Chair Troy Moon City of Portland Sustainability Coordinator
Vice Chair Will Pratt Co-owner, Tandem Coffee
Secretary James Rohman Portland
Treasurer Hayden Anderson, PhD Executive Director, Maine Humanities Council
Community Liaison Veeva Banga Actress and AfroBeat Dance Instructor
Tarlan Ahmadov State Refugee Coordinator, Catholic Charities Maine
Ekhlas Ahmed Founder and Executive Director, Chance To Advance
Liz Cotter Schlax President & CEO at United Way of Greater Portland
Rich Entel, MD Physician, Visual Artist
Larry Hayden Visual Artist
Dr. Dorothea Ivey Assistant Professor, MSW Coordinator, University of Southern Maine
Charlie Miller Co-Founder and Director, The Children’s Initiative
Cherie Wendelken Director, Brooks Family Foundation
Elizabeth Whitman Portland
About the Board of Directors
Troy Moon, Chair, is the Sustainability Director for the City of Portland. Throughout his tenure with the City, Troy has been engaged in a broad range of sustainability projects. He oversaw the completion of Portland’s greenhouse gas inventories in 2001 and 2007 and chaired the committee tasked with drafting the city’s Climate Action Plan in 2008. He became the City’s Sustainability Director in April, 2016 focuses on community resilience and energy efficiency. He led Portland’s LED streetlight conversion project and leads the city’s effort become carbon neutral.
Troy has a long interest in the arts, graduating from the University of Maine with degrees in English and Art. He is especially interested in art that involves performance and theatrical elements. He lives in Portland with his wife, Sally, and their daughter, Teagan.
Will Pratt, Vice Chair, is a co-owner of Tandem Coffee Roasters and the leader of the Tandem Christmas Sing Along band. Before moving to Portland in 2012 he worked as a carpenter in New York, Martha’s Vineyard and San Francisco where he got to build treehouses for the stars! Will lives in East Bayside amongst many half-finished home projects with his wife Kathleen and their sons Claude and Cosmo.
James Rohman, Secretary, grew up and lives in Portland and caught the puppetry bug early from his family and Shoestring Theater. He enjoys practicing yoga and singing in an local Argentine Tango band. James discovered Mayo Street Arts by attending shows and dance events and became aware of MSA’s programs and positive impact on the community.
Hayden Anderson, Treasurer, is Executive Director of the Maine Humanities Council, the State of Maine affiliate for the National Endowment for the Humanities and Library of Congress Center for the Book. Prior to starting with the Council, he worked at the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, a Portland-based immigration law nonprofit. He lives in Portland with his wife, Meredith, and their son, Gus.
Tarlan Ahmadov is the State Refugee Coordinator at the Office of Maine Refugee Services Catholic Charities Maine, where he has worked since 2004. Prior to his immigration to the USA, Tarlan worked in the education field in Baku, Azerbaijan, and later joined the non-profit sector, combined with a consulting business to the Consulate of Azerbaijan in Tehran, Iran. Tarlan had the privilege to work in various capacities with local and international NGOs, such as IFES (providing training to the newly established municipalities in Azerbaijan), and Social Research Center (by screening refugees from Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq). He graduated from the Baku State University with a Masters in History and Social Sciences. He is the father of two children. Tarlan speaks several languages. Travel is one his passions: during the last two decades, he has visited over 40 countries for business, training, and teaching purposes.
Ms. Ekhlas Ahmed was forced to flee the outbreak of civil war in Sudan with her mother, father, and three younger brothers in 2005. Her family was resettled to Portland, ME, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and a Masters degree in Education from the University of Southern Maine with hopes of helping resettle other refugees. She is the Vice President and Co-founder of Chance to Advance, an nonprofit organization raising awareness in her community of the violence and needs in Darfur as well as implement initiative to make education more feasible for all. Those who are devoted to “The Ellen Show” will be familiar with Ekhlas, an educator from Maine. She gives credit to Ellen DeGeneres with helping her learn English. Ms. Ahmed devoted her life to helping refugees navigate culture differences and works outside the classroom to build bridges with the community at-large.
Veeva Banga is a South Sudanese dancer. Since the age of twelve dancing hip hop every Friday, she has honed a passion for sharing her cultural dance with people locally. She is a talented dancer that has an opportunity to play with a mix of styles in Afro Beat that can offer a different approach to dance in Maine.
Liz Cotter Schlax 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 grew up in Waterville, Maine, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Harvard University and a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University. Liz and her husband, Michael, have two school-aged daughters.
Larry Hayden is a visual artist whose drawings, paintings and photographs are included in Maine’s major art museums as well as in private and institutional collections throughout the Northeast. Author of PULLUM, the world’s only known book of photographs of chickens accompanied by text entirely in the Latin language, his photographs were selected to illustrate the deluxe centennial edition of Robert Frost’s North of Boston, published in 2015 by the Ascensius Press. Recently retired from an undistinguished foray into vintage motorcycle racing, which yielded one victory in eight years of effort, he is now an avid street rider of 1960’s era Triumph motorbikes. Larry’s ongoing photographic work centers on his home environment, and the daily lives of his small flock of chickens. He shares a nineteenth century Portland farm house with spouse Allice; their family dog, Ruby; several hundred thousand honey bees, in four hives; and, of course, the celebrated hens.
Charlie Miller is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Children’s Initiative, an international social service project that strives to improve the health and education of children in resource-starved communities. He established East India Salvage twenty years ago and also served as president. Charlie taught for many years at St. Mark’s and Andover Academy before teaching internationally at high schools in Spain, Ecuador, China, Japan and Hawaii. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Breadloaf School, where he received his MA. He currently tutors at The Telling Room, a young writers and leaders program in Portland. Aside from MSA, he is also on the board of directors for the Portland Public Library and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Maine. A Portland native, Charlie is an avid traveler, reader, kayaker, and is a God Dad to many.
Betsy Whitman has held a diversity of community activism jobs and positions in Portland, the last as a shelter staff person at Preble Street Resource Center. She has a degree in Theater Arts from the University of Southern Maine and studied mask work at Naropa Institute. She received an MA in Psychology and Expressive Arts Therapy from the California Institute of Integral Studies, focusing her master’s thesis on the intersection of trauma, self-narrative, creative expression and healing. She was a member of Shoestring Puppet Theater for many years and although retired from stilting, she continues to help with the Old Port Parade. She is also a Maine Cooperative Extension master gardener and has planted hundreds of spring bulbs with schoolchildren. She loves compost. She shares the responsibility of the Soccer Barn with her husband and daughter and is passionate about community-based, community empowering arts and activism.
MSA Board of Directors Alumni
Brian Arlet Myron Beasley David Cimato David Garfinkle Megan Grumbling Emily Krohne Blainor McGough Robyn Merrill Robert Montgomery Bess Moulton Dela Murphy Dugan Murphy Kelly Nesbitt Polly Plimpton Jan Piribeck Christina Richardson Stephen Tesh Annie Wadleigh