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 six-month civic engagement 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 six-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 nine 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-Gagnon

Executive Director

Lori Waltz-Gagnon serves as the Executive Director for Leadership Seacoast, a non-profit whose mission is to develop a base of effective, knowledgeable, and engaged community members through the exploration of community issues and opportunities for personal involvement.

Most recently, Waltz-Gagnon served as the Development Director for HAVEN, where she was responsible for providing leadership and strategy for all fundraising activities. Prior to that, she was the Special Project Manager for Wilson Language Training, tasked with leading and managing special projects to support the Program Development Team and company-wide initiatives. A graduate of Keene Sate College with a degree in Business Management, Waltz-Gagnon completed the Leadership Seacoast program in 2017.

Waltz-Gagnon has been an active member of the community serving in various roles for Portsmouth Listens, Sexual Assault Support Services, and the Crisis Center of NH.

In her free time, Waltz-Gagnon enjoys spending time with her friends and family and her favorite place is the beach on a warm day.

lori waltz gagnon headshot

Our Committees

Alumni Engagement

Co-Chairs: Ryan Queenan and Mike Mengers

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

Ambassador & Admissions

Co-Chairs: Olivia Korpi and Tony Cabral

This committee is responsible for recruitment, review, and nomination of a broad and diverse group of candidates. To achieve this goal, the committee is made up of 3 teams: Ambassador Team, Informational Events Team and a Review Team.



Co-Chairs: Susan Geier and Kim Lindquist

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

2020 - 2021 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.


Brian Bouchard, Exeter – Class of 2018
Sheehan Phinney

Vice Chair

Lisa Shawney, Northwood – Class of 2018
Vice President for Finance and Administration
Granite State College


Mark Danie, Barrington – Class of 2012
SVP, Business Banking
People’s United Bank


Kim Linquist, Newmarket – Class of 2018
Director of Events and Marketing
Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce

Antone (Tony) Cabral, Dover – Class of 2017
Vice President/Information Technology Officer
Piscataqua Savings Bank

Rob Gagnon, Dover – Class of 2012
SVP, Manager Consumer Lending
Cambridge Trust

Susan Geier, Newmarket – Class of 2016
Director of Communications Elder Services of the
Merrimack Valley and North Shore

Liz Driscoll, Portsmouth – Class of 2020
HR Consultant
KMA Consulting

Lisa Keslar, Durham – Class of 2020
Keslar Insurance

Olivia Korpi, Kittery Point – Class of 2010
VP, Marketing and Admission
Wentworth Senior Living

Mike Mengers, Lee – Class of 2019
Program Manager
University of New Hampshire

Ryan Queenan, Dover – Class of 2017
Marketing Manager

Nichole Rutherford, York – Class of 2014
Vice President
Seacoast Science Center

Andrew Strosahl, Dover – Class of 2020
The Lawrence Law Firm

Joe Tarr, Kittery – Class of 2020
Corporate Account Executive
Bottomline Technologies

Astrid Wielens (Former Chair), Dover – Class of 2015
Executive Director
Zebra Crossings

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