Staff & Catalysts

Core Staff

First Light is driven by a wide community, including many volunteers. The core staff team have full time responsibilities to First Light and to the Wabanaki Commission and work with the many other members of First Light to achieve our collective goals. We seek to experiment with and model shifts in “business as usual” organizational practices, so we are moving deliberately to a shared leadership model where decisions are shared by the core staff team. You are welcome to contact any staff if you have a specific project. 

Contact us if you're not sure who to reach out to.

  • Brett Ciccotelli


    Core Staff Member on Returning

    Brett works closely with the Wabanaki Commission on Land and Stewardship and First Light organizations in their shared goal of growing land ownership and access for Wabanaki Communities.

  • Ellie Oldach


    Core Staff Member on Relearning

    Ellie works with non-native and Wabanaki partners to develop workshops, gatherings, and Learning Journeys, creating space for dialogue and building our collective sense of what's possible in this work.

  • Peter Forbes


    Core Staff Member on Recentering

    Peter is accountable to Wabanaki people and institutions to ensure that First Light’s work centers Wabanaki voice, their direction, and upholds the values we set out.

  • Otto Muller


    Development Lead

    Otto collaborates with partners to build and develop financial support for all the activities around relearning, recentering, and returning.

New Learning Journey Staff

Staff members at New Learning Journey (First Light's parent 501c3) make all our work possible.

  • Savitri Bhagavati


    Business Manager

    Savitri is the Business Manager for New Learning Journey, the 501(c)(3) fiscal agent of First Light, and ensures that all organizational and financial infrastructure is operating smoothly to support First Light's work.

  • Axandra Boselli


    Project Manager

    Axandra supports programming, development, and events for all of New Learning Journey's work.

First Light Catalysts

Catalysts carry specific leadership roles within First Light, while also holding responsibilities to their home organizations. We use the term catalyst to convey our intention to create connections and learning, but not to control outcomes. The roles of catalysts have evolved over time to share power with and take direction from the Wabanaki Commission in their work to organize and support the First Light community.

  • Sarah Alexander


    Catalyst for Food Sovereignty Working Group

    Sarah brings expertise in food systems to leading the projects of the Food Sovereignty Working Group in partnership with Wabanaki communities.

  • Ethan Miller


    Catalyst for the Wabanaki Self-Determination Fund

    Ethan facilitates the working group developing a fund from non-native sources to be held and administered by the Wabanaki Commission to serve Wabanaki relationship to land.

  • Lokotah Sanborn


    Catalyst for Wabanaki Youth Leadership

    Lokotah brings his experience as an organizer, artist, and Bomazeen Land Trust board member to First Light’s efforts to connect with the next generation of Wabanaki leaders. He is working to convene Wabanaki youth to collectively envision the future of Wabanaki land relationships.

  • Ciona Ulbrich


    Catalyst for Cultural Access Tools

    Ciona supports work with Wabanaki communities to ensure cultural access to conserved lands.

  • Doug Welch


    Catalyst for Island Access Working Group

    Doug leads the Island Access Working Group in an effort to increase Wabanaki access to the islands of Maine.

  • Kara Wooldrik


    Catalyst for the First Light Community

    Kara supports First Light organizations as they make a variety of internal transformations to work more fully in Wabanaki solidarity.

Previous Staff & Catalysts

Many people have helped build First Light. We are grateful to the staff members & catalysts who are in different roles now, but helped us get to where we are.

  • Ella McDonald


    Program Manager

  • Lauren Brady


    Development Assistant

  • Ashley Bahlkow

    Story Catalyst