An avid cyclist, Joan Lemoine has logged miles through the rolling pastoral beauty of Vermont and even through the subtropical peaks and valleys of Vietnam. But there is one trail that daunts even her, right here on the island.
“I stay away from the leisure trails during tourist season,” she said with a laugh. True, the trails may get slightly congested during the peak season, but Lemoine can share at least part of the credit for their immense popularity. As president of Kickin’ Asphalt, she was part of a group that worked with the town on creating our island’s network of trails and building our reputation as a bike-friendly community.
“We’ve seen a tremendous growth in bicycle interest,” she said. “Our members are bike ambassadors.”
But Lemoine doesn’t just set her sights on changing the world of recreational cycling. Through her work with the World Affairs Council of Hilton Head, she has her sights set on changing the world as we know it. The WACHH is an affi liate of the World Affairs Council of America, “the largest non-profi t grassroots organization in the United States, dedicated to educating and engaging Americans on global issues” according to its website.
Lemoine was recently named executive director of the WACHHI, due in no small part to the many campaigns she spearheaded while serving as administrative director. Along with keeping track of the growing membership of the council, currently around 800 members strong, Lemoine was also instrumental in setting up the guest speaker program with notables such as John Huntsman and Stephen Kinzer, who will appear on the island in January to discuss his book Reset. She also oversees the academic world quest, a reach out to the younger generation that has proven immensely popular.
“It’s like a college bowl quiz for students on international affairs,” she explained. “This was the second year we sent our winning team to Washington to compete nationally.”
“I was always interested in the geopolitical aspects of international affairs,” she said. “In my previous career I had overseen study abroad programs, so I was familiar with those issue.”
That previous career includes distinguished turns as director of student services for Indiana University East (Lemoine is a graduate of IU and, thus, a rabid basketball fan), dean of students at Western Connecticut State University, dean of academic and student affairs at Rutgers University, and most recently vice chancellor for student affairs at USCB.
“I always considered myself an educator outside the classroom,” she said.
In or out of the classroom, anyone looking to change the world or just change their town could learn a lesson from Joan Lemoine.