"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

Equality - Has COVID-19 Balanced the Gender Scales?

  • October 21, 2021
  • 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
  • The Woodlands Club, 39 Woods Road, Falmouth, ME 04105


EqUALITY - HAS COVID-19 BalanceD the Gender Scales?

Join the IFOB for a  panel discussion with prominent and successful business women who will share their experiences and discuss their journeys in an often male-dominated world.  After a successful program in 2020, we've decided to bring this topic back and are adding a male voice to continue the discussion. Has the pandemic spurred gains in gender equality, equal pay, and family orientated work practices? Or has it set us back? 

You know how competent you are-- now, learn some ways to close that gap between what you know is real and how others perceive (or how you want them to perceive) you.  What is your worth?  Is there a cultural shift with salaried hours (only 40 or until the job is done)?  If child care is an issue, who takes precedence?  We’ll discuss work life blend, equality, and dynamics in the workplace both remotely and in the new normal.  

From the stories of our speakers, you will discover how they have learned not only to survive but to thrive.   Some of the strategies they will impart to you include: gaining credibility, gaining respect, being effective, and succeeding in the workplace. Along with the audience, we’ll discuss what challenges and triumphs we encounter along the way.


Noelle Castle – Owner, Castle Media Co.
Noelle has been a marketing professional and a published author for over 25 years. She also possesses a MS Ed in Human Resources Development, and was a corporate trainer and adult educator for 10 years. Currently, she assists small to mid-sized businesses develop a strong brand message, and promote their products and services in their marketing outreach and content marketing efforts. She also teaches a variety of classes on digital marketing and business development through her company. Noelle enjoys her ‘life by design’ with her husband in Old Orchard Beach where she enjoys partaking in all that her coastal community has to offer.


Erin Clymer Lessard – Owner, Lessard Consulting

Erin is a Decision-Making expert who has coached and consulted highly successful leaders in Fortune 500 firms around the world. After working internally as an Organizational Consultant and leader of a Project Management Team in the Financial Services industry, Erin founded Lessard Consulting to help companies build better teams and develop their leaders. She has coached clients on three continents and consulted in some of the US’s largest multi-nationals and loves bringing that expertise to nonprofits and small and medium size companies.

She is the author of Decision Flow: The Authentic Leader’s Guide to Making the Right Decision When the Stakes are High. Erin is a Professional Certified Coach (International Coaching Federation) as well as a Certified Professional Co-active coach (CPCC) and is a certified coach and facilitator for Lead by Greatness, StrengthsFinder and DiSC. Erin holds an MBA from Duquesne University. Erin loves the outdoors and can often be found enjoying all of the seasons where she lives and plays in southern Maine.

Sarah Halpin CFP®  – Partner, Back Cove Financial
Sarah became a Financial Advisor in 1996, five years after immigrating from the United Kingdom and as a young mom of two children under the age of four. After becoming an expert on money, she began to share her knowledge through adult education programs and workshops to help others live their best financial lives.

After a 20+ year career at large investment firms, Sarah, Jack Zinn, and her daughter Sophie joined Christine Byrne at Back Cove Financial.  Back Cove Financial is an independent wealth management company and manages investment assets of $380 million and provides retirement plan consulting services over $160 million of assets. Sarah has served as the CFP Board Ambassador for Maine;  been a featured money expert on WCSH 6 Morning Report; and a sought after speaker and writer of articles in many local and national publications such as the Washington Post. She is the Chair of the Advisory Board for New Ventures Maine, which provides tuition-free training for Mainers starting small businesses and achieving career and financial goals.

Joan Fortin – Chief Executive Officer, Bernstein Shur
Joan is the Chief Executive Officer of Bernstein Shur a New England-based law firm that advises clients from across the U.S. and around the world. Their 125+ award-winning attorneys and professionals practice in more than 20 critical areas and a variety of industries. Bernstein Shur was also recently named as one of the 2019 Best Places to Work in Maine.

Joan was named as a ‘Woman to Watch’ in 2018 by Mainebiz for championing diversity and inclusion in the legal industry, more recently, Joan led the swift, firm-wide transition of Bernstein Shur’s 200+ employees to remote work amid the COVID-19 pandemic and serves as a steady industry voice on the issues facing firms in these extraordinary times. Joan is a Maine native and a graduate of Colby College (B.A.), the University of Maine (M.Ed.) and Northeastern University School of Law (J.D.).

For more information, contact Catherine Wygant Fossett at: catherine@fambusiness.org or 207.798.2667

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