William J. Ryan, Jr. began his professional career as an attorney, practicing corporate law in Portland before embarking on his career in the sports business. Bill has worked as a sports marketing executive, owned the Oxford Plains Speedway and founded the Maine Red Claws. His current focus is on angel investing, principally in companies based in Maine. In addition to his business interests, he currently serves on the board of the Portland Museum of Art.
Lisa DeSisto is the Chief Executive Officer of Masthead Maine, the state’s largest media network. She oversees the companies that publish five daily newspapers in Maine – the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, Morning Sentinel, Kennebec Journal, Sun Journal and Times Record – and their websites. The network also includes 23 weekly newspapers and two commercial printing operations in Lewiston and South Portland. Together the Masthead Maine papers constitute the largest newsgathering organization in northern New England and reach most of Maine’s residents. The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the state’s largest newspaper, has in recent years won some of journalism’s top awards, including the Loeb Award and the Polk Award, and was a finalist for a Pulitzer in 2016.
Lisa serves on the board of the Associated Press, Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Foundation, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Maine. She hosts a live event series, “Like A Boss,” in which she interviews other Maine CEOs on their leadership principles.
Before joining Masthead Maine (then MaineToday Media) in November 2012, Lisa spent 17 years at The Boston Globe, where she served as Chief Advertising Officer and Vice President/General Manager for Boston.com. She joined Boston.com as marketing manager in November 1995, just two days after the site’s launch. A native of Stoneham, Massachusetts, she is a 1985 graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Lisa lives with her family and a herd of alpacas in North Yarmouth, Maine.
Chris Lynch is the President, Founder and owner of Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty. From its inception in 2006, Chris has grown the company from its six founding brokers to more than 80 Maine and New Hampshire based real estate agents and 5 offices serving Coastal Communities from Rye, NH to Jonesport, ME. In recent years he has expanded to the Western Lakes and Mountains in addition to our ability to serve the New Hampshire Seacoast. In this time of great transition, Chris is leading his company in new ways.
After 17 years on Wall Street, Chris gave up his role as a Managing Director, Principle and Global Head of the Investment Grade Bond Department at Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette. Prior to that he held positions in Investment Banking and Debt Capital Markets at Kidder Peabody, Credit Suisse and Solomon Smith Barney. During this time, he had the opportunity to live in New York City, Brooklyn NY, London England and New Canaan CT. Chris had a vision to change the way luxury property was bought and sold in Maine and developed a model which is more friendly to the majority of buyers and led him to found the company in the midst of the last downturn. That experience has helped him lead in these times.
A graduate of Bates College (ME) and Andover High School (MA), Chris has a passion for the coast of Maine. Chris and his wife Laura have resided in Cape Elizabeth for 18-years and have 4 children: Andrew (26). Jake (25), Emily (23) and Alexandra (18).
Chris serves on the Finance Committee at Maine Medical Center, and is active with several charitable organizations in Maine. He has also served on the Board for the Greater Portland Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Directors for Maine Listings, the Kieve-Wavus Education Foundation, and the Board of Assessment Review for the Town of Cape Elizabeth.
In his free time, Chris enjoys golf, boating in Casco Bay, skiing at Sugarloaf and paddle tennis.
Rob Simopoulos is the Co-Founder of Defendify, the all-in-one cybersecurity platform that makes cybersecurity possible for Small Business. Rob is a lifelong entrepreneur, as passionate about small business as he is about cybersecurity. In his 20+ years in the security industry, he has received awards, accolades, and recognition from a variety of trusted industry experts and publications. Rob and the Defendify team are based in Portland, Maine, and are on a mission to simplify cybersecurity and help secure small businesses and channel providers from evolving threats. You can reach Rob at [email protected]
Andrew Rinaldi is the Co-Founder of Defendify. He has over 20 years of experience in business, marketing, digital, and strategic leadership. At Defendify, his passion for entrepreneurship has fueled a mission to protect Small Business from evolving cybersecurity threats. Andrew has long been a champion for business health, transparency, and efficiency, having implemented the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)—at Defendify and in previous businesses—successfully driving brand, culture, vision, traction, and growth.
KEVIN HANCOCK is an award-winning author, speaker, and CEO. Established in 1848, Hancock Lumber Company operates ten retail stores, 3 sawmills and a truss plant. The company also grows trees on 12,000 acres of timberland in Southern Maine and is led by its 550 employees.
Hancock Lumber is a six-time recipient of the ‘Best Places to Work in Maine’ award. The company is also a recipient of the Maine Family Business of the Year Award, the Governor’s Award for Business Excellence, the MITC ‘Exporter of the Year’ award, and the Pro-Sales national dealer of the year.
Kevin is a past chairman of the National Lumber and Building Materials Dealers Association. Kevin is also a recipient of the Ed Muskie ‘Access to Justice’ Award, the Habitat For Humanity ‘Spirit of Humanity’ Award, the Boy Scouts of America ‘Distinguished Citizen’ Award, and Timber Processing Magazine’s ‘Man of the Year’ Award.
Kevin’s first book, Not For Sale: Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse won three national book awards. His second book, The Seventh Power – One CEO’s Journey into the Business of Shared Leadership releases February 25, 2020 and is being distributed by Simon & Schuster.
Kevin is a frequent visitor to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and an advocate of strengthening the voices of all individuals—within a company or a community —through listening, empowering, and shared leadership.
Kevin is a graduate of Lake Region High School and Bowdoin College. He lives in Maine with his wife Alison.
Taking some downtime away from the office during the coronavirus outbreak and thinking about your next startup? Well you came to the right place. Learn how to apply to MTI from Lou Simms, who serves as a Senior Investment Officer at Maine Technology Institute. Lou joined MTI in 2015 and truly relishes the opportunities to work with Maine’s aspiring entrepreneurs – dedicated to supporting the growth of Maine’s innovation economy on a daily basis.
Lou joined MTI after finishing his Master’s work at the University of New Hampshire’s Sustainability Institute and Organic Dairy Research Farm – and Lou has prior experience running small businesses in Portland, ranging from rocking bowling alleys to financial literacy counseling.
Originally from Kentucky, Lou is inspired by the natural beauty and unique sense of community here in Southern Maine – and he can think of no better place for he & his wife to raise their young son!
Michael Bourque became the second President and CEO of The MEMIC Group in 2017. Having served under founding president and mentor John Leonard for more than two decades, he held the position of Senior Vice President for External Affairs, giving him a broad and engaged view of the company and the insurance industry. He oversaw government and community relations and corporate marketing efforts that helped drive the growth of The MEMIC Group from a single state workers’ compensation carrier to a super-regional specialist with eight offices across the Eastern Seaboard and more than 20,000 policyholders across the country. His efforts helped to strategically position the company as an industry leader in workplace safety and the compassionate care of injured workers and contributed to The MEMIC Group being recognized by ACORD as the Best Workers’ Compensation Company in America. He has served on numerous boards and committees including chair of the 2016 United Way of Greater Portland’s Campaign Committee, which raised more than $8 million. He also is a member of the board of the Maine Cancer Foundation, The University of Maine Board of Visitors and has served as chair of the board of both the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine and the Southern Maine Community College Foundation. He is a member of the steering committee for FocusMaine. He is past chair of the Portland Regional Chamber and is a member of the board of the Maine State Chamber. Mike is a graduate of the University of Maine with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. He believes that you show respect by asking questions.
In 1991, Marshall Communications was born, a life-changing experience for Nancy and one that’s she’s never regretted. Today, more than 26 years later, the agency has represented many major clients, including the Maine Office of Tourism, the Maine Office of Business Development, and The Orvis Company, among others. Nancy’s hallmark is her commitment to living clients’ businesses. When she was representing Northern Outdoors, she became a licensed whitewater rafting guide. For the Maine Windjammer Association, she lived the life of a crewmember on the Victory Chimes. For Orvis, she is learning to fly fish and tie flies. She is also well-known for her infectious laugh and insatiable love for learning about everyone she meets. Making connections between people for their mutual benefit is a favorite pastime, as is connecting with new and long-lost friends on social media. You’re going to love this episode!
You won’t want to miss this story. Rachel Knight was hours from closing her three-year-old business. She set up a meeting with her biggest client to break the bad news – she was going to have to close Destination Occupation.
But the client had news for her – that wasn’t going to happen.
Three years later, not only is Destination Occupation, which helps employers grow their workforce by introducing them to potential employees they’d never meet otherwise, still in business – the company is growing and thriving.
Founder & CEO Rachel Knight is a Maine native. She graduated from Bangor High School in 1982, and has an undergraduate degree from UMaine Orono in International Studies. In her late 20s she started horseback riding and volunteering with a therapeutic horseback riding program for people with disabilities. From that experience, she set a career course on special education and got a master’s degree in Exceptionality (Special Education).
In 1996, Rachel received her master’s from the University of Southern Maine and taught content area subjects (History and English) to students with disabilities and logged many hours helping students explore options for post-secondary opportunities, a.k.a Transition Planning. It is from this experience that the idea of Destination Occupation was born. There are so many more opportunities and options for students than could ever be covered from high school field trips. So the idea of creating a library of videos for students “visit” a variety of businesses and educational programs from their high school felt like a deal changer, a “no brainer,” especially in a state as geographically challenged as Maine.
But the pivot, to find the pain point and figure out who the customer really was (hint: it’s not the school or the students) took years to determine.