The Island Institute is fortunate to have a talented and committed Board of Trustees that includes both year-round and seasonal residents of island communities who share our passion for the coast of Maine.

Natalie Ames

(Matinicus, ME and Camden, ME) – Natalie Ames is a year-round resident of Matinicus Island, where she lives with her family. She grew up on the island and comes from a long line of Matinicus residents. Her family has traditionally been, and continues to be, supported by the lobstering industry. She is currently serving her sixth year as a Matinicus Island School Board member and has been an Island Institute Fellow advisor for two Matinicus Fellows, totaling four years.

Sebastian Belle

(Hallowell ME) – Sebastian began his career as a commercial fisherman, working his way through college as a mate on offshore lobster boats.  He is currently the Executive Director of the Maine Aquaculture Association (MAA), a private nonprofit association representing Maine shellfish and finfish growers. Prior to joining the Maine Aquaculture Association, Sebastian was the state aquaculture coordinator, working for the Maine Department of Marine Resources. In addition to his role as MAA Executive Director, Sebastian is president of Econ-Aqua, and a founding partner of TAAG. Econ-Aqua is consulting firm specializing in farm management, financial due diligence and risk analysis and control. TAAG is an international consulting and investment firm specializing in aquaculture projects. Sebastian holds degrees in fisheries biology and agricultural economics. He has served as a technical consultant for over 20 major commercial aquaculture ventures for investment groups in Europe and North and South America. Before returning to North America in 1989, Belle spent four years managing a commercial-scale aquaculture research and development foundation in Norway.

Michael P. Boyd (Clerk)

(Brunswick, ME) – Mike is a graduate of Brown University and Boston University School of Law. He has been living and practicing in Maine since 1980. In August 2009, he established a new practice in Portland, where he is involved with many aspects of commercial, transactional, and employment law. 

Shey Conover

(Islesboro, ME) – Shey lives on Islesboro with her husband and two children. She and her husband Josh own and operate Marshall Cove Aquaculture, a rapidly growing mussel farm, which was launched after their participation in our ABD program. Shey received a BS in Integrated Science and Technology from James Madison University. She served as the GIS Island Fellow on Islesboro from 2002 to 2004 before joining the Institute in a series of leadership roles, including VP of Programs and VP of Operations. Shey left the Institute in 2017 to pursue aquaculture full-time and has been a supporting voice in our work in that area.

David Cousens

(South Thomaston, ME) – Dave is a small business owner and commercial lobsterman with more than 40 years of experience. He has been extremely active in the lobster industry and has considerable experience in the non-profit sector. He served as the President of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association from 1990 to 2018, the first chair of the state’s Lobster Advisory Council, a founding member of the Lobster Institute, and he served on the lobster advisory panels for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and New England Fisheries Management Council. He is a member of the Spruce Head Fishermen’s Co-op and has served several terms on its board and as its president. He has volunteered and collaborated in many lobster research projects. He has worked as a teacher in the Greenville, Maine schools and has coached numerous sports teams. He holds a bachelor’s degree in education.

Megan McGinnis Dayton 

(Minneapolis, MN and Chebeague Island, ME) – Megan lives in Minnesota, but spends as much time as possible on Chebeague Island in the warmer months. Her late husband first introduced her to the island of Chebeague 30 years ago through his mother's century-long connection to the island, and Megan was hooked on Chebeague immediately! She has a Master’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Virginia, taught Architectural Design at the University of Virginia and the University of Minnesota, and had a residential architecture design firm in Wayzata, MN, before her children were born. She served on the Board of St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development, and her volunteering at the Blake School has run the gamut of leadership roles in art, events, and gardening. For the past nine years, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has occupied most of her volunteer hours. She has served as president of the arboretum's board of trustees, the Education Department Advisory Chair, and has held several event Chair positions. Her additional board experience has included the Family Councils of both the Dayton and the McGinnis families, where she worked to create and clarify the family governance structure. 

Mike Felton

(St. George, ME) – Mike grew up in the Boston area and graduated from Bowdoin College in 2000. He began his career as an Island Institute Fellow on Vinalhaven, working with middle school students.  His career in education continued as the Island Institute’s Education Outreach Officer and then as the School Leader at the Vinalhaven School. Mike was a member of the Island Institute Board of Trustees from 2006 to 2009. In 2009, he received the Gates Public Service Law Scholarship and attended the University of Washington School of Law to study educational law and policy. After law school, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Leigh I. Saufley, Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. In July 2015, Mike returned to the Midcoast area as the Superintendent/Special Education Director for the newly formed St. George Municipal School Unit.  He lives in St. George with his wife and their two children.

Douglas Henderson (Treasurer & Finance Chair)

(Boston, MA and Swan's Island, ME) – Doug is a Senior Advisor to Oak Hill Advisors, an alternatives investment firm based in New York. Doug previously served as Co-Head of Europe, where he was responsible for directing OHA’s investments in European companies and co-managing the firm’s European operations. Prior to joining OHA in 2012, he was a Partner and Chairman of the European Credit Finance Group in the Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs, with oversight of the firm’s Europe, Middle East and Africa loan, high-yield, restructuring, structured finance and real estate finance businesses. In addition, Doug was a member of the bank’s Firmwide Capital Committee and its Asian Capital Committee and served on the board of Goldman Sachs International Bank. Prior to his 18 years in London, Doug was a Senior Portfolio Manager with Merrill Lynch Asset Management where he built up and managed a $14 billion credit platform focused on senior debt, high yield and distressed securities. Doug has served on various non-profit advisory boards in the UK such as Room to Read. He earned a B.A. from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell. Doug, his wife, and their four children have been spending summers on Swan's Island for the last 27 years. 

Luke Holden

(Cape Elizabeth, ME) – Luke Holden grew up in Cape Elizabeth, Maine – a third generation lobsterman. He attended college at Georgetown University, after which he moved to New York to start a career in investment banking. He was remiss to find that every lobster roll available was overpriced, drowning in mayo, and diluted with celery. He craved a real Maine-style roll and simply couldn’t find one. In 2009, Luke turned to his roots and longstanding relationship with the Maine lobstering community to cut out the middleman and bring Maine lobster to the heart of New York City with the start of Luke's Lobster.

Since 2009, Luke's Lobster has grown beyond New York City, with homes currently in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas, Miami, San Francisco, Taipei, Tokyo, and Maine. Preserving our fisheries remains the core of the business, and Luke’s chooses partners who uphold their commitment to sourcing superior, sustainable ingredients and strives to support other small businesses. Luke's Lobster is dedicated to the health of the shellfish in our waters and the fisherman who live off them, allowing for the success of future populations and ecosystems, and ensuring our oceans continue to exist as a key source of food and livelihood for people all over the world. Luke’s donates a portion of its proceeds to The Ocean Foundation and the Island Institute, helping to preserve Maine’s fishing communities and the sustainability of our oceans. In 2018, Luke’s Lobster furthered its commitment to sustainability and socially conscious business practices by becoming a certified B Corporation®. 

Luke sits on the board of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, the Island Institute, and the Tenants Harbor Fisherman’s Co-op, which he helped found. Luke’s Lobster was recognized as one of the 2018 INC 5000 and Luke was named one of Real Leaders 2018 Top 100. Over the years, Luke has also been included on the Forbes’ 30 under 30, Inc 30 under 30, Zagat’s 30 under 30, and Crain’s 40 under 40.

Kristin Howard (Development Chair)

(Atlanta, GA and Sutton Island, ME) – Kristin is originally from the coastal area of Norway. She graduated from the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales where she also served as an auxiliary coastguard. She has degrees from the University of Oslo College of law, the University of Georgia (BBA) and the Georgia State University College of Law (JD).  Her professional career spans from being a Management Consultant to being an attorney focusing on corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, and securities.  She has worked for companies like PricewaterhouseCoopers, Alston & Bird, and Equifax before joining the family business, Atlanta Hardwood Corporation, part time, to focus more time on raising her three sons.

Kristin and her husband live in Georgia during the winter, where they have been actively involved in the local chapter of the Land for Public Trust for years. Kristin's civic work there has ranged from focusing on diversity programs in schools, combatting sexual trafficking, homelessness, and mental health advocacy, and she previously served on the board of the Hardwood Forest Foundation. She has a passion for movies and also serves on the Selection Committee for the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.

Kristin and her family have summered on Sutton Island, one of the Cranberry Isles, for the last twenty years. A new empty-nester, Kristin hopes to spend more time in Maine throughout the year and live on her favorite magical island.

Nathan Johnson 

(Long Island, ME) – Nathan is the Vice President of Development at Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) in Portland, ME. In this role, he is responsible for identifying project sites that are economically, socially, and environmentally appropriate for ORPC’s innovative tidal and river turbine technology. Nathan also contributes to ORPC’s strategic development by identifying partnerships, emerging technologies, and projects to accelerate the marine renewable energy industry and contribute to the sustainability of global communities. In 2015, he founded Shearwater Ventures, LLC to pursue sustainable ocean harvesting of bluefin tuna and farm raised kelp. In doing so he became the first independent grower to sell farmed kelp in the state. Nathan has spent time as a licensed commercial lobsterman, is a certified geologist in Maine, and serves on the Maine Sea Grant Policy Advisory Committee. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and lives year-round on Long Island with his wife, children, and large extended family.

Emily Lane (Chair)

(Vinalhaven, ME) – Emily is currently International Sales Manager for Luke’s Lobster while living full time on Vinalhaven. She has been selling Maine lobster since 1991, serving as General Manager and Export Sales and Marketing Manager for Claw Islands Foods. In 2000, Emily became Export Sales and Marketing Manager for Portland Shellfish a position she held until 2010. From 2010-2017, she served as VP of Sales for Calendar Islands Maine Lobster. She has extensive experience marketing to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia and has been responsible for all logistics, certification, and country requirements for exporting and marketing Maine lobster. Emily has served on the Maine Lobster Advisory Council and the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative. She is the company representative to the Maine International Trade Center and Food Export USA Northeast and a member of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative Advisory Committee. She is also a member of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s Maine Advisory Board, supporting U.S. global engagement. 

Emily has served on a number of local boards on Vinalhaven including the Board of Selectman, is a board member for the Islands Community Medical Services, and is a member of The Vinalhaven Land Trust. Emily is also President of Vinalhaven Kelp Inc., a kelp aquaculture lease project on Vinalhaven.  

Bryan Lewis (Governance Chair)                           

(Austin, TX and North Haven, ME) – Bryan Lewis is recently retired senior vice president of Capital Group Companies, a Los Angeles-based international investment management firm, where he was principally responsible for global real estate, leasing, design, construction and art.  Prior to joining Capital Group, he was a senior architect with the New York-based design firm, Pei Cobb Freed and Partners.  His civic interests have included serving on the board of the Orange County Art Museum, the University of Texas Fine Arts Advisory Council, and the Capital Group Foundation, which he continues to chair. Bryan and his wife, Petie, live in Austin and North Haven. They have two children who both live and work in New York.

Michael Sant               

(Venice, CA and Chamberlain, ME) – Michael Sant is the owner of Sant Architect, based in Venice. Michael grew up in Los Angeles, and together with his wife, raised three children there. Michael is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara and received a master's degree in architecture from Berkeley. Michael is a trustee of the Long Cove Foundation.  

Barbara Kinney Sweet

(New Castle, NH and Ft. Lauderdale, FL) – Bobbie is a graduate of Smith College and has worked for the Harvard Business School, Arthur D. Little, and the Saturday Evening Post. She is Vice-Chairman of Intermatic Incorporated, her family manufacturing company founded in 189. Bobbie is also a Trustee of the New Hampshire Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and was formerly a director of the Ocean Conservancy.  She is active in the National Tropical Botanical Garden, currently co-chairing the McBryde Garden Planning Committee. Bobbie is on the Board of Advisors of Strawberry Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Bobbie and her late husband, Cyrus, cruised the Maine Coast for 52 years.

Tom Tinsley (Vice-Chair)

(Washington, DC and Tenants Harbor, ME) – Tom and his wife began coming to Maine in the summer of 1976 after her father decided that Houston in August no longer made sense, and they soon followed him to Jones Neck on the Medomak River between Waldoboro and Friendship. They rented for many summers and then bought “Mrs. Hupper’s House” in Tenants Harbor in 1995. Tom received a degree in Politics and Theology at the University of Notre Dame, and an MBA at Stanford University. He worked as a Director at McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, for 17 years, then served as President and CEO of The Baan Company, a global software company based in The Netherlands. Since 1999, Tom has been affiliated with General Atlantic, a global participant in the Private Equity field. He was a Managing Director until 2010 and has been an Advisory Director since that time. He currently serves on the board of three private companies – TRAX in Phoenix, Stroz Friedberg in New York City, and Intermedia in California. In the nonprofit space, Tom has served on the LifeFlight of Maine Foundation Board for the last five years, and also serves as co-chair of the Teach for America Board for the Greater DC area.

Charles Verrill, Jr. (Secretary)

(Islesboro, ME and Washington, DC) – Chuck's family moved to Maine from New Hampshire in the early 1800s. He graduated from South Portland High School and then went south to Tufts. After graduation from Tufts, he was lured to Duke University Law School by the Dean who was originally from a town near Eastport, Maine. After Duke, Chuck practiced law in Washington, most recently at Wiley Rein LLP, where he is now Of Counsel and Chair Emeritus of the International Trade Practice, which he founded. Chuck has been an Adjunct Professor of International Trade Law at Georgetown University Law Center since 1978 and is a Senior Lecturing Fellow at Duke Law School. In Maine, he has been a member of the National Advisory Board of the Natural Resources Council of Maine since 2002. He has also acted as pro bono counsel to NRCM (and other environmental organizations) on a number of river restoration issues involving the Penobscot, Kennebec, Sebasticook, and St. Croix rivers. For the last several years, he has been president of Islesboro Islands Trust. Chuck has six children and eight grandchildren, and is an avid fly fisherman and devoted fan of Duke Basketball.

Carol White

(Chebeague Island, ME) – Carol is a year-round resident of Chebeague Island and has served on Chebeague Island’s Comprehensive Planning Committee, School Committee, and Planning Board. She is a hydrogeologist and environmental scientist and has worked on local planning and infrastructure projects, and is currently involved in the island's sea level rise and wharf assessment projects. Carol has operated women-owned businesses in Maine for over 30 years, and currently runs her own environmental consulting company, C.A. White and Associates, specializing in water supply, groundwater contamination, environmental and marine investigations. She is also an adjunct faculty member in the Marine Science program at Southern Maine Community College.  She serves on the Maine Drinking Water Commission and is a past president of the Geological Society of Maine.  

In the summer of 2017, Carol and her daughter organized the Chebeague Aquaculture Festival in summer of 2017. They are currently starting a new business enterprise aimed at providing technical and environmental monitoring services to Maine aquaculturists and are working closely with Island Institute staff to launch their business and support aquaculturists up and down the coast.

Carol has been an active community partner on Island Institute projects, starting in the 1990s, including lobster in the classroom and other early projects. Recently, she advised the Island Institute on the development of research work in 2016 that led to our 2017 Waypoints publication and has been a close partner on our aquaculture programming. In the future, her expertise will be highly relevant for Island Institute projects on sea level rise and coastal infrastructure projects, as well as aquaculture.

Donna Wiegle (Programs Chair)

(Swan's Island, ME) – Donna is the Director of the Mill Pond Health Center on Swan’s Island.  She also serves as Director of Eldercare Outreach of Swan’s Island, a nonprofit organization serving Swan’s Island’s elderly residents and visitors. Improving access to healthcare and eldercare services is Donna’s passion, and in 2005, she began working with the Board of Selectmen to develop an island health center. She has a college degree in Medical Technology and first started offering healthcare services by drawing blood for island residents. Over the past fourteen years, she has developed a network of visiting healthcare providers dedicated to serving the Swan’s Island community. Eldercare Outreach of Swan’s Island is a project that began as a result of Donna’s participation in the Island Institute’s program, Island Sustainability through Leadership and Entrepreneurship (ISLE). 

She is a trained hospice volunteer and offers end-of-life care for those wishing to stay on the island at the end of their life. For the past 18 years, Donna and her husband Charles have lived on the island year-round. They vacationed there for a number of years before they decided to make Swan’s Island their permanent home. They enjoy island life—the people, the natural beauty of the island, and the surrounding Penobscot Bay area. Donna serves as co-chair of the Maine Islands Coalition, and also serves on the advisory board for Healthy Acadia, an organization that addresses critical locally defined health priorities across Hancock and Washington Counties. 

Honorary Trustees

John Bird (Honorary Trustee)

(Rockland, ME) – Following a 30-year career in independent education, including 20 years as a headmaster, John became a nationally recognized consultant to nonprofit organizations that are undergoing strategic planning and other major changes. He is president emeritus of Educators' Collaborative, LLC, a 10-partner firm which also finds leaders for independent schools across the country. He has facilitated the Institute's last three long-range planning efforts, beginning in 1992. An educator and independent school leader for 32 years, John grew up in Rockland, Maine, and was part of the fourth generation in his family to graduate from Bowdoin College. 

Louis W. Cabot (Honorary Trustee)

(Longboat Key, FL and Thomaston, ME) – Louis is a Harvard graduate (B.A. and M.B.A.) and has been both president and chairman of the board at Cabot Corporation. He is now chairman of Cabot-Wellington, LLC, a family investment office. He has served as chairman of the Brookings Institution and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and on many boards, including New England Telephone, Owens Corning Fiberglas, R.R. Donnelley, Wang Laboratories and Arthur D. Little. Additionally, Louis has served as a trustee of Northeastern University, Boston Museum of Science, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Conservation International, as a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers and the MIT Corporation, and as co-chair of the National Academy of Sciences Presidents' Circle. He now serves as chairman of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Trust. Louis recently chaired the Island Institute's successful capital campaign, and is now chairman of the Island Institute's Anchors group.

Horace A. Hildreth, Jr. (Honorary Trustee)

(Vinalhaven, ME and Falmouth, ME) – Hoddy is a graduate of Bowdoin College and Columbia University Law School. He practiced law in Portland until 1978. During this time, he served in the Maine State Senate and the Falmouth Town Council and started Maine's first environmental lobbying organization. In 1979, Hoddy became President of Diversified Communications and now serves as its Chairman. He has served on a number of nonprofit boards, including Maine Audubon Society (President), College of the Atlantic, Maine Outdoor Heritage Trust (Chair), and The Nature Conservancy. He presently serves on the boards of Davis Conservation Foundation, Maine League of Conservation Voters, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and the Maine Community Foundation.