The incredible work of Maine women

Just about 30 years ago, I started my newspaper career at Maine’s largest daily. I was the third woman to be hired into a management position—ever—at that organization. My job was to manage, direct and oversee the folks who answered the phones for classified advertising—there were 30 of them, all women. About two years later, I was the first manager at that company to become pregnant. Even though I was married, it was still quite a “thing.” Fast-forward about 15 years when,at the age of 41 and a mom to two young daughters, I decided to start my own newspaper and magazine publishing company (subsequently sold about 10 months ago), which I ran for about 14 years. During that time I bought and sold other newspaper companies, earned an MBA, hired dozens of men and women and, as a publisher of local news, helped shape some facet of life in many of Maine’s small towns.

I am a woman of business, in business and about business. Yet I am continually amazed—and often humbled—by the personal stories of the women we feature in the pages of Maine Women Magazine. Having a space dedicated to telling those stories—and highlighting the incredible work that women in Maine do—is the reason why Maine Women Magazine exists.

For example, meet Adele Masengo Ngoy (page 16), a clothing designer who grew up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and had a thriving clothing design business there, before war and destruction forced her to flee to America. Adele found herself in Maine, needing to start all over again. She went from being a reputable designer who had seamstresses working for her, to a seamstress at a bridal shop. Today, some 16 years later, Adele is a manager at that same shop, using her design talents to create beautiful fashions. Seven years ago, she founded a nonprofit business called Women United Around the World, which aims to promote independence for immigrants by teaching them valuable skills, like how to operate a large-scale sewing machine or how to design their own garments.

We’ve included stories about women in many areas of the business and technology sectors in this issue. You’ll meet three women who have chosen to join the family business and who are making their own mark on their company’s growth. You’ll meet scientists, like Sarah Peterson (page 20), a cardiovascular research scientist, who lives and works just minutes from where she grew up. Sarah’s work focuses on studying patient recovery from heart surgery and exploring opportunities for cardiac regeneration. You’ll also meet three women who are making their mark on the business world in the food arena: one with wine and sailing, one with beer and one with whoopie pies.

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned to our website and social media, and if you haven’t heard about the Maine Women’s Expo—see page 40 for details.

Lee Hews

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