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.
Julene Gervais’ enthusiasm and passion for Greenlight Maine’s entrepreneurial mission complements her role as host. Julene is an award winning Television Anchor and Reporter. She began her broadcasting career in Wilmington, North Carolina working for WECT-TV as a producer. In Maine, Julene has worked at WAGM-TV in Presque Isle, WLBZ 2 in Bangor and WGME 13 in Portland. She was awarded Best Sportscaster by the Maine Association of Broadcasters in 2004. Julene has a diverse background covering stories related to our state’s economy, healthcare and politics. This makes her the perfect host for Greenlight Maine to use her skills as a journalist to draw out the best in the candidates and the judges to help showcase the positive momentum building within Maine’s entrepreneurship community. Be sure to listen all the way to end to hear Julene’s long term vision for Greenlight Maine.
Beth Shissler is President of Sea Bags in Portland. Starting from making just a few of the iconic tote bags made from recycled sails each year, she and the Sea Bags team have grown the business into one of Maine’s largest manufacturing companies, and saved over 700 tons of sails from the landfill while doing it.
Elizabeth Ross Holmstrom is Founder & President of Mindful Employer of Portland, Maine. Here’s her pitch: employees are choosing purposeful work over standard pay and benefits, and they are staying with companies invested in their professional development and wellbeing. By working with Mindful Employer, you can quickly learn about your employee experience and improve recruitment & retention through simple daily practices.
Maddie Purcell is founder and president of Fyood Kitchen. The fast-growing Portland company puts on amateur cooking competitions known as “Fyoods” for birthdays and wedding parties, as well as providing creative team-building events for corporate groups and small companies.
Here’s the player on WGAN News if the one below doesn’t work. Thanks for listening!
Michelle Neujahr is a business growth consultant and member of the faculty at Southern Maine Community College. As a consultant she specializes in helping businesses that have plateaued around a million dollars in sales scale to the next level. Michelle also works with executive teams helping them to create and execute visionary strategic plans.
Carla Harris is VP and managing director of Morgan Stanley down in New York City. She delivered a great keynote address at the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute. We all have advice we’d give our younger self – that’s Carla’s topic, and it’s a great one. And as you’ll hear in the recording, it was very timely advice for me.
Carla Harris is remarkable, and the fit is perfect with this audience. The Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute is a great program for young women, started by Senator Olympia Snowe. Olympia doesn’t do anything small, and this program already has 500 young women from across Maine enrolled. What’s different is the young women selected for the program are the ones who are a little less likely to step forward themselves – but have a lot of potential. Maybe a little bit like the future Senator was at that time.
Sara Trunzo is an independent singer-songwriter who was Maine food famous before she became Maine singer famous. She was the director of the Veggies For All program, part of Maine Farmland Trust, and she worked hard on that career for many years before she decided to make a big change and dedicate herself to her music full time. I was very interested in that change and how and why she went about it.
I first met and heard Sara perform at BikeMaine, which is this rolling community of cyclists. She played in a freezing tent in Pittsfield, and carried it off well. I really want to thank Cloudport in Portland, where we recorded the interview on a Saturday night. Cloudport is a great coworking space in the India Street neighborhood. I started by asking Sara where she was headed from here, so let’s jump right in:
I think today’s musicians are true entrepreneurs. Learn more about Sara and support her, please, at saratrunzo.com. Her new EP would make an excellent Christmas gift!