Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: January 11, 2024

12 business owners chosen for ‘visionary leadership’ development program

person standng on dock COURTESY / KATIE WEILER Katie Weiler, founder and president of Viable Gear in Portland, will be one of 12 business owners participating in a leadership development program in the coming months.

From seaweed to waffles, from startups to longtime businesses, the 12 participants chosen for the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs’ Visionary Leadership Program this spring come from diverse fields. But the leaders have similar goals. 

The program, a partnership with FocusMaine, launched in October 2020 as a development initiative for CEOs and small business leaders across Maine. A total of 29 businesspeople have previously taken part, and the program is now in its third cohort.

Participants will join monthly virtual meetings that connect them for mentoring with a network of peers facing similar challenges. The meetings will be facilitated by Skip Bates, a certified executive coach. 

“This year’s VLP class includes dynamic entrepreneurs and leaders who are kicking off 2024 squarely focused on developing their skills, raising their aspirations and growing their companies,” Bates said at a kick-off event on Jan. 4. “Hiring great talent and developing high performing teams, with a vision of future success, is a key theme.”

person smiling in pink buttondown and blue blazer
Courtesy / Maine Center for Entrepreneurs
Skip Bates

Topics include: building culture, understanding strengths, leading change, personal and business mission building, performance management, and knowing customers. Past speakers have included business, government, and academic leaders from across Maine.

Participants are at various stages in their entrepreneurial journeys but already have proven successes.

The new cohort inclues Holly Arbuckle, a ninth-generation farmer who is CEO and co-founder of Singing Pastures in Newcastle, who received a grant of $215,000 last year to expand the processing, marketing and sales of its pre-cut salami

Democracy Brewing, led by James Razsa, renovated a former church in Lewiston into a brewpub.

Katie Weiler, founder and president of Viable Gear in Portland, was a Maine 2022 40 Under 40 honoree, recognized for her work to reduce single-use plastics by finding environmentally friendly alternatives.

Michael Greene, CEO of biotechnology company GenoTyping Center of America, founded in 2012, has overseen the expansion of the Waterville lab, new products and new partnerships over the past year.

Other participants include:

The program is designed to address critical skill gaps and to equip founders with practical tools to put their businesses on a sustainable path to growth, said FocusMaine Program Director Leo Waterston.

Sign up for Enews

Related Content


Order a PDF