Making It Work is a live, interactive online series that brings together business leaders who are finding new ways to retain and generate revenue.

Five years ago Maine created a new minimum wage law that raised the hourly minimum wage in increments and starting this year, ties annual increases to a cost of living calculation.

How have small businesses and nonprofits, ones without large profit margins, managed the impact, and what compensation strategies can be shared as additional increases are considered?

Special projects editor Carol Coultas will talk with a small business owner, a nonprofit manager and an HR consultant about how they incorporate employee compensation into their budgets.

On the panel:

Suzanne A. Foley-Ferguson is the owner/operator of Beals Old Fashioned Ice Cream on Veranda Street in Portland, Maine. Suzie’s entrepreneurial spirit centers on the ordered philosophy “People, Planet, Profit”.  A Biology graduate of the University of Michigan, she has spent countless professional and volunteer hours working to conserve and protect Maine’s special places with Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and Saco’s land conservation organizations. Before purchasing her ice cream business in 2010, Sue worked in many small businesses including non-profits, education, retail, public education and telecommunications jobs.  Until October of 2020, she ran two ice cream stores with as many as 24 employees.  As a two-term Town Councilor in Scarborough, Suzanne worked for six years developing growth management, housing, conservation and tax policies.  Suzanne is an avid reader of all genres, and enjoys politics, the beach, the forest, and spending time with her daughter, her two dogs, and husband of 32 years.

Peter Kowalski, recently retired executive director of John F. Murphy Homes, a provider of services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Mr. Kowalski spent 36 years as the organization’s CEO and the past year working with his successor. He is a 1976 graduate of the University of Maine, Orono. Mr. Kowalski served as ANCOR president for years, a national organization representing private providers of service for people with intellectual disabilities. In addition he has served as president of the Lewiston-Auburn Rotary club where he has been a member for 34 years. He is also past president of the Board of the Public Theater in Lewiston. Peter resides in Turner with his wife Gail.  They have two children and four grandchildren living in the area.

Kari Meillat is a compensation consultant at KMA Human Resources Consulting and has more than a decade of experience in compensation and data analytics, from internal compensation professional to an independent compensation consultant. She has developed a broad-based compensation background including compensation strategy development, benchmarking and job evaluations, sales compensation and variable pay programs, salary structure creation, FLSA analysis, merit programs, and policy and budget creation. Throughout her career, Kari has worked in a variety of industries including financial services, consumer goods, technology start-ups, enterprise software, and small businesses. She also has experience in payroll, performance management, and benefits. Kari graduated from Bryant University with a Bachelor’s degree in International Business.

Discussion will be moderated by Business Projects Editor Carol Coultas.

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