John T. Gorman Fellowship

The John T. Gorman Fellowship is designed for professionals who aspire to be results-based leaders with the vision, confidence, and competence to advance changes in programs, policies, and systems that can improve the lives of vulnerable people in Maine.  Through a series of six two-day seminars and a site visit, the Foundation convenes up to 12 fellows to reflect, explore, and learn more about their leadership practice in the context of personal strengths, organizational roles, and the complex systems in which they work.

For more information:

  Our 2017 Fellows are featured below.

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Angela Atkinson Duina

School Improvement Coordinator

Portland Public Schools

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Liz Cotter Schlax

President & CEO

United Way of Greater Portland

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Catherine (Cat) Hamel

Boys & Girls Club of Bangor

Executive Director

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Stephanie LeBlanc

Executive Director

Oxford County Mental Health Services

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James Martin

Director

Office of Child and Family Services of Maine Department of Health and Human Services

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Jenna Mehnert

Executive Director

National Alliance on Mental Illness Maine

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Robyn Merrill

Executive Director

Maine Equal Justice Partners

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Kaylene Mitchell

Dean of Enrollment and Student Success

Southern Maine Community College

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Rilwan Osman

Executive Director

Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services

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Jason Parent

Executive Director

Aroostook County Action Program (ACAP)

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Eliza Townsend

Executive Director

Maine Women’s Policy Center

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Shawn Yardley

President and CEO

Community Concepts

Angela Atkinson Duina

In her role, Angela is tasked with improving outcomes for Maine families through collaboration with school leaders and teachers. Previously, she was a post-doctoral Research Fellow at the University of British Columbia, a researcher at the Center for Education Policy, Applied Research and Evaluation (CEPARE) at the University of Southern Maine, and a classroom teacher and Dean of the Faculty at Poland Regional High School. Angela holds a Bachelor of Arts from Boston College, a Master in Education from Harvard University, and a Doctorate of Education from Boston University. 

Liz Cotter Schlax

Liz assumed leadership of United Way of Greater Portland in January 2015. As President & CEO, she guides United Way’s strategies that achieve community change in the areas of education, financial stability, and health to improve people’s lives. Liz started her United Way career at United Way of Dane County (Madison, WI) in 1998 after working for four years in other nonprofit organizations including KaBOOM!, Up with People, and the Partnership for National Service/Points of Light Foundation. Upon completion of her master’s degree, Liz spent six years with John Deere, where she served in marketing and strategic planning roles in Moline, IL; Cary, NC; Zweibruecken, Germany; and Johnston, IA. From 2009 until 2014, she led United Way of Central Iowa’s Advancement Division, which included corporate engagement, grants, individual engagement, and marketing staff. Liz serves on the Board of Directors of the Portland Community Chamber of Commerce. She grew up in Waterville, Maine, and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University and a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University.

Catherine (Cat) Hamel

Cat joined Bangor Housing in 2012 as the Director of Community Outreach, working to create and implement programs that would enhance the experiences and opportunities of families in the public housing community. In 2014, she opened the Boys & Girls Club of Bangor, a positive place for kids that has quickly become a second home, an extended family, and a life-changer for many. The club offers hope and opportunity to children and families who have had unequal access to enriching experiences outside of school. Cat has an extensive background in youth development and social services, including serving as the Director of Youth and Family Services at the Bangor Y, overseeing the Penquis Dispute Resolution Center and Rape Response Services at Penquis, as well as foster parenting for the past 10 years. Over her nearly 20 year career, Cat has developed multiple programs to support at-risk youth, including those faced with homelessness, pregnancy, suspension and expulsion, and entering the juvenile justice system and envisions the Club as a place where youth will find support, overcome barriers, and reach their fullest potential. Cat grew up in Bangor, Maine and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maine at Presque Isle, earning her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.

Stephanie LeBlanc

Stephanie is leading Oxford County Mental Health through an ongoing process of continuous quality improvement, strategic planning, clinical program expansion and maintaining collaborative community partnerships.  Prior to joining OCMHS in May 2014, Stephanie served as the Manager of Adult Clinical Services & Quality Management at Tri-County Mental Health Services. Stephanie lives in Bethel, Maine and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Southern Maine and a Master of Social Work from the University of New England.

James Martin

James’s office is responsible for ensuring the safety, permanency and well-being of children and families through community networks, local resources, and life-long family connections throughout Maine. OCFS fulfills its mission through the administration of child welfare services, children's behavioral health services and a broad spectrum of early intervention and prevention services. Previously, he served as Director of the Office of Aging and Disability Services of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. James has worked as a caseworker and service provider for children and adults with disabilities. James holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Southern Maine and a Master’s of Social Work from the University of New England. 

Jenna Mehnert

A social worker by education, Jenna began her career as a child welfare worker in Lewiston/Auburn. Having worked in the fields of child welfare, juvenile justice, rape crisis, domestic violence, addiction and criminal justice, Jenna’s career has focused on building better systems for those providing or receiving mental health services from a perspective grounded in lived experience. Having worked for the administrations of Mayor Giuliani (New York City), Mayor Williams (Washington, D.C.), and Governor Rendell (Pennsylvania), Jenna brings a people-first perspective to her policy work. In addition to holding an MSW degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Jenna was the Outstanding Senior Woman for the University of Southern Maine’s 1993 graduating class and received the 2015 Outstanding Women’s Studies Alumni Award from USM.

Robyn Merrill

Robyn is the executive director of Maine Equal Justice Partners (MEJP), a public interest organization working to find solutions to poverty and improve the lives of people with low income in Maine. Prior to assuming this role, she was a Senior Policy Analyst with MEJP and clerked for the Maine Superior Court. Before becoming an attorney, Robyn was a social worker, serving children with developmental disabilities in the foster care system.  Robyn holds a Bachelor of Arts from Connecticut College, received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of New England and graduated magna cum laude with a J.D. from the University of Maine, School of Law.

Kaylene Mitchell

At SMCC, Kaylene serves on the President’s executive team, and is tasked with making student success the central priority in every college effort, budget and innovation. Previously, she served as Dean of Advancement for the institution. Kaylene worked in the Maine Legislature as the Special Assistant to the Speaker of the Maine House and as Communications Director for the Maine House Majority. She has served as a founder, President, and Executive Director of Emerge Maine, a non-profit organization dedicated to training and inspiring women political candidates. Kaylene earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Southern Maine and a Master in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Rilwan Osman

Rilwan was born in Somalia and lived in a refugee camp in Kenya for more than 10 years prior to arriving to the U.S in 2004. In 2008, Rilwan led the formation of an organization to educate and empower Somali Bantus in the Lewiston-Auburn area. The organization started providing youth programs like soccer, academic support and juvenile justice workshops. Rilwan and his team realized the need to also educate the parents of the youth and started literacy and citizenship programs for parents. Rilwan’s organization, now called Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services, also offers behavioral health and other services.  Rilwan earned his high school diploma through the Job Corps program, studied at Central Maine Community College, and earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maine at Augusta. He is now studying social work at the University of New England.

Jason Parent

Jason is a resident of Caribou and an Aroostook County native. Prior to joining ACAP in 2015, Jason was the Director of Advancement at the Aroostook Medical Center. He was also Director of Development and College Relations and Executive Director of the NMCC Foundation and Alumni Association at Northern Maine Community College; and Director of University Relations, University of Maine at Fort Kent. Jason earned a Master of Science in Business Degree from Husson University in 2008. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Maine at Presque Isle in 1996. In addition, he is a 2013 graduate of the Advisory Board Healthcare Leadership Academy, and a 2010 graduate of the Maine Development Foundation's Leadership Maine Program. He is also a part-time instructor for Husson University, teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in communication, management and organizational policy and strategy. He currently serves on the boards of Aroostook Aspirations Initiative; Aroostook Partnership; Presque Isle Rotary Club; and University of Maine at Presque Isle Board of Visitors.

Eliza Townsend

As the Executive Director of the Maine Women’s Policy Center, Eliza works to improve the social and economic status of women and girls around the state. Prior to joining MWPC in 2011, Eliza represented part of Portland in the Maine House of Representatives for 8 years, then moved into the non-profit sector when she became the first Executive Director of the Maine League of Conservation Voters & Maine Conservation Voters Education Fund. During Eliza’s tenure, the Conservation Voters convened the Environmental Priorities Coalition, comprising two-dozen diverse groups that advocate for a common legislative agenda. Eliza left the Conservation Voters when she joined the Maine Department of Conservation, where she served first as Deputy Commissioner and later Commissioner. Eliza is a graduate of McGill University, in Montreal, Quebec and holds a Master of Fine Arts in Drama from Carnegie-Mellon University.  

Shawn Yardley

Shawn spent 17 years in public child welfare at the Maine Department of Human Services as a caseworker, supervisor and regional administrator. He was Director of Adoption for the Bangor office of MAPS for 2 years and from 2001 to 2004 he was the director of the River Coalition, an organization dedicated to primary prevention for youth and families focused on drug/alcohol use prevention, bullying and conflict resolution. Shawn also directed the City of Bangor’s Health and Community Services Department. He has co-taught courses focusing on child welfare for 23 years, emphasizing a multi-disciplinary approach and exploring the ethical issues inherent in this work. Shawn received his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology/Social Welfare from the University of Maine at Orono, and Master of Business Administration from Husson College.