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Maria Thomas

Director of Team & Culture

I hail from Camden, Maine, a small coastal town known uniquely for being a place “where the mountains meet the sea.” A New York Times writer once described Camden as though it “reads like a postcard from New England written to itself,” whatever that means.

From an international architecture firm near Skid Row to a tech startup in Times Square, I’ve been a part of teams big and small, corporate cubicles to scooters-in-the-hallway and kombucha-on-tap; family-owned to 10,000 people plus. I recently found myself returning to my salty roots as the Director of People and Culture of a lobster company back on the coast of Maine before landing in my current role at AOEU. Who would have thought that Northern Iowa would be the home of a national, cutting-edge, quickly growing, mission-driven arts institution!? I could not be more thrilled to take on the role of the Director of Team and Culture and am looking forward to being a part of its growth.

While not “people op’ing,” culturing teams, or human resourcing, you can find me slurping oysters at McLoon’s Lobster Shack with a Vinho Verde in hand, island hopping in search of the best picnic beach, thrifting for vintage furniture, or exploring the nature preserves of Southern Maine with my large and often shaggy doodle, Sylvie. Now…can someone tell me where the glue sticks are? I’ve got to get back to work!

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