Saturday, March 8, 2014
PORTLAND -- Brenda Garrand, president and strategic director of the Garrand communications agency, has been recognized as the Girl Scouts of Maine 2009 Woman of Distinction.
''It was just terrific,'' Garrand said of the 13th annual Woman of Distinction Dinner Dec. 2. ''The thing that was so overwhelming was seeing so many people there that were so dear to me. ... My heart was really full.''
Garrand joins the likes of Sen. Olympia Snowe, former University of New England President Sandra Featherman and Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson. The accomplishments these women have made embody the qualities and skills Girl Scouts of Maine wishes to instill in the next generation of female leaders, Girl Scouts of Maine director of communications France Shea said.
''We selected Brenda as this year's Woman of Distinction because we think she is an awe-inspiring leader and role model. She's a successful marketing expert and entrepreneur -- a woman who takes the lead, values strength and keeps proving that she can do anything,'' Shea said.
From the time she was a young girl, Garrand said she realized the possibility of setting and achieving goals was limitless from her mother, Marian Garrand. Establishing a successful real estate business in New Hampshire when women could only obtain their associate license in real estate, her mother became very well respected in the industry.
''She was very entrepreneurial at a time that was difficult for women,'' Garrand said. ''Dad said she got her real estate license and driver's license at the same time, and after that there was no stopping her.''
There's been no stopping Garrand, either.
In 1979, she began working for the WCBB-TV Public Broadcasting System as a director of public information. During the following decade, she continued working in public television, but by 1987, she established Garrand, a full-service communications agency, and has never looked back.
''Toward the end of my 20s, it became pretty clear if I was going to stay in Maine and do the work I wanted to do, I wasn't going to be happy working for someone else,'' she said.
As a third generation entrepreneur, Garrand has built a business that is respected in the marketing industry throughout New England. Last year, the firm saw capitalized billings of more than $47 million, serving clients such as HP Hood, Maine Medical Center/MaineHealth, Gorham Savings Bank and the University of Maine System.
''It's been a wonderful journey,'' she said, one that started with the knowledge that to succeed, ''you need to trust yourself, take risks and learn from failures.''
She tells young women today to take responsibility for their own happiness and success.
''There isn't another person in this life that is responsible for your own happiness,'' she said. ''I can make whatever I want happen if I really want. I can be everything I want to be.''
Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at: