"This morning's conference was great!  It was a wide range of participants on the panels and that was a great way to hear a wide view of options and ideas from the panelists!  Kevin Hancock gets my vote for most open, honest and helpful answers to questions. He was outstanding and his thoughts today were very heartfelt and honest.  Take away the layers of "facade" and discuss the truth of what it's like and how you face the issuers."
- Janet Cole Cross, Career Coach, Cole Cross Connections, LLC

SPARK! Transformational Growth Contest

  • November 19, 2019
  • 4:30 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Aura, 121 Center Street, Portland

Transformational Growth Ideas from Maine Business Leaders

Register Here!

4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Networking
5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Program/Contest

Hosted by the Institute for Family-Owned Business (IFOB), the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Mainebiz, SPARK! offers an opportunity for current and future members of the IFOB and the Chamber to learn about transformational growth ideas from Maine business leaders.

Four business owners from different industries and background will each present a transformational idea that led to meaningful growth in their respective company. Each contestant will have ten minutes to showcase their idea in a format similar to "TedEx" or "Battle of the Bosses." 

After each contestant has had a chance to present, audience members will vote for their favorite transformational growth idea. As the votes are tabulated, the four business leaders will gather on stage for a 30-minute Q&A moderated by Steve Tenney of Great Diamond Partners.

2019 contestants:

1.    Rich Brooks, President, flyte new media, Agents of Change
.    Chris Lynch, President/ Designated Broker, Legacy Properties Sotheby's International Realty
.    Kristen Miale, President, Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine
4.    Erin Ovalle, Founder, Maine Life Media

The winning business leader will receive a custom artistic redition trophy and a $1,000 prize to be donated to their charity of choice, and each of the runners up will receive $500 to do the same. Each contestant is thrilled with a friendly competition to donate to their charity of choice.

Guest Speaker Bios and Charity Information

Rich Brooks
President, flyte new media

Rich Brooks is president of flyte new media, a 22-year-old digital agency in Portland. He speaks nationally on entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and social media.

He founded The Agents of Change, an annual conference and weekly podcast that focuses on digital marketing. He co-founded Fast Forward Maine, a podcast and workshop series for growing Maine businesses.

Rich is the author of The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing, a popular and well-received book that helps entrepreneurs reach more of their ideal customers online.

Youth Full Maine was established in February of 2019, the first pilot off-shoot of the original Locker Project based in Cumberland County, which was founded in 2014. Youth Full ME partners with Good Shepherd Food Bank to manage pantries and fresh produce distributions for all age schools, so that children who are food-insecure can take needed food home at night, for the weekends, and for long school breaks. Their mission is to provide nourishing food for children in York County who are food insecure, by managing pantries and produce distributions in pre-K through 12th grade schools.

Chris Lynch

President, Legacy Properties Sotheby's International 



Originally from Andover, MA and a graduate of Bates College, Chris spent the first half of his working life on Wall Street.  At 31 years old, Chris became one of the youngest Managing Directors in his field.  Chris was ultimately managed a 400-person team on three continents with revenues exceeding $500 million.  Moving to Maine at 40-years old with his young family, he tapped into his Wall Street brokerage experience to found Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty which is now Maine’s largest luxury property company. 

Portland Community Squash has created a facility and a community of adult and junior squash players representing diverse socioeconomic groups and backgrounds in Portland, Maine. Our mission is to sustain this diverse community and to provide academic and squash instruction to challenge and empower Portland area youth to achieve academic success, physical wellness, constructive citizenship and a path to higher education and beyond.

Kristen Miale
President, Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine


As a lifelong advocate for ending food insecurity, Kristen Miale, president of Good Shepherd Food Bank, has worked tirelessly to grow organizational partnerships throughout the state of Maine. She and her team of 80 work with a network of more than 400 nonprofit organizations to distribute 25 million meals a year, making Good Shepherd Food Bank Maine’s largest hunger relief organization.

Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine has a mission to eliminate hunger in Maine by improving access to nutritious food for people in need, building strong community partnerships, and mobilizing the public in the fight to end hunger. 

Erin Ovalle
Founder, Maine Life Media


Erin Ovalle is the founder of Maine Life Media and creator of MaineLife, This is Maine on NESN, and Places and Spaces TV Shows. Erin began her entrepreneurial journey after being a news broadcaster for 10 years covering communities in Illinois, Michigan, Florida and now Maine. Erin saw an opportunity to create a positive outlet during a time of turmoil in the traditional media. She seeks to uncover and promote the many hard-working people and special places in the state she is now proud to call home. 

Center for Grieving Children was founded in 1987 by Portland, Maine resident Bill Hemmens, following the death of his sister. In trying to find help and support for his niece Erin, Bill recognized that children need peers and caring adults to support them through their grief, because death profoundly affects every aspect of their lives.

Today, The Center for Grieving Children, still based in Portland, serves more than 4,000 grieving children, teens, families, and young adults annually through peer support, outreach, and education. Since its founding in 1987, the Center for Grieving Children has served more than 66,000 children, teens, and their families.

 Click here to register and join us for an exciting night! *

Cost:  IFOB & Chamber Members $20
Future Members $25

* You will be directed to the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce Website as we are partnering with them for this event.

Thank You to Our Event Sponsors!

Thank You to Our Stage Sponsors!

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