"Elevating Voices" Returns to Celebrate Innovation and Diversity in Maine Business

Published on : 7/5/2022

Bangor, ME: Building on its commitment to bringing vibrancy and engaging with diverse people and businesses in the communities in which we live and work, Elevating Voices, a TV series produced by Greenlight Maine Productions in partnership with Bangor Savings Bank, returns for its second season next month. The series, which will debut July 7, features 10 honorees and highlights their importance and contributions to the current and future economic and cultural vitality of our society. New episodes will air Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. on Maine Public Television and be rebroadcast on Fridays at 3:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5:30 p.m.

After an incredibly successful first season that celebrated diversity in business across Maine, the upcoming season will again feature small business owners and showcase the important ways they help create more livable and prosperous communities. Season one garnered local acclaim and an Emmy Award-nomination, bringing additional awareness to the positive impact these business owners bring to the fabric of our communities. Season two features more inspiring people and businesses and tells their stories of resilience, hard work and perseverance as well as their influence across northern New England.

“Partnerships with Greenlight Maine Productions are important to telling the notable stories of these business owners and their contributions to the diversity and strength of our workforce and our communities,” said Bob Montgomery-Rice, President and CEO of Bangor Savings Bank. “This new season showcases even more of the innovative talents of these business owners that help make Maine such a special and desirable place to choose to live and work.”

The businesses featured in season two represent industries including arts and culture, consulting, food services, landscaping, and design.

“It is important to strive to find new and thoughtful ways to highlight members of our local communities for the positive impact and contributions they make,” said Isla Dickerson, Senior Vice President and Director of Marketing & Community Relations at Bangor Savings Bank and co-creator and executive producer of Elevating Voices. “Our partnership with Greenlight Maine Productions has allowed us to shine a light on the importance of diversity to Maine’s current and future economic and cultural vitality while sharing the incredible stories of diverse business owners all over the state.”

The following businesses will be featured on season two of Elevating Voices:
The Exercise Design Lab, Bar Harbor – Jacques Newell Taylor has brought a new vision to Maine with the Exercise Design Lab. Coming to Bar Harbor from Los Angeles, where he trained celebrities and helped pioneer the concept of Neuro-Logic Training, Taylor combines applied neuroscience and exercise science to create unique exercise experiences for people of all ages.
Father & John, Yarmouth – Turkish born Alper Yakici developed his entrepreneurial skills shortly after moving to Maine while working at the Muddy Rudder in Yarmouth. He met a variety of people and learned quickly there was a pressing need for local landscapers, a craft he was well-versed in. He started Father & John, garnering rave reviews from hundreds of Maine customers. It continues to grow to this day.
Fireball Bookbindery, Portland – Evelyn Wong is an artist of American-Asian descent who came to the state to study at Maine College of Art & Design. Her work combines themes of race, gender and community and has shown at the Portland Museum of Art, Trestle Gallery, and Tapp’s Art Center. Her book bindery business features intricate brocade and silk work often with Chinese themes and symbols.
Kifah Abdulla, Portland – Born in Baghdad, Kifah Abdulla is a writer, poet, activist, solider, POW and teacher who uses calligraphy as an essential element in his work. His memoir, Mountains Without Peaks, reflects on his eight years as a prisoner of war during the Iraq-Iran War. His current project, REBEL: Take Action, involves large text-based art propelled by the energy of Arabic script.
Mandy Levine Consulting, Portland – After working for many years on civil rights cases, Mandy Levine opened her own consulting business, working with large employers on how to embed diversity, equity and inclusion into their organization. Levine has dedicated her career to changing perceptions, opening up conversations on personal identity, bias and prejudice and creating space for people to feel truly seen.
Mariama’s Beauty Supply, Portland – After arriving in Maine from The Gambia, Mariama Jallow knew there was an opportunity for the kind of beauty supply store she’d operated in her home country. Hair braiding is an art form that takes time, skill, and attention. Jallow offers hair braiding, haircuts, weaves and beauty supply products. Her company also provides a space for skilled immigrants to earn a living.
Mic Mac Farm, Caribou – Located on Wabanaki tribal land, Mic Mac Farm grows healthy food to feed the local community and area food pantries. The Micmacs, members of the Wabanaki Confederacy, have a long tradition of hunting, fishing, farming, and gathering. Created in 2009, the farm now includes a nursery, greenhouse and fish hatchery and is built upon a respect for all components of the natural world.
Bondeko, Portland – Originally from France, Orson Horchler named his construction and design firm after a French word that loosely translates to the feeling of being a family with those who are not blood relatives. Horchler has developed strong bonds with his team and clients and trains immigrants in the trades to help fill the need for skilled labor in southern Maine.
Vazquez Takeout, Milbridge – The Vazquez family originally moved to Washington County to work at Wyman’s Blueberries. Family matriarch, Suzi Vazquez, had the idea to start a food truck business for employees. With the support of Wyman’s, the business flourished. Today, Vazquez Takeout has grown to a restaurant and takeout service, attracting customers from across the state.
WJZP, Portland – As the only minority-owned station serving the Portland area, WJZP pays tribute to artists of color, offering a cultural outlet that celebrates and shares the heritage of so many through music and programming. WJZP broadcasts music that reflects the talent, history, and richness of its culture and is governed by a philosophy of building a community where differences are valued.
"This season we'll bring you powerful stories of people from northern Maine, Washington County, Bar Harbor and more,” said Greenlight Maine Productions Host and Producer Julene Gervais. “It's inspiring to see their willingness to share their cultures that enrich our state and move forward economically in the process.  We thank the team at Bangor Savings Bank for their vision and creating a strong sense of belonging for all Mainers." 

For information on Elevating Voices including program times and past episodes, please visit the Greenlight Maine Productions Elevating Voices website at https://greenlightmaine.com/elevating-voices/.

About Greenlight Maine Productions
Greenlight Maine is a statewide collaboration of entrepreneurial catalysts and corporate leaders. The television and internet series is designed to highlight, promote and encourage the development and growth of entrepreneurial businesses in Maine by showcasing the unique, creative and inspirational activity that is being generated by small businesses. In doing so, the program encourages investment in these companies while inspiring others to grow Maine’s economy. Now in its sixth season, Greenlight Maine has a new home on Maine Public Television. In addition to its original Head-to-Head Series and recent College Edition, Greenlight Maine Productions has added Elevating Voices, a TV series that celebrates diversity in business across Maine.

Media Contact

Jaclyn Fish | Bangor Savings Bank
Bangor Savings Bank, with more than $6.9 billion in assets, offers retail banking to consumers as well as comprehensive commercial, corporate, payroll administration, merchant services, and small business banking services to businesses. The Bank, founded in 1852, is in its 170th year with more than 65 branches in Maine and New Hampshire and business and/or loan production offices in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Bangor Savings Bank and The Bangor Savings Bank Foundation have invested more than $3.4 million into the community in the form of sponsorships, grants, and partnership initiatives last year. Bangor Savings Bank is an equal opportunity employer and can be found on the web at bangor.com.Neither Bangor Savings Bank nor its affiliates offer tax, accounting, or legal services. Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender.