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.

Joseph R. Higdon (Chair)

(St. George, ME and Washington, DC) In the summer of 2006, Joe retired after 35 years in the investment business, the last 32 with Capital Research and Management Company. While at Capital, Joe started its Washington office, initiated its undergraduate professional hiring program, and served as the Philippine and global beverage analyst. Although they still maintain a part-time residence in Washington, DC, since 2006, he and his wife Ellen have lived in Maine's midcoast where they had summered every year since 1978. Joe continues to have business and philanthropic interests in the Philippines, where he serves on three corporate boards and is heavily involved in micro-lending and educational programs. Joe and Ellen have three children. With his family's forbearance, Joe serves as president of their family foundation, The Rocking Moon Foundation, which focuses most of its attention on youth education, at-risk youth and gay, lesbian and transgender youth. He also serves on the board of Trekkers, a youth mentoring organization in the Midcoast area. Joe is a native Tennessean and was the first person from there to volunteer for the Peace Corps. He served two years in the Philippines as a teacher of English, math and science in rural elementary schools.

Emily Lane (Board Vice-Chair)

(Vinalhaven, ME) Emily is currently International Sales Manager for Cape Seafood/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 Board. 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 in Vinalhaven, including the Board of Selectman, and is currently a member of the Vinalhaven Chamber of Commerce, The Vinalhaven Land Trust, and a Board member for the Islands Community Medical Services. Emily is also President of Vinalhaven Kelp Inc., a kelp aquaculture lease project on Vinalhaven.   

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. His wife Barbara has been a professor at Bowdoin College since 1980.

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, and his wife, Kerri and their four children have been spending summers on Swan's Island for the last 27 years. 

Henry L. Miller (Development Chair)

(New York City and Penobscot Bay) Henry is a Principal at High Impact Partnering, a consulting firm in New York City, and has spent part of every summer since childhood in Maine – primarily on Penobscot Bay. He advises companies and nonprofit organizations on their communications and has extensive experience representing media companies, advocacy groups, and foundations, among other sectors. Earlier in his career, he served in government as an advisor to two U.S. Ambassadors to the United Nations (Andrew Young and Donald McHenry) and to two Mayors (David Dinkins in New York and Andrew Young in Atlanta). A graduate of the University of Virginia – with B.A. and M.A. degrees in sociology – he is also a Vice Chair of Accion, the global microfinance nonprofit. His wife, Shelby, grew up in Yarmouth, Maine.

Hannah Pingree (Governance Committee Chair)

(North Haven, ME) Hannah was elected for four terms to the Maine House of Representatives, where she served as the House Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, as the House Majority Leader, and as the Speaker of the House. In the Legislature, Hannah represented eleven island and coastal towns in Knox and Hancock Counties. In Augusta, she focused on issues of health care and public health, economic development, housing, fishing, environmental protection, and access to broadband and alternative energy. Since being term-limited from the legislature, Hannah has worked as the business manager of her family’s inn, restaurant, and farm, and she manages North Haven Sustainable Housing, an organization that builds housing for year-round residents and island seniors. Hannah hosts a weekly MPBN public affairs show, and she serves on her local school board. Hannah, her husband, two small children, and their black lab Willie all live on the island of North Haven and love weekend days exploring the woods and beaches.

Charles Verrill, Jr. (Secretary)

(Islesboro, ME and Washington, DC) Chuck's family moved to Biddeford Pool, 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.

Donna Wiegle (Programs Committee 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. In 2005, she began working with the Board of Selectmen to develop an island health center. She has a degree in Medical Technology and first started offering healthcare services by drawing blood for island residents. Over the past ten 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 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 14 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 on the Swan’s Island Municipal Advisory Council, as co-chair of the Maine Islands Coalition, and on the advisory board for Healthy Acadia, an organization that addresses critical locally defined health priorities across Hancock and Washington Counties.  

Natalie Ames

(Matinicus, ME and Camden, ME) Natalie Ames is a year-round resident of Matinicus Island, where she lives with her three children and partner John Griffin. 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, Mr. Belle spent four years managing a commercial-scale aquaculture research and development foundation in Norway.

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 nonprofit sector. He has served as the President of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association since 1990, first chair of the state’s Lobster Advisory Council, founding member of the Lobster Institute, and on the lobster advisory panels for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and New England Fisheries Management Council. Dave is a member of the Spruce Head Fishermen’s Co-Op and has served several terms on its board and as its president, and he has volunteered and collaborated in many lobster research projects. He holds a bachelor’s degree in education, has worked as a teacher in the Greenville, Maine schools, and has coached numerous sports teams. 

Megan McGinnis Dayton 

(Minneapolis, MN and Chebeague Island, ME) Megan lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but spends as much time as possible on Chebeague Island in the warmer months. She and her husband, Jim, have two children, ages 12 and 16. Jim first introduced her to the island of Chebeague 30 years ago through his mother Joan’s century-long connection to the island. 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 kids 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 Education Department Advisory Chair, several event Chairs, and lastly as President of the Board of Trustees. 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. Megan enjoys asking questions in search of enlightening answers and fostering consensus toward creative problem solving. She also enjoys exercise, photography, reading, gardening, observing, listening, and conversing.

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 Keely and their two children, Anya and Isaiah.

Luke Holden

(Cape Elizabeth, ME) Luke was born and raised in Cape Elizabeth. He spent his sunny summers lobstering in his hand-made skiff, and his frigid winters playing ice hockey in Casco Bay. Luke left home to study finance and management at Georgetown University. After graduating, Luke founded Luke’s Lobsters, a traceable sustainable seafood restaurant with locations in every major city across the United States and in Japan.  Currently, Luke spends part of his time in Maine managing Cape Seafood, Luke's sister seafood company, and sitting on the boards of the Tenants Harbor Fishermen's Co-op, the Maine Lobster Institute, the Maine Aquaculture Co-op, and the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative.

Kristin Howard

(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, Jim, live in Atlanta, Georgia during the winter.  Her civic work there has ranged from focusing on diversity programs in schools, combatting sexual trafficking, homelessness, and mental health advocacy. Jim and Kristin have been actively involved in the local chapter of the Land for Public Trust for years.  Kristin previously served on the board of the Hardwood Forest Foundation. She has a passion for movies and 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. Although her sons are scattered from Palo Alto, CA to Chicago and Chapel Hill, NC, they are deeply connected to the Cranberry Isles.  As a newly 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) Nate is the Director of Environmental Affairs at Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) and Director of Business Development for ORPC Solutions in Portland, Maine. In this role, he is responsible for developing solutions to deploy ORPC tidal and river turbine technology in an environmentally responsible and cost effective manner. He also contributes to ORPC’s strategic development by identifying partnerships, emerging technologies, and projects to accelerate the marine renewable industry and contribute to the sustainability of global communities. In 2015, he founded Shearwater Ventures, LLC to pursue sustainable ocean harvesting of tuna and farm raised kelp. Nate also has spent time as a licensed commercial lobsterman and is a certified geologist in Maine. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University. Nate recently participated in the Island Institute’s Collaborative for Island Energy Research and Action program (CIERA), made possible by the Fund for Maine Islands.   

Bryan Lewis                           

(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.

Katherine Drew McGhee

(Brooklyn, NY and Vinalhaven, ME) Drew grew up in downtown Chicago and is a graduate of Stanford University. A Master Teacher in the Lower School at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn since 1984, Drew has summered on Vinalhaven with her husband and three children for the past fifteen years. She is a former governor of the Brooklyn Heights Association and is active in civic and cultural affairs in and around Brooklyn.  On Vinalhaven, she serves on the board of Partners in Island Education.  

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, Kristin, 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 1891. 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, and is also on the Board of Advisors of Strawberry Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Bobbie and her husband, Cyrus, spent many decades cruising the Maine Coast.

Tom Tinsley

(Washington, DC and Tenants Harbor, ME) Tom and his wife, Cathy, began coming to Maine in the summer in 1976 when Cathy’s father decided that Houston in August no longer made sense. Tom and Cathy followed them 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 Menlo Park, 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.

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. Among his many interests, John is an avid kayaker.

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.