Sheila is passionate about developing great places to live. A native of Canada, Sheila worked in the arts and cultural field in Ottawa, Halifax, Toronto, and Montréal. In 1997 she moved to the St. John Valley where she founded CultureWorth, a social enterprise rooted in the idea of culture as a powerful force for social and economic development. As a cultural entrepreneur, Sheila brings her urban and rural strengths to both the private and public sector in the U.S. and Canada. She’s especially motivated by the zone of possibility where culture, place, and the economy intersect.
Her recent completion of a concept paper for a vision and strategy for Madawaska helps guide the planning that will follow over the next many months. Some of her other work includes grantwriting for the town of Grand Isle, writing a White Paper for a provincial culture strategy for the government of Prince Edward Island; developing a Regional Tourism Master Plan for Indianapolis and surrounding 12 counties; writing the 2011 Northern Maine Tourism Action Plan and the corridor management plan for Maine’s first cultural byway; communications and marketing for nonprofit cultural groups and private enterprises; and advising Mobilize Northern Maine and cross-border economic development for Maine, New Brunswick, and Québec.
She designed Project Cultivate, an initiative that grew from research on the creative economy in the St. John Valley with the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center of the University of Maine. As Senior Fellow of the Quebec-Labrador Foundation, she wrote an international cultural assessment for the St. John Valley and northwestern New Brunswick, forming the basis of the international Voici the Valley Cultureway and award-winning audio documentary.
Sheila is an advisor for the Maine Charity Foundation Fund and sits on the Maine Humanities Board Alumni. She served on the New England Task Force for Culture and the Economy, many regional and statewide committees, and was Governor-appointed to the Maine Creative Economy Council, Maine Arts Commission, and Maine Humanities Council. Her writing is published in newsletters and journals, such as the Maine Policy Review. Sheila has made presentations about stewardship, rural sustainability, tourism, and the role of culture in development at conferences such as the Maine Humanities Summit, the Atlantic Canada Georgetown Conference: Rural Redefined, and the International Heritage Development Conference.