Maine Live invited Kevin Hancock to speak at their second annual event at the Portland Museum of Art on March 24th, 2016. A dynamic day full of lively conversations by 14 speakers telling stories of integrity, tenacity, and courage, Kevin shared his personal journey how losing his voice at the peak of the housing market collapse and credit crisis led him to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, a leadership evolution at Hancock Lumber and beyond, and publishing his first book, Not For Sale: Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse.
Kevin encouraged the sold out crowd to “listen to the whispers of your own soul”, and the notion that strengthening the individual in turn positively affects the entire tribe. There is incredible power in an organization where “everybody leads”, a mission Kevin has been on since 2010 after losing consistent access to his voice due to spasmodic dysphonia. Kevin is an advocate of strengthening the voices of all individuals—within a company or a community such as Pine Ridge—through listening, empowering, and shared leadership.
All of the speakers at Maine Live inspired the crowd. In addition to Kevin’s message above, here are a few of our favorite reflections from the day:
- Mark Bessire | Portland Museum of Art: There doesn’t need to be conflict between the traditional and the modern; ideas from both worlds can coexist. There is power in creating meaningful traditions with family, friends, organizations, and communities.
- Jan Kearce | Lift 360: Ask yourself, “What am I a commitment to?”. Embody your purpose. YOU are enough to make it happen. Re-write your story – think about the obituary you’d write for the life you’re leading; now, think about the obituary you’d write for yourself for the life you WANT to lead. Take time to pause and reflect; don’t burn yourself out.
- George Neptune | Abbe Museum: Pass on tradition/language/stories of your tribe, so as to “save it for those not yet born”. Find balance, embrace your two spirits – it is OK to have feet in multiple worlds.
- Steve Malcom | Knickerbocker Group: Spend time “kicking the dirt”…having conversations about the “What ifs” and “Why nots”. Throw rocks (ideas) out there to make ripples and share ideas; it might take time for them to come back and become reality, but get your ideas out there. Take time to listen, really listen and be in the present without judging or making an opinion too quickly. The world is a dynamic place that is ALWAYS changing. Look for those moments to find opportunity.
- Tae Chong | Startmart CEI: Racism is a bad business model. Look at ALL kinds of people as an asset and economic opportunity in a state that is facing a major labor crisis. A few eye opening Maine stats that Tae shared:
- By 2022, 1 in 4 Mainers will be over 65
- 100,000 workers will be needed in Maine in the next 10 years
- 44 Median Age of Mainer
- Maine had more deaths than births in 2015
- Maine is older than Florida
- Maine is the oldest and whitest state
- Beth Shissler | Sea Bags: Sea Bags is green in product and process, sourcing USA materials and keeping manufacturing and jobs in Maine! Look for the FIT in the people you bring to your organization. HR is all about cultural fit.
- Ben Fowlie | Camden Int’l Film Festival: Don’t shy away from difficult topics; leverage the arts to spark local dialogue and create social change.
- Laurie Lachance | Thomas College: “Nia” = purpose. Let your life unfold down an unintentional path, intentionally, and you’ll end up where you’re supposed to be–but, only if you are paying attention during threshold moments. Pay attention. Listen. Stop. Pause. Reflect. Ask yourself, “What are my unique gifts?” and seize the opportunities in front of you.
- Leslie Oster | Aurora Provisions: Slow down and set a place for yourself at the table. Sharing your gifts and passion with the world will only be fulfilling if you put a seat at the table for YOU.
- Sara Shifrin | Gould Academy’s Family Ideas Center: View the library as a room full of ideas, possibilities and thinking – it’s not just a room full of books. Resist the temptation to find solutions; observe, learn, listen, and employ design thinking to bring new ideas to life.
- Yellow Light Breen | Maine Development Foundation: There is a distinct difference between feeling comfortable and fitting in. Sector jargon- “internal languages” – get in the way of making change; ideas matter, people matter, and take time to celebrate success. We all like to be on a winning team.
- Mike Katz | Camp Sunshine: Working with terminally ill children makes one very humbled and reflective. Acts of kindness make a lifelong impact. Volunteer; make a difference!
- Heather Sanborn | Rising Tide Brewery: Ask the ones you love around you what they want to do in life. “A rising tide lifts all boats” – there is such art and meaning behind naming a child, a non-profit, a business that you are passionate about. Think about the community and power in “helping a neighbor”, and leveraging the “spirit of collegiality” — the cooperative relationship of colleagues. A collaborative ethos is best; we are all a part of “Team Maine”!