In 2020, Maine was home to 184 large businesses (100+ employees) and over 147,000 small businesses. Without the resources and economies of scale of large businesses, however, many of these small businesses struggle to access high quality leadership training and coaching due to cost, distance, time, and other factors. Launched in 2020, the Visionary Leadership Program (VLP) meets this need by helping Maine small business leaders scale up and strengthen their leadership skills. The program is a collaboration between the Maine Center, the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs, and Bangor Savings Bank.


Through monthly virtual meetings, the program builds a strong peer group, teaches leadership skills and tools for today’s business challenges, and introduces participants to experienced Maine business and thought leaders. The 2020-2021 pilot cohort has 14 members representing 12 different companies from a range of sectors across Maine. The VLP is co-facilitated by Skip Bates, SVP and Director of Main Street Banking at Bangor Savings Bank and Alexa Dayton, COO at the Maine Center. Each session features a guest speaker from the Maine business and leadership communities.

2020-2021 Curriculum

*Curriculum is reviewed and revised as needed each year.

Building culture

Understanding your strengths

Personal & business mission building

An introduction to conscious capitalism

Deliberate team building

Knowing your customer using design thinking

Change leadership

Goals, performance, & feedback

Bringing it all together

2020-2021 Guest Speakers

Kimberly Pope – Bangor Savings Bank

David Pease – Bangor Savings Bank

Kerem Durdag – Great Works Internet

Tara Jenkins – Conscious Revolution

John Shorb & Dana Morris-Jones – The Delphi Group

Prof. Richard Bilodeau – University of Southern Maine

Steve Musica – Lean East

Sam Fratoni – Maine Angels

Bob Montgomery-Rice – Bangor Savings Bank

2020-2021 Cohort

Andy Wilbur + Kristin Frazier

Ashley Lenz

Sam Mangino

Eliah Thanhauser + Mike Kersula

Marada Cook

Märgen Soliman

Mary Jo Marquis

Matthew Moretti

Katie Shorey

Michael Dobkowski

Rick Hollen

Sara Rademaker

What People Are Saying


I am honored to be part of this conversation. The pilot group members share experiences, work together to solve real problems, and have volunteered their businesses as classrooms.  They are forward thinking, candid, and are experts in their fields. VLP provides tools, space, and expertise to help them grow. I believe, firmly, that their experience here will put them in a position to address larger social challenges. They are the business leaders we need.

Kerem Durdag

President & COO of Great Works Internet, November 2020 guest speaker

How to get involved

For prospective participants
If you are interested in applying for the 2021-2022 VLP cohort, we’d love to hear from you! We will be recruiting our next cohort in Summer 2021, with the goal of starting the program in early October. The cohort meets for 2.5 hours approximately one evening per month between October and May, with small group discussions and optional reading assignments between sessions. We welcome applications from senior and emerging leaders at Maine-based companies and organizations in any sector with five or more employees. We particularly look for candidates who have a growth mindset and are willing to put in the work to become better leaders for their company and their community. If you think you’d be a great fit for our program, please email Laurie Johnson (ljohnson@mced.biz) to learn more about the application process.
For prospective guest speakers
If you are interested in being a guest speaker for the 2021-2022 VLP cohort, we’d love to hear from you! Speakers must be able to commit to 1-2 planning calls with the program facilitators and a 2 hour interactive presentation after work hours. If you think you’d be a great fit for our program, please email Laurie Johnson (ljohnson@mced.biz) to discuss your proposal.
For prospective collaborators
If you are interested in collaborating with us, becoming a sponsor, or sponsoring a seat in the 2021-2022 VLP cohort, we’d love to hear from you! Please email Laurie Johnson (ljohnson@mced.biz) to explore options.



For Inquiries


Laurie Johnson, MCE