Lado Ladoka came to the US as a refugee from Southern Sudan in 1995. Mr. Ladoka earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and two minors, one in Philosophy and one in International Relations from the University of Southern Maine. In 2012, Mr. Ladoka received a Master of Arts in Development Policy and Practices from the University of New Hampshire. Mr. Ladoka worked at the Center for the Prevention of Hate as a cultural trainer and the City of Portland’s Refugee Services program as a case manager before moving to Kansas in 2014. In Kansas, Mr. Ladoka worked for the Kansas Department for Children and Families as both a Program Consultant II in their Employment Services program, and Regional Refugee Coordinator providing a multitude of services. Mr. Ladoka returned to Maine in 2017 and currently works as the Program Director for Maine Citizens for Clean Elections/League of Women Voters of Maine, a voter registrations, civic education and service coordination and engagement with community partners. Mr. Ladoka has four children and lives in Brunswick.
Jennifer Sporzynski is the Senior Vice President of Workforce and Business Development at Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI). Ms. Sporzynski has worked in community economic development since 1993, working with small business owners in the United States, Guatemala (as a Peace Corps Volunteer) and Paraguay. At CEI, she coordinates the microloan program and leads the Business Development Services, and Workforce Solutions departments. Ms. Sporzynski serves on the CA$H Coalition of Greater Portland and volunteers as a tax preparer for CA$H. She was a previous board member of the Portland Development Corporation (including 2 years as treasurer). She was named co-recipient of the SBA Minority Small Business Champion in Maine. She has a BS in Business Administration, Finance, from the University of Vermont and a master’s degree from Harvard University. She is a Leadership Maine alumna (Upsilon Class), an Aspen Institute Fellow of Emerging Leaders in Microenterprise (ELM2) and completed the CDFI Leadership Learning Network with the Annie E Casey Foundation.
Rachel Morales is the Director of Admissions at the University of Southern Maine. She has worked in Admissions since 2003. She has a long-standing commitment to social justice work, with community service involving Cultivating Multicultural Alliances, Dialogues in Diversity, Maine Youth Suicide Prevention, and as a Board of Directors member for the Center for Prevention of Hate. In 2010, she received the IDEAL (Inclusion, Diversity, Education, Access & Leadership) Award from the New England Association for College Admission Counseling. Ms. Morales lives with her family in Portland, Maine.
Christopher O’Connor has served as the Development Director of EqualityMaine for the past four years. He came to EQME after sixteen years of working in student affairs at the University of Southern Maine. Originally from NJ, he moved to Maine several years after receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He has been an active member of the LGBT community in Portland. Most recently, he provided leadership for the creation of Pride Portland!, the community-based organization that revived and expanded Portland’s annual pride celebration. Chris’ passion has always been in social justice work and he enjoys bringing his knowledge and skills in large scale event planning, community organizing and relationship building to EqualityMaine.
Dedicated public servant, assertive and pragmatic leader with a compassionate diversified skill set in community organizing, activism and civic engagement, Pious is a Youth and Community Engagement Specialist at the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service 's Portland Empowered and has spent the better part of his career focused on community engagement. He has created a meaningful and ongoing dialogue across cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic, and faith-based barriers.
Prior to joining the Muskie School, Pious worked with the city of Portland’s refugee services and spent many summers working as a facilitator for Seeds of Peace, a summer
program which builds relationships and leadership skills among youth from regions of conflict. He also worked as a site coordinator for the Peer Leader Program at what is now the Opportunity Alliance in Portland, Maine, and as an Education and Community Engagement Coordinator at the Portland branch of the NAACP.
Mr. Ali is the first African-born Muslim American to be elected to a public office in Maine, becoming a member of the city’s elected Board of Public Education in 2013. He has also founded the erstwhile Maine Interfaith Youth Alliance and co-founded the King Fellows, a Portland-based youth group dedicated to creating meaningful opportunities for youth through leadership and civic engagement based on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mr. Ali is an alumnus of the Institute for Civic Leadership (known as Lift360), and in 2015 he was named Lift360’s Most Distinguished Alumnus. He’s received other recognition for his worm including the Gerda Haas Award for Excellence in Holocaust and Human Rights Education & Leadership in 2017 by Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine and The Watering Can award in 2019 from Maine Initiatives. Pious has served and continues to serve on many advisory groups and boards of directors, including Rippleffect, Greater Portland METRO, and the Greater Portland Council of Governments
A native of Ghana, Pious worked as a photojournalist for a range of print publications. He migrated to the United States of America, first to New York City, and has called Maine his home since 2002 where he lives with his two children.
Mike Freysinger is the Program Manager of the Maine Youth Court (MYC). He has been there since the program’s inception in 2012. Mr. Freysinger works to sustain this grassroots initiative and ensure that youth across the State of Maine have an opportunity for a peer-to-peer, restorative alternative. Since Maine Youth Court has been established, it has diverted more than 290 juvenile cases from the traditional, punitive system. In addition to his years of service with at-risk youth, Mr. Freysinger also has clinical experience in substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery. Mr. Freysinger is a trained Restorative Conference Facilitator and Family Mediator. Mike has served as a member of the Maine Welfare Director’s Association, the City of Westbrook’s Housing Development Work Group, and currently serves as a member of Communities Against Substance Abuse (CASA) coalition in Brunswick, Maine. Mike earned his BA in Social Justice at Bradford College in Haverhill, MA and is working towards his Masters in Community Economic Development at Southern New Hampshire University.
Sana Osman came to the US in 1998. She met her husband in Chicago and they got married in 2002. Before coming to Maine in 2011, Ms. Osman worked as a substitute teacher in New Jersey. Ms. Osman, lives in Westbrook with her husband and children and works at Maine Access Immigrant Network (MAIN) as a Community Health Worker. She has been with MAIN for 5 years. In 2012, Ms. Osman became the first female Arabic interpreter qualified by the Maine Judicial Branch Court. Ms. Osman is also an Arabic medical interpreter.
John Wipfler, JD, MBA
John Wipfler, JD, MBA has been a health care executive for the past 22 years as the CEO of Eyecare Medical Group, the CEO of OA (Orthopaedic Associates) and as COO of Spectrum Medical Group. Prior to that, Mr. Wipfler practiced healthcare law at Pierce Atwood in Portland, was an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Maine and was the General Counsel, and then Executive Director of the Maine Health Care Finance Commission (Maine’s now defunct hospital financial regulatory agency). He worked as a consultant and was the Interim-Assistant City Administrator for the City of Westbrook. Prior to graduate school (JD and MBA at Boston College) and moving to Maine. Mr. Wipfler worked in the social service and mental health fields doing casework with male adolescents in NYC, running a youth center in upstate NY and working with adolescents in an inpatient mental health facility in Topeka, KS.
Mr. Wipfler has designed and taught leadership courses for senior executives from across the U.S. and served on a number of Board’s including Chair of the Institute for Civic Leadership, Chair of Onpoint Health Data, Konbit Sante (current) and The Legacy Center Advisory Board (current).
Mr. Wipfler was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. He currently lives in Portland with his wife of 33 years. They have 4 children and 4 grandsons together.