About us

A dynamic experiential community leadership program

Who is Leadership Seacoast?

Founded in 1988 by a group of seacoast community members concerned about furthering engagement in the community, Leadership Seacoast is a program designed for the adult learner that creates a core awareness of community through exposure to a broad range of issues affecting the Seacoast and by presenting varied points of view on topics being studied.

Annually, Leadership Seacoast accepts a diverse group of established and emerging leaders to participate in its seven-month community leadership program. Regional issues are examined through the perspectives of experts, on-site visits, readings, discussion groups, problem-solving exercises, and other experiential activities.

Participants explore and examine key issues impacting the cultural, social, political and economic lives of Seacoast residents. Graduates of the program leave with an expanded awareness of the issues impacting the Seacoast region, a network of leaders who can support each other in building a stronger community, and a demonstration of the interconnectedness of the topics covered during the program year.

Leadership Seacoast is a seven-month experiential learning program for those who want to discover how their communities function and how they can become a positive catalyst for change.

Through dynamic, transformational programming, we offer participants the chance to experience things most people can’t or won’t. The program is a behind-the-scenes exploration of the places, programs, influencers, and experts who power the Seacoast community. Program highlights include ten interactive days spent exploring community issues and themes around justice, education, economic development, government, health and human services, the environment, and arts and culture.

Leadership Seacoast challenges assumptions and transforms traditional thinking, leaving participants empowered and motivated to lead within their communities.

Years Involved in Our Community


Companies in Our Community


Graduates in Our Community


Our Staff

Lori Waltz

Executive Director

Lori’s extensive background as a Certified Community Leadership Practitioner and trained facilitator reflects her dedication to fostering human connection and empowering individuals through community engagement. As the Executive Director of Leadership Seacoast, she has played a pivotal role in leading nearly 200 people in the Seacoast Region through the nonprofit’s signature program, which is designed to discover, connect, and inspire.

Having accumulated two decades of experience in both the business and nonprofit sectors, Lori brings a wealth of knowledge and a strong commitment to making a lasting positive impact in the community. Her involvement in various organizations, such as serving on the Portsmouth Listen’s Steering Team, the HAVEN Board of Directors, and volunteering for initiatives like TEDx Portsmouth and Blue Ribbon Committees for the City of Portsmouth, underscores her active engagement and dedication to community service.

Lori’s leadership style is characterized as intuitive, compassionate, and engaging. Her focus on developing participants’ knowledge, awareness, and inspiration aligns with her broader goal of nurturing impactful community leaders. By serving in key leadership roles and contributing her time to diverse organizations, Lori exemplifies a well-rounded commitment to community development and positive change.

lori waltz gagnon headshot

Our Committees


Co-Chairs: Jessica Parker and Lee Frank

The Alumni Committee provides opportunities for Leadership Seacoast alumni to remain informed of issues affecting the seacoast and to inspire active participation in the Seacoast Community.


Chair: Paul Neve and Shelley-Ann Cullen

This committee is responsible for recruitment, review, and nomination of a broad and diverse group of candidates. 



Chair: Joe Tarr and Zachary Little

The Program Committee works closely with the Executive Director to develop program days that support the mission of Leadership Seacoast.

FY 2024 Board of Directors

Members of the Board of Directors of Leadership Seacoast are all proud graduates of the program. In selecting members of our Board, we strive for geographic diversity, a balance of men and women, a wide range of interests and points of view, and varying industry.


Ben VanCamp, Durham – Class of 2018
Chief Collaborator & President
The Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth

Vice Chair

Vice Chair Erica Crosbie – Class of 2020
Corporate Learning & Development Specialist, FedPoint


Ryan Pope, Hampton – Class of 2022
Housing Navigator
City of Dover


Jessica Parker – Class of 2019
Development Director, Hope on Haven Hill

Liz Belsito – Class of 2013

Director of Early Childhood Initiatives

Granite United Way

Jay Childs, Portsmouth – Class of 2012


JBC Communications

Shelley-Ann Cullen, Danville – Class of 2023

Portfolio Manager

Bank of New Hampshire

Lee Frank, Portsmouth – Class of 2010

Development Director

Prescott Park Arts Festival

Susan Fraser – Class of 2023

Director, Product Management

Lincoln Financial Group

Zac Little, Rollinsford – Class of 2019

Corporate Communication Administrator

Kennebunk Savings Bank

Paul Neve, Eliot, ME – Class of 2021

Human Resources Business Partner


Gabriella Olhava – Class of 2023

Residential Programs Manager

Hope on Haven Hill

Ryan Pope, Hampton – Class of 2022

Housing Navigator

City of Dover

Doug Smith, Saco, ME – Class of 2023

Social Responsibility Administrator 

Kennebunk Savings Bank

Chris Strong, New Castle – Class of 2004


Strong Resource Group

Joe Tarr, Portsmouth – Class of 2020

Senior Account and Relationship Manager


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