Helping Maine leaders scale up and strengthen their leadership skills

Launched in 2020, the Visionary Leadership Program (VLP) was a collaboration with MCE, the University of Maine Graduate and Professional Center and Bangor Savings Bank. The program provides development opportunities for leaders of startups and small businesses in Maine.

Through monthly virtual meetings, the program builds a strong peer group, teaches leadership skills and tools for today’s business challenges, and introduces participants to experienced Maine business and thought leaders. The VLP is co-facilitated by Skip Bates, Executive Coach at ClearRock. Each session features a guest speaker from the Maine business and leadership communities.  

What to Expect


Participants meet virtually approximately every 3 weeks from January – June 2024.


We are looking for leaders in any industry who are:

  • Senior or Emerging Leaders of a Maine-based company
  • Employ 5 or more employees
  • Have a growth mindset

Main Program Elements

The Visionary Leadership Program includes a powerful curriculum, lessons from successful business leaders, and the opportunity to connect with and develop a strong peer group of Maine leaders.

Program topics include: building culture, understanding your strengths, leading change, personal and business mission building, performance management, and knowing your customer.

Membership Cost

The cost to participate in the Visionary Leadership Program is $750 per person.


The Visionary Leadership Program was launched in October 2020.  To date, 24 Maine business leaders have graduated and personally grown from the program.  

“I am thankful to have been a part of the Visionary Leadership Program. The curriculum and assigned readings were thought provoking and pushed me to think about aspects of leadership with a wider perspective. I always appreciate getting to work with and learn from fellow business owners. Getting input and hearing about other entrepreneur’s
experiences has been one of my greatest resources for growth.

It was truly a pleasure having Skip Bates lead this class. He is very positive, organized, and an inspiring leader. I appreciated the way he facilitated this program.”

– Eliah Thanhauser, North Spore Mushrooms

“The Visionary Leadership Program through MCE was timely for the stage we were in as a business. We were experiencing tremendous growth with our ecommerce that required more staffing and operational systems. The resources provided through the VLP helped to fortify the processes we needed to support that growth. The topics presented by the speakers were delegated in a way that allowed for us to then apply them in real time – in the day to day.”

– Mary Jo Marquis, Vena’s Fizz House

“The Visionary Leadership course was a lot of fun and engaging. The leaders of the course were amazing, with amazing guest speakers that inspired all of us. This program is great for Maine business leaders.”

– Michael Dobkowski, Glacial Multimedia

“As someone who supports and promotes Maine’s startup ecosystem, but doesn’t always work directly with entrepreneurs, the program gave me a real deep dive into some of the challenges (and opportunities) that our small business leaders are facing. The program also helped me explore my own leadership style, and our guest speakers provided tools and suggestions on how to handle difficult situations. But best of all, the bond between our cohort became strong and a safe space to share – which is invaluable!”

– Katie Shorey, President, Startup Maine

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