Rescheduled: Women in public leadership to discuss challenges, rewards

Margaret Rotundo, Maine state representative and director of special initiatives at Bates’ Harward Center.

Note to readers: The panel discussion “Women in Public Leadership” scheduled for Tuesday, March 19, has been postponed because of weather.

This Women’s History Month event, in which eight women known as Maine leaders will discuss the rewards and challenges of their work, has been rescheduled for one week hence — 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, in the Muskie Archives, 70 Campus Ave.

Bates Trustee Laura Young.

Admission is open to the public at no cost. For more information, please call 207-786-8376. The event is sponsored by the Office of Intercultural Education at Bates and the student organizations Women of Color and the Women’s Advocacy Group.

The panel moderator is Bates Trustee Laura Young. Panelists include policy expert Mary Cathcart, state Sen. Margaret Craven, historian Sylvia Kraemer, state Rep. Kim Olsen, Children’s Discovery Museum founder Julie O’Brien, state Rep. Margaret Rotundo and Maine Academy of Modern Music board member Martha Sterling-Golden.

Young is the vice president of philanthropy for the Maine Community Foundation. She worked previously as senior vice president and director of corporate philanthropic initiatives at Demont & Associates, a Portland firm providing philanthropic counsel and related services to nonprofit organizations.

Prior to moving to Maine in 1995, Young worked in Washington, D.C., at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and as a staff member for George Mitchell during his time as U.S. Senate majority leader. In 2009, Laura was appointed to the Board of Trustees of her alma mater, Bates College.

Policy expert Mary Cathcart.

Cathcart is a senior policy associate in the University of Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center. She leads the Maine NEW Leadership program, a nonpartisan summer program for Maine college women interested in careers in government and politics. She received the Women, Work and Community’s Merle Nelson Women Making a Difference Award in 2011.

An advocate for domestic violence awareness and prevention, Cathcart chaired the U.S. Commission on Child and Family Wellness. She serves on, and is a past chair of, the New England Board of Higher Education.

Chosen as a state representative in 2002, Craven was elected to the Maine Senate in 2008 and again in 2012. In addition to her political work, Craven is a respite coordinator and group home administrator.

Craven was born into an impoverished family of 11 in Ireland and came to the U.S. in the 1963 at age 17. After moving to Maine, she earned a high school diploma, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and began work with senior citizens and people with disabilities.

Now an independent policy researcher living in Portland, Kraemer previously taught history at Vassar College, Southern Methodist University, George Mason University, Colby College and the University of Maine at Orono.

In 1983, NASA recruited her to serve as the civil space program’s chief historian. Ten years later, she was appointed to the federal Senior Executive Service, and shifted her focus at NASA to national space policy coordination and development.

Historian Sylvia Kraemer.

O’Brien founded the Children’s Discovery Museum in Augusta and served as its executive director. She served in the Legislature for eight years, becoming known as a strong advocate for children and families. She belonged to the commission overseeing the merger of the departments of behavioral health and of health and human services. As co-chair of the Committee on Children and Families, she made nearly 100 recommendations for the working of the new department.

In 2005, O’Brien became executive director of the Maine Republican Party, a position she held for three years. She has also served as the president of the Maine chapter of the National Association for the Mentally Ill, and was recently honored as the recipient of the first “Presidential Award” given by the chapter. She serves on the advisory board for Maine NEW Leadership.

Olsen was elected as a Maine state representative for House District 64 and was appointed to serve on the Marine Resources Committee for the 125th Legislature. A building contractor and carpenter, she works with her husband in their business, Olsen Custom Builders. She has also worked as an educational technician in special education and as a manager and guide for a Maine whitewater rafting company.

State Rep. Kim Olsen.

Rotundo was elected to the Maine State Senate in 2000 and in 2008 was elected to the House of Representatives. She chairs the Appropriations Committee, overseeing the state’s $6.3 billion biennial budget. She has sponsored legislation that has created greater public access to government information; a cleaner environment; greater educational opportunities; and better services for veterans and the elderly.

In 1995 she helped found the Center for Service-Learning at Bates, now called the Harward Center for Community Partnerships, which facilitates service opportunities for Bates students in Lewiston and Auburn. She is director of special initiatives at the center.

Sterling-Golden serves on the board of the Maine Academy of Modern Music and on the advisory boards of NEW Leadership Maine and Emerge Maine. She is a past president of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University, a selective global leadership program sponsored in part by the Yale Law School. She is a past elected representative to the Maine Democratic State Committee.

A native of the Upper Kennebec Valley region, she was a working folk and rock musician for a decade before becoming, she says, a responsible member of society.

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