The Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce celebrated three forward-thinking women with an inaugural awards reception called WE Rock on April 24 at Canopy by Hilton in the Old Port.

“The idea came about because there are so many women doing incredible work in our community and making our community better,” said Chief Executive Officer Quincy Hentzel at the sold-out event.

The “She Empowers” award went to Claudette Ndayininahaze, executive director of In Her Presence, a nonprofit that supports immigrant women through English classes, job search, career training and mentorship.

“I’m a huge fan of Claudette and In Her Presence and what they’re doing in the community,” said Celine Frueh, vice president of human resources at Allagash Brewing Co. “With Claudette’s help, immigrant women have become a pillar of Maine’s present and future economy.”

Responding to the needs of the community, In Her Presence also manages Frances Warde House, a home for 15 pregnant immigrant women – and their children – who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“Having the opportunity to support women and families through this organization has been a privilege and the honor of a lifetime,” said Ndayininahaze, a Burundi native. “Together, anything is possible.”


The “She Inspires” award went to Susan Doliner, chief development officer for MaineHealth. Over her career, Doliner has raised more than $450 million for Maine Medical Center, funding a long list of facilities and programs, including the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, the Maine Children’s Cancer Program and Maine Medical Center Research Institute.

This past week, Doliner was named the first system-wide chief development officer for MaineHealth, a position she plans to hold until her retirement in January 2025.

“Philanthropy is all about the donor – their reasons, their passion, their personal experiences – and the organization that I’m proud to represent,” Doliner said. “And, as you can probably tell, I love to ask for money.”

The “She Unites” award went to Margaret Angell, head of partnerships and strategic initiatives at the Roux Institute at Northeastern University and a member of the board of trustees of the Maine Community College System.

“Working in education is a profoundly optimistic endeavor,” Angell said. “We believe in the power to change individuals and communities. At the Roux Institute, my job is partnerships: how we can be of service to organizations that employ people and drive the economy forward.”

Chrystina Russell, managing director of strategic initiatives at the Roux Institute, talked about the ways in which Angell inspires her.

“She works to create a statewide system that reliably creates learning environments where race, class, gender, language and any other social or cultural factor will hold zero predictive power on students’ experience and their outcomes in Maine,” Russell said. “We are fundraising to include refugee learners at the Roux and exploring working with the Maine Department of Corrections, and she is a tireless warrior for these causes.”

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at

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