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Abdullahi Ali

Founder & CEO

Gateway Community Services

Abdullahi Ali is an accomplished community member and leader. Abdullahi is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gateway Community Services, Executive Director of the Not-for-Profit organization wing of Gateway (GCSM), CEO of LAAFYO Consultancy/Property development; he is also the founder of the East-African based non-profit, Nurture Horn Afric Foundation. Abdullahi was born in Somalia, raised in Kenyan refugee camp, Dadaab, and resettled in Maine as a refugee. While in Kenya, Abdullahi received his Associate’s in Community Development and studied Sociology and Public Administration at the University of Kenya in Nairobi. Abdullahi has worked with humanitarian and development agencies in Kenya. He was regularly involved in programs and activities of income generation for vulnerable communities, peace education, women’s empowerment, and skills development. He brought his vision of inclusivity and ambition with him when he moved to Maine. Abdullahi continued his pursuit of higher education by studying for a Bachelor’s in Social Science at the University of Southern Maine (USM) and graduating with a Master of Science degree in Justice Studies with a concentration in Public Administration from Southern New Hampshire University. He is currently completing his PhD in Public Policy at the Muskie School at USM. Since 2009, Abdullahi has worked with immigrant communities, survivors of torture, youth and individuals and families with mental illness in Maine. In 2019, Maine Magazine honored Abdullahi as one of “50 Mainers Creating a Brighter Future for the State,” and in 2020, he received the Metamorphosis Visionary Leadership Award. Abdullahi continues to strive towards the greater good of the communities he lives with through the work that he does in his organizations and the other organizations he is member of their Board of Directors.


Rachel Bowler

Labor and Safety Inspector

Maine Dept. of Labor, Wage & Hour

Has been with the Maine Department of Labor for almost 13 years. 11 of those years have been with the Bureau of Labor Standard, Wage & Hour Division. Rachel is a Labor and Safety Inspector with an emphasis on Child Labor and is considered a subject matter expert.

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Crystal Arbour

Child Care Service Program Manager


Crystal Arbour is the Child Care Service Program Manager at the Office of Child and Family Services. She is the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) administrator for Maine. Her works includes overseeing the Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP), statewide professional development for early childhood educators, and early care workforce development.


Colby Bracy

Human Resources Director

The Nonantum Resort

Colby Bracy is the Human Resources Director at The Nonantum Resort. This role, combined with a lifelong passion for criminal justice, led to the beginning of The Nonantum’s reentry program. Working alongside formerly incarcerated people has spurred further conversation and education at The Nonantum regarding substance use disorder, recovery, relapse, and the value of second chances. Now, in addition to hiring formerly incarcerated individuals, Colby is proud to employ and support individuals in recovery. Colby has a BS in Accounting from Elon University, an MBA from The University of Maine, and hopes to never stop learning. She currently serves as a Trustee of the Kennebunk-Kennebunkport-Arundel Chamber of Commerce and is part of the Employment Committee with Pinetree Institute’s Kennebunk Area Community Coordinated Response Initiative to Substance Use Disorder. Colby and her husband are the ridiculously proud parents of two under two and support their community as foster parents.

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Todd Beacham

Sr. VP & Business Banking Manager
Bank of America

Todd Beacham is a Senior Vice President and the Business Banking Market Manager for Maine, Seacoast NH, and Vermont. Todd has been with Bank of America and related legacy banks since 1994. He has held management positions in Credit Card, at MBNA America, and Retail Banking at Fleet Bank. Todd joined Business Banking in 2006. Todd is a 1991 graduate of the University of Vermont. He serves as Maine Market Integration Executive and is active on a number of non-profit boards including Friends of Portland Adult Education and The Susan L. Curtis Charitable Foundation, and the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce. He lives in Cumberland, Maine with his daughter.


Lovelie Cajuste

Manager of Enviromental Services


My name is Lovelie Cajuste, I'm a manager in the Environmental Services Department (EVS) at Maine Medical Center (MMC). I have been working at MMC since 2016 and been involved in Workforce Development for some time now. I am looking forward to discussing more of the partnership between EVS and WFD particularly how it positively impacted the employees and our retention.


Emily Becker

Program Manager


Emily is the Program Manager for GO MAINE, the statewide mobility and commuter options program of MaineDOT and the Maine Turnpike Authority. She combines her educational background in transportation planning with her lived experience as a rural Mainer when working with organizations on the various transportation issues they face. Emily lives in Poland with her husband, son, and two rescue cats.


Shiva Darbandi

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Specialist

State of Maine

Shiva Darbandi (she/her) is a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging Specialist in Maine State Government. Shiva joined the State’s Department of Administrative and Financial Services after two decades in academia and nonprofits, where she advocated for intersectionality and worked to affirm the importance of centering marginalized voices. In her current work, she focuses on identifying, attracting, and developing a high-performing, diverse workforce; facilitating DEIB-related presentations, trainings, and workshops; reviewing and developing equitable policies across state government; and establishing and growing affinity/employee resource groups. Shiva is also working on her PhD, and her research interests include intergenerational knowledge, intangible cultural heritage, and diaspora foodways.


Abby Frutchey

Substance Use Response Coordinator

Community Caring Collaborations

Abby Frutchey, LMSW, LADC, CCS, is the Substance Use Response Coordinator for the Community Caring Collaborative. Her work focuses on program development, organizational training and technical assistance, and collaborative efforts to address substance use challenges in Washington County. She overs the development of the Recovery and Employment project and Recovery Friendly Workplace initiative for her agency. She is a licensed Master in Social Work, Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, and Certified Clinical Supervisor. Abby has a bachelor’s degree in Human Services Management and master’s degree in Social Work. Abby is on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals and has a passion for working with individuals involved in the criminal justice system. Abby and her family actively engage in substance use prevention, recovery, and awareness events in their community and are volunteers on the local level.


Diane Howes-Leahy

Store Manager

I am a store manager of Walgreens in the Skowhegan community. I have been with the company since Walgreens acquisitioned several Rite Aid stores in New England in 2018. With that I have a 28-year combined retail pharmacy experience. Because of my passion for growth and development I also am currently on Maine's recruitment team working on filling vacancies in the stores. I am really enjoying meeting people and making connections! When I am home, I love to camp in the Baxter state park area with my family, grandchildren and my black Labrador Rangleigh.


Brian Frutchey
Marketing Manager

R.H. Foster

Brian Frutchey is the Market Manager for R.H. Foster, in Machias, Maine. As a person in long term recovery, Brian has dedicated his time to support recovery and advocacy efforts within Washington County. Brian indicates employment played a significant role in his early recovery process. He works collaboratively with local organizations to break down barriers for those impacted by substance use disorder in Washington County, including employment and transportation.


Ana Hicks

Policy Director, Human Services

Governor's Office of Policy Innovation & the Future

Ana Hicks is Policy Director, Human Services, in the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future. In her role, Ana helps to direct and facilitate the work of the Children’s Cabinet, the Cabinet on Aging, and implementation of the Ending Hunger by 2030 plan. Prior to GOPIF, Ana worked for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, where she focused on state level efforts to strengthen and improve the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Ana served for four years as chief of staff to the Speaker of the Maine House where she was responsible for developing and advancing a broad policy agenda that included expanding access to affordable health care and supporting seniors to live independently in their homes. From 2004 - 2012, she was a senior policy analyst at Maine Equal Justice Partners. She has a Master’s degree in Urban Policy and Child Development from Tufts University.


Paige Galkowski

Human Resources Manager

Kittery Trading Post

Growth opportunity in the workplace is something Paige took advantage of in her college years with a recreation degree internship turned HR Assistant at Water Country in Portsmouth, NH. Over the last ten years Paige has worked her way up in the HR world at Jay Peak in VT, Potpourri Group in MA, and for the last five years she’s been the Human Resources Manager at Kittery Trading Post. Born and raised in South Berwick, Maine Paige is privileged to give back to the York county community through helping individuals grow in their careers and sharing the endless opportunities the retail space has to offer.


Bartlett Hutchinson

Maine Department of Labor

I've been with Wage & Hour for 7 years and a total of 14 years with the State. Prior experiences are in manufacturing management and law enforcement.

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RuthAnne Haley

Workforce Development Coordinator

Mercy Hospital

RuthAnne serves as the Workforce Development Coordinator for Mercy Hospital. Her work focuses on upskilling current employees, partnering with adult education for language acquisition and training programs. Before joining Mercy Hospital, RuthAnne worked for the Maine Department of Labor connecting employers and job seekers, creating training programs, supporting students in the Competitive Skills Scholarship Program, and expanding apprenticeships. She has held leadership positions in higher education in Maine and Massachusetts. RuthAnne received a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts and a Master’s in Education from Boston University.


Melinda Hull


Melinda Hull joined MaineHealth's Center for Workforce Development in 2022 and leads the development and delivery of the organization's clinical career pre-apprentice program. She also works to extend career coaching programming and registered apprenticeship opportunities across the MaineHealth system. Prior to joining MaineHealth, Melinda worked for 20 years in a range of education, healthcare, and nonprofit settings in the United States and abroad. A lifelong learner and education enthusiast, she earned her Master of Social Work from Boston University and her Doctor of Education from The George Washington University. Melinda is inspired by the commitment and dedication of her care team member colleagues and is honored to be able to support them and our communities through impactful partnerships and programs.


Sarah King

Chief Human Resources Officer

TimberHP by GO Lab

Sarah King, the Chief Human Resources Officer, has over 20 years of management and HR experience. She is a native of central Maine who graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington with a BS in Health Education. She began her career with MBNA/Bank of America and has since worked in HR management at a boat yard, lumber yard, in construction, and most recently in healthcare. Sarah and the GO Lab Madison team are committed to making the company an employer of choice.


Guy Langevin


State Workforce Board

Guy Langevin Executive Vice President of HR and Chief Administrative Officer, Dead River Company Guy Langevin joined Dead River Company in 2009 as Vice President of Human Resources and Organizational Development. In 2018, he was promoted to his current role as Chief Administrative Officer overseeing Human Resources, Information Technology, Legal, Safety and Risk Management, Strategy Planning and Business Intelligence and Optimization. Langevin earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Maine and his master’s degree from the City University of New York. He is a United States Army veteran where he worked in Military Intelligence as a Cryptologic Linguist. Before joining Dead River Company, he worked in leadership roles at Hannaford Bros. Co. and Key Bank Corporation. Langevin currently serves as the Chair for the Maine State Workforce Board. He also serves as the Board Chair for Maine and Company, Vice Chair for the MES Foundation and Board Director for the Alfond Scholarship Foundation.


Sue LeClair
CareerCenter Manager
Maine Dept. of Labor

CareerCenter Manager for the Augusta, Rockland and Northern Kennebec Valley CareerCenters with the Maine Department of Labor. Central Western Workforce Development Board Member.

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Brian Lenberg

Executive Coordinator

Sunday River

Brian Lenberg, Executive Coordinator at Sunday River Ski Resort acts as the General Manager's Administrative Assistant while overseeing resort projects and initiatives.


Jess Maurer
Executive Director
Maine Council on Aging

As the Executive Director of the Maine Council on Aging (MCOA), Jess Maurer leads a broad, multidisciplinary network of more than 135 organizations, businesses, municipalities, and community members working to ensure we can all live healthy, engaged, and secure lives as we age in our homes and community settings. She leads a dynamic team and an engaged board to initiate and support data-informed policy change efforts through direct advocacy with federal, state, and municipal leaders. She creates shared-learning opportunities for community, social service, policy, and healthcare leaders across Maine and Northern New England. She collaborates with members and partners to convene processes and events geared toward action on issues related to poverty, housing, transportation, workforce, community development, and care across all settings. She co-authored Building a Collaborative Community Response to Aging in Place and Maine’s Blueprint for Action on Healthy Aging. A licensed Maine attorney, Jess worked for 17 years in the Maine Office of the Attorney General. As Executive Director for the Maine Association of Area Agencies on Aging, she co-founded the MCOA in 2012, and became its first Executive Director in 2018. She graduated from the University of Maine School of Law and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst


Ryan Neale

Transit Manager

Bureau of Planning at Maine Dept. of Transportation

Ryan Neale is Transit Manager in the Bureau of Planning at the Maine Department of Transportation. Ryan started at MaineDOT in February 2023. In his current role, he oversees public transportation planning for the State of Maine. Prior to his time at MaineDOT, Ryan worked as a transit planner for the Greater Portland Council of Governments and as a program manager for the Maine Development Foundation.

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Debra Means-West
Director, Network and Resource Development
WES Global Talent Bridge

Debra Means-West is the Director, Network and Resource Development within the WES Global Talent Bridge program. In her role, Debra is responsible for designing strategies and systems to engage, inform, support, and grow GTB’s diverse network of local and national partners working on the inclusion of immigrants in key areas such of workforce development, adult education, and policy. She is also responsible for overseeing WES’ resource development, which includes developing, designing, and disseminating content and information focused on advancing and promoting immigrant and refugee inclusion.


Elizabeth Nitzel

Vocational Rehabilitation Manager
Maine Dept. of Labor

Vocational Rehabilitation Manager with a demonstrated history of engaging businesses with local resources and assisting career seekers with developing their skills and access to local opportunities. Skilled in collaboration efforts to combine resources and assist in workforce development and talent acquisition.

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Dawn McKenney

Program Director

Maine Department of Labor

Program Manager for the private sector consultation program. Formally I was a Health and Safety Compliance Assistance Specialist and an Occupational Safety Specialist with SafetyWorks!. Been with the Maine Department Labor for 22 years and in State Government for 27 years. I am OSHA Training Center Authorized Trainer for General Industry, Construction, Shipyard, Marine Terminal, and Longshoring industries covering safety and health OSHA standards.

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Julie Oakley

Area Field Disability Specialist

I belong to the Walgreens Corporate team as an Area Field Disability Specialist, as part of our disability inclusion commitment. My Area covers our Eastern region stores, distribution centers, and micro-ulfillment centers. I support our Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative (REDI) and Transitional Work Group (TWG) programs. Both programs were created to recruit, develop, and hire individuals with physical, cognitive or emotional disabilities. Walgreens also offer programs for those in day programs and those looking to explore careers as part of their work or transition plans. I enjoy living in New England and can often be found enjoying the outdoors.


Cynthia Murphy

Workforce Solutions, Strategy & Program Delivery


Cynthia Murphy leads workforce solutions strategy and program delivery at CEI, helping employers create competitive advantage by improving the quality of their jobs and expanding opportunities for marginalized job seekers. In addition, Cynthia leads the Child Care Business Lab, a cohort-based program that helps entrepreneurs start child care businesses, integrating small business start-up education, guidance on how to deliver high-quality child care programming and coaching through the licensing process. Prior to joining CEI, Cynthia had a 25+ year career leading commercial operations for subsidiaries of Thomson Reuters, a global information business. She holds a B.A. from the University of Maine, an M.S. from Simmons College and a certificate in nonprofit management from Georgetown University.


Kristine McCallister
Labor Program Specialist

Maine Apprenticeship Program

Kristine McCallister is a Labor Program Specialist with the Maine Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship Program. She helps to connect Maine businesses to an incredible recruitment, training, and retention tool – registered apprenticeship programs. Her focus areas are developing programs in construction, clean energy, broadband, and aquaculture sectors. Kristine also manages 14 grantees who were awarded funding last year to develop and expand apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, with a goal of serving 1,000 pre-apprentices and 2,000 apprentices within 2.5 years.


Kim Moore
Bureau of Employment Services Director
Maine Dept. of Labor


Kim Moore is the Bureau of Employment Services Director for the Maine Department of Labor, responsible for overnight and delivery of federal and state employment and training programs and services through Maine’s CareerCenters statewide. Kim has spent more than 14 years honing her skills as a career development professional and has extensive experience in workforce development, career services, grant administration, and project/program management. Her passion for linking and braiding systems and programs to develop a seamless continuum of services to support marginalized jobseekers and employers was developed through her work as Coordinator for the Greater Portland Workforce Initiative (GPWI) and as Workforce Services Manager for Virginia’s fully comprehensive One-Stop in Roanoke, VA.


Julie Rabinowitz

Director of Communications

General Dynamics Bath Iron Works

Julie Dumont Rabinowitz joined General Dynamics Bath Iron Works as Director of Communications in June 2021. Her responsibilities include oversight of messaging for external stakeholders and—most important—internal communication for BIW’s 7,000 employees. Ms. Rabinowitz holds a Master’s Degree in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and undergraduate degrees in Communication Arts and History from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. She has taught courses at North Carolina State University, University of Southern Maine, Bates, and Colby. Prior to joining BIW, she served as press secretary and senior policy advisor for defense, veterans and emergency management for Governor Paul R. LePage. Her service to the State of Maine includes more than five years at the Department of Labor, where, when she was promoted to the Governor’s Office, she held the title director of policy, operations, and communication. She has extensive experience in nonprofit management.


Jason Shedlock
Maine State Building & Construction Trades Council

Jason J. Shedlock is the President of the Maine State Building & Construction Trades Council, representing 20 labor unions and over 6,000 workers across Maine. He is also a Regional Organizer and Vice President/Secretary Treasurer for the Laborers' International Union, Local 327. Jason serves as the Vice Chair of the Maine Apprenticeship Council and sits on the State Workforce Board. Jason’s roles representing working families further include positions as the President of the Board of Trustees and Executive Board Member of both the Maine AFL-CIO as well as the Southern Maine Labor Council. A resident of Portland where he lives with his 11 year old daughter Josephine, Jason also serves his community as the Vice President of the Board of the Maine Immigrant Rights Coalition and on the Board of Trustees for First Parish in Portland, Unitarian Universalist.


Pat Strauch
Executive Director
Maine Forest Products Council

Patrick began his career as a forester for St. Regis Paper Co. 1981 and eventually became the Regional Vice President of a trucking and recycling company in Bangor, Maine. In 2004 he became the Executive Director of the Maine Forest Products Council. MFPC represents over 300 member companies, including all segments of the diverse forest products community. Members include manufacturers of pulp & paper, sawmills, fiberboard mills, loggers, foresters and over 8 million acres of commercial working forests. MFPC is a founding member of the Forest Opportunity Roadmap (FOR/ME) initiative which is a collaboration of organizations working together to strengthen and build markets for forest products as part of the emerging forest bio economy. Patrick Strauch received his B.S. degree in forest management and his master's in silviculture from the University of Maine. He resides on his tree farm in Exeter, Maine, with his wife Nancy.


Patrick Webber
Health Educator
Maine General's Harm Reduction Department

I have lived in Central Maine my entire life. I've worked in retail settings for over five years, primarily at TJ Maxx in various positions, before moving into the mental health and social services sector. I currently work as a Health Educator for MaineGeneral's Harm Reduction Department and am attending college full-time to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.


Nadine Pembele

Mercy Hospital

Nadine Pembele is a full time staff at Mercy Hospital in Portland, Natural Helper Alumni and executive member of the Congolese Community of Maine. Nadine is also a new entrepreneur in Financial Literacy industry as she believes that the real freedom for immigrants is financial freedom.

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Cooper Berstein

I am student attending Cony High School, I am a senior and am graduating this year in June. I am 18 years old and am interested in Digital Art, which is why as a senior, I took Graphic Design down at CATC.

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Celina Cunningham
Deputy Director
Governor's Energy Office

Celina Cunningham is the Deputy Director of the Governor’s Energy Office in Maine, where she leads the renewable energy and markets team. She has two decades of experience leading on energy, climate, and natural resource issues in the public and private sector, including at the U.S. Department of the Interior and as staff at the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Kay Kerina

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Kristin Okerholm

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John Sabine

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Brian Skoczenski
Ready Seafood Co.

In the last 10 years Ready Seafood Co. has grown from roughly 60 employees and two locations, to over 400 employees and 6 locations across the state of Maine. This constant growth has forced has to be extremely creative in attracting employees.


Liz Torrance

Corporate Social Responsibility Manager Kennebunk Savings

Liz Torrance is the Corporate Social Responsibility Manager for Kennebunk Savings. She drives the strategic direction and execution of corporate social responsibility initiatives and philanthropy, through which the bank annually donates more than $1 million to local nonprofit organizations. She leads the Community Relations team, overseeing grants and sponsorships, the Kennebunk Savings Foundation, the corporate volunteer program, the Community Reinvestment Act program, and works as an advisor on the Kennebunk Savings Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council. Liz serves on the Hope on Haven Hill Board of Directors, University of New Hampshire Sustainability Advisory Board, THRIVE2027 Goal 3 Cabinet, and the Granite United Way Greater Seacoast Region Community Impact Committee. She is a strong believer in the business community’s power to be a force for good and she is proud to be a part of a purpose-driven organization like Kennebunk Savings.


Michelle Willis


Michelle Willis has been employed with Walgreens since August 2022. She graduated from Governor Baxter School of the Deaf. She is a proud mother of three adults and grandmother to six grandchildren.


Kerem Durdag

President & COO

GWI, Inc

Kerem is President and Chief Operating Officer of GWI, a leading ISP/telco in Maine; the first B Corp telecommunications carrier in the US. He has served as the Entrepreneur-In-Residence for a quasi-public loan and venture capital entity and was the CEO of a start-up leading it to growth and eventual acquisition by a public company. Prior he also served as CTO and engineering leader of global semiconductor, optical media and electronic companies. He is also the Founder and Managing Partner of Indus Fund which provides micro-loans to immigrant business owners.


Korina Constanzo
Recruitment and Retention
Ready Seafood

As a passionate people person, problem solver and leader, Korina has worked at Ready Seafood for the past 3 years, supporting recruitment and retention as the company has expanded to 400+ employees across 6 locations throughout Maine. Creativity, determination and making an impact on local communities have been the drivers of success


Carolyn Delaney
Journey Enterprises

Carolyn Delaney is the founder of Journey Enterprises, a media company on a mission to amplify hope and provide evidence that recovery from addiction is possible. Journey Magazine, a print magazine published 6 times a year and distributed statewide, makes recovery visible and reduces addiction stigma in a hope-filled, solution-oriented way by sharing inspiring personal recovery stories and helpful community based mutual-aid programs, businesses and services. She envisions a world where all options for recovery are known and accessible. Carolyn serves on the boards of the Maine Association of Recovery Residences and Women Standing together.


Bruce Noddin
Executive Director
The Maine Prisoer Re-Entry Network

Executive Director of The Maine Prisoner Re-Entry Network or MPRN, a state-wide non-profit focused on providing peer support and coordinated community resources for hundreds of individuals returning to Maine communities from prison, jail, and treatment courts. Bruce was appointed to the Maine State Workforce Board by Governor Mills in April 2022 and appointed by Senate President Jackson to the Maine Recovery Council in August 2022. Bruce is a “6 Who Care”, “Rising Tide”, and Spirit of Goodwill Award winner, and the recipient of multiple awards for MPRN’s community collaboration. Bruce and his wife Susan have 4 grown children between them and three grandchildren. Bruce is a person in long term recovery, a former small business owner, internet retailer, and political organizer. When Bruce isn't working, volunteering, or enjoying family time you can find him fly fishing, hiking, skiing, cycling, mountain-biking, or playing guitar and singing with his Dad.

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Kevin O'Leary

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Renate Scholz
General Manager
Home Instead - Gorham

As General Manager of Home Instead in Gorham, Renate guides growth, oversees the day-to-day running of the office, and manages a staff of 80+ administrators and Care Professionals. Additionally, Renate co-chairs the PACES Maine group and is a member of the Greater Portland Walk to End ALZ walk committee. Renate graduated from Bowdoin College in 1990 and earned a MAT from UNH in 1992. She currently lives in Gorham with her two children.


Kalee Stockley

Recruitment & Workforce Development

Versant Power

Currently working at Versant Power, managing Recruitment & Workforce Development. Specializing in internal and external talent management, executive sourcing, process improvement and new hire experience. Has over 9 years of experience working in the Talent Acquisition industry.


Erica Watson

Senior Program Director for Education & Workforce


Erica is the Senior Program Director for Education & Workforce at the Maine Development Foundation (MDF). She focuses on the implementation of MDF’s collaborative Adult Promise work – ensuring 60% of Mainers have credentials of value by 2025 and that we have a strong Navigator Network to help adult learners succeed. In addition, she supports workforce development projects at MDF, including FOR/ME and SEA Maine.


Mary Whitten
HR Senior Strategic Business
VA Maine Healthcare System

Mary Whitten has over 20 years in Federal Human Resources serving in a variety of positions to include onboarding, work life benefits and employee and labor relations. Mary transferred to the VA in 2019 as the Human Resource Officer at the VA Maine Healthcare System (Togus). With consolidation and regionalization of VHA Human Resources in 2020, she is a member of the Veterans Integrated Service Network 1 (New England) HR Staff in the position of HR Senior Strategic Business Partner at the VA Maine Healthcare System. Mary holds HR Certifications from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-SCP) and the Human Resources Certification Institute (SPHR).


Christopher Quint

State Workforce Board

Chris Quint serves as the Director of the State Workforce Board with the Maine Department of Labor. In this role he manages execution of strategies to develop and sustain a responsive, networked, and coordinated workforce system that results in increased educational and employment attainment for Maine residents, and supports Maine’s business sectors with skilled and qualified workers. Before joining the Maine Department of Labor, Chris ran his own public affairs consulting firm specializing in strategic communications, government relations and advocacy, media relations, community relations and spokesperson training, and worked in leadership roles at the University of Southern Maine, the Maine State Employees Association-SEIU Local 1989, and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. Chris earned his BA from Colby-Sawyer College and lives in Biddeford with his wife Kim and two children, Theodora and Levi.

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Charlie Collins
Deputy Exec. Director for Workforce Training
Maine Community College System

Charles Collins, Ed.D., is Deputy Executive Director of Workforce Training for the Maine Community College System (MCCS) Harold Alfond Center for the Advancement of Maine’s Workforce. In his position, Charlie develops business connections and provides operational management to several workforce initiatives with collaboration with Maine’s employers, trade associations, and training vendors. With 30 years of experience with MCCS, Charlie provides the Alfond Center with leadership, strategic and budget planning, and continual research on best practices for industry training and professional development.

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Alexis Deschaine


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Grace Olsen


Mari O'Neil

Executive Director

Retail Association of Maine/Maine Business Education Partnership

Mari joined the Retail Association of Maine in January of 2021, with a focus on promoting the National Retail Federation Foundation’s RISE Up retail credential program in Maine, with a focus on Workforce Development, as well as managing their 501 (c) (3), the Maine Business Education Partnership. Ms. O’Neil’s role has evolved over the past two years to include in-depth collaboration with business partners and educators to develop career pathways in the retail industry. The Maine Business Education Partnership was awarded Maine Industry Partnership for Workforce Development grant through the MDOL. In December, she successfully completed the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation – Talent Pipeline Management Academy. Previously, Mari served as a board member of the Retail Association of Maine for nine years. She has more than 30 years of retail, training, and educational experience Mari holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire, where she also served as a teaching assistant.


Olesya Shkut

Blue Triton Brands

One of Olesya's values is "passionate about people". Fortunately, that value has found its reflection in both professional and personal life. For the past 15+ years of HR experience, working in a variety of industries, ranging from food manufacturing to legal both in private and non-profit sectors, Olesya has been striving to improve peoples' experiences at the workplace. For the past 7 years Olesya has been residing in Maine where she and her small family found their new home.


Gordon Smith
Director of Opioid Response

State of Maine

Gordon Smith was appointed by Governor Janet Mills as Maine's first Director of Opioid Response in Feb. 2019. He is a native of Winthrop, Maine and a graduate of the University of Maine and Boston College School of Law. From 1980 through 2018, Mr. Smith served in various legal and management positions with the Maine Medical Association, concluding as Executive Vice President from 1993 until his retirement in 2018. He is a frequently lecturer on medical and legal topics.


Gretchen Weisner

Administration & Finance Manager

Maine Coast Sea Vegetables

Gretchen Weisner is the Administration and Finance Manager at Maine Coast Sea Vegetables and has been with the company since 2011. She has three decades of management and customer service experience. Her higher education has involved studies of biology, environmental studies, ecology, marine science, nutrition and accounting. She has a passion for wellness and has been teaching water fitness classes at a local YMCAs for 20+ years. She loves spending time in the outdoors, cooking, and exploring with her partner, Mike, and her three children.

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Anson Green

Digital and Automation Upskilling

Tyson Foods

Anson Green is a workforce and education trailblazer leading economic opportunity efforts at Tyson Foods. There, he develops strategic initiatives to support the upskilling of Tyson’s 121,000 front-line team members, many of whom are immigrants and refugees. His current assignments include delivering enterprise solutions to support Tyson’s efforts to deploy automation and industry 4.0 solutions with its diverse communities of team members. As Texas Adult Education State Director, Anson led the transformation of the $80M federal responsive solutions for Texans seeking college and career entry solutions. For this work Anson was awarded the National Outstanding Administrator of the Year award by the Coalition on Adult Basic Education. Anson is recognized for his frontline worker upskilling approaches, non-profit engagement models, curriculum and assessment solutions that integrate English, training and digital skills, and policy. Anson’s vertically integrated skills inform his work—He has taught ESL through university level classes, published curriculum, directed a school campus in an empowerment zone, hosts a podcast, directed state government services, testified to Congressional committees, and now builds innovative learning solutions for one of the largest food companies in the world. This experience provides Anson with unique perspectives and the ability to deliver a spectrum of solutions.


Tarlan Ahmadov

Director Division of Employment
Maine Dept. of Labor

Tarlan Ahmadov is the Director Division of Employment, Bureau of Employment, Maine Department of Labor. Prior to his role at MDOL, Tarlan was the State Refugee Coordinator at the Office of Maine Refugee Services. Prior to his immigration to the USA, Tarlan worked in the education field in Baku, Azerbaijan, and later joined the non-profit sector, combined with a consulting business to the Consulate of Azerbaijan in Tehran, Iran. Tarlan had the privilege to work in various capacities with local and international NGOs, such as IFES (providing training to the newly established municipalities in Azerbaijan), and Social Research Center (by screening refugees from Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq). He graduated from the Baku State University with a Masters in History, Social Sciences. Tarlan speaks several languages. Travel is one his passions: during the last two decades, he has visited over 40 countries for business, training, and teaching purposes.

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Astrid Blanco
Culture and Talent Development Specialist
ReVision Energy

Astrid works in the Human Resources department at ReVision Energy where she works with the Talent Acquisition and training teams. She joined ReVision Energy in August of 2017. Before joining ReVision, Astrid worked as a Job Developer where she assisted disabled adults, often veterans, transitioning back into the workforce. Astrid grew up in Massachusetts but immigrated to the U.S from El Salvador at the age of 3. Astrid graduated with a BS in Psychology from Worcester State University but jokes she has obtained her PhD in Sarcasm. Astrid feels good about working at ReVision and is thrilled to be a part of an Employee-Owned B Corp. She loves helping ReVision evolve and watching her co-owners grow in their careers. Astrid loves being an advocate for their JEDI (Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion) Initiative and is a proud member of the JEDI Council at ReVision.


Morgan Gidley
Senior Director of People Operations
K&A Engineering Consulting P.C.

Morgan is the Senior Director of People Operations for K&A Engineering Consulting P.C. In this position she is responsible for overseeing the full life cycle of an employee’s experience by leading the following functions: Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Marketing/Communication, Information Technology, and Business Operations. While continuing to maintain extreme focus in the day to day of Talent Acquisition to ensure success of all internal business needs and pursuits.

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