Immigrant women honored for blazing a trail

Trailblazer Honorees were announced at the third annual Empower the Immigrant Woman Conference on Nov. 10 at Congregation Bet Ha’am in Portland. Among local honorees was Ekhlas Ahmed, a refugee and a civil rights activist from Darfur, Sudan, who fled with her family to Egypt, where she lived for two years before being resettled in Portland. Ahmed has since earned a master’s degree in education with the intention to help empower other immigrants. She is the vice president and co-founder of Darfur Youth of Tomorrow. Also recognized was Dina Yacoubagha, who emigrated from Syria and works on behalf of women’s issues and Muslim women in particular. A mother of two and a full-time graduate student, Yacoubagha has volunteered for Literacy Volunteers, working with women from the Middle East to help them improve their reading and writing skills.


TideSmart Global marked its 15th anniversary with the release of a new logo and website. The crystal anniversary comes at a time of unprecedented growth for the company. In the past year, TideSmart Global has added a number of high-profile companies to its client roster, including The North Face, Red Bull, Clif Bar & Company, Hitachi, Chanel and the Dwyer Group. With offices in Falmouth and San Francisco, the TideSmart family is comprised of seven companies: EMG3, Promerica Health, Sumerian Sports, Viridescent Marketing, Confidential Consumer, TideSmart Logistics and LEAP. The companies are incorporated into a single parent site at the new website,


Through These Doors and its community partner agencies recently received a three-year grant of approximately $500,000 from the Office on Violence Against Women within the U.S. Department of Justice. Maximizing Practices for LGBTQ+ Youth in Portland is a partnership with Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine to increase the safety and support for youth exposed to and/or experiencing dating abuse, domestic violence, stalking, sex trafficking, and/or sexual assault, with a focus on LGBTQ+ youth at Deering High School and in the community.

Hires, promotions, appointments

Fire Chief Keith Gautreau was officially sworn in as the new chief of the Portland Fire Department and Capt. Chad Johnston was promoted to Deputy Fire Chief  on Nov. 1, when a dozen other officers were also promoted at a Pinning Ceremony held at Merrill Auditorium Rehearsal Hall: Lt. John Hardy to Fire Captain; Lt. David Nichols to Fire Captain; Lt. Mark Stewart to Fire Captain; Lt. Edward Dexter to Fire Captain; Firefighter Daniel Svenson to Fire Lieutenant; Firefighter Sheldon Gregoire to Fire Lieutenant; Firefighter Travis Gibson to Fire Lieutenant; Firefighter Colin Ayer to Fire Lieutenant; Firefighter Jon Denham to Fire Lieutenant; Firefighter James Westburg to Fire Lieutenant; Firefighter Jeb Gerrish to Fire Lieutenant; and Firefighter Clayton Copp III to Fire Lieutenant.

Count and Crush LLC, commonly knowns as CLYNK , a national technology leader in the recycling sector, has named Alison Vanderhoof Chief Executive Officer. For the last 18 months, Vanderhoof has served as president of CLYNK, and succeeds founder Clayton Kyle, who steps up to Executive Chairman.

The Portland Parks Conservancy has named Nan Cumming to serve as its first executive director. The Conservancy was launched by Elliotsville Plantation, Inc. in early 2018 to help support the parks, trails, open spaces, programs, and recreational facilities in Portland. Cumming served as the executive director of Portland Trails from 1999 to 2011, and as the curator and assistant director of the Maine Historical Society from 1989 to 1999. 

The Maine Real Estate & Development Association announced that Rick Flagg of Scarborough, Regional Vice President of Commercial Lending for Norway Savings Bank, has been appointed to its board of directors.


Kai Smith, an entrepreneur based in Falmouth, is slated to receive the Business Leadership Award from the Environmental Health Strategy Center at the 2018 Celebration for Our Healthy Future on Nov. 29 at Temple Bet Ha’am in South Portland. Smith was recognized for founding Maine Coasters & Bio-Boards, an innovative, sustainably-minded business. Environmental Health Strategy Center is a Portland-based public health organization fighting for safe food and water, toxic-free products, and green jobs.

Camden National Bank recognized six outstanding nonprofit board leaders on Oct. 31 with 2018 Leaders & Luminaries Awards and $22,000 in grants to their respective organizations: Brad Babson, Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust; Samaa Abdurraqib, Maine Inside Out; Gerry Cushman, Maine Coast Fisherman’s Association; and Ryan Ciriello, Milestone Recovery.

Peter Hawkes of RE/MAX Shoreline in Portland is the fifth ranking Individual RE/MAX Agent in Maine, year-to-date as of September, and 25th Individual RE/MAX Agent in New England.