Board of Directors

As a community land trust, Champlain Housing Trust’s Board of Directors are elected annually by the membership at our Annual Meeting in January. Any member living in Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties can be nominated and be elected to the Board. The Board is made up of one-third public members, one-third general members and one-third resident members.


Liz Gamache
Helen Head
Nicole Mace, Vice Treasurer
Regina Mahony
Gillian Nanton, Vice President


Naima Dennis
Joan Lenes
Kathy T. Luce
Sarah Robinson, Treasurer
Jeff Smith, President


Kate Cappleman Sinz
Lisa Lord, Secretary
Issouf Ouattara
Isaac Owusu
Rachyl Phillips

Interested in Board Service?

Champlain Housing Trust’s 15 member Board of Directors has five seats for residents. Because members are term limited, we are always looking for interested candidates for future vacancies.

No experience with boards? Champlain Housing Trust (CHT) staff provide training, orientation, and lots of support to welcome new and less experienced candidates. All it takes is a commitment to the board responsibilities and the ability to put in the time required. In addition to be being a great opportunity to learn and build a variety of skills, joining CHT’s Board is a chance to meet and enjoy a great group of people who are committed to our mission of permanently affordable housing.

If you are interested, email Addie Livingston at [email protected]

Kate Cappleman Sinz was born and raised in North Carolina, until moving to the Green Mountain State in 2004 to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work. In 2011, Kate and her spouse Josh made Winooski their home through the CHT Shared Equity program. Kate is a social worker at UVM Pediatric Primary Care, where she has developed a dedication to addressing housing and other needs that impact the well-being of our community.  She is active in the Winooski community, and is the parent of a student at JFK Elementary School.  Kate enjoys adventures and travel, and simply spending time in the Vermont woods with her family.

Naima Dennis is the Senior Assistant Registrar for Technology at the University of Vermont. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Naima moved to Burlington in the fall of 1992. Upon her initial arrival in Burlington, Naima experienced various stages of housing insecurity. As an original member of the Thelma Maple Co-op, a CHT property, Naima has benefitted first hand from the opportunities made available through CHT. There is a long history of discriminatory housing practices that target the BIPOC community. CHT’s work on combating racism in the housing sector, and ensuring that safe, affordable housing is available for all populations aligns with Naima’s values. Naima lives in the New North End of Burlington with her family.

Liz Gamache has been a resident of St. Albans since 2001 during which time she served as Mayor for 6 years (2012-2018). She works at United Way of Northwest Vermont where she holds the position of Chief Development Officer. Previously, she served as the Interim Director of the Preservation Trust of Vermont, Director of Efficiency Vermont, and on the leadership team of Vermont Electric Cooperative. She also serves on several boards including Agewell VT, Franklin County Industrial Development Corporation, and Franklin County Home Health.

Helen Head has focused on affordable housing issues for many years – in legal aid, shared housing, and the legislature.  From 2003-2019, Helen represented Chittenden 7-3 in the Vermont House and became chair of the committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs in 2007.  She now serves as co-coordinator of Small Potatoes, an interfaith food initiative, and is a volunteer for both hospice and a prisoner/community reintegration program.  Helen is a board member for Emerge Vermont and is co-presiding clerk of Burlington Friends Meeting (Quakers).  She and her husband, Tom Mercurio, have two grown children and live in South Burlington.

Joan Lenes served in the Vermont General Assembly, representing the Towns of Shelburne and St. George from 2007-2017. She was a member of the House Committee on Corrections and Institutions. Joan currently is the Chair of Emerge Vermont and an elected justice of the peace in Shelburne. Joan currently serves on the Age Well Board, Vermont Children’s Trust Foundation, the UVM Continuing and Distance Education Board, the UVM Nursing and Health Science advisory board, and Wake Robin Board of Directors. She is a member of Charlotte/Shelburne/Hinesburg Rotary Club and Shelburne Business & Professional Association. Joan is a former member of the UVM Board of Trustees, former longtime CVSD school board member; and she was a founding member of Robin’s Nest Children’s Center. Joan previously taught in the Center for Service-Learning at UVM, and owned and operated Climb High. She has two grown children and lives in Shelburne with her husband, Helmut.

Lisa Lord grew up in New Hampshire and dreamed of moving to Vermont. Now a Burlington resident for 18 years, Lisa is the Director of Workforce Development for Recovery Vermont and the Vermont Association for Mental Health and Addiction Recovery, a non-profit organization that celebrates recovery through training, advocacy, and innovation. Through her work, she is inspired daily by examples of the power and possibilities of recovery, and by how transferrable the tools for recovery are to all other aspects of life and work. She serves as an ambassador for Champlain College’s Single Parents Program, and is one of the original members of the Bright Street Co-op where she lives with her two teenage children.

Kathy T. Luce is a Partner and Vice President at Maloney Properties, Inc. She oversees the management of a large, diverse portfolio of mixed income senior and family housing in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts that are either owned by the residents through a limited partnership or have strong resident participation in a nonprofit ownership structure. She has worked extensively as a consultant to nonprofit housing organizations and resident ownership groups.  Kathy is a current Board Member of the New England Resident Services Coordinators (NERSC).  She lives in Charlotte with her husband Dan.

Nicole Mace is the Dean of Administration at the Community College of Vermont. She has a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University. Nicole is a parent of a student at JFK Elementary School in Winooski and has been a resident of Winooski since 2009.  Nicole served on the Winooski City Council from 2015-2019, including a one-month stint as mayor. Nicole also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Winooski Housing Authority.


Regina Mahony is the first City Manager for the City of Essex Junction. In this role, she manages and administers all functions, services, and activities of City government under the policy direction of the City Council. Previously, Regina was the Planning Program Manager for the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission. Other past employment includes municipal planning at the Town of Milton, watershed protection in Connecticut, and piping plover habitat protection in New York. Regina has a Bachelor of Science in geography from the University of Maryland at College Park and a master’s in regional planning from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Regina is a 2014 graduate of the Snelling Center for Government’s Vermont Leadership Institute. Regina volunteers at the Burlington Dismas House and is Chair of the Community Advisory Board for the Burlington Community Justice Center. Regina, her husband Joe, and pup Rigby reside in Burlington. Regina is most proud of finishing the Long Trail in 2018.

Gillian Nanton is a development manager with more than 25 years of combined economic development experience. She serves as Assistant Director for Opportunity and Engagement in the Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) with the City of Burlington. Prior to joining CEDO in 2015, she served as Chief of the Caribbean Division at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in New York, before being assigned to Jamaica as the UNDP Resident Representative and Resident Coordinator for the United Nations. Gillian holds an MBA from Rutgers University and is twice a graduate of the University of the West Indies where she earned a BSc in Economics and Master’s in Social Sciences. She serves on the boards of the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center and South End Arts & Business Association (SEABA).

Issouf Ouattara was born in Ivory Coast (West Africa). At the age of 12, fleeing a social crisis, he moved to Burkina Faso where he completed both undergraduate and graduate degrees in business law (in French) and worked as a Legal Advisor with the debt collection department of a West African regional bank before his relocation to the United States in October 2010. He currently works as a maintenance unit supervisor at the University of Vermont. He also holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from UVM. He believes in self-awareness, tolerance, communication, and teamwork to promote a healthy, diverse, and inclusive community.

Isaac Owusu is the Director of Community Engagement and Support for the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance and the owner of Bedidi food cart located on the Church Street Marketplace in Burlington. He is a Champlain Housing Trust rental resident. He was born in Bronx, New York, but grew up in Ghana, West Africa. Years after returning to United States he moved to Vermont around 2007. English is Isaac’s second language. His background includes being a professional poker player, owning a couple of businesses, experience in policy and advocacy, and workforce and career development. Isaac’s main goal in life is to leave the world a better place for his now four-year-old son by mitigating the harms of systemic racism.

Rachyl Phillips is a former professional ballet dancer, choreographer, and teacher. While Rachyl and her husband Steven have both traveled and worked extensively abroad, they fell in love with Vermont and are proud to call it their home. While they originally moved here to start a performing arts school, Rachyl was soon after diagnosed with a serious, rare genetic disorder – Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome – that required the couple to put their lives on hold for the past several years for her treatment. Nevertheless, in spite of her medical limitations, Rachyl has remained active in the community – her own way of trying to “give back”. She enjoys writing and blogging, she manages a couple of websites, and she coordinates a unique, inclusive spiritual community online with her husband. She happily considers herself a “tech-geek,’’ continues to raise awareness of the medical condition she fights, and advocates for others — especially those who can’t do so themselves.

Sarah Robinson is the Deputy Director at the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, a statewide non-profit organization committed to uprooting the causes of violence. Sarah was born and raised in a small town in southern Vermont and has a deep appreciation for the strength of Vermont communities and local innovation. She served for four years as a City Councilor in Winooski and is an adjunct faculty member in the Social Work department at the University of Vermont. Sarah lives in Burlington with her husband Colin and finds her greatest source of both joy and humility as the co-parent of her two young daughters. Colin and Sarah purchased (and sold) their first house through the Champlain Housing Trust’s Shared Equity Program in 2008.

Jeff Smith has lived in Burlington since 1998 and volunteered in some capacity with the Champlain Housing Trust for over 20 years. He works at NorthCountry Federal Credit Union as the Senior Vice President of Lending. Previously, he worked at three different Community Development Credit Unions throughout the country in their efforts to serve people of modest means.  He holds an undergraduate degree in Accounting from James Madison University and an MBA from the University of Vermont.  In addition to CHT’s board, he served for 12 years on the board of the Burlington American Little League. He and his wife have two boys and a daughter.




View Champlain Housing Trust Bylaws – PDF