Chair Troy Moon City of Portland Sustainability Coordinator
Vice Chair Dr. Dorothea Ivey Assistant Professor, MSW Coordinator, University of Southern Maine
Secretary James Rohman Portland
Treasurer Will Pratt Co-owner, Tandem Coffee
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
Jess Feinberg Professor of Law, University of Southern Maine
Randy Ferrell Agent at Portside Real Estate Group
Liz Cotter Schlax President & CEO at United Way of Greater Portland
Rich Entel, MD Physician, Visual Artist
Peyton Siler Jones Climate Resilience Planner
Elizabeth Whitman Bittersweet Eradication Program Leader
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.
Dr. Dorothea Ivey, Vice Chair, draws from a distinguished career as a Social Behavioral Scientist and Public Administrator in Dallas County, TX; Anne Arundel County, MD; and Washington, DC. She has a proven reputation as being an engaging educator across all generations, a tactful planner, and as methodological in integrating various macro strategies to sustain and expand nonprofit programs. She has raised over $1,000,000 in funds for nonprofit organizations. Dr. Ivey earned her PhD in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington. Her dissertation research focused on service providers funded by the National Family Caregiver Support Program that extend resources to grandparents raising grandchildren in California.
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.
Will Pratt, Treasurer, 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.
Veeva Banga, Community Liaison, 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.
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.
Jess Feinberg is a nationally recognized expert in family law and gender and sexuality law. She has a proven track record of excellence in both teaching and scholarship. She teaches introductory and advanced family law courses, elder law, and contracts. Her scholarship focuses on the law’s treatment of intimate and familial relationships, with a focus on LGBTQ+ individuals and their families. She is an active scholar with a distinguished history of publications. Jess joined the faculty at the University of Maine School of Law in August 2020.
Randy Ferrell is one of Greater Portland’s most trusted real estate agents. After moving from Tennessee, Randy supported himself and his nephew in Portland’s outstanding food scene while attending the University of Southern Maine. After earning a B.A. in Communication, he began a career in advertising that included agency traffic management and new business development. During the purchase of his first home, Randy realized there was a need for a brokerage more centered around the client’s experiences. While many people have the gift of “gab”, Randy has the gift of “ear.” His ability not only to listen but also to hear what his clients are actually saying is a unique asset and skill. He is able to address concerns and is adept at presenting both dilemmas and solutions to his clients while also using his vast resources effectively and connecting networks to achieve the best outcomes for his clients. When he isn’t working, Randy can be found cooking in his kitchen preparing to feed a crowd, getting his hands dirty in his garden, planning his next travel adventure, or learning flamenco dance (right here at MSA!) as one of Lindsey Bourassa’s students.
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.
Rich Entel, MD is a visual artist and family medicine doctor based in Portland, Maine. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and was an artist-in-residence at the MacDowell Colony. His work has been included in a Portland Museum of Art Biennial. Rich’s past work has explored issues of homelessness, loss, the body, and meditation. He recently collaborated on the book “Ashley Bryan’s Puppets.” Along with continuous exploration in art, Entel works in the several central and southern Maine communities as a physician specializing in addiction medicine. He received his medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.
Peyton Siler Jones grew up playing in an old time country band and doing community and musical theatre in her hometown of Asheville North Carolina. Today, Peyton is active in the climate and environmental planning field. She believes deeply that arts and culture is foundational in imagining and building climate resilient, racially equitable, and connected communities. Peyton currently works for Linnean Solutions where she works on climate planning projects, including arts related nexus work. She is also an urban planning graduate student and will be graduating in the summer of 2022. Peyton lives in Cash Corner with her dog, Emmy Lou!
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
Hayden Anderson Brian Arlet Myron Beasley David Cimato David Garfinkle Megan Grumbling Larry Hayden Emily Krohne Blainor McGough Robyn Merrill Charlie Miller Robert Montgomery Bess Moulton Dela Murphy Dugan Murphy Kelly Nesbitt Polly Plimpton Jan Piribeck Christina Richardson Stephen Tesh Annie Wadleigh Cherie Wendelken