Kathy Durgin-Leighton was born in Yarmouth, Maine and attended the University of Maine earning a B.A. in Social Welfare. Kathy’s career has spanned a diverse body of work, including: serving as Ombudsman to the Maine Committee on Aging and work as the Recreation Director and later Town Manager of Bowdoinham. However, when Kathy was hired as the Executive Director of the YWCA in 2011, she knew that she had found her home! Within four years of leading the organization, Kathy brought the YWCA from financial crisis to stability, to which she credits her love of budgets and spreadsheets! She attributes her hard-working, competitive, work style to her mother’s influence who became the first woman City Clerk and Department Head for the City of Portland, while raising four children as a single, Franco-American woman. In her work as Executive Director, Kathy is driven by the mission of the YWCA and offers a distinctly feminist approach to leadership. She strives to insure that all YWCA programs are rooted in advancing racial and gender equity. (But, as they say, it’s hard work!) When she is not at the YWCA, Kathy is spending time with her family, including her husband, Dick, daughters, Whitney and Sarah, and her Yellow Lab, Lily. She is passionate about hiking and sailing her Friendship Sloop on Casco Bay. Kathy is an animal-loving, vegetarian (since 1979!) and has been known to swerve for the oncoming squirrel! She loves everything about the YWCA, but her favorite thing of all is the supportive environment among staff and patrons and the creative, can-do attitude of the employees!
Natalie Bornstein grew up in Auburn, Maine. After high school, she left the community to attend Smith College in Northampton, MA. Natalie received a B.A. in Comparative Literature with a focus on Jewish literature and critical social theory. She also completed original oral history research on queer and transgender communities in Lewiston-Auburn that examines the role of place in identity formation, through Hampshire College. Natalie is blessed to have returned to Lewiston to work with a vibrant community of organizers, activists, and service providers through her job as Social Justice and Advocacy Manager. In her position she is inspired by solidarity among women and femmes, youth organizing, interconnected movements for liberation, and, of course, her mom! She currently resides in a beautifully decorated apartment in downtown Lewiston with her friend-family of three humans and two cats, including her one and only ‘Baby Kitty.’ Natalie enjoys writing and reading, dancing, dressing up for herself, playing in the Maine ocean, and the remarkable community that is Lewiston! She is proud and humbled to work for a mission of racial and gender justice and is privileged to learn from the brilliant, creative, and spirited women of the YWCA every day.
Melissa Jackson grew up in Auburn, Maine and attended Auburn Public Schools. She lived in Houston, Texas for many years, but returned to Lewiston with her husband and five children in 2004. She and her husband wanted their children to grow up in a safe environment and to enjoy the beauty of Maine’s four seasons with their extended family. She enjoys spending time with her husband, kids, and the many other kids in the community that call her ‘Mom.’ She loves spoiling her Pitbull fur babies, Max and Mattie, going to the beach, fishing, and if she’s not at the YWCA, you can bet that you’ll find her at one of the many youth sporting events in Lewiston! What does she love about working at the YWCA? That’s easy…WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE in people’s lives! Melissa knows our customers personally and knows each person’s story of what the YWCA has done to improve their lives. She feels lucky enough to be a support system for them, to witness their progress firsthand, and to be a part of the larger YWCA family!
Linda Sherman was born in Lewiston Maine and returned to the community in 1999 with her son, Tanner. She enjoys kayaking, biking, skiing, and spending time with her Black Lab, Rex. Linda graduated from Lewiston High School in 1988 and went back to school part-time in 2002 to pursue a photography degree. She received an Associate’s degree in photography from the University of Maine in Augusta in 2006. While in school, she became a certified lifeguard at the YWCA Central Maine in 2004. During her training, the YWCA was hiring for a pool supervisor. Linda applied for the position and began working at the YWCA in the fall of 2004, as a part-time pool supervisor. In 2009, she became the Aquatics Director. Linda enjoys taking photos and being a photographer, but her passion is teaching swim lessons, water fitness classes, and working with our YWCA Tiger Sharks swim team. She has always loved the water. Through her position as Aquatics Director, she has to come to appreciate the incredible impact that swimming and aquatic-based therapy can have in the lives of individuals with disabilities, those in rehabilitation, and in the development of children’s confidence and athletic ability. The YWCA is an important asset to the Lewiston/Auburn community and Linda is proud to work at such a remarkable organization.
Lu Murphy grew up in Washington D.C. before moving to the then strange and tiny town of Portland, Maine. Lu graduated from Catherine McAuley High School before moving on to take on the world! Lu has held a vast array of careers including work at New England Telephone and Telegraph, Fresh Samantha Juice Company, and at her own small business screen printing company. In her current position at the YWCA, Lu enjoys flexing her creative talents in graphic design and spending time with her co-workers, laughing, scheming, and supporting one another. Currently, Lu lives in Auburn with her husband, Pete and her charmingly silly pug, Gritty. Lu is a proud mama to two sons, Marty and Michael, and one daughter-in-law, Michelle. She is a crafty, artistic, creator. Her mediums include stained glass, beading, and woodworking. Lu’s favorite thing about the YWCA is the organization’s good work in the community and her fabulous coworkers.
Jennifer Erwin has lived most of her life in Lewiston, Maine and grew up going to Lewiston Schools. She wants others to see her as a strong and positive presence in her community through the way she lives and works. Her passions in life are peace, balance, and order. Her hobbies include learning to do anything and everything to the best of her ability and she is known by some as a ‘Jill of all trades’! Quality time with her children is at the top of the list of activities that she enjoys. Mischa, her oldest, is her creative child. Her middle child, Echo is her little philanthropist. Julaybib, her youngest, is a ‘Jack of all trades,’ like his mother. She loves working at the YWCA because she feels that it gives her the power to be involved in shaping and supporting the community where she and her family live.
Maggie Davis comes to the YWCA most recently from College for ME-Androscoggin where she served as the Executive Director. Maggie is passionate about education and has worked extensively in the field of college access. She believes in the power of education as a venue for instilling empowerment, justice, and opportunity in the minds and hearts of youth.
Maggie’s education is in Sociology and Religion and has taught Religion and Philosophy. She has lived in 11 states ranging from California to Georgia and Virginia. She has a five year old daughter and is a former YWCA childcare parent. Maggie works to infuse her passion, experience, skills and talents into the transformative work of the YWCA. She enjoys working with the outstanding team of people at the YWCA!
As a student who owes all of her educational opportunities and success to public schooling, becoming an educator has always been Taysir’s dream. Taysir is a graduate of Colby College class of 2015 with a degree in Psychology and Education and a concentration in Human Development. Taysir is passionate about public health and determined to have an impact on the development of youth and community members in Lewiston/Auburn, where she grew up. Taysir has spent over 400 hours volunteering at the public elementary school in Waterville and served as a Teacher’s Assistant, where she led class discussions around Multicultural Literacy. She also worked in a special education classroom at George Mitchell Elementary School. As an undergraduate, she studied abroad in Istanbul, Turkey and enjoyed traveling to different countries in Europe and learning about various cultures, traditions, and religions. Taysir is passionate about working at the YWCA of Central Maine because of the mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. As a Somali woman and a person of color, Taysir states that activism and empowerment are the basis for of her work. Working with the YWCA to develop programming that is accessible to all women in the community is a great pleasure!