2013 Leadership Luncheon
On May 23rd, 2013 more than 600 attendees gathered in Portland for the Maine Women’s Fund annual Leadership Luncheon. Emcee Suzanne Nance moved attendees through the program which celebrated five Maine leaders who encourage social change for women and girls. Guests also heard success stories from participants in programs funded by grants to The Community Schools at Opportunity Farm and Camden, Women Unlimited and Women Work and Community. Check out the album of photos on the Maine Women’s Fund Facebook page.
Meet our honorees.
“An Attitude Is a Terrible Thing to Waste”
The idea for Anne Taintor, Inc. came to Taintor in the early 1980s, when she was riﬂing through some vintage women’s magazines and found herself wondering what the perfect-seeming women shown on page after page were really thinking. Could that beautifully coiffed, pert housewife be as content—and vacuous—as she seemed? Taintor doubted it. She began to imagine their true inner thoughts (i.e. “I’m so happy it’s happy hour”). Soon she was pasting text onto images to create jewelry, magnets, and other products, which she began to sell. This was the beginning of Anne Taintor, Inc. The quirky, deadpan captions struck an immediate chord with the women who saw them. As Taintor’s sister Ellen says, “I think Anne really taps into what women are thinking. What she says is what people would like to say, but are too polite.”
“When I first covered the Obama campaign, I got the same kind of feeling I got in Iraq, that this is one of the biggest things that will happen in my lifetime. I can’t help but get swept up in that.”
Samantha Appleton is a photographer concentrating on historic trends. She was most recently an Official White House Photographer for the Obama administration. The bulk of her career has covered many of the most tumultuous, man-made events of the past decade. Primary stories have included conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, social issues in Africa, and illegal migrant workers in the US. She began her career as a writer and became a photographer after assisting James Nachtwey. Her work strives to show that quiet, subtle moments make up the complicated components of large news stories. She has won numerous awards including Pictures of the Year, World Press Master Class, American Photography and Camera Arts. In addition to her photography, she is currently writing a non-fiction book about the war in Iraq.
“We’re teaching girls and women to forever wage war against their bodies. It’s time to call a cease fire. Thankfully, that’s happening one amazing teen activist, one tweet, one petition at a time.”
Julia Bluhm, Maya Brown, and Izzy Labbe are members of the Girls Advisory Board of Hardy Girls Healthy Women, a Waterville-based nonprofit committed to changing the culture in which girls are growing. As bloggers for SPARK Movement, a national girl-fueled movement to challenge the sexualization of girls, co-founded by Hardy Girls, they blog and engage in activism both online and on the ground. Over the course of the last year, they have participated in intensive trainings with professional feminist organizers, activists and scholars. When Julia wrote a petition asking Seventeen Magazine to include one non-Photoshopped spread in each issue, Izzy followed up with a video of her school classmates critiquing the magazine’s beauty ideals, and Izzy and Maya blogged about the petition to raise awareness about the campaign. Seventeen responded with a Body Peace Treaty in the August 2012 issue in which the magazine committed to “celebrate every kind of beauty,” and pledged to never digitally alter girls’ faces and bodies.
Meet our grantees.
Jessica and Taleisha, Money Wise Graduates, Women Unlimited
“Being the single mother of a two-year-old little girl and releasing back into my community I have many worries not only about how I will provide for her but about how to manage my money to make sure the bills are always paid. The Money Wise class provided me with the knowledge as well as the confidence to know I can achieve my goals”
Through a grant from the Maine Women’s Fund, Women Unlimited of Augusta offered financial literacy education, wage negotiation skills, and employment training to women in correctional facilities. Jessica and Taleisha are graduates of the Money Wise program and residents of the Southern Maine Re-Entry Center. Learn more about Women Unlimited.
Kaila Gagnon, student, Passages Program, The Community Schools at Opportunity Farm and Camden
“A month and a half into school, I discovered I was pregnant. My first thoughts were what is every one going to think? What did I get myself in to? I’m not going to be able to graduate and my plans for after high school are ruined. But thankfully I had a huge support system to back me.”
A Maine Women’s Fund grant supported the expansion of the Passages Program of the Community Schools at Opportunity Farm and Camden, which serves pregnant and parenting young women through a home-based high school diploma program. Kaila Gagnon, 18, a senior in the Passages Program will earn her high-school diploma in June 2013. Kaila is the mother of an 11-month-old daughter named Brailee. While in school she is a stay-at-home mom who loves watching her daughter. Her future plans include nursing school. Learn more about The Community Schools at Opportunity Farm and Camden.
Janyce Boynton, Mini-grant Recipient, Women, Work & Community
“It’s humbling to hear people describe our work as “art for the kitchen.”
Maine Centers for Women, Work and Community received support to expand A Catalyst for Change, a statewide project supporting low-income businesses that want to grow into new markets, improve collateral materials and professionalize marketing strategies through mini-grants to entrepreneurs. Janyce Boynton co-founded Madder Root LLC of Old Town, ME, in January 2010 with business partner, Christina Lannan. What started as chats over tea and walks with the dog soon turned into Madder Root — born out of a mutual interest in fabric, screen-printing, the environment, and all things kitchen. Learn more about Women, Work & Community.
Meet our sponsors.
Melanie and Eliot Cutler
Rep. Chellie Pingree and Donald Sussman
Meet our committee members.
- Heather Shields, Chair
- Kim Anania
- Deb Bicknell
- Catherine Cleale
- Susan Conley
- Kate Cox
- David Meiklejohn
- Jennifer Mirabile
- Peter Monro
- Harris Parnell
- Cherie Porter
- Buffy Whitaker
- Judy Woodbury (Chair)
- Nicky Blanchard
- Gayle Brazeau
- Joan Fortin
- Jennifer Goldman
- Jennifer Harnish
- Stephanie Paine
- Kathryn Reid
- Misty Smalley
- Amy Taylor
- June Usher
- Andy Verzosa
- Paula Watson
If you missed our 2012 Leadership Luncheon, or just want to be inspired all over again, click here!