Article Title: Executive Leadership Team

  • Photo of Kara Hay

    Kara Hay

    President and Chief Executive Officer

    As president and CEO of Penquis, Kara leads Maine’s largest community action agency, a $60 million organization dedicated to helping individuals and families become safe, stable, connected and financially secure.  She serves as president of Penquis subsidiaries MaineStream Finance, Rape Response Services, Inc., Penquis Development, Inc. and Penquis Housing, Inc.  Kara is a board member of Community Housing Capital, corporator of Northern Light Health, vice chair and governance committee member of Northern Light Acadia Hospital Board of Trustees, member of the Bangor-area Community Health Leadership Board, member of the Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services, advisory board member of The Schmidt Institute, and past president of the Maine Community Action Association.  She is a recognized leader in the field of community development, receiving an Emerging Leader Award and a Practitioner of the Year Award from the National Neighborworks® Association.  Kara is a Maine native and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre from the University of Maine, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Argosy University, Hawaii.

  • Photo of Denice Conary

    Denice Conary

    Chief Financial Officer

    Denise has over 23 years’ experience in the accounting field.  She began her career at Penquis in 2001 as the company’s Controller and was appointed CFO in 2013.  In her current position she directs the preparation and management of the agency’s 38-million-dollar annual operating budget, serves as staff to the Finance Committee of the Board of Directors, is directly involved in the financial aspects of six subsidiary corporations under the Penquis umbrella, and is responsible for the fiscal oversight of ten low income/senior housing projects in the area.  Through the effective management and stewardship of resources, Denice ensures the organization’s financial integrity and supports the provision of essential services to low-income individuals and families.  A resident of Holden, she has a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Husson University, is a member of IMA, and is a candidate for the CMA exam.

  • Photo of Heidi LeBlanc

    Heidi LeBlanc

    Chief Operating Officer

    Heidi has worked with children and families for over 30 years.  Her experience ranges from Early education/intervention to residential services for people with disabilities.  She received her BA in Psychology from Colby College and her M.Ed in Special Education/Early Intervention from the University of Maine.  As Chief Operating Officer, Heidi has primary responsibility for the administration of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), which supports the Penquis mission to alleviate and prevent poverty in the lives of individuals, families and communities.  She also has oversight of several departments at Penquis including Child Development, Transportation, Housing and Energy, Housing Development, Maine Stream Finance and Family Enrichment services.

  • Photo of Chris Linder

    Chris Linder

    CEO, MaineStream Finance

    Chris has over 20 years of leadership, operational, and consulting experience in community development finance, microfinance, and commercial banking.  Before MaineStream, he was Associate Vice President for the Financial Services Practice at International Executive Service Corps (, based in Washington, DC, where he led IESC’s financial services practice on small business banking, agriculture finance, and microfinance throughout Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.  Prior to joining IESC, Chris specialized in providing direct technical assistance to financial institutions and strategic advice to industry associations.  Chris holds a BA in business administration and economics from Rhodes College, Memphis, TN and an MBA from Babson College – Olin School of Business, Wellesley, MA.  He is originally from rural Arkansas and is excited to be assisting Mainers, particularly from rural areas, expand their businesses and increase home ownership.

  • Photo of Jennifer Giosia

    Jennifer Giosia

    Department Director of Housing and Energy Services

    Jennifer has worked in the social service sector for 27 years.  She began her career at Penquis in 1992 in the energy services field and has expanded her role to include housing services for low income households.  Jen and the Housing and Energy staff work with thousands of Maine families each year to provide home weatherization, home repair, lead inspections and, during the winter season, home energy assistance.  She has served as Chair of the Maine Community Action Association’s Energy Council and Vice Chair of its Housing Council. Jennifer holds a BA in Psychology from Rutgers University.

  • Photo of Janeen Feero

    Janeen Feero

    Development Director

    Janeen has over 25 years’ experience in fundraising and grant writing. Janeen worked for the University of Maine and the College of the Atlantic before joining Penquis in 2000.  She received her BA in Speech Communication from the University of Southern Maine and her MA in Speech Communication from the University of Maine.  Janeen oversees Penquis’ development efforts, including fundraising and community relations.  Janeen works diligently with staff across the agency to capture grant resources, win competitive bidding opportunities, obtain philanthropic support, and assure Penquis maintains appropriate, strong public information and community relation efforts.

  • Photo of Steven Richard

    Steven Richard

    Director of Non-Emergency Medical Transportation

    Steven brings more than 25 years of experience in business management and process improvement to this new brokerage service.  With a degree in Chemical Engineering and a Master’s of Business Administration degree, Steven offers an analytical approach to the management of social service related programs.  Over the last decade, he has worked as a project manager for the Maine Secretary of State, served as Executive Director of the Down East AIDS Network, and has worked with hundreds of Maine small businesses as a business counselor for the Maine Small Business Development Centers.  Steven and his team strive each day to improve transportation access for our economically vulnerable neighbors so that they can maintain good health through regular access to medical care.

  • Photo of Jason Bird

    Jason Bird

    Housing Development Director

    Jason joined Penquis in May 2015.  Most recently, he was the Community and Economic Development Officer for the City of Bangor.  He formerly worked as a Senior Program Director with the Midcoast Council of Governments in Damariscotta.  Jason has nearly 10 years of project development and management experience, with a strong record of federal, state and local grant writing and fundraising.  Jason holds a Bachelors in Political Science and a Masters of Public Administration, both from the University of Maine.  He currently serves on the Board of the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter and the MPBN Community Advisory Board.

  • Photo of Rebecca Dinces

    Rebecca Dinces

    Regional Manager

    Rebecca joined Penquis in 2007 as a Division Manager for the Child Development Department when the Knox County Head Start grant was awarded to Penquis.  She managed the Head Start and Early Head Start programs for 7 years before becoming the Regional Manager for Knox County in 2014.  As regional manager, Becky is the lead corporate staff person in Knox County, advancing Penquis’ corporate presence and serving as a liaison between Penquis and community leaders and citizens. She is actively involved in developing new service opportunities and building community partnerships.  Becky received a BA in Child Study from Tufts University and has over 40 years of experience in child development, education, and social work.  She is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Maine Resilience Building Network.

  • Photo of Tamar Perfit Mathieu, Esq.

    Tamar Perfit Mathieu, Esq.

    Executive Director of Rape Response Services,
    Director of Family Enrichment Services

    Tamar began working at Penquis in 1998 as an attorney in the Penquis Law Project.  Since then she has held various positions including Directing Attorney, Division Manager, Deputy Department Director, and now Director of Family Enrichment Services.  She also serves as the Executive Director of Rape Response Services, a subsidiary of Penquis. Tamar is responsible for daily operations of the department, and development, implementation, and management of a diverse group of contracts and programs, including child and family services, legal assistance,  senior volunteer programs, transitional housing programs, homeless youth services, victim services and violence prevention, case management services, counseling services, supportive visitation, and family and community support work.  As a member of the executive leadership team, Tamar works in concert with others to unify Penquis mission and services.  Tamar sits on the Board of Directors of the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault and is currently the Board Chair.  She also serves on Maine’s Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Program Advisory Board.

  • Photo of Priscilla Dorman

    Priscilla Dorman

    Compliance Director

    Priscilla began her career at Penquis in 1998 in the Child Development department, serving in the positions of Secretary, Computer Specialist, Electronic Office Manager, and Information Services Manager.  Looking to expand her experience, Priscilla successfully applied for the Executive Secretary position in April 2003.  In 2016, Priscilla was appointed to the role of Compliance Director, a job description suited for her experience at Penquis.  Priscilla is responsible for developing and maintaining a strong corporate compliance program within the agency, including state and federal contract compliance and internal audits.  She works with Department Directors to ensure seamless implementation of policies and procedures between compliance and operations.

  • Photo of Mary Lynn Hersey

    Mary Lynn Hersey

    Director of Child Development

    Mary Lynn has worked with children and families for over 28 years.  She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a concentration in Child Development from the University of Maine.  Mary Lynn began her career as a preschool teacher and then focused her work in early intervention at Child Development Services in Penobscot County.  She joined Penquis in 2001 providing direct service, through the home visiting program.  Mary Lynn’s commitment, dedication and passion for promoting strong, healthy relationships for parents and their young children led her to leadership roles within the Family Enrichment Service Department overseeing the Autism Program and Maine Families Home Visiting.  She spent three years providing statewide technical assistance and programmatic oversight for all 12 Maine Families Home Visiting Programs.  She is a certified Individual Level Touchpoints Facilitator. Mary Lynn believes that all parents want the best for their child and is committed to supporting high quality education and childcare for all children and their families.

  • Photo of Aimee Kerrigan

    Aimee Kerrigan

    Charlotte White Support Services Director

    Aimee Kerrigan, Director Charlotte White Support Services – Aimee obtained her bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Services from The University of Maine at Farmington in 2008.  She then began her career in the social service field working at the Charlotte White Center, where she held a variety of positions working with adults with behavioral health diagnoses and intellectual disabilities.  In 2016, Aimee became the Director of Program Operations, for Charlotte White Center.  In January 2019, the Charlotte White Center merged with Penquis and Aimee transitioned into her current role as Director of Charlotte White Support Services at Penquis. Aimee is committed to improving the quality of life for those we serve and showing respect for everyone’s individuality, treating all with dignity and respect.