About Erik

Erik Eisele earned his Master of Policy, Planning and Management from the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine in Portland, Maine. His focus was on public policy and nonprofit management, exploring topics of leadership and hierarchy, systems and institutions. His work examines how systems of oppression perpetuate through individuals, institutions and policy, as well as alternative approaches capable of promoting equity, collaboration, shared success and justice, as well as performance.

While at USM Erik led university efforts to uproot ingrained internal systems of institutional oppression. Erik’s work led USM to announce its commitment to Antiracism, a new strategic goal on racial equity and justice, changes to hiring procedures, and the launch of a climate study, equity audit and curriculum review. Erik’s leadership was instrumental in reframing institutional perspectives on oppression at the Historically White University.

Erik’s graduate work follows years spent working in the nonprofit, community development and economic development sectors with organizations throughout New England and globally. Erik has worked in Belize, Cuba, Nepal, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Peru and elsewhere, as well as throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. He has experience supporting a broad range of projects for organizations ranging from local schools and small nonprofits to public universities and international development agencies. Erik also led collaborative partnership development between university faculty and community-based organizations in Southern Maine with the USM Office of Service-Learning and Volunteering.

Prior to working with nonprofit and public agencies, Erik spent a decade in journalism as a staff reporter and editor, freelancer and columnist. He has worked for NPR, written for the Boston Globe, and had his weekly columns for the Conway Daily Sun cited by the New York Times Editorial Board. Reporting took Erik to Iraq and Kuwait during the Iraq War, to countless interviews with New Hampshire Presidential Primary candidates, and to New Hampshire Superior Court where he argued Right-To-Know Law.


In addition to media, policy and the nonprofit sector, Erik also has a long career in the outdoor industry. A former member of the Trango/Tenaya athlete team, professional ski patroller and senior guide with Cathedral Mountain Guides, Erik has climbed technical peaks in the Peruvian Andes and Caucasus Mountains, multiday bigwalls in Yosemite, ice and mixed routes in Canada and Scotland, and rock climbs in Cuba, Mexico, Armenia, Peru, Spain and South Africa. He has climbed notable routes across the United States, has a list of first ascents around the Northeast, and is also an avid surfer and sailor. At age 18 Erik hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, and in the years after he led client adventures on five continents.

Erik’s dedication to the outdoors extends beyond recreation: In 2012 he earned a national award from the nonprofit Access Fund for his leadership changing New Hampshire law to support climbing access and landowner protection. Erik served for several years as a regional coordinator for the Access Fund, one of a number of volunteer roles he has filled for outdoor-focused organizations. Today he primarily volunteers for organizations addressing issues of racial justice, youth leadership, education, homelessness and hunger.