizations and communities. Jan has over 30 years of experience working with leaders and teams. She has worked within and across-sectors and geography in her leadership roles with organizations focused on manufacturing, outdoor education, the environment, leadership and consulting. Jan has led organizations and initiatives that have focused on quality, safety and operational excellence; designing great places to work; strategic and fundraising planning; creating an internal training institute; multi-location mergers; developing regional and statewide leadership; and engaging millennial leaders in local communities. Jan has a BA in Journalism from the University of Georgia; a Master’s Degree in Human Resource / Organizational Development from American University and NTL;Leadership Coaching certification from Georgetown University; and is both a graduate of and current Program Director of MDF’s Leadership Maine and past Program Director of the ICL and now Lift360’s Leadership Intensive.

Kathy Shannon Nichols - Director of Engagement & Communications 620.1286,
Most recently Kathleen worked at the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement, taking the lead in internal and external communications, media relations, and social media outreach. Kathy is an award winning storyteller with extensive experience as a broadcast journalist and as a corporate communicator. She led executive and employee communications with Martin’s Point Healthcare, an 800-employee non-profit organization based in Portland, Maine that operates two health insurance programs and seven clinical practices. Prior to that, Kathy was an investigative reporter in several markets across the country, most recently in Maine where she also hosted and delivered stories for the evening magazine program, “207”. As a speaker coach for Ted Talks, Kathy helps executives, front line employees, artists and community members weave storytelling and visual aids into presentations to make them engaging and compelling. Kathy lives in the Portland area with her husband, twin sons, and overly affectionate Weimeraner dogs.

Robert O’Brien – Program Director - 207.939.7703,
Robert O'Brien joined Maine Development Foundation in 2017, providing support to the Maine Downtown Center and the Forest Economy Project. He holds a Master’s degreein Public Policy & Managementfrom the Muskie School of Public Service, and a BA from Bates College. A native Mainer with deep roots here, Mr. O’Brien has served on three public boards: the Portland school board, the Portland Charter Commission, and Portland’s historic preservation (development review) board. Prior to MDF, Mr. O’Brien acted as assistant director at the nonprofit Maine Preservation, which seeks to repurpose Maine's historic buildings. As a consultant, Mr. O'Brien worked in the Town of Freeport's planning office and also assisted in drafting Newcastle's comprehensive plan. Mr. O'Brien is restoring a historic home in Portland with his wife Stephanie and two children, Caroline and James.

Michele Roy – Program Associate & Technology Coordinator - 207.626.3122,
Michele joined MDF in August 2017. She has worked in various support positions at a number of Maine non-profits for many years, including the Friends of the Maine State Museum, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Maine Initiatives, the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and the Maine State Bar Association. She also owned and operated MOFGA-certified Long Meadow Farm in West Gardiner for 10 years. She lives in Augusta, spends a lot of time in the garden, and plays fiddle in a traditional Irish music duo called Twisted Strings.

John Schlosser – Director of Finance & Administration - 207.626.3124,
John joined the Foundation in in June 2017. With over 30 years of experience in financial, administration and operations positions, beginning in Public Accounting and progressing through several challenging positions with the Hertz Corporation, John was able to draw on his experiences to help run one of Maine’s top 100 companies, Fabian Oil, Inc. as their Vice president and Controller. John also spent time as Business Manager with Kieve-Wavus Education Inc., and most recently as Finance Director for Maine School Management Association. John holds a degree in accounting from Scranton University and served on the Rome Planning Board, and as President and Road Commissioner on his local road association.

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