Join us for a discussion with business and education leaders to talk about pathways into various Maine industries, the changing and integrated landscape of manufacturing and technology in our state, and how businesses can engage with students, educators, and schools. We'll talk about the importance business plays in developing pathways to careers in Maine to drive workforce success and supporting educators to elevate these opportunities.

Katie Shorey - Live + Work in Maine

Katie Shorey is Director of Engagement of Live + Work in Maine (LWM), and a proud boomerang. She returned to Maine after working in the political, nonprofit and consulting sectors in Washington, DC and San Francisco, CA. Prior to LWM, Katie was the Business and Community Liaison for People’s United Bank and then worked at WEX on the New Business Ventures team.

Katie is active in economic development initiatives to help foster innovation, entrepreneurship, and talent attraction. She serves as president of Startup Maine, a nonprofit that serves as a convener of the Maine startup ecosystem. She's on the advisory board of Maine Accelerates Growth and is a board member of the Portland Community Chamber. In 2020 she was named to Mainebiz’s NEXT List, and in 2021 she was honored to receive PROPEL's award for Maine Ambassador of the Year. She was also recognized as one of the Mainebiz 40 Under 40 Honorees for 2023. Shorey attended St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY and Fryeburg Academy, and currently resides in Biddeford.

Melissa LaCasse - Co-Founder, Tanbark

From an early age, Melissa has been drawn to nature. She is happiest walking a wooded forest path or out on the open water.  Following college at the University of Wisconsin, Melissa became a commercial pilot and ended up in public media after the disruption to the aviation industry after 9/11. She stayed and eventually joined New York Public Radio working on syndication and business development and partnerships. 

Melissa moved to Maine in  2008 and co-founded Tanbark in 2021. She is happy to change the face of manufacturing by challenging  the status quo. She wants to arrest the plastic epidemic and believes in shared prosperity. Melissa reads cookbooks to relax and memoirs to explore how other people navigate the world.

Torey Penrod-Cambra - Co-Founder & Chief Communications Officer, HighByte

Torey Penrod-Cambra is the Co-Founder & Chief Communications Officer ofHighByte, focused on the company's messaging strategy, market presence, and ability to operationalize. Her areas of responsibility include marketing, public relations, analyst relations, investor relations, and people operations. Torey is a marketing professional with nearly 15 years of experience creating compelling brand experiences that drive customer acquisition and expansion in highly technical environments. Torey’s career began with a focus on biotechnology and international pharmaceutical product launches, and then evolved into a fast-climbing career in B2B industrial software. She is passionate about securing equal STEM opportunities for women, and excited by the potential of the Internet of Things in industrial environments. Torey applies an analytical, data-driven approach to marketing that reflects her academic achievements in both chemistry and ethics. Torey received a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Miami University in Oxford,Ohio and has completed post-graduate studies in Medical Ethics at theUniversity of Pittsburgh.

Heather Whitaker, Alternative Education Teacher, Gorham Middle School and 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year

During her 20+ year teaching career at Gorham Middle School, Heather has been a true advocate for combining learning opportunities with the needs of the community. Heather is passionate about and experienced in using restorative practices and experiential learning. She believes in the power of relationships and that learning should be meaningful to students. Whenever possible, Heather takes students out of the classroom and has them engaged in the community.

Heather graduated from Boston College in 2000, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with Moderate Special Needs. She later earned her Master of Science in Literacy Education at the University of Southern Maine.

Join together over lunch as we celebrate educational leaders in Maine including the awarding of the Weston L. Bonney Education Leadership Award (winner to be announced) and a keynote address from Matt Bernstein, 2023 Maine Teacher of the Year. Join Matt as he shares his insights on the power of positive messaging, listening, and collaboration to create pathways to becoming a teacher. Discover actionable strategies to amplify the message and bring about meaningful change in the perception of teachers, students, and schools. Together, we will consider how we can work to reframe the narrative about education in Maine.

Matt Bernstein - 2023 Maine Teacher of the Year, Casco Bay High School

Bernstein’s pedagogy is centered around student voices and student activism. He believes that the purpose of education is to help students find their way of contributing to a more equitable world. Bernstein is also passionate about creating opportunities for students to experience joy and belonging at school on a daily basis and, to that end, he believes in cultivating meaningful relationships with students, often through his work as a 9th grade crew advisor, that are grounded in deep listening and holistic support.

Bernstein has served as a team leader, crew team leader, and is currently a professional learning community coach where he facilitates ongoing professional learning with his colleagues. He is also a member of the Portland Public Schools Social Studies Vertical Content Team, collaborating with teachers across the district and local experts to develop Wabanaki Studies curriculum. Bernstein also embraces opportunities to deepen his knowledge and practice. He was recently named a 2022 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar, participating in a seminar entitled “Teaching the Holocaust through Visual Culture.” While not teaching, Bernstein is playing or coaching soccer and basketball, reading a book, or trying to determine where to find Portland’s best slice of pizza.

Weston L. Bonney Education Leadership Award

Every year Educate Maine selects one individual, group, organization, or Maine business that demonstrates leadership, commitment, and vision in ensuring that all Maine students have the opportunity to succeed with the Weston L. Bonney Education Leadership Award.

Each recipient, past and present, embraces and embodies the qualities that Wes has demonstrated in his abiding support for education. Wes Bonney retired as President and CEO of Peoples Heritage Financial Group (now TD Bank). Since retirement, Wes has served as a volunteer consultant for several banks in Bulgaria, Romania, Mongolia and Macedonia. Wes has a long history of public service to education including serving on the Maine State Board of Education, Muskie School of Public Service, Maine Coalition for Excellence in Education, Maine Development Foundation and John T. Gorman Foundation. At the core of his work was always an unyielding demand for equity in education. To Wes, all students deserve the resources needed to allow them to succeed in school and in life.