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August 25, 2023

National search brings Hannaford exec to lead Good Shepherd Food Bank

Less than two months after Good Shepherd Food Bank's longtime president, Kristen Miale, officially stepped down from her role, a national search for a new leader has landed a Maine native and former executive of Hannaford Supermarkets.

Heather Thompson Paquette has been named as the next president of Maine’s largest hunger-relief organization. She will start in September.

person with wavy hair smiling
Courtesy / Good Shepherd Food Bank
Heather Thompson Paquette will be Good Shepherd Food Bank’s next president, starting in September.

Bryan O’Connor, Good Shepherd’s vice president of finance and administration, has been serving as interim president since July 1. 

“We are excited to welcome Heather to our organization,” said Ben Sprague, chair of the food bank’s board. “Heather is a proven team leader and an energetic innovator who will complement our existing strong team and join in partnership across the state to execute our mission and vision.” 

Good Shepherd, headquartered in Auburn, sources food and distributes it to nearly 600 partner organizations across the state, including food pantries, meal sites, schools, health care centers and senior programs. The food bank also provides capacity-building and innovation grants and engages in advocacy, nutrition education and strategic partnerships.

Miale was a 2015 Mainebiz Women to Watch honoree.

Retail innovation

Paquette grew up in Biddeford and received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Southern Maine in business administration with a concentration in finance. She earned a certificate in executive leadership from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a certificate in the food executive program at Cornell University. She now lives in Scarborough.

Paquette comes to the food bank after a 24-year career with the companies of Ahold Delhaize USA, including 22 years at Hannaford Supermarkets. 

She most recently served as vice president of retail innovation center of excellence, with Retail Business Services, a services company for Ahold Delhaize USA brands. 

Before that, Paquette served as vice president of retail operations for Maine and vice president of retail services for Hannaford Supermarkets. 

She has helped champion equity, diversity and inclusion efforts within her roles at previous employers, including serving as the executive sponsor for the PRIDE Business Resource Group during her time at retail business services.

“Having worked in food retailing for more than two decades, I’ve seen firsthand the challenges of food insecurity, the impact on families and the tough choices families make every day in feeding those they love,” said Paquette.

In addition to her professional experience, Paquette also brings community service as a past president of the March of Dimes board of directors, board member of the Boys & Girls Club of Southern Maine, and co-chair of United Way of Southern Maine Tocqueville Society.

In just over a decade, Good Shepherd has nearly tripled its food distribution — from 10.7 million meals in 2010 to 29 million meals last year, with a focus on improving access to nutritious and culturally relevant foods. 

Good Shepherd is now leading a $250 million Campaign to End Hunger in Maine and continues to support its partners through innovation grants, distributing $4.2 million last year alone.

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