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Meet Adilah Muhammad

Adilah Muhammad is a dedicated strategic planning and research consultant, renowned for her work with The Third Place. I had the pleasure of meeting her through witnessing her impactful community development efforts. Adilah's commitment to uplifting communities shines through her roles as board chairperson for the Maine Community Foundation and board director for the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, among others. She is truly an amazing human.
My name is Adilah Muhammad. I am The Executive Director for The Third Place, a cross-sector network that connects Maine's Black professionals, students, and entrepreneurs to social, professional, and economic opportunities. I am known in Maine for being both a connector and convener of people and organizations seeking to build impactful solutions to community, workplace, and social challenges.  I have a knack for simplifying complex issues by stepping outside of myself and embodying multiple mindsets in what I like to call radical objectivism.  I would most like to be known as a smart, strong, compassionate, and quirky woman who cares deeply about her family and community.

What is the first word that comes to mind to describe Maine / Portland?

Primed.  Maine is both leading and remaining the same in some of the best ways.  It remains steadfast in its protection of its natural beauty and resources while moving into an era of radical innovation in its blue and green economies.  As a state, it is adjusting to its changing demographics through an iterative, public discussion on inclusion and belonging that is only possible in a state of our size. We are priming communities to embrace change and create a new shared legacy of Maine.

Who is the Mainer who most inspires you (past or present)?

Senator Jill Duson was one of the first Black female leaders that I was aware of in Maine.  When I moved here in 2001, she was on the Portland City Council.  She had such an understated toughness that I loved. I enjoyed her way of being delicate even when she was being deeply critical. And her ability to simplify the jargon and complexity was like butter. She leads with so much ease and grace and is the same person in whatever setting I see her in.  She inspires me to be fully myself.

What are Portland / Maine’s biggest challenges?

Balancing growth and innovation with Maine tradition.  We most certainly want to grow our population in cities and towns across the state, but we have to ensure that growth and innovation don't come at the cost of all the things we love about the state.  We need to responsibly invest in cities and towns that continue to lose or are at risk of losing significant populations by investing in innovative housing solutions and new economies.  This both provides an opportunity to preserve Maine's small cities and towns and prevents further disparities between rural Maine and its urban centers.

What are Portland / Maine’s greatest assets?

Maine's culture is driven by its natural beauty both in the interior and coastal areas. The people of Maine take on the character of the landscape much in the way that all cultures do.  However, with declining populations and fewer births, Maine's local economies are struggling to keep pace even within many of Maine's more traditional industries.  I think at this moment in time, the in-migration of so many people, particularly immigrants and asylees has injected an incredible amount of community vitality, knowledge, and skills into the state.  They have also provided a critical boost to our workforce and school populations - both essential for Maine's continued growth and prosperity.

How would you like to see Portland / Maine changed 5 years from now?

I would love to see some smart growth in smaller cities and towns across Maine.  There is a lot of rural poverty that goes unnoticed and unchallenged.  We need to be as vigilant in breaking cycles of generational poverty in rural areas as we are in Maine's larger cities.  As we continue to invest in these areas, they create opportunities for those who have grown up in rural Maine to find prosperity in the places they live.  These cities and towns can then become options for others.  I would love for all of Maine to have the social, cultural, and economic infrastructure to support thriving communities.

What are some of your favorites - restaurant/brewery/store?

I enjoy my fair share of the trendy Portland food scene.  However, I love a good homestyle-lick-your-fingers type of meal.  On a weekday when I am in heavy work mode, I will order something downright indulgent from Yardie Ting, a Jamaican restaurant in the Portland Public Market. My other craving is Dizzy Birds in Biddeford,  They have large portions and the food feels like your best friend's mom invited you over for a meal.  It's just yummy.

Favorite outdoor spots?

I enjoy sitting on the front porch with a freshly made donut and some tea at Nezinscot Farm in Turner. I love being able to walk around the farm to take a peek at what's growing and see all the animals. It's nice to also have breakfast on a Saturday morning and sit out on the back patio. Old Orchard Beach in April and early October are the best.  Those early morning and evening walks are the best when you have the whole stretch of beach almost to yourself.

What are your thoughts on what makes women’s leadership unique / how Maine women can work together to create impact?

Women, especially mothers, can scan the environment they are in ensuring that everyone's needs are getting met. Generally, we have a leadership approach that engenders equity and inclusion despite differences in leadership style. This helps to build more inclusive strategies, workplaces, communities, etc. Women work at the intersection of action and impact. We understand that impact must be evaluated every step of the way - not just the outcome.
Maine women can work together to create more impact in lots of areas by using our voices to communicate and act on challenges in our communities. Our ability to reduce complex issues into simple concepts and steps lends itself to a greater diversity of strategic thought and solutions.

How and why did you decide to make Maine home?

My husband was born and raised in Maine. However, since I was younger, I was always intrigued by the Maine mystic. My older brother would order clothing from LL Bean, so I would always look forward to the newest catalog in the mail. There were always just little things throughout my life that made me will my way here.

Work With Us

Whether your real estate aspirations are set on a luxury estate or a charming starter home, you can expect the same level of dedication and local expertise from me.