Board of Directors


OFFICERS

Colette Twigg-Rowse, Board Chair, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as a banking executive and small business owner.  Colette holds a BA in Economics with a minor in mathematics from the University of Vermont.  Colette has returned to local banking as VP and Commercial Lender with Bath Savings Institution.  Prior to that, Colette held various executive credit roles with bank and non-bank lenders.  Along with starting her first year as Chair (and formerly Treasurer) of The Opportunity Alliance board of directors, she is also the Vice Chair of the board of directors of ProsperityME (formerly Community Financial Literacy).

Jim Vachon, Board Treasurer, has worked in various financial roles for over 30 years and previously held finance positions at lntermed, P.A., WEX, Energy East, Napster, eTime Capital, and L.L.Bean.  Jim holds an MBA from Thomas College as well as a Business Administration degree from the University of Southern Maine.  Jim is a former board member of The Portland Harbor Museum and an active volunteer in the Portland school programs.

Dr. Rebecca Bloch, Board Secretary, is Associate Medical Director of Maine Medical Center's (MMC) Emergency Department, Medical Director of Maine Medical Center Urgent Care Plus, as well as attending Physician for the MMC Emergency Department. Becca is also an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. Becca holds an MD from the University of California's San Diego School of Medicine and a BA, Psychology Magna cum Laude from Amherst College. Becca is the MMC Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Medical Director and a Leader in the MMC Emergency Department Communication and Patient Experience Group.

 

BOARD MEMBERS

Abusana Micky Bondoa native of the Republic Democratic of Congo, is the mother of 5 children. She holds a M.S. in biochemistry, specializing in microbiology laboratory and is licensed in phlebotomy, business administration and education. She was an interpreter/translator of French and Lingala at the Portland Public Schools and is Coalition Parent Leader Organizer for Portland Empowered, a platform for the Muskie School at USM which bridges the public school, parents, and community members in order to create pathways for student success and to engage parents with their children’s educational development.  She is a co-founder of In Her Presence, an organization led by immigrant women to navigate the integration and social justice process. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of The Opportunity Alliance, member of the Bureau Goal 1 at the United Way of Greater Portland and presents nationally and internationally at conferences as a member of the Speaker Bureau at Nellie Mae Education Foundation, the largest Philanthropic Organization in New England that focuses exclusively to improve education for minorities.  She is a champion of student-centered learning and was publicly elected for the School Board of Education in Portland Maine District 1.

  

Elizabeth Conrad is the lead advisor for Conrad HR Advisors, providing specialized HR support to healthcare organizations experiencing the challenges and opportunities that financial stress, mergers, and acquisitions create. Elizabeth has held increasingly responsible leadership positions for healthcare organizations over her nearly 30 plus year career. Most recently she served as system level Chief Human Resources Officer for Lahey Health for 5 years until September 2018.  Lahey Health was a $2B integrated healthcare system in Greater Boston with six hospitals, 950 beds, and approximately 15,000 employees including over 900 physician providers. Previously, Elizabeth served as the top HR executive for Saint Raphael Healthcare System in New Haven CT for ten years, from 2002 until 2012. Her background also includes leadership in community hospital settings, integrated delivery systems, and consulting.  She has worked with healthcare leaders in a wide variety of settings including acute care, physician practices, ambulatory clinics, nursing homes, home care and hospice, and both inpatient and outpatient behavioral health. 

 

Jeanne Hulit is currently President & CEO of Maine Community Bancorp, the holding company of two great community banks, Biddeford Savings and Mechanics Savings Bank. Hulit has over two decades of banking experience as well as experience leading a Maine-based manufacturer and has several years in public sector experience at the state and federal level. Hulit comes to Maine Community Bancorp from serving as President of Village Candle in Wells, Maine, where she helped expand the company’s international and domestic market.  Prior to that, Hulit has served as President of Community Banking for Northeast Bank, Senior Vice President for Commercial Lending at Citizens Bank, and Vice President of Key Bank. In 2013, after having served as both the New England Regional Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and Associate Administrator for the SBA’s Office of Capital Access, Hulit joined the cabinet of President Barack Obama as Acting Administrator of the SBA.  Earlier public service included her appointment as Deputy Director of the International Division at the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.


Larry Kaplan, MD, is a retired physician and hospital CEO.  Larry is the founder of Cite Soleil Opportunity Council, a 501(c)(3) community development organization in Haiti.  He is also a sponsor of Portland asylum seekers and a SCORE mentor.  Larry received his Doctor of Medicine degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and his Master of Public Administration degree with a concentration on public policy and healthcare financing from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.    


Bernard Kavanagh is Senior Vice President and General Manager of Large Fleet at WEX, Inc. Bernie has P&L responsibility for that line of business which includes establishing the strategy for long term growth as well as overseeing all aspects of sales and operations. He has spent 22 years at WEX and prior to that spent 6 years with Enterprise Holdings. He received a Bachelor's degree in political science from The College of New Jersey and serves on several industry related boards.


Yueying LaFluer is currently an AVP and Legal Counsel at Unum. As a native Chinese, she is proud to be the first court-qualified Cantonese interpreter and a Mandarin interpreter in the State of Maine. Yueying, her husband and their two children are practicing farming at their home in Cape Neddick. Their children learned at a very young age that Kale does not grow in the grocery store.

 


Anne LaFond spent her professional career in the cable television industry, most recently as Vice President of Candidate Development for Carlsen Resources, Inc. An active volunteer, Anne is a citizenship tutor at Portland Adult Education, a teacher for In Her Presence, a co-founder of the "Welcome, New Mainers" outreach program at Saint Mary's in Falmouth and she is a board member of In Her Presence.

 

Katherine Pelletreau serves as Executive Director of the Maine Association of Health Plans (MeAHP), a statewide trade association representing health insurers Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Cigna, Community Health Options and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Collectively, MeAHP’s members provide or administer health insurance coverage to over 600,000 Maine people.  A founding member of the Maine Vaccine Board and the Maine Guaranteed Access Reinsurance Association, Katherine also serves on the Daniel Hanley Center for Health Leadership Board of Directors.  Born to diplomatic parents, Katherine grew up traveling and living in North Africa and the Middle East. She received a BA from Hampshire College and her Master’s Degree in Public Health from the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She is a graduate of the Maine Development Foundation’s Leadership Maine Program and the Hanley Center’s Health Leadership Development Program.  Katherine has two young adult children and lives in Cumberland.


Steve Poulos is a Partner and Portfolio Manager at HeadInvest, a Portland investment advisory firm. He has been a member of the firm's investment committee since 2016 and manages over $100 million in portfolio assets in personal and trust accounts. He has over 35 years experience in the investment field starting as a stock analyst at an investment boutique firm in Baltimore. A native of Bath, Steve returned to Maine to work as a portfolio manager at Maine National Bank, later becoming Head of Trust Investments for the Bank. After Maine National, Steve continued to work as a stock analyst and portfolio manager for several Portland advisory firms. Steve holds a B.A. from Johns Hopkins and an M.B.A. from Loyola College. He earned his Certified Public Accountant designation and is a member of the Maine Society of CPAs. He has served on several nonprofit boards. Steve's interests include traditional jazz music and jazz standards, history and public policy, and antique cars.


Marie-Christine Simbiziis is a Care Coordinator at SHIFA Program, SPURWINK. Before moving to the United States, Marie Christine worked for 5 years as a Researcher for a well-known research center of the University of Rwanda, where she was involved in research, teaching, consultancy, and coordination of academic programs.  In the US since 2014, Marie Christine has mainly worked for nationally accredited nonprofit organizations providing behavioral health and social services and refugee resettlement programs, where she served in different capacities as professional, volunteer and board member.

  

Rebecca (Becky) Smith, through her extraordinary dedication to the mission and programs of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), has achieved a Gold Level recognition in the NAMI Education Department’s Hall of Fame.  She has contributed enormous time and energy to a cause she believes in.  Investing in her greater Bridgton community this way has helped people build their skills, bond with others, and advocate for themselves and those they’re close to. By sharing her life experiences and guiding others, she leads by example, making an immeasurable difference in her community and ensuring people with mental illness and their caregivers have hope, a voice, and know they are not alone.

 

Josh Steirman is Vice President, Senior Credit Officer with Gorham Savings Bank, where he leads a team analyzing credit risk across the bank’s growing commercial portfolio.  Previously he worked in bank supervision with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and has served various nonprofits including as board chair of the DREAM Program, a multi-state youth mentoring organization.  Josh is an officer in the US Navy Reserve and an Afghanistan veteran.

 

Penelope Wheeler - Abbott is a consultant at the law firm of Drummond Woodsum where her practice focuses on education and human resource issues for the firm's school clients.  Prior to joining Drummond Woodsum, Penny spent 17 years working in a Portland-area school district, first as a middle school teacher then as an administrator, also at the middle school level.  Penny received her BA in history and environmental studies from Macalester College and holds master’s degrees from the University of Montana and the University of Southern Maine in environmental studies and education, respectively.  She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, knitting, and coaching high school ultimate.  Penny also serves on the board of a small land trust in the southern White Mountains of New Hampshire.