Community Heart & Soul Staff
Our staff is devoted to building brighter futures for small cities and towns across America through developed trainings and practical resources. Using their wealth of knowledge and experience with field-testing our Community Heart & Soul model, they are able to provide invaluable assistance and on-the-ground support for communities around the country.
Carol is a Vermonter who plays a mean game of Scrabble and has a soft spot for rescue dogs. She holds a Master of Business Administration and bachelor's in business finance from the College of Saint Joseph. She co-owns Ridgeback Properties, a rental property business. An active community member, her service includes a term on the board of Dinners with Love, a nonprofit that connects hospice agencies with local restaurants to provide free, delivered meals to caregivers and their loved ones. She joined Community Heart & Soul in 1998. She and her husband look forward to visits from their son and enjoy family, friends, biking, and kayaking.
Kyla is Vermont born and raised, growing up she took full advantage of her rural environs riding horses. She’s also a digital native and brings to Community Heart & Soul an intrinsic understanding of all things digital from website development, customer acquisition strategies, and content creation for web and social. Prior to joining CHS she helped travelers discover and connect with new places and people all over the world as brand manager for VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations. Kyla holds a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College in Massachusetts and began her career with Amnesty International USA in Washington D.C.
When it comes to community engagement, Caitlyn practices what Community Heart & Soul preaches. She serves on the Comprehensive Plan Update Committee and previously was chair of the Land Management Planning Committee in New Gloucester, Maine. At CHS, she shares her expertise in community planning, public participation and nonprofit marketing. Her bachelor’s degree is from the University of Colorado. Her master’s is in Community Planning and Development from the Muskie School for Public Service at the University of Southern Maine.
Al joins our organization after serving as publisher for several newspapers, including the Burlington Free Press here in Vermont. He will be working closely with our Heart & Soul Coach network, helping to bring Community Heart & Soul to hundreds of new towns across the country, and will also lead the expansion of our partnership network.
Sara wins the prize for coming to Vermont from furthest afield. Prior to joining Community Heart & Soul, she lived on the island of Saint Lucia in the Eastern Caribbean where she was Director of Programming and Training at United States Peace Corps/Eastern Caribbean. She also served in the same role in Vanuatu in the South Pacific, and was also a Program Officer for the Australian Agency for International Development's Governance for Growth. Sara's bachelor's degree is from Brown University and her master’s is from the University of Hawai'i-Manoa and the East West Center in Manoa. She enjoys traveling, being near the ocean, and spending time with family.
Ian enjoys working within his community as a soccer coach and serves as President of the township youth soccer association. He is the past chair of the Parent/Community Advisory Board of his local Family Success Center and is currently a member of the Winslow Board of Education Citizens Advisory Committee. His background is in higher education student support and administration in the United Kingdom, but since moving to New Jersey he has moved into information technology and website development. This has developed a wide range of people focused skills, complemented by technical knowledge, that have proved useful when assisting community led projects.
Rachel is a native Vermonter who crochets so quickly the needle hums and the yarn smokes! To the great benefit of her co-workers, organization is her hallmark. Prior to joining Community Heart & Soul she was Registrar at Burlington College. Rachel’s degree is in Liberal Arts from Trinity College.
Mark joined Community Heart & Soul in July, 2020 and brings a range of strategic marketing and operational skills that reflect past leadership roles at technology firms and nonprofit organizations. Mark grew up in South Burlington, VT, and attended the University of Vermont before moving to Seattle to pursue his MBA at the University of Washington. After over 20 years in the Pacific Northwest, Mark and his wife fulfilled their long-term goal of returning to their home state of Vermont. Mark is thrilled to be leading the expansion of Community Heart & Soul and promoting the benefits of life in small town America.
Leanne, whose career started in the klieg lights of Broadway, combined her stage presence with her love of small towns and now holds audiences rapt as she shares her passion for Community Heart & Soul. Leanne has an extensive background in community revitalization including coordinating the Vermont Downtown Program. She was Director and CEO of Erie Downtown Improvement District in Erie, Pennsylvania, where her work included redevelopment of Erie’s Waterfront. In Warren, Pennsylvania, she was Executive Director of Warren Main Street and in Arizona was Executive Director of the Lake Havasu Uptown Association and was appointed to the Arizona Downtown Advisory Council.
Before joining Community Heart & Soul, Joan directed the Center for Community Engaged Learning at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, VT. In this role, she served as an instructor, faculty consultant, student philanthropy advisor, AmeriCorps supervisor, and liaison to local communities. Her work focused on developing projects and partnerships bringing students, faculty, and community organizations together to advance the democratic traditions of volunteerism and civic engagement. Joan holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and English as well as a master’s in Education. In 2017, she earned her doctorate in Education with a focus on organizational leadership and policy. During the short Vermont growing season, she enjoys digging into the dirt and coaxing beautiful things out of the earth to nourish family, friends, and neighbors. Year round, she is on a mission to visit each and every town, city, and gore (there are 251) across the “Brave Little State” she calls home.