Board of Directors

Kathy Kilrain del Rio, Board Chair

Who are you?

Kathy is an Emerge alumna from 2010. She oversees program, outreach, fundraising, and communications efforts for the Maine Women’s Lobby and Maine Women’s Policy Center. Kathy is passionate about making feminist organizations and advocacy inclusive for all women and raising up the voices of the most vulnerable in our work toward a truly equitable future.

What are your areas of expertise and things the class can call upon you for?

Pep talks, messaging, fundraising, and I can be helpful with information on the advocacy/legislative landscape around issues MWL works on: economic security, especially workplace policies and solutions for those living in poverty, reproductive rights, access to healthcare, early childhood programs/child care, immigration issues, domestic violence and sexual assault, civil rights/discrimination.

Jeremy Kennedy, Vice Chair

Who are you?

Professionally I suppose I would be classified as a “political operative.” To me that means working to advocate for issues and campaigns that will make Maine, and our country, the best place to live, work and raise a family. I have been an organizer, fundraiser, campaign manager and everything in-between. Personally, I am a husband, son, brother and friend who is so proud to work hard to advocate for the mission of Emerge.

What are your areas of expertise and things the class can call upon you for?

Field, fundraising, communications, and, of course… pep talks!

Kate Elmes, Board Treasurer

Who are you?

Kate Elmes is an alumna of the Class of 2014. After graduating from Lesley College with a dual degree in Political Science and Women’s Studies, Kate followed her heart back to Maine. She currently works in major gifts at the island Institute, a community development nonprofit based out of Rockland.

What are your areas of expertise and things the class can call upon you for?

Putting the fun in fundraising!

Nicole Brown, Board Secretary

Who are you?

I’m a 9th generation Mainer; I grew up in the small rural town of Albion. I currently live in Brewer with my teenage son, Parker, my partner, Rob Glover, and our Rat Terrier, Lila. When I’m not analyzing data, targeting voters, mentoring field staff, and planning for victory on Election Day, I like to sew, play video games, and bake bread.

What are your areas of expertise and things the class can call upon you for?

You can call on me when…

You have questions about your field plan: What’s your win number? Which voters should you talk to? When should you talk to them? How should you reach them? What should your GOTV (get out the vote) plan look like? How many volunteers do you need?

You need to make a strong ask: How do you motivate people to take action and help you win? What’s the best way to ask for money?

You need someone to “pull your head out of the oven.” This is a saying that goes back many election cycles within my circle of female political operatives. When you’re in crisis mode, when you’re having ALL the feelings, when it feels like the walls are closing in and everything you’ve worked for is falling apart – it’s probably not and you can call me to remind you of that, help you think through solutions and keep your eye on the prize.

Amy Cookson, Past Board Chair

Who are you?

An Emerge alumna from the Class of 2011, Amy has worked in field and communications in Maine politics and nonprofits since 2010. She is currently the Communications Manager for Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in Maine.

What are your areas of expertise and things the class can call upon you for?

Communications (earned, social, and paid media), Field Operations, Campaign Strategy, Campaign Staff Networking, Using the VAN (voter access network), Pep Talks, fundraising.

Mary-Erin Casale, Board Member

Who are you?

In my work life, I’m currently the Communications Director for Speaker of the House (and Emerge alumnae) Sara Gideon. That means I’m responsible for all media relations, in addition to press strategy,  speech writing, and  social media management. I’ve worked in politics my entire career, starting on Chellie Pingree’s US Senate race in 2002, then heading to Washington, DC to work at political consulting firm that handled races across the country. Here in Maine, I served as the Executive Director of the Maine Democratic Party for 5 years, and most recently as the Advocacy Director at the Maine Association of Nonprofits. In my personal life, I am a mom to Penelope, wife to Kai, dog lover of Mackworth the goldendoodle and a Falmouth resident.

What are your areas of expertise and things the class can call upon you for?

Communications, compliance, networking, public image.

Elizabeth Frazier, Board Member

Who are you?

Elizabeth is an Emerge alumna from 2017. Elizabeth is born and raised in Maine and hails from Scarborough. She is an attorney at Pierce Atwood, LLP, specializing in Government Relations. Elizabeth has been in the political sphere since 2008, serving as a field coordinator for the Obama campaign, and then joining the staff of U.S. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree in Washington, DC., where Elizabeth spent four years as the Congresswoman’s scheduler and staff assistant.  In 2012, Elizabeth moved home to attend Maine Law.  Now, she lives right downtown in Portland and has become a bit of a connoisseur or Portland eats. Elizabeth enjoys crochet, Harry Potter, travel, and anything with a good challenge.

What are your areas of expertise and things the class can call upon you for?

Elizabeth is a strategic thinker, and works effectively across the aisle at the State House to advocate for legislative issues. Her bipartisan approach to legislative strategy may be helpful to Emerge sisters looking for advice on where they might encounter pitfalls and what to be prepared for at the Legislature. Additionally, Elizabeth has extensive background in project logistics management, including corporate and nonprofit workflow management. Finally, Elizabeth is a strong writer, and is always happy to review or help out with others on writing projects.

Jane Lincoln, Board Member

Who are you?

I retired in 2011 after nearly 34 years in state government, having been appointed under the administrations’ of Governors Brennan, McKernan, King and Baldacci. From 2002-2011, I served as Chief of Staff to Governor John E. Baldacci where I played an integral role in the development of policy, political and legislative strategy, and communications. I live in Farmingdale and Rockland with my partner and dog Benny, and have lived in Maine all of my life.

What are your areas of expertise and things the class can call upon you for?

Coalition building and management, strategic thinking, legislative relations, public policy development and state government budgeting and operations.

Maeghan Maloney, District Attorney and Board Member

Who are you?

I am an Emerge alumna. I served in the Maine Legislature for one term and now serve as the elected District Attorney for two counties – Kennebec and Somerset.

What are your areas of expertise and things the class can call upon you for?

I can offer advice on “big” races where there are too many voters to knock on all the doors. I also have suggestions for door knocking and palm cards. Talking to the media and “dress for success” are areas I’ve had to spend a lot of time on.

Toby McGrath, Board Member

Who are you?

I’ve worked on federal, state and local policy and campaigns for over 15 years. The most important lesson I’ve learned is trying to balance family with time consuming career of politics.

What are your areas of expertise and things the class can call upon you for?

From a technical campaign standpoint, I can assist with strategy, field, budget, finance and communications. More importantly, helping people understand where voters are coming from because those who are not with you have a valid point of view even if you don’t agree with it. 

Sarah Nichols, City Councilor and Board Member

Who are you?

I am a lifelong and proud Bangorian who also is an Emerge Maine alumna, Class of 2015, and a current Bangor City Councilor. I currently spend my days working to advance policy, culture norms, and raise funds to help further the mission of a better more equitable life for women and girls. I work for three organizations across the state, Hardy Girls Healthy Women, Mabel Wadsworth Center, and the Maine Women’s Lobby and Policy Center.

What are your areas of expertise and things the class can call upon you for?

 Doors, pep talks, fundraising, graphic design, networking/relationship building. Call me about anything. If I don’t know the answer, I will find someone who does.

Elizabeth Reinholt, Board Member

Who are you?

I’m a lifelong Mainer, proud resident of Eustis and Emerge Maine alumna from the class of 2009. I currently work at the Corporate Affairs Director at Summit Utilities. Prior to that I served as Communications Director for the Maine Democratic Party, Communications Director for COngressman Mike Michaud’s gubernatorial campaign and worked as a political and PR consultant for a variety of state and national issue advocacy campaigns.

What are your areas of expertise and things the class can call upon you for?

Communications, messaging, public speaking, debate prep.