2017-01-11 / Business

News from Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber

Awards to honor a pair of leading ladies

Most people see the chamber of commerce as advocates for business. That is what we are known for. It’s a common misconception, though, as we are not champions of nameless, faceless businesses — we are champions of people. Behind every business success and every triumph in a community are hard-working, determined idealists, doing all they can to make each event, each project, and each moment as good as it can be.

The chamber doesn’t fight for profit margins, and regulations, we fight so that the businesses in the communities we serve have the best chance at succeeding — because we want to see the people in those businesses have success. To do that, groups like the chamber require more than just determined staff members of their own.

Success requires a commitment from the volunteers, citizens and business leaders to work toward the common good. Often that means individuals giving of their time to help our communities with no thought of recognition for themselves, only doing it because it’s the “right thing to do” and because they want to help make our corner of the world just a little brighter.

On Jan. 20, the Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber has the honor of recognizing some of these business leaders, and among them are two leading ladies in our region.

Joanne McMahon has been an active leader in every community she has ever lived. With more than 20 years of active duty service in the Navy Nurses Corp., Joanne knows the dedication it takes to get through the most challenging times, and she has helped others through their battles as well.

Her youngest son, John, was diagnosed with autism while stationed in Iceland, and so Joanne took that experience and became a mentor and helped other military and non-military families in the same situation. She used her experience as a mother of a child with a developmental disability and her experience as a nurse to help others adjust by mentoring and leading local discussions — and she still does to this day.

Currently, Joanne is a volunteer with the Independence Association of Brunswick, a board member of Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation and she is co-founder of Veterans No Boundaries.

Joanne McMahon will be recognized as the 2016 Joshua L. Chamberlain Award winner at the chamber event on Jan. 20. The prestigious award is given to an individual with an outstanding record of service to both the military and to the communities in which they live.

Barb Rapoza is a busy lady. She is a mother, a friend, a confidante, a leader, an advocate, a marketer, a networker and an organizer.

She is constantly on the go, from one project and event to the next and at each stop along the way she carries herself with a warmth and an openness that invites others to be a part of the conversation. She has an uncanny ability to be keenly focused on the topic at hand, while she juggles multiple projects simultaneously. And what she contributes in each situation leaves a mark that is impactful and makes every project better.

The SMMC has had the privilege of having Barb as the secretary of the board of directors. Like so many other things she is a part of, she goes above and beyond in her role, coming in the office on off-hours to help print reports, print name tags, and do whatever she can to help the staff.

She is a leading ambassador at the Chamber After Hours, always greeting guests or working behind the scenes making sure the event runs as smoothly as possible. And when Carolyn Farkas-Noe was retiring in June of this past year, who was at the forefront of planning a retirement party — of course Barb was. She is kind and giving and she has been named the 2016 Volunteer of the Year.

Come celebrate the award ceremony of these two outstanding women, and the six other honorees at the Big Night Out on Friday, Jan. 20 from 5-8 p.m. at the Southern Maine Community College Midcoast Campus on Brunswick Landing. The annual awards night and business expo is themed this year as “Who-DunnIt?: A Clue-Inspired Evening.”

The event is presented by Mid Coast- Parkview Health with supporting sponsorship from U.S. Cellular, Burgess Technology Services, Serv-Pro of Bath- Brunswick and Southern Maine Community College. Simply Susie’s Catering will be on-hand with a British manor-inspired menu, and Cook’s Lobster House is helping with the cash bar.

For more details, or to reserve your tickets, contact the SMCC at (207) 725-8797 or email executivedirector@midcoastmaine.com. Also look for profiles of the other six award winners over the coming weeks, right here in The Times Record.

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