Fifteen local innovators tell stories about failure, success and great potential for the state at the Maine Live event.

“People want to be inspired by a vision,” said Glenn Cummings, president of the University of Southern Maine, as he chatted with Scott Simons, president of Scott Simons Architects, in the High Street Garden, just outside the doors of the Portland Museum of Art.

Amidst the golden sunlight of a warm, early autumn afternoon, guests mingled at the closing reception of Maine Live, a day-long event featuring some of the state’s brightest and most ingenious leaders sharing stories of success, setbacks and vision.

“What struck me most is that each speaker, in their own right, illuminated the incredible potential Maine has, and in particular, Portland,” said Gretchen Johnson, director of marketing at Verrill Dana, one of the event’s sponsors. “These are people who see bridges where others see holes.”

Produced by Maine Magazine and Treehouse Institute, the event set out to inspire, with a veritable who’s who from across our state: Raymond Brunyanszki, co-owner of Camden Harbor Inn, Natalie’s Restaurant, The Danforth Inn and Tempo Dulu Restaurant; Julie Jordan Marchese, founder of Tri for a Cure; and John Coleman, founder of The Via Agency, shared the stage with Peter Nielsen, president and co-founder of The Circus Conservatory of America; Louise Rosen, executive and artistic director of the Maine Jewish Film Festival; and Dan Crewe, chairman of The Bob Crewe Foundation.

“It was phenomenal,” exclaimed attendee Raffi Der Simonian, director of marketing and communication at the Maine College of Art. “It’s a rare opportunity to hear first-hand some of the most unique and inspiring stories from the people that make Maine the world-class destination that it is.”

“We’ve never had a speaker series, and this gives us an opportunity to connect, to inspire, to educate and to motivate,” said Kevin Thomas, publisher of Maine Media Collective. “I think what we’ve found is there’s a collective energy between speakers and audience, and a real passion for Maine. I’m euphoric and I’m energized.”

Margaret Logan is a freelance writer who lives in Scarborough. She can be reached at:

[email protected]

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