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Skye Aresty is Senior Consultant at the Beacon Group, where she drives research and analysis across the firm's defense, technology, industrial, and healthcare practices. On the side, Skye teaches a vinyasa yoga class at a local Portland studio and assists in housing homeless clients at the Milestone Foundation. Skye enjoys hiking, snowshoeing, live music, and exploring the Portland food scene in her free time.
Alex Bresler is a Preferred Sales Financial Center Sr. Specialist within Bank of America. As part of the Preferred Sales line of business, his main responsibility is to act as the primary inbound contact for Bank of America's most valuable consumer clients. He answers detailed questions about their current products and services, while focusing on resolving any current or future problems for the clients. He also educates the clients about additional value added products and services and introduces them to specialists in other areas of the bank. He focuses on making these connections to help his clients achieve their financial goals. He also get to meet clients in a face-to-face setting within the financial center setting. Alex was born in St. Petersburg, Russia and at the age of eleven he immigrated to Tucson, Arizona under refugee status. In the Summer of 2002 Alex moved to Portland, Maine and started studying at University of Southern Maine. He was very heavily involved in student government and received the award for Student Leader of the Year. While he received his Baccalaureate in Economics most of his 180 university credits are actually in chemistry and biology. During the 2012 election Alex played an assisting role for campaigns organized by Environment America in Massachusetts North Shore area, which ran adjacent to the US Senate race. Alex is currently involved in Portland's Triangle Lodge, No. 1, Ancient Free & Accepted Masons.
Christian Celeste Tate
Christian Celeste Tate is currently a Senior Consultant at The Beacon Group, a growth strategy firm in Portland, Maine that helps major corporations drive top-line growth. In his role, Christian leads primary and secondary research and works collaboratively to synthesize both quantitative and qualitative data, providing thought leadership and strategic analysis to clients across Beacon’s healthcare, aerospace & defense, technology and industrial practices. Christian is also an Advocate with the Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine and training to become a Community Partner with the Maine Boys to Men Reducing Sexism and Violence Program. Christian holds a degree in economics and government from Bowdoin College. Before joining The Beacon Group, Christian participated in the White House Internship Program in the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs under the Obama Administration. Christian functioned as a liaison to the labor, LGBT, and social safety net constituencies. Christian also has experience in nonprofits, working specifically to improve the function of government by supporting congressional bipartisanship at No Labels and advocating for electoral reform at FairVote. A DC native, Christian’s appreciation for community involvement began at an early age. Christian has been politically involved ever since his first job, canvassing for the Fund for the Public Interest. Christian went door to door during the first Obama campaign in 2008 and has since worked on gubernatorial, presidential and citizen referendum campaigns.
Victoria Foley is a Maine native, born in Portland. She attended the University of Kings College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she earned a degree in Journalism. After graduation, Victoria spent a number of years working as a public radio reporter and producer in Halifax, Toronto, and Aspen, Colorado. After hosting a morning radio show in the Portland market, Victoria moved into marketing. She currently serves as Director of Marketing for New England Cancer Specialists. In addition to work, Victoria spends time serving her community through volunteering with a variety of nonprofit organizations, including Heart of Biddeford, Girls on the Run - Maine, and Greater Portland Health. She currently serves as Board President at Greater Portland Health, and as a city councilor in Biddeford. When she isn't working or serving her community, Victoria enjoys running with her two rescue dogs, Parker and Beignet, cooking, traveling, and working on her house.
Jensine Fraser is a native Mainer, an avid triathlete, and a graduate of the University of Southern Maine with a degree in international studies. Having grown up bi-cultural, CIEE, a non profit in international education, was the perfect fit. Jensine has been working in the international educational field for the past 10 years and competing in triathlons for the past 4. Competing in triathlon helped her untap her passion for helping girls own their confidence and see their own power.
Bryan Funk is the Senior Associate at Peachtree Strategies, a nonprofit and political action consulting firm based in Gorham, ME. He is currently working to help secure universal healthcare for all Maine people and manages the Clean Elections funding program for Independent gubernatorial candidate Terry Hayes. His career has spanned working for Invisible Children, an organization dedicated to ending a child soldier conflict in central Africa, and To Write Love On her Arms (TWLOHA), a mental health advocacy nonprofit. He has coordinated international tours speaking to over 55,000 people directly, raised millions of dollars, forged partnerships with influential culture and policy makers, and mobilized thousands of young activists to pass legislation. He has seen firsthand the transformative power of a well-told story and how a movement of compassionate people can truly change the world. Bryan’s mission in his work in fundraising and grassroots mobilization is to invest in and empower people to identify their gifts in order to reach their full potential.
Alison is a Maine native, born and raised. She graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a degree in Health Sciences and minor in Holistic Health. While at school, Alison was a Resident Advisor (RA) for the Community of the Arts dormitory, and the group leader/club president for Alternative Student Break, where she helped lead volunteer trips along the East Coast. She took a year off from school to serve in AmeriCorps, where she learned about disaster relief and participated in volunteer trips around the country. During her college summers, Alison worked at Camp Susan Curtis, a tuition free camp where economically disadvantaged Maine youth could gain confidence through new skills and outdoor programming. She worked as the Waterfront Director and Creative Arts Director, managing staff, planning activities, and creating a safe space to implement educational programming. This led to a position at the YMCA of Southern Maine in Portland as a Youth Development Coordinator where she worked with staff to provide a safe and healthy space for youth and family programming, including leading the organizing of the YMCA’s largest Healthy Kids Day to date. She currently works as an Administrative Assistant at an Integrative Health Facility in Portland, while learning about healthcare policies and volunteering with the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting. Her goals include returning to school for naturopathic medicine and to bring a new practice and education center to Maine to help develop policies that provide healthcare to all of Maine, including integrative services.
Rhiannon Guzelian is currently the Veterans’ Employment Specialist at Easterseals Maine where she works to match qualified Veterans with great employment opportunities, and helps Veterans identify, plan for, and meet career goals. A Veteran herself, Rhiannon separated from seven years of Active Duty service in the Air Force in September 2014. In the Air Force, Rhiannon was an Air Battle Manager and deployed as an aircrew member, mission planning officer, and liaison officer for JSTARS missions supporting Operations Enduring Freedom , Iraqi Freedom, and New Dawn. After separating, Rhiannon moved to Maine with her husband, Shara, in order to be closer to family. Rhiannon has worked for three years in Veterans’ employment services, and believes that Veterans have a shared experience, but that each Veteran’s story is unique. Her work with each Veteran is highly individualized and specialized to the Veteran's needs and goals. Working in the Veterans’ services space excites Rhiannon, as many progressive health and social practices, models, and methodologies are piloted with the Veteran population. Rhiannon is fortunate to work for an employer that both values whole-person health and wellness (including mental health) and is a leader in disability advocacy, education and inclusion. The issues nearest to Rhiannon's heart are: destigmatizing mental health, improving access to healthcare, housing, domestic and intimate partner violence prevention, and disability inclusion. In her free time, Rhiannon enjoys watching comedies and cooking with her husband, learning to Lindy Hop at the Portland Swing Project, and exploring greater Portland’s stellar culinary scene.
Ruth Hanselman is the Program Manager for Operational Excellence at Maine Medical Center, where she supports the implementation of process improvement techniques in a tertiary care teaching environment. An advocate for high-quality, high-value patient care, Ruth enjoys helping frontline caregivers use Lean Six Sigma tools to advance and optimize healthcare practices. Ruth brings a background in event planning, organizational development, and training to the New Leaders Council. After becoming a customer service trainer while working at MaineHealth Information Services, teaching became a professional passion and education continues to be central to her work. A life-long learner, Ruth is currently pursuing an M.B.A. at Husson University and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at the Acuity Institute. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Maine, with a Bachelor of the Arts in English and a minor in Psychology. She later completed a Bachelors in Psychology at the University of Southern Maine. Forever an English-major at heart, Ruth continues to draw wisdom from Virginia Woolf, imagination from J. K. Rowling, and a sense of the comic muse from Jane Austen. Ruth lives in Westbrook, Maine and can be found kayaking during the summer, snowshoeing during the winter, or exploring Maine’s beaches year round.
Kalie provides training, technical assistance, support and advocacy to Maine's Federally Qualified Health Centers in her role at the Maine Primary Care Association. She contributes to the development and implementation of initiatives to support the Federally Qualified Health Centers on topics such as oral health, social determinants of health, health insurance, population health, public health, and patient engagement in care. Previously, Kalie worked with community health coalitions both locally and as part of a training and technical support team for community health coalitions at the state level on issues including accessing healthy food, preventing substance use, and promoting active lifestyles through policy, systems, and environmental change. Kalie received her Bachelor’s in Anthropology from the University of Maine with minors in French and Spanish, and her Master of Public Health from the University at Albany where she was a David Axelrod Fellow in Public Health. Outside of work, Kalie is engaged politically by collecting signatures for referendum issues, including implementing ranked choice voting in the state, as well as supporting get out the vote campaigns and registering people to vote. She is passionate about health policy that prevents people from becoming sick in the first place and is eagerly awaiting the day when funding for health reflects public health priorities so people can easily live their healthiest and best lives. When not working or calling her legislators, Kalie enjoys exploring new hiking places with her partner, going to small music shows and festivals, and spending time with friends and family.
Chelsea Hoskins was born in Central Maine and has been living and working in Portland, Maine for the past seven years. Coming from working class parents and a large family network employed as teachers and social workers it was no surprise that Chelsea chose the path of Social Services. Chelsea graduated from the University of Maine in 2009 with a BA in Sociology and concentration in race, class, and gender. After obtaining her degree she began working for Spurwink Services in central Maine working in their specialized school based setting with children diagnosed on the autism spectrum. This work quickly stole her heart and propelled her to seek a similar career opportunity with Catholic Charities of Maine Support and Recovery Services working as an Adult Mental Health Case Manager in Portland in 2010. After a few years at SRS she was promoted to spearhead a new role of Community Liaison, which grew her passion of networking, program development, and special projects. In 2017, Chelsea took a position with the City of Portland Social Services Division where she serves as the only individual administering the Portland Community Support Fund assisting individuals who are unable to receive state general assistance funding due to their immigration status. Through her myriad of career experiences Chelsea quickly observed that the field of Social Services often adapts and swiftly navigates around programming and funding cuts; finding creative ways to continue to provide support to individuals who are most in need. Chelsea’s hope is to influence policy to protect those most in need from the ground up. Chelsea is currently part of the eighth cohort of Emerging Leaders from Lift 360 and is excited to serve on the board of a local nonprofit. In her leisure time, she enjoys seeing friends and family, taking part in local events, traveling, consignment shopping, and searching for treasures at flea markets.
Born and raised in Michigan, Gregory is currently a general manager at a high volume restaurant in his new home of Portland, Maine. Prior to this role, Gregory helped build and project manage the back of the house at a restaurant in the Old Port. Gregory takes pride in never demanding more of his employees than he is willing to give and bringing a positive spirit to an industry often riddled with tension. After 10+ years of working up the ladder in the food service industry, Gregory has taken the leap to return to school and pursue a BA in Business. Still, Gregory is certain that most innovative entrepreneurial ideas are born out of real world experience. If push comes to shove, Gregory would call himself a restaurant manager, but will also settle for ambitious soon-to-be entrepreneur, devoted friend, and diehard fan of his home state college football team. Go Blue! Gregory is eagerly looking to learn and integrate relevant professional skills with his personal mission of kindness to serve his community, one meal at a time.
Jesse Juntura is a born and raised Mainer from Androscoggin County. He is a graduate of Colby College (2016) in Waterville, where he double-majored in Government and Global Studies. Jesse spent over a year working in Washington D.C. at DSPolitical — a company that integrates data with technology to persuade audiences and deliver wins for progressive candidates, causes, and issues with the most efficient and effective digital advertising campaigns in politics. Within the company, Jesse works with down-ballot campaigns — from mosquito control district to state representative — and international campaigns in countries such as Australia, the UK, and Canada. Having returned to Maine, Jesse continues to work for DSPolitical from Portland and looks forward to the challenge ahead in the 2018 election cycle. During his time at Colby, Jesse has also worked for the Maine Migrant Education Program, connecting migrant farmworkers and their children with supplemental educational services, and for Congressman Mike Michaud representing Maine’s 2nd congressional district. An aspiring business owner, Jesse often contemplates about a way to combine his interests in progressive politics, technology, and sustainable food systems. Jesse is an avid homebrewer and a novice photographer. More recently, Jesse enjoys testing his healthy fear of heights at the rock climbing facility.
Sarah Kelly is a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach (IBC-HWC) who owns her own business Sarah Kelly Coaching. Sarah helps guide people to a healthy, joyful life using a model of integrative health. In addition to coaching, she loves to lead workshops and retreats centered around self-worth, growth and healing. Sarah holds a Master of Arts in International Communication from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia and a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences concentration of Community Mental Health from the State University of New York at Buffalo in Buffalo, New York. She trained as an Integrative Health Coach at Duke Integrative Medicine in Raleigh, North Carolina. Before entering the coaching field, Sarah worked over a decade in the field of communications and public affairs. She has worked in the nonprofit, government, international and private sectors. Most of her focus over the decade was in women right’s advocacy and military health. Her passion to help others has always been the forefront of her career choices. Although not a Maine native, Sarah feels that Maine is home. She moved here from Washington, D.C. in 2011. Sarah enjoys traveling the world; time with her friends & family; continuously learning and growing; and her beloved puppy, Lola.
Matthew Opuda has a background in Information Technology, Information Security, and Business and Technology Solutions. He is a co-founder and project manager for The Midnight Corp., where he oversees the planning and execution of web application development projects and conducts business process consulting engagements. With the foundation of the company motto of “Do Good Work”, Matthew looks forward to using the expertise of his team to make a positive impact on the world through upcoming projects. Drawing from his life-long interest in philosophy and a more recent interest in economics, Matthew has a passion for leadership and empowering others to learn and grow towards their goals. He strives to improve himself along the way through introspection, active listening, and goal setting. Matthew strongly believes that our path forward as a society lies in having open conversations about our shared realities, and that breaking down tribal walls in order to discover our commonalities is vital to our success. He looks forward to bringing his skills to NLC in 2018 and learning from the people, the process, and the experience. In his spare time, Matthew develops his leadership and public speaking skills as an officer in his Toastmasters club, enjoys reading outside with his fiancée and two dogs, and tries to keep up with too many podcasts.
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Tess is a Maine transplant. While obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Law and Society from American University in Washington D.C., Tess became interested in social justice and advocacy. After interning for Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) in Boston, Tess moved to Portland in 2014. As an active member of the recovery community, Tess has managed two women’s recovery houses in Portland. For the past two years, she has worked at a nonprofit as a Residential Support Worker assisting clients living with mental illness. Driven by her desire to help vulnerable populations, she recently enrolled in the Policy, Planning, and Management Master’s Degree program at the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service. She hopes to launch a career in the nonprofit sector that is centered on policy change and advocacy for those facing stigma and marginalization. Tess is excited to join the ranks of NLC fellows working to make their communities a better place with the help of leadership training and mentorship. In her free time, Tess enjoys playing for her softball team, The Jaywalkers, and spending time with family and friends.
Victoria Petersen is a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) who has a strong passion for advocacy, research and advancing her professional field. She has worked as a SLP for 5 years, serving a variety of populations including children and adults with complex medical and communication challenges. She currently works in a public school district in a rural town in Maine with children, kindergarten through 12th grade. Here, Victoria was awarded Outstanding District Employee for her accomplishments supporting students and staff across the district. Victoria volunteered and worked in the Reading, Oral Language and Writing lab as well as the Developmental Language, Cognition and Swallowing research lab during her graduate work at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, which sparked her interest in research. She co-authored and published a peer-reviewed article in the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, focusing on written cohesion in children with and without language impairments as part of her work in the research lab. Victoria found a desire to be an advocate for those who are not able to advocate for themselves after attending a Student Advocacy Professional Training through the New Jersey Speech and Hearing Association at the State House in Trenton, NJ in 2013. Victoria has continued to be involved at the state level after moving to Maine to advocate for the field of Speech Language Pathology, and also the people she serves. Victoria hopes to continue to advocate for the clients she works with and further advance the field of Speech Language Pathology.
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