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Talk – Navigating Change: Strategies and Structures to Increase the Resilience of the Coast of Maine

February 28, 2022 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

| Free

The talk will be held virtually via Zoom and in-person at 107 Norman Smith Hall, UMaine. A Career Q&A for graduate and undergraduate students will follow the talk.

Maine coastSpeaker: Suzanne MacDonald, Chief Community Development Officer, Island Institute

The Island Institute works alongside Maine’s island and coastal leaders to build community resilience and share solutions for addressing our coast’s most critical issues. In this talk, Suzanne MacDonald will provide some examples of the innovation that the institute’s place-based, relationship-driven approach has unlocked in a time of increasingly rapid change. She will also discuss the internal systems and structures that the Institute has developed to ensure responsiveness to communities and their emergent needs – and what it means to center a relationship-based approach in organizational operations.

Suzanne MacDonald – As Chief Community Development Officer, Suzanne oversees strategy development for the 38-year-old Island Institute’s interconnected set of economic, social, and climate resilience programs. She has been a catalyst and leader of several national and global networks focused on island sustainability, bringing a skillset and passion for sharing solutions and building relationships along and beyond the coast of Maine.

For nine years, Suzanne directed the Institute’s Community Energy Program, partnering with island communities in Maine, New England, and beyond to develop and implement practical strategies to lower their high energy costs. She remains active on climate and clean energy issues, currently serving as the Chair of the Efficiency Maine Trust Board of Directors, on various groups of the Maine Climate Council, and on the steering committee of the Climate Strong Islands Network.

Suzanne is a passionate and enthusiastic storyteller who seeks to use her on-the-ground experiences and relationships to highlight the importance of leadership, resilience, and equity in a world where collaboration is increasingly needed to solve complex challenges. She is an experienced presenter, having shared stories in community meetings, on the TEDx stage, in front of the U.S. Senate, at gatherings with philanthropists, and at many national and global conferences. Her work has been highlighted in a range of media outlets, peer-reviewed journals, technical reports, short videos, and blogs.

Suzanne holds an M.A. in urban and environmental policy and planning from Tufts University and a B.A. in international development and political science from McGill University. She and her family live in Rockland, Maine and enjoy a close connection to the Monhegan Island community.



February 28, 2022
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Event Category:


107 Norman Smith Hall
Mitchell Center - UMaine
Orono, ME 04469 United States


Mitchell Center