(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.


(Brunswick, ME) – Mike is a graduate of Brown University and Boston University School of Law. Mike 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.

SHEY CONOVER (Secretary, Governance Chair)

(Islesboro, ME) – Shey lives on Islesboro with her husband and two children. She and her husband, Josh, own and operate Islesboro Marine Enterprises—a full-service boatyard, and Marshall Cove Mussels, a rapidly growing mussel farm 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 Island Institute in a series of leadership roles, including VP of Programs, VP of Operations and Chief Operating Officer. Shey left the Institute in 2017 to manage their small business full-time and has been a supporting voice in our work in that area.


(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, first chair of the state’s Lobster Advisory Council, founding member of the Lobster Institute, and 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 Coop 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, ME schools and has coached numerous sports teams. He holds a bachelor’s degree in education.

MEGAN MCGINNIS DAYTON (Ad Hoc Marketing & Communications Committee CHAIR)

(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 has 2 kids aged 12 and 16. Her late husband, Jim, introduced her to the island of Chebeague thirty 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. Megan taught Architectural Design at the University of Virginia and the University of Minnesota. Additionally, she had a residential architecture design firm in Wayzata, Minnesota, before her kids were born. She served on the Board of St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development. Her volunteering at the Blake School has run the gamut of leadership roles in Art, Events and Gardening (actual and Container). 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 been with the Family Councils of both the Dayton family and the McGinnis family in creating and clarifying their family governance structure. She enjoys asking questions in search of enlightening answers and fostering consensus toward creative problem solving. She enjoys exercise, photography, reading, gardening, observing, listening, and conversing.


(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 of 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.


(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.


(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 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-three years.


(Long Island, ME) –Nathan is the Vice President of Development at Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) in Portland, Maine. 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.


(Vinalhaven, ME) – A full time resident of Vinalhaven, Emily is currently principal at Blue Lobster Consulting LLC. She has been selling Maine lobster for almost thirty years, with a career in international sales spanning four Maine seafood companies. Most recently, Emily served as International Sales Manager for Luke’s Lobster. Emily has extensive experience marketing to Europe, the Middle East and Asia and has coordinated logistics and certification for exporting and marketing Maine lobster. Emily has served on the Maine Lobster Advisory Council and the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative. She a member of the Maine International Trade Center and the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s Maine Advisory Board, supporting U.S. global engagement. Emily has held positions of leadership on many municipal, and State boards. She is currently a member of the Islands Community Medical Services Board of Trustees and President of Vinalhaven Kelp Inc.

BRYAN LEWIS (Philanthropy Committee CHair)

(Austin, TX and North Haven, ME) –Bryan Lewis retired as 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 boards of the Orange County Art Museum, the University of Texas Fine Arts Advisory Council, and the Capital Group Foundation which he chaired. Bryan and his wife, Petie, live in Austin and North Haven. They have two children and two grandchildren that live and work in Austin.


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

Michael Steinharter

(Weston, CT and Stonington, ME) – Mike Steinharter and his family have a lifelong commitment to Deer Isle. Mike joined the Board of Trustees in October 2023. He also Chairs the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement of Greater Fairfield County in Connecticut and provides pro bono consulting services to other non-profits via the National Executive Service Corp (NESC). He has retired from corporate life in the Information Technology (IT) industry, having spent 22 years with IBM and another 18 years with various IT services and software companies in Chief Commercial Officer and Chief Revenue Officer roles. Mike holds a BA degree from Dartmouth College and an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business. He is married with four children, and acts as Chairman of Ospreys Echo Sea Kayaking, his son’s business, based in Stonington.


(Washington, DC) – Kate grew up in Pasadena, California, and has lived in Washington DC for the past 25 years. She and her family enjoy vacationing in Owls Head where her husband, Brad, spent summers as a child. Kate is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and began her career in the investment management industry as a fixed income analyst and trader at the Capital Group Companies in Los Angeles. After moving to DC, she became the Director of Corporate Investments at Freddie Mac where she managed the company’s short-term investment portfolio. After staying home with her young children for several years, Kate’s longtime interest in design led her to start her own interior design business in 2001. Katherine Vogt Interiors specializes in residential interior design. Kate’s civic interests include environmental protection as well as educational and support services for at-risk women and children. She has served on the boards of House of Ruth and For Love of Children (FLOC), where she has been Treasurer for the past four years. Kate is an avid runner, a certified beekeeper, and a proud mother of three daughters.

CAROL WHITE (Programs Chair)

(Chebeague Island, ME) – Carol is a geologist and environmental scientist who manages her own environmental consulting company, C.A. White and Associates, specializing in environmental and marine investigations. Carol 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. Carol has worked on several local planning and infrastructure projects on Chebeague Island. She has served on the island’s Comprehensive Plan Committee, School Committee and Planning Board and has worked on sea level rise and wharf assessment projects. Carol has been an active community partner on Island Institute projects, starting in the 1990s—including lobster in the classroom and other early educational projects. Recently, she advised us on development of research work in 2016 that led to Waypoints and has been a close partner on aquaculture programming. She lives on Chebeague with her husband Herb, who currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Selectmen on the island.


(Swan’s Island, ME) –Donna and her husband Charlie have lived year-round on Swan’s Island since 2001. They vacationed there for years before deciding 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 was instrumental in starting the Mill Pond Health Center on Swan’s Island in 2007. She served as the health center director until her retirement in 2023. In 2022, Donna joined Swan’s Island EMS as an EMT and is an active member serving her community’s emergency medical needs. She is a trained hospice volunteer with Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County. Donna was instrumental in creating the Municipal Advisory Council on Swan’s Island and serves as the vice-chair. She is also Swan’s Island’s representative to the Maine Islands Coalition.


Honorary Trustees


(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 who are undergoing strategic planning and other major changes. He is president emeritus of Educators’ Collaborative, LLC, a ten-partner firm, which also finds leaders for independent schools across the country.  Among his many civic involvements, John currently serves on the Maine State Board of Education and the Maine Charter School Commission. 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.

Thomas K. Glenn II

(Atlanta, GA and Bernard, ME) –Tom is a native resident of Atlanta, Georgia. He received an AB degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and MBA and PhD degrees from Georgia State University. His business career began at Trust Company Bank (now Truist). He later taught Management and Entrepreneurship at Emory University’s School of Business. Subsequent consulting endeavors resulted in his leaving the teaching profession to become president of a cost engineering firm. Tom now devotes most of his time to philanthropic interests and serves as a trustee of the Hilda and Wilbur Glenn Family Foundation. He has served on a number of non-profit boards, including the Westminster Schools, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and the Georgia Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. Tom is an avid fan of traditional American blues and folk music and enjoys playing the guitar. Other hobbies include boating, hiking, and spending as much time as possible with his wife, his two daughters, and their families.

Joseph R. Higdon

(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 their Washington office, initiated their undergraduate professional hiring program and served as the Philippine and global beverage analyst. Since 2006, he and his wife, Ellen, have relocated to Maine’s mid-coast where they had summered every year since 1978. They still maintain a part-time residence in Washington, DC. They have three children. Joe continues to have business and philanthropic interests in the Philippines. There, he serves on three corporate boards and is heavily involved in micro-lending and educational programs. Joe serves, with his family’s forbearance, as President of their family foundation, The Rocking Moon Foundation. The foundation focuses most of its attention on youth education, at risk youth and gay, lesbian and transgender youth. 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.

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. 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.


Ex Officio


As president of Island Institute, Kim is responsible for setting and implementing Island Institute’s strategic direction in partnership with the board of trustees, senior leadership team and community partners. In September 2022, Kim was hired as interim chief programs officer and oversaw programmatic work while working as a part of the senior leadership team on cross-cutting issues related to strategy, development and impact. Kim brings to the organization years of nonprofit, philanthropy, and policy experience, a Ph.D. in Demography, and a master’s degree in International Economics.

In her previous occupation, Kim served as the president of FocusMaine where she led efforts to accelerate job creation in the agriculture, aquaculture, and biopharmaceutical sectors. Other positions she has held in her career include chief impact officer at Feeding America, an organization that supports 200 food banks across the United States, and director of strategy planning and management at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where she developed grantmaking strategies and helped advance the foundation’s policy and advocacy goals.

Kim grew up in North Yarmouth and spent much of her childhood where she now lives on Chebeague Island as a ninth-generation islander. Kim has also seen much of the world, having lived in Washington D.C., New York City, Seattle, Providence RI, Pittsburgh PA, Botswana, Senegal, and Paris. She now lives on the island with her husband and their beloved dog, Crosby, in the home that once belonged to her grandparents. She loves island life, traveling, and oil painting in her spare time.

Telling stories of island and coastal life