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 Vice President of Sales for Calendar Islands Maine Lobster, specializing in export sales and marketing, 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. 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 Maine lobster. Emily has served on the Maine Lobster Advisory Council and was most recently Vice Chair of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative. She is the company representative to the Maine International Trade Center, Maine Lobstermen’s’ Association and the Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association. 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, currently as Selectman and a member of the Vinalhaven Chamber of Commerce. Emily is also a partner in Crocketts Cove, an online marketplace that showcases local, Maine-made products and gifts and gives back to area communities. A family-owned venture, Crocketts Cove features many coastal and island participants and works to create a partnership between Maine nonprofits and Maine artisans. Through its 2% to Maine Program, Crocketts Cove donates 2% of sales to its two partner nonprofits, Sail Maine and Audubon’s Puffin Project, and actively supports these organizations with programming, sponsorships and events.

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)

(London, England) Doug received his BA at Cornell University in 1980 and his MBA in 1988. He joined Oak Hill Advisors as a partner in 2012. Oak Hill Advisors is a leading independent investment firm. Doug is a member of the Firmview Capital Committee and Asian Capital Committee and serves on the board of Goldman Sachs International Bank. Doug is married to Kerri Ratcliffe and they have four children: Dawson, Shane, Micaela and Riley. Doug has a deep connection to Swan's Island. 

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.

Daniel R. Tishman (Governance Committee Chair)

(New York) Dan is Vice Chair and principal owner of Tishman Hotel & Realty, a privately held real estate and asset management company. He also serves as Vice Chair of AECOM, a publicly-traded company which acquired Tishman Construction in 2010, and remains chairman and CEO of Tishman Construction. Dan has a diverse background in real estate development and construction and has overseen some of the largest developments and redevelopments in the United States, including the World Trade Center, Times Square and City Center in Las Vegas. Under his leadership, Dan pushed the company to become an early leader in green building, and Tishman has managed the construction of more environmentally sound commercial square feet than any other builder in the country. Dan’s interest in and concern for sustainability and the environment stems from his background and interest in biology and environmental sciences. He currently serves as Chair of the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the world’s leading environmental advocacy organizations. In addition, his other philanthropic interests include science, education and the arts, and he also serves on numerous industry, civic and philanthropic boards.

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) 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.

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.   

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.  

Hannah Pingree  

(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.

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)

(Spruce Head, 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.