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August 8, 2011 | last updated January 20, 2012 11:44 am
2011 Women to Watch

2011 Women to Watch

Three years ago, the editorial staff at Mainebiz tacked a year's worth of cover pages on a wall to assess our front-page design. What surprised us wasn't our deft use of photos or illustrations or fonts; it was the sea of male faces staring back at us.

This occurred just as the U.S. Small Business Administration released studies showing women entrepreneurs were outnumbering men, and women-owned businesses were growing faster than their male-owned counterparts.

Hmmm, so where were these extraordinary female executives? This year, in our third annual Women to Watch recognitions, we found five of them, nominated primarily by peers in their industries and vetted by us through interviews with trade associations, board members, economic development directors, staff and professional peers. These exceptional female executives are championing their organizations with drive, determination and vision.

They are impressive by any measure.

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Track star | Patricia Quinn, Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority

Mill right | Louise Jonaitis, Saunders Bros. at Locke Mills LLC

Double duty | Colleen Hilton, VNA Home Health & Hospice

Taking another tack | Beth Shissler, Sea Bags

A matter of degrees | Danielle Ripich, University of New England

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