Kristina M.J. Powell is the new executive director of The Telling Room. Photo by HAL Photography, courtesy of the Telling Room

The Telling Room, the literary arts education center in downtown Portland, has hired Kristina M.J. Powell as its new executive director. Powell, a Bowdoin College graduate with a history of working for Maine nonprofits, will succeed current executive director Celine Kuhn, who announced her departure in the spring.

“As the next leader of The Telling Room, I look forward to bringing my journey of identity formation and passion for the literary arts to this role,” Powell said in a statement. “Finding our voices and sharing our stories, asking questions, and listening to each other is how we can work collectively to create cultural shifts while celebrating the diversity of experiences and perspectives that strengthens our communities.”

The mission of the Telling Room is to empower youth through writing. Powell has spent her career working to elevate the voices of young people. After graduating from Bowdoin with a degree in anthropology, Powell worked at the Council on International Education, specializing in study-abroad programs; at Bates College, where she developed programs for underrepresented alumni, students and their families; and at the Center for Grieving Children, where she led the development team. This past June, she received her MBA while serving as director of the Berwick Fund at Berwick Academy in South Berwick.

“In Kristina we have found an authentic and dynamic leader who brings a wealth of experience working in nonprofits focused on youth and in educational settings,” Telling Room board president Anya Endsley said in a statement. “We look forward to embarking into The Telling Room’s next phase of growth with Kristina as we engage with existing and new community partners and advance our diversity, equity and inclusion work while expanding access to opportunities for students across Maine.”

Kuhn has been executive director for five years, following years of volunteer service to the organization.

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