Making It Work is a live interactive series that brings together executives and entrepreneurs offering insight and advice to Maine’s business community.

Maine employers continue to struggle to fill vacancies while one potential labor pool continues to grow: immigrants.

Several companies have found success recruiting and retaining these newer arrivals. To find out the opportunities and challenges, Moderator Carol Coultas and panelists Beth Stickney, executive director of Maine Business Immigration Coalition, and Tabin Tangila Mesu Kamba of CEI’s workforce solutions, and Ben Conniff of Luke’s Lobster discuss.

On the panel:

Tabin Tangila Mesu Kamba is CEI’s program developer for workforce solutions. Most recently, Tabin was the human resources coordinator for talent and culture at Maine Public. He brings experience as the former minority outreach program coordinator for the Frannie Peabody Center in Portland and as a program associate for the New Mainer’s Resources Center for Portland Adult Education. Tabin also served as the national technical manager for ACS/AMO, a non-profit health care and advocacy organization in his home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tabin holds an Associate of Science degree in business administration from Southern Maine Community College and a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, finance major, from the University of Southern Maine.

Beth Stickney founded and directs the Maine Business Immigration Coalition, Maine’s only resource dedicated to providing information, education and advocacy on immigration and related issues from the business and economic perspective.  She is a lawyer who has specialized in Immigration and Nationality law and policy since 1986.  Prior to MeBIC, Beth served as the founding executive director from 1994 -2011 of the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, Maine’s only nonprofit statewide provider of immigration legal aid.  She initiated and taught the immigration law course at the University of Maine School of Law from 1994 through 2005. Beth has also worked internationally, in El Salvador and in Rome, Italy, on human rights and asylum issues.   Beth is a Maine native and grew up in a family of business owners.

Ben Conniff co-founded Luke’s Lobster, a sustainable seafood company that buys directly from fishermen, produces value-add products, and distributes to its own restaurant group, branded grocery business, and direct-to-consumer online market. Ben has worn almost every hat through Luke’s Lobster’s evolution, but currently focuses on brand and culinary development, innovation, sustainability, and social responsibility. He’s the author of Real Maine Food: 100 Plates from Fishermen, Farmers, Pie Champs, and Clam Shacks, and has also written for Saveur, Food 52, GQ, Smithsonian, Yankee, and Tasting Table. Ben sits on the board of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative and Maine Business Immigration Coalition, and is an advisor to many startup food and beverage companies. Luke’s Lobster has been a Certified B Corp since January 2018.


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