2019 Women Mean Business

Thank you to everyone who made this event such a success.

Much gratitude to our speakers, our sponsors, and the entire planning committee for making it all possible!

Watch the video of the full event here!

Maine’s female entrepreneurs lend economic vibrancy to our state, but it takes dedication, passion, and more than a little New England ingenuity to lead a successful company. While Maine’s women-owned small businesses lead the nation for revenue and employment growth, few firms are launched each year. In a time when tech start-ups seem to get all the attention, this year’s Women Mean Business event, sponsored by the Maine Women’s Fund, will be an impact oriented discussion focused on creating a more vibrant and empowered small business ecosystem for women across our state.

  • Hear from some of Maine’s most successful small- and medium-sized businesses about why they launched and how they grew their companies
  • Explore the biggest challenges to opening a business in Maine and beyond and strategies to overcome these obstacles
  • Discuss and commit to your business goals with a group of like-minded aspiring entrepreneurs

Established, aspiring and curious entrepreneurs, as well as those that support them, are all welcome at this engaging event.


Devin Cook,Emcee: Devin Cook
Co-founder and Executive Producer, MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge

When I was a child, I started spending time in the Blue Hill area, and permanently moving to Maine quickly became my dream. I deeply love this state and feel fortunate to now call it my home.  While I live in Maine, I work remotely for MIT, where I co-founded and lead the Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC), the flagship program at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy. The IIC is a global award program for entrepreneurial organizations that use technology to increase economic opportunity for workers around the world and reinvent the future of work.  My job enables me to positively impact mission-driven organizations around the world and to ensure that fewer people are left behind economically as digital technology races ahead.

Mary PolsPanel Moderator: Mary Pols
Editor, Maine Women's Magazine

Mary Pols is the editor of Maine Women Magazine. Her career in journalism includes years covering hard news for the Los Angeles Times and more than a decade as a movie critic, including with Time Magazine. Prior to joining Maine Women Magazine in January she covered sustainability for the Portland Press Herald. She holds degrees from Duke University and UC Berkeley.

Panelists include:

Heather SanbornHeather Sanborn
Owner and Director of Operations, Rising Tide Brewing

Heather Sanborn is the Director of Business Operations and Owner of Rising Tide Brewing Company. After earning a master’s degree in teaching and then a law degree, Heather never expected to be running a brewery. But she has jumped on board with a level of excitement that has buoyed Rising Tide from its very inception. From financial projections to supply chains, Heather pulls a laboring oar in nearly every aspect of the brewery operations. Heather is currently serving in the Maine Senate and is past-president of the Maine Brewers’ Guild. When she’s not putting out fires at the brewery, Heather likes to ski, sail, watch NFL football, and hang out with her son and her pup.

Adele NgoyAdele Ngoy
President & Founder, Women United Around the World
Founder, Adele Masengo Designs, Owner of Antoine’s Tailor Shop and Formal Wear

Adele Masengo Ngoy is a fashion designer who moved to Portland in 2000 after fleeing civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She arrived in the U.S. as a single mother with three young children, no English and no resources. Today, Adele owns Antoine’s Tailor Shop and Formal Wear, where she offers a wide range of custom design and alteration services. Ten years ago, Adele founded Women United Around the World, a nonprofit where she teaches sewing to immigrant women.

Sarah GueretteSarah Guerette
Director, CEI Women's Business Center

Sarah Guerette is the Director of the CEI Women’s Business Center. She supports a statewide team that offers free confidential business advising, workshops, events, and connection to resources for women in Maine looking to start, grow, or exit their own businesses. From crunching numbers with clients on their cash flow spreadsheets to developing a certificate course on negotiation for entrepreneurs, Sarah loves the various ways that the CEI Women’s Business Center educates and inspires female entrepreneurs. Outside of work Sarah can be found bopping around with her daughter, or training for the Millinocket Half Marathon in December

Presenters sharing their story using the "How I Built This" format include:

Laura CatevenisLaura Catevenis
Founder & CEO, Black Bear Support Services

Laura Catevenis is an entrepreneur, property investor, speaker, consultant, and a stay at home mom. Born, raised and still residing in Lewiston, Maine, she attended Lewiston High School and received an Associates Degree in Human Services at Central Maine Community College. Laura started as a single mom on welfare 4 short years ago, living off $367 a month. She picked herself up from the depths and never took no as an answer. She is now the owner of the multimillion dollar business, Black Bear Support Services. They work directly with children with developmental disabilities on MaineCare. When this entrepreneur is not delegating, systemizing, and leading her employees, she is negotiating purchases for her company, LC Investments, a property investment company that she started to build up her retirement and her daughter’s future funds. Her ultimate accomplishment is doing this all with her daughter physically by her side. Laura specializes in welfare recipient policies, MaineCare provider policies, business start ups, and motivating individuals to find their purpose and learn to chase it with zero fear!

Jamie Clark Jamie Clark
Founder & CEO, The Willie Wags

Jamie Clark is the Founder and Owner of The Willie Wags, a retail store and community of women led brands located in Downtown Bangor, Maine. Jamie is 25% wife and mom, 25% small biz advocate, 30% marketing machine, 99.9% life of the party and 100% not a mathematician. She is a graduate of UMaine, passionate about supporting female founders and has just finished writing her first book, Hello There Stranger.

Deep gratitude for our Sponsors making this exciting forum possible:

Allagash Brewing

Cross Insurance

Eaton Peabody

Lee International

New Ventures Maine

Sponsorship opportunities are still available for this event! If you'd like to know more, contact Amy at (207) 774-5513 or Amy@mainewomensfund.org. Thank you!

The Maine Women’s Fund is a public foundation that makes bold investments that transform the lives of Maine women and girls.