FocusME: Growth Stage Business Peer Group, Spring 2019 (8:30am start)


The Women’s Business Center at CEI and the Portland SCORE Chapter are collaborating to host FocusME, a series of peer groups for female entrepreneurs.

This spring we are offering an Early Stage Business Peer Group and a Growth Stage Business Peer Group. Once you’ve registered we will contact you and ask you to complete a short questionnaire to help us learn more about your business. We will review your responses and contact you with any questions we might have. Please note that in order to ensure that both groups are filled with businesses that are non-competitive and in similar stages of growth the WBC will make the final recommendation with regards to participation for each group.

“FocusME helped me regain focus, set priorities, share common struggles and collaborate with a wonderful group of peers to strategize ideas for future resolution.”

Is The FocusME: Growth Stage Business Peer Group right for you? 

We are looking for women entrepreneurs who are committed to business and personal growth to join this group. In order to participate, you must have business revenue, and an active website. The Growth Stage Business Peer Group is ideal for clients who have been in business for two years or more, have grown successfully through the startup phase, have a strong business plan, are financially stable, have established a sustainable growth trajectory, hired full time employees and have set ambitious goals to support business growth.

How does it work? 

A group of smart, savvy, female entrepreneurs meet every two to three weeks for facilitated sessions focusing on business and personal growth. These sessions continue with a check-in every two months for the remainder of the year. The program will also include two networking events, and a yearly celebration where participants from past and current cohorts will come together. Participants lean on each other, give advice, share connections and experiences and form business relationships with each other if/when appropriate. You will be introduced to local resources that will help build your business and become connected to a broader network of services and fellow entrepreneurs.

Each session includes: 

  • A facilitated group discussion with a focus on personal development (topics include: goal setting, time management, pitching your business, prioritizing and time management) 
  • An opportunity to share business challenges and brainstorm solutions
  • A “my seat” time which allows each member of the group to share something you’re working on and look to the group for input and accountability.
  • Pairing of accountability partners to check-in with between sessions

Who Facilitates? 

The sessions will be facilitated by Leigh Tillman. Leigh works with groups facilitating decision-making, group processes, training and effective storytelling. As a female entrepreneur herself, Leigh is excited to team up with The Women’s Business Center at CEI and SCORE to offer what we expect will prove to be a unique, rewarding, and candidly helpful series for all participants. You can learn more about her here.


The six initial sessions take place on Tuesdays in 2019. These dates include: March 19, April 2, April 23, May 7, May 28, June 11. A snow date will be scheduled for June 25. The four follow-up “mile marker” sessions will take place on July 23, August 27, and two more dates to be determined by the group. Upon registering, you are expected to attend each of the sessions.

A yearly celebration for all FocusME groups will be held in the fall, as well as at least one additional networking opportunity.

Networking Event 1: Please join us on June 5th at Still Life Studio in Portland for an opportunity to network with past and current FocusME participants, and hear from our guest speaker, Hannah Curtis, on the power of saying “no”. Networking, coffee and breakfast pastries will begin at 7:45am, followed by our speaker presentation from 8:30 to 9:30am.  We’ll stay for networking and conversation until 10:00am.

Hannah Curtis – Beat Burnout: The Power of “No”

Are you overextended in life and in your business? Does guilt get in the way of saying what you truly mean?

Most purpose-driven women struggle with saying no. We are taught that no isn’t nice. This belief holds us back because we use precious time and energy doing things that don’t truly serve us- or our businesses. There is good news. You can be upfront and kind, even when saying no. This presentation will teach you the mindset and tools you need to say no with confidence and without apology.

You will walk away with:

  • Clarity on why “no” is honest and kind, so you can finally let go of that pesky guilt.
  • Guiding questions that will help you accurately assess what’s worth a “yes.”
  • Three tips for saying “no” with ease and grace.

Where will FocusME be held? 

FocusME will be held in the 2nd floor conference room of the Marine Trade Center, at 2 Portland Fish Pier, where CEI’s Portland office is located.

What does it cost? 

The cost to participate in FocusME is $199. This includes the six initial sessions, four follow-up sessions, two networking events featuring a guest speaker, and an invitation to the annual FocusME celebration. This amounts to a full year of programming and continuity. 

Note: Registration payments can be made online in full or split into two payments. 

If you have additional questions, please contact Sarah Guerette at sarah.guerette@ceimaine.org or at (207) 535-2914 (email is preferred).

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