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. Now in its second year, the VLP program has served 28 business leaders from 26 companies and organizations 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.
Understanding yourself & others
Fostering personal & interpersonal effectiveness
Team building & DEI
Knowing your customer using design thinking
Goals, performance, & feedback
Building peak experiences
2021-2022 Guest Speakers
Kerem Durdag – Great Works Internet
David Pease – Bangor Savings Bank
T.J. Holloway – The Holloway Group
Tara Jenkins – Conscious Revolution
Mandy Levine – Mandy Levine Consulting
Prof. Richard Bilodeau – University of Southern Maine
Steve Musica – Lean East
Marie McCarthy – L.L.Bean
Bob Montgomery-Rice – Bangor Savings Bank
What People Are Saying
The Visionary Leadership Program was timely for the stage we were in as a business. We were experiencing tremendous growth with our ecommerce that required more staffing and operational systems. The resources provided through the VLP helped to fortify the processes we needed to support that growth. The topics presented by the speakers were delegated in a way that allowed for us to then apply them in real time – in the day to day.
I always appreciate getting to work with and learn from fellow business owners. Getting input and hearing about other entrepreneurs’ experiences has been one of my greatest resources for growth.
I am honored to be part of this conversation. The cohort 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.
How to get involved
For prospective participants
If you are interested in applying for the 2022-2023 VLP cohort, we’d love to hear from you! We will be recruiting our next cohort in Summer 2022, with the program starting in early October. The cohort meets for 2 hours approximately one evening per month between October and May, with small group discussions and optional reading assignments between sessions. Participants also receive coaching during the program from a trained executive coach. 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 (email@example.com) to learn more about the application process.
For prospective guest speakers
If you are interested in being a guest speaker in our program, we’d love to hear from you! Speakers must be able to commit to 1-2 planning calls with the program facilitators and an evening, 2 hour interactive presentation. If you think you’d be a great fit for our program, please email Laurie Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss how you could join our speaker roster.
For prospective collaborators
If you are interested in collaborating with us, becoming a sponsor, or sponsoring a seat in our next VLP cohort, we’d love to hear from you! Please email Laurie Johnson (email@example.com) to explore these options.
Laurie Johnson, MCE