Hutchinson Center Professional Development Instructors

We are grateful and honored that these instructors choose to share their knowledge through our professional development programs. Though they offer their expertise several times per year with the Hutchinson Center, our instructors are independent professionals working in their individual fields.

Want to join our community of professional development instructors? Learn more about submitting a proposal here.

Headshot of Tom Dowd public speaking instructorTom Dowd, Distinguished Toastmaster (he/him/his)

Tom Dowd (also known as “Transformation Tom”!) received a communications degree from the University of Delaware. He is a prize-winning speaker, and an award-winning and Amazon best-selling author, trainer and coach. As a member of Toastmasters International, Dowd exhibits consistent success in speech competitions and achieved the Distinguished Toastmaster status in 2015. Dowd utilized his 25+ years of experience in the financial and customer service industry to start Thomas Dowd Professional Development and Coaching, LLC, where he helps people to creatively find their own paths to success.

Tom teaches Public Speaking & Virtual Presentations.

Visit Tom’s website

Elizabeth Haffey headshotElizabeth Haffey (she/her/hers)

Elizabeth Haffey is a Maine-based professional grant writer. Through her business, E. Haffey Grant Consulting, she helps clients develop and write proposals, researches opportunities, and trains staff and volunteers to apply for grants. Haffey received her Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University and is currently working on her Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Southern Maine.

Elizabeth teaches Grant Writing Essentials.

Visit Elizabeth’s website

White woman standing in a field at sunset, smiling in to cameraLouise Marks (she/her/hers)

Louise is interested in the use of circle practice as a means of centering relationships and building community. Louise sees restorative practices playing a role in elevating marginalized voices and hopes to contribute to the field of restorative justice as it relates to broader equity work. She was introduced to circle practice and restorative philosophy at Bates College. Her background in community art and sociology sparked an interest in community justice and the use of restorative practices as a means of shifting punitive culture to restorative. Louise is currently serving as Restorative Practices Coordinator at the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center, where she gets to engage in paradigm-shifting work using RJPMs culture change model. She brings this experience as an institutional trainer, coach, and practitioner to her role as a visionary on RJPM’s Training and Capacity Building Team.

Louise facilitates the Foundations in Restorative Practices certificate program.

Visit Restorative Justice Project Maine website

Photo of white woman smiling, dark backgroundSarah Matari (she/her/hers)

Sarah began providing restorative practices and mediation services to institutions and communities early on in her alternative dispute resolution career. As a trainer and consultant for the NYC Department of Education restorative pilot project, she delivered mediation and restorative circle trainings to staff and students in an effort to help schools work towards restorative culture change. She learned first hand the importance of having a sustainable implementation strategy and team approach when engaging with restorative practices and brings that experience in her directing of RJPM’s Training and Capacity Building Team.

Sarah facilitates the Foundations in Restorative Practices certificate program.

Visit Restorative Justice Project Maine website

New Hope Midcoast logoNew Hope Midcoast

New Hope Midcoast offers support to people in Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox and Waldo counties affected by domestic and dating violence and provides educational resources to assist our communities in creating a safer and healthier future.

New Hope Midcoast facilitates Intimate Partner/Domestic Violence Intervention for Mental Health Professionals Certification Program.

Visit New Hope Midcoast’s website

David Patrick, LSW – Co-Founder of Racial Equity & Justice (he/him/his)

As an advocate for communities of color, David supports families, individuals, and students through his work as a co-founder of Racial Equity & Justice and Associate Director of The Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine. David combines experimental knowledge, social work education, and clinical problem-solving skills to build cross-cultural relationships, offer consultation, and provide mediation. His focus is working with strategic partners, stakeholders, and community leaders for policy development, policy implementation, and community change. As a speaker, writer, and facilitator, David offers candid reflections of his experiences as a person of color in both public and private life. As a social worker, David supports adoptive families with post-adoption support resources, advocacy, and mentorship. In addition, David has spent many years working with some of our most vulnerable neighbors through his work with individuals struggling with housing and homelessness, substance use disorders & recovery, and Crisis Intervention. Gardening is not only a method of healing for David but a resilient form of supporting and feeding his family and community members.

David facilitates Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Social & Human Services, Supporting Students from Diverse Backgrounds and more.

Visit Racial Equity & Justice website

Terry Porter Headshot Black and WhiteTerry Porter, M.A., Ph.D. (she/her/hers)

Terry Porter is Associate Professor Emerita at the University of Maine, where she taught business strategy and sustainability at the Maine Business School for 13 years. She also initiated a Sustainability track in the MBA program and advised the student chapter of Net Impact, a leadership development program in sustainable business. Dr. Porter holds an MA in Clinical Psychology and is a certified mental health counselor. She is a 2014 Fulbright Scholar. Terry has over thirty years’ experience as a teacher, counselor, coach, guide and facilitator.

Terry teaches Engaging Your Critical Thinking Skills and Going Green: Sustainability in Business.


portrait of Wendy RapaportWendy Rapaport, L.C.S.W., M.S.W., Psy.D, (she/her/hers)

Wendy is a licensed clinical psychologist on the faculty at the University of Miami School of Medicine Diabetes Research Institute and the UMaine School of Social Work. She also is in private practice in Boca Raton, Florida, and has specialized in individual, marital, family and group therapy for 40 years. A professional writer, Rapaport has published more than 65 articles and lectures around the country. She was awarded the National Health Information Award for her book, “When Diabetes Hits Home: The Whole Family’s Guide to Emotional Health.” Rapaport is also the author of “Approaches to Behavior: Changing the Dynamic between Patient and Professional in Diabetes Care”, “On the Couch with a Good Enough Poet”, “What do We Tell the Children” and “Friendship Matters”.

Wendy facilitates Self-Care for Professionals.

Visit Wendy’s website

Gina Simm headshotGina Simm (she/her/hers)

Gina has taught in early childhood education for over 30 years. Her background in Montessori education and children’s theater launched her into the world of public schools where she spent most of her career as a first-grade teacher (including a year spent teaching English in China). Simm worked closely with Miki Kashtan, a co-founder of Bay Area Nonviolent Communication. Simm’s knowledge of Nonviolent Communication has transformed her classroom into a place where systems of the heart create a child-centered environment for moving through conflict. Simm lives in the Pioneer Valley Cohousing Community in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Gina facilitates Teaching From the Heart: Nonviolent Communication in Pre-K and Elementary School Classrooms.

Visit Gina’s website

photo of Peggy SmithPeggy Smith (she/her/hers)

Peggy holds a master’s degree in literacy and language arts from the University of Pennsylvania, and is a certified trainer with the International Center for Nonviolent Communication with over four decades of teaching experience. A co-founder of the Maine Nonviolent Communication Network, Smith is at the forefront of bringing empathic thinking and communicating to midcoast Maine. Since 1991, Smith has studied with Zen teacher and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh and is a dharma teacher within his tradition. Smith enjoys designing and implementing programs that support empathic thinking and communicating as part of systemic culture change. She lives in Lincolnville, Maine and greets the day watching the sunrise over Islesboro.

Peggy facilitates Transforming Trauma with Nonviolent Communication,  Calming Strong Emotions and more.

Visit Peggy’s website

Desiree Vargas headshot

Desiree Vargas – Co-Founder of Racial Equity & Justice (she/her/hers)

As an Indigenous woman of color and an anthropology scholar, Desiree navigates advocating for Black, Brown, Indigenous, People of Color uniquely with a focus on redistribution of resources, cultural preservation, racial justice advocacy, community organizing, grant writing, community herbalism, community food and garden work, media, harm reduction, anti-gender based violence advocacy, and decolonized activism. As a consultant, speaker, and DEI training facilitator at Racial Equity and Justice Firm, Desiree offers inclusive support through education from a trauma-informed, holistic health, culturally aware, historical lens. Her approach to community work is through decolonization and Indigenous sovereignty, ultimately to create pathways to liberation from violence, for both people and earth. Desiree is co-founder of Racial Equity and Justice Organization. Additionally, she is Co-Lead of Grants for Change Program at Maine Initiatives. Desiree applies her past experience of a behavioral health professional work and childcare to the youth education she does now. Additionally, she is involved in various initiatives in her Taino tribe as a councilwoman and enrolled member. Desiree is a huge advocate for land access as cultural activities and stewardship is essential for healing and cultural preservation for generations to come. She relies on her culture, archery, outdoor activities, relationship with earth, and herbal remedies as lifeways to heal and enthusiastically encourages others to embrace fully their own traditional ancestral healing as a form of liberation and resilience.

Desireee facilitates Supporting Students from Diverse Backgrounds and more.

Visit Racial Equity & Justice website

Black man wearing suit with yellow tie standing in front of capitol buildingJamar Williams (he/him/his)

Jamar arrived in August of 2021 with enthusiasm as a trainer on the Training and Capacity Building Team of RJP Maine. He has extensive experience in various aspects of the prison reentry field and has leveraged his expertise to educate others in universities, institutions and conferences across the country. Jamar’s focus on social and restorative justice has led him to relocate to Maine to train others on restorative justice practices. When he is not motivating others through speeches or helping them to live a life of purpose, he can be found participating in any kind of exercise. Bicycling, reading, writing, and going for walks are ways that he rounds out his day. Jamar also enjoys gathering around food with others as he exercises his culinary skills in the kitchen.

Jamar facilitates the Foundations in Restorative Practices certificate program.

Visit Restorative Justice Project Maine website

Custom Programs Available

Interested in customizing a professional development program for your business, organization or team?
We can help create professional development programs tailored to meet your dynamic needs. Learn more.