Community Heart & Soul: Cultivating Leadership in Maine

Conference Session

Date: Wednesday, March 8, 2017 - 7:00am - 9:00am

Location: Holiday Inn by the Bay, Portland, Maine

Join three Maine community leaders who have worked to shape the future of several Maine communities through the Community Heart & Soul® program. On Wednesday, March 8, hear Mayor Thom Harnett of Gardiner, Heart of Biddeford Executive Director Delilah Poupore, Bucksport Heart & Soul Coordinator Nancy Minott, and Jane Lafleur of Lift360 share their stories and insight on this empowering community development program.

Community Heart & Soul reconnects people with what they love most about their town. The program translates those personal and emotional connections into a blueprint that serves as the foundation for future community decisions. It’s a barn-raising approach to community planning and development designed to increase participation in local decision-making. Community Heart & Soul empowers residents to shape the future of their communities while upholding the unique character of each place.

Join four Maine leaders who will discuss how Heart & Soul has made an economic and social difference in Biddeford, Gardiner, and Damariscotta. Learn how new communities of Bucksport and four in the Western Mountains are embarking on Heart & Soul.


  • Delilah Poupore, executive director, Heart of Biddeford

As the Executive Director of Heart of Biddeford, Delilah Poupore serves as a facilitator for community reinvestment in Biddeford Maine’s downtown. Delilah received her BA from Middlebury College and her Master of Education from the University of Vermont. After working in the higher education setting for 16 years, and co-founding “The Dialogue Consultants,” a company that taught the skills of dialogue for addressing racism and other forms of oppression, Delilah moved from California to Maine. Delilah has served as the Director of the Heart of Biddeford since 2011, where she picked up the helm of the Heart of Soul process, which began in 2009. Delilah helped the steering committee complete a Downtown Master Plan and then initiated six projects in the first six months after its completion in order to build momentum. Delilah has woven the recommendations of the plan into Heart of Biddeford’s annual planning processes, which have led to a positive impact in the downtown since 2011.

  • Thom Harnett, mayor, City of Gardiner

Thomas A. Harnett just began his third term as the Mayor of the City of Gardiner, Maine. He recently left the Office of the Attorney General where he had served as an Assistant Attorney General beginning in 1989. Thom directed the Civil Rights Team Project that had established Civil Rights Teams in more than 220 schools located throughout Maine. Mr. Harnett also directed the Office’s enforcement of the Maine Civil Rights Act. Thom has addressed over 100,000 students in elementary, middle and high schools throughout Maine and conducted trainings for the Judicial Branch of the State of Maine. In 2008 he was recognized by Maine Initiatives as a Social Landscape Artist for his efforts in building Civil Rights Teams in schools throughout Maine. He also worked in the Natural Resources Division. Thom was very active in the Orton Heart & Soul process in Gardiner and currently serves as a Champion for the Orton Foundation. In that role he spent a few days in Galesburg, IL to explain the benefits of the program and is happy to report that Galesburg just entered the third stage of the Heart & Soul process.

  • Nancy Minott, project coordinator, Bucksport Heart & Soul

Nancy Minott, a retired elementary teacher, was hired to fill the Bucksport’s Heart & Soul part time coordinator position last November. A prior volunteer in this project and other social justice groups, Nancy is passionate about engaging the collective voice of the citizens in determining what matters in a community. When not gathering and listening to stories of the Bucksport’s citizens, she spends time playing piano, gardening, and delighting in her two granddaughters! She lives in Bucksport with her partner Hans, discovering her ‘home’ after raising her daughters in Bangor, Maine. . . preferring the small town by the Penobscot to the ‘big’ city!

  • Jane Lafleur, senior consultant and Heart & Soul Coach, Lift360

Before joining Lift360 this past fall, Jane Lafleur spent 13 years as Executive Director of Friends of Midcoast Maine (FMM), a regional smart growth, planning and civic engagement organization. She developed The Community Institute, a program of FMM, and has been named a coach and champion for the Orton Family Foundation Heart & Soul planning program. With Lift360, Lafleur continues her influential work in community engagement, community building, and community development. Lafleur grew up in Lewiston, Maine. She has been a city and regional planner since 1981, actively serving as Town Planner in Conway, New Hampshire and as City Planner in South Burlington, Vermont, as well as a private planning consultant. Jane is a past board member of Maine Association of Planners (MAP), the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association (NNECAPA) and GrowSmart Maine. She has also served on local planning boards and comprehensive planning committees. Her work has received the MAP Plan of the year award in Damariscotta and in South Burlington Vermont, and in 2015 she was named The Professional Planner of the Year by both the Maine Association of Planners and the Northern New England Chapter of APA. Jane graduated from the University of Maine and received her master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Harvard University and lives with her husband Joel in Camden, Maine.

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