Startup Weekend Women's Edition Portland

    Friday, June 12 - 14, 2015

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
  8. Blog
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Startup Weekend Women's Edition Portland

Friday, June 12 - 14, 2015

Friday, June 12 - 14, 2015
Event starts at 5:30 pm

Maine College of Art Cafe
522 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04102

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Join us to explore your talents, break the rules, and experience starting a business with a team.

Startup Weekend: Women’s Edition is an adventure where women can explore their talents, break the rules, and work with a team to develop creative ideas into successful business plans.

  • Friday night begins with an open mic for 60-second pitches that results in small teams forming around the best concepts.
  • Teams spend Saturday and Sunday focusing on customer development, validating ideas, and designing prototypes with the help of experienced mentors (our coaches).
  • Sunday afternoon, teams pitch their ideas and receive valuable feedback from a panel of judges and prizes are awarded.
Find out more on Facebook!


Friday June 12th

5:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:00 pm
Welcome, Speakers, Pitches start
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your 60 second pitch

8:00 pm
Circulate to talk to pitchers and vote on the best pitches with your five dots.

8:30 pm
2nd Round voting
10 Second lightning round, then give your golden ticket to the team you want to join.

9:00 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday June 13th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams form and set up their workspace for the weekend

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, and calls for help

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches meet with teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, and calls for help

10:00 pm
Your team may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday June 14th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive and provide teams with another opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Final batch of coaches meet with teams

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, including undergoing a technology check

5:00 pm

6:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Heather Sanborn

Heather Sanborn is the Director of Business Operations and Owner of Rising Tide Brewing Company, a family-owned craft brewery in Portland, Maine specializing in artisanal, hand-crafted ales brewed in small batches.   After earning a master's degree in teaching and then a law degree, Heather never expected to be running a brewery.  But she has jumped on board with a level of excitement that has buoyed Rising Tide from its very inception. From marketing and social media to financial projections and supply chains, Heather pulls a laboring oar in nearly every aspect of the brewery operations. Heather also serves as president of the board of the Maine Brewers' Guild.  When she's not putting out fires at the brewery, Heather likes to ski, sail, watch NFL football, and hang out with her son and her pup.

Event Judges

Heather Chandler
Owner, The SunriseGuide

Heather is the owner and founder of the SunriseGuide, a mission-based media company that helps Mainers expand their knowledge of sustainability across a broad spectrum of subject matters including food, wellness, energy choices, home life and more, while fueling the growth of the green economy in Maine. Their titles include The SunriseGuide, the Green & Healthy Maine Homes magazine, the Green & Healthy Maine Visitor’s Guide and the new SunriseGuide mobile app. Heather founded The SunriseGuide in the summer of 2006 after more than fifteen years experience working in public relations and marketing for business, non-profit and government organizations. She serves on the board of Portland Trails and is a graduate of the Institute for Civic Leadership, the AmeriCorps Leaders program and the Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development’s Top Gun program. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring Maine by bicycle, connecting with Maine’s fabulous food & art scenes, gardening and raising a six year old pooch named Sally.

Sandra Stone

Sandra was elected Chair of the  Maine Angels in September 2011.   Maine’s only Angel Investor  Network was recognized in 2014  for most follow on deals  nationally. In 2012, members  collectively invested $3.4  million in 21 regional deals --  besting each of the previous 9  years and placing Maine Angels  as #10 on the Halo Report  national survey of the Top 10  most active angel investing  groups for # of deals in the  country.  Mainebiz, the state  biweekly business magazine,  recognized Sandra as a "2013  Woman to Watch” for her  leadership and this  accomplishment. Currently there  are over 70 accredited investor  members, and Maine Angels has  invested over $13.6M in 58 early  start up companies since the  first investment in 2014.
Sandra has been involved in the  entrepreneurial innovation  ecosystem for many years. She  founded Sea Cove Solutions,  which focused on connections,  and strategic collaborations,  has been an entrepreneur mentor  in the Top Gun entrepreneurial  acceleration program, and worked  almost 6 years with at MCED  (Maine Center for  Entrepreneurial Development)  culminating in helping to launch  the Top Gun inaugural program.  She has personal entrepreneurial  experience as a PC consultant;  real estate broker; and co-owner  of North Atlantic Inc., a  commercial fishing brokerage and  vessel management company.   Sandra served on the inaugural  Board of Women Standing Together  for Entrepreneurship and  Leadership, a non-profit spun  out of the Maine Women’s Fund.   Sandra is also an active Trustee  and Board President of an out of  state foundation as well as a  successful High School girls’  tennis coach with 9 state  championships in her 12 years of  coaching.

Karin Gregory

At Furman Gregory Deptula, Karin provides business and legal advice to growth entities and investors.  Karin has 30 years in technology commercialization, financing startups, and business experience particularly in the medical/healthcare/food law fields. Her specialties include venture capital, corporate finance, licensing, strategic alliances, research regulations, FDA regulations, trademarks and copyright law.  In addition to her legal representation of clients, she also serves as a Trustee of Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Advisory Board member for The Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI), Board Chairperson of Coastal Ventures, a member of Maine Angels, an Advisor to SMCC's Business and Entrepreneurship Program, and an Advisory Board Member of the Top Gun Program.

Coaches and Mentors

Chelsea Callanan
Lawyer, Serial Entrepreneur, Professional Network Marketer

Chelsea is a trademark lawyer with Opticliff Law, a serial entrepreneur, and a professional network marketer. Her current entrepreneurial focus is on launching a network marketing company in the biotech space, pioneering the manufacture of all natural Nrf2 activation health products. She lives in Portland, ME with her husband Zeke Callanan and is passionate about empowering individuals to become small business owners and active community members.

Heather Chontos
Artist and Textile Designer, Heather Chontos Studio

Heather has a sixteen year global career as a creative director, stylist and consultant for color and design concepts. She has covered many facets of the art and design world, both editorially and commercially. Her reputation as a leader in the style and design industry has developed through a high level of artistic performance on a variety of projects utilizing her core skills of creative direction, team leadership and management, troubleshooting, creative thinking, budget management and consulting. She is now also able to share her experience through teaching, developing design workshops that aim to inspire and build creative confidence and leadership. She has the experience and expertise to work through a project, remaining on task and leading the way to successful completion. Her ultimate goal is always to have the best, most aesthetically pleasing and competitive outcome with great style and creative value, whilst fully enjoying the experience all the way through.

Erin Flett
Textile/Surface/Graphic Designer

Erin works on a wide range of freelance, exclusive design commissions Illustrating with bold geometric, floral and hand drawn abstract elements creating design patterns for print, textile and apparel industries while at the same time creating her own line of textile prints and paper goods. (All silk screened and letterpressed in Maine USA.) She also manages a long list of collateral and web clients that she continues to work with since 2004.

Cory Gardiner
President and Treasurer of the ALS-Maine Collaborative

Cory is currently the President and Treasurer of the ALS-Maine Collaborative, which led a successful effort to bring telemedicine to those suffering from ALS in Maine. Cory is on the Board of Directors of the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, where she is also on the Finance Committee and on the Board of the Androscoggin-Sagadahoc Counties Extension Association which supports the University of Maine extension in programs such as Master Gardener Volunteers and 4-H.  She is a Certified Mentor with SCORE, working with clients who are starting new businesses, or taking existing businesses to their next level. Prior to her current positions, Cory held increasing levels of responsibility in IBM’s finance functions, service operations and consulting practices.  At the time of her retirement, after 25 years with the company, she was one of the managers running a150 professional staff international consulting practice.  Cory completed her undergraduate degree at Harvard and then returned to complete an MBA at the Harvard Business School. She is a fine art photographer whose photography has been exhibited at the Maine State Photography Show, the Chocolate Church Arts Center, the Silvermine Guild of Artists, and the New Canaan Society for the Arts.  Current exhibitions are at Little Tokyo Restaurant in Brunswick and the Odd Fellows & Rebekah’s Retirement Home in Auburn.  Her work can be seen on her website:

Jennifer Hutchins
Executive Director, Creative Portland

Jennifer is the Executive Director of Creative Portland, a nonprofit organization founded in 2008 to support Portland’s creative economy. Prior to joining Creative Portland, Jennifer was the director of communications and external affairs for the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine. While there, she co-authored the seminal 2004 report on Maine’s creative economy for Governor John Baldacci. Previously, Jennifer worked as a communications and public affairs professional for nonprofits in Maine and Washington, D.C. Jennifer is on the boards of the Greater Portland Economic Development Corporation and the Greater Portland Convention & Visitors Bureau. She holds a master’s degree in public policy and management from the USM Muskie School and an undergraduate degree from Union College in Schenectady, New York. She lives in Portland, Maine, with her husband and two children.

Kathleen Pierce
Features Writer/Blogger at Bangor Daily News (BDN)

Kathleen is a lifelong journalist with an impeccable sense of timing. Skilled in trend-tracking and turning complex information into engaging stories, she is a self starter with excellent communication and research skills. Kathleen is a creative thinker and a solid listener. Kathleen writes business, culture, food and travel stories and juggles many freelance projects. She also directs, plans and execute videos, slideshows and blogs. Her writing style is nuanced, informative and warm and she is accuracy and deadline-driven to the core. Kathleen is married to a sculptor and works/lives in an art studio surrounded by steel, wood and copper transformed into "visual jazz" which helps shape her thinking.

Nancy Strojny
Business Mentor, Coach and Entrepreneur

Nancy is the Chair of the Portland, Maine Chapter of SCORE, a nonprofit organization of volunteers who serve as certified mentors for entrepreneurs starting or growing a business.  She was selected as a White House Champion of Change for entrepreneurial mentorship in 2012. Nancy is the principal of Beauty Vantage, a small consulting firm focusing on building brands for businesses worldwide. She offers her SCORE clients the benefit of over 25 years of business expertise in marketing and sales.

Marge Barker

Marge moved to Maine from California in 1988.  She retired from TD Bank as a Vice President in January, 2014 where she had been for over 25 years.  Her banking career encompasses mortgage and commercial lending, municipal finance, commercial banking and risk management. She is the past president of a non-profit organization she started – Friends of Kayanet Education Center- where she helped build a preschool. Marge is actively involved in several service organizations including Rotary International where she will served as President of the Rotary Club of South Portland-Cape Elizabeth in 2011-2012 and will serve as District 7780’s Governor in 2016-2017.  Marge received both her Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with honors (2011) and MBA (Dec 2013) from Husson University. Marge is a widow with two grown children and six grandchildren.

Leigh Reynolds
Principal and President

Leigh is Principal and President of Gluten Free Therapeutics, Inc. GFT is a nutritional supplement company producing premium quality gluten free supplements tailored for the celiac and gluten intolerant and marketed under the brand name CeliVites. With more than 39 years of experience as executive management in the pharmaceutical and retail sectors, Leigh Reynolds is a seasoned professional. Her expertise includes ecommerce, online marketing, startup business strategy, branding, supply chain development and management, logistics, quality and regulatory system oversight, product development, and contract manufacturing. Leigh's insights and aptitude toward critical thinking lead to strengths in acute business strategy and creation of a strong brand message.  “I love working with startups. Taking one idea and turning it into a viable company is very rewarding." says Leigh.  She works with startup companies through her mentorship role with SCORE.

Carrie Green

Carrie Green Yardley, Yardley Esq. PLLC,  practiced for just under two decades as a commercial litigator, ran her own small business for just under another decade, and has recently returned to law as a transactional lawyer. As a small business owner, she completed an extensive accounting curriculum and passed all four of the Maine CPA exams. 

Brit Bolnick

Britt Bolnick is a single mama living a life she loves in Portland, Maine. She has traveled a path from financial scarcity to financial independence, building a successful business she loves. Britt powerfully guides and supports women who are committed to building thriving businesses that create wealth without compromising personal life or sanity. She works with women around all aspects of growing a healthy business that DOESN'T involve burn-out including but not limited to: marketing, vision and mission, visibility, expanding your community, focusing and clarity, building programs/offerings, getting support, time management, and so many other pieces of having work you love that brings home the bacon, gives you joy, AND allows you time and space for everything else you love.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Women's Edition Portland team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.





Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Maine is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Liz
  • Sarah
  • Kate
  • Sonya
  • Elizabeth
  • Jodie
  • Lauren
  • Abbie
  • Hazel
  • Heather
  • Nancy


Sally Ng
CEO, The Triple Effect & DigiLearn

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