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Melanie Randall: Inspiring Others to Live and Dance Strong

Founder of Live and Dance Strong, and Owner of Dancewear House, Melanie Randall.

Everyone has their own ways of dealing with a loss, and this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Melanie Randall, decided to take one of the most difficult times in her life, and turn it into something beautiful as a way to process her grief.

Five years ago, Melanie’s father, Richard J. Randall, passed away and she set out to start an event that would help in her healing process. The result was Live and Dance Strong, a fundraiser that serves as a wonderful opportunity for choreographers and dancers alike to come together and deliver a unique dance experience.

Randall says, “Each year the show is different, and we have begun to touch on other people’s pain and grieving process. Cancer has affected so many people. I never dreamed that by starting Live and Dance Strong I would bring hope and empowerment to so many other young women who have lost someone—it’s been very special.”

This year, the event brought their total donations to the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care to more than $30,000 since its inception and for the first time, they paid a special tribute to cancer survivors.

Planning for Live and Dance Strong starts in early winter, and around March Melanie begins to send letters to local businesses, requesting sponsorships and donations for the show. In May, she sends out choreographer applications to studios in the area.

They recently added a concert element to the planning process, by hosting a concert at their home on the lake in an effort to raise awareness and funding within the community. Melanie adds that social media has also made the event easier to put together, saying, “Facebook has made it easy for us to have an online presence, enabling us to connect with choreographers and sponsors we may not have met any other way.”

Even after growing up dancing for Keltie Collins, Andrei Bossov and Genie O’Brien, she never imagined that she would have a career in dance. It wasn’t until she was getting ready to graduate with a degree in English that she considered buying Dancewear House in Hallowell, but after six and a half years, it was clearly the right choice. She says, “I wasn’t really sure that an English degree would prepare me for running a business, but my years in college certainly did.”

Melanie (center) with her Mom, Mary Elizabeth Randall (left), and her fiancé, Scott Lowery (right) following this year’s Live and Dance Strong event.

Most days, you will find Melanie helping young girls find their way on a similar career path. She says, “I spend most of my days with dancers’ feet in my face,” as the primary person that handles Pointe shoe fittings.

So what is her secret to happiness and success?

Randall says, “Follow your dreams—find something in life that you’re passionate about, and keep it close to you, especially when life gets hard. We all have the ability to take a negative situation and make it into a positive one, so don’t ever give up! One person has all of the potential in the world to touch someone’s life and change their own.”

To learn how you can get involved with Live and Dance Strong, please visit, liveanddancestrong.org, or like the Dancewear House on Facebook.

Creating a Catalyst for Change

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” –Mahatma Gandhi

Founder and Creative Director of Katalyst, Kyle Poissonnier

It is one of the most recognized quotes from Gandhi, and this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Kyle Poissonnier, brings the idea to fruition with the launch of his new Portland-based brand, Katalyst.

Poissonnier first garnered media attention five years ago when he took a thesis project from an entrepreneur class and made it a reality. The brand Elykssor (pronounced elixir) was formed. Essentially, Kyle says, “Someone asked me what I wanted to do. I said I liked clothes, started, and learned as I went.”

It wasn’t until his fourth year in business that the brand began to see any real traction, and so he went back to the drawing board to focus on the direction he wanted to take—enter Katalyst. Kyle says, “I’m taking all of my experiences—wins and losses—into Katalyst. With Elykssor, I found myself doing so many different things. Katalyst encompasses all of them.”

So what is Katalyst? Kyle says that it is based on the idea that “every person in the world affects us in some way,” and that this brand embodies that, by acting as a catalyst for change and enabling people to accomplish their goals as a symbol for confidence and positivity.

Katalyst is a brand that plans to pay-it-forward by developing ‘Katalyst Kollaborative’ communities. While the brand will be developing and selling a variety of clothing, ranging from fitness gear to everyday wear, they will also be providing custom-designed wear for fundraising opportunities.

Kyle says, “I remember when I was a kid the fundraiser stuff was all candy bars and magazine subscriptions—what we offer are custom shirts that are fun to wear, to sell and to bring a community together.”

For example, if a high school athletic boosters program needed to raise money, they would contact Kyle and his team, and they would design a Katalyst-branded shirt with the high school’s logo that could be sold to raise money. In return, that school is added to the Katalyst Kollaboration community.

Last year, the Skowhegan freshman class sold their custom shirts and raised more than $2,500. Kyle presented the shirts to the class, and spoke with the students about pursuing their dreams by sharing his own success story.

At 28, Kyle is the youngest inductee to his alma mater, Husson University, Hall of Fame for his professional success. He has also been featured on a TED Talk and MSNBC’s “Rediscover” for his accomplishment of launching soon to be two successful lifestyle clothing brands.

For all of his success, Poissonnier is humble stating, “I don’t feel like I have an impressive resume—I feel like I have impressive friends and people that have helped me get any type of positive recognition. All of this has happened because photographers, videographers and friends in general have wanted to help me out.”

The support from his friends and other Maine people that believe in the sense of community that encapsulates the state has been incredibly helpful in the creation of his official launch party for Katalyst: State of the State on Friday, July 12, 2013 at the State Theater in Portland.

The event will become an annual party to celebrate the “state” of Maine—the music scene, the businesses, and all that Maine has to offer.

To learn more about Kyle and the Katalyst community, visit their Facebook page today at www.facebook.com/bethekatalyst, or follow Kyle on Facebook, www.facebook.com/kylepoissonnier and Twitter, www.twitter.com/bethekatalyst and www.twitter.com/Kyle_Katalyst.

Kylie Keene: From Spokester to Tour Correspondent

Is this week’s Monday Maine Maven the next big name in entertainment media? Kylie Keene is well on her way!

You may recognize Kylie as the Young & Free Maine Spokester, an outreach program by Maine’s credit unions that allowed Keene to serve as the face and voice of the 18-25 year old crowd in Maine. In this role, Kylie helped that demographic make sense of banking and money through the use of videos and interviews, and attending events throughout the state.

Keene says, “I was so thrilled to be chosen as the Young & Free Maine Spokester. I was able to apply the skills I had learned in school, and build new ones throughout the year.”

These skills will come in handy as she embarks on a new journey as the Nabisco 1D VIP Tour Correspondent. For those of you that don’t know, 1D is short for One Direction…yes, the multi-million dollar recording artists, and every teenage girl’s dream.

How did Kylie get the gig? She says, “A friend shared the position with me on Facebook, saying I was the first person that came to mind when she read the job description. I read the details, and when I learned I could blog, make videos and share stories while enjoying live music and traveling the country, I knew I had to apply!”

In her new position, Kylie is responsible for connecting with fans and sharing the live concert experience with them, even if they can’t make it to a show—sharing stories from the concerts, delicious snack recipes, opportunities for fans to score tickets to concerts, and much more.

Keene adds, “There’s also a great mobile app fans can download that shares exclusive video content, and cool stuff like voicemails from One Direction and a cyber photo booth where fans can create images of themselves with the bands.”

This opportunity serves as a great stepping stone for Kylie in a career as a multimedia journalist. She developed an interest in the field after shadowing a reporter at a Portland news station in high school. Kylie says, “After seeing the fast-paced, ever-changing environments that journalists worked in, and the new people they met on stories each day, I knew I wanted to pursue a field that would offer the same opportunities.”

Who inspires Ms. Keene? While she admires the work of Ann Curry and Barbara Walters, she says, “I am most influenced and inspired by my peers who are currently working in the field; those I graduated with, or worked with as a news intern. I am so proud of my friends who continue to work hard as journalists, and I admire their talent and drive.”

If Kylie’s job sounds like a good fit for you, or someone you know, her advice is to “find mentors and learn from their expertise,” and “to surround yourself with individuals who inspire you, support you, and motivate you to become the best version of yourself.” She adds, “If you really want to do something, and you believe you can do it, then you will.”

To follow Kylie’s summer as the Nabisco 1D VIP Tour Correspondent you can check out her blog at, http://nabisco1dvip.tumblr.com/.

 

Sam Shain and the Scolded Dogs’ New Album Keeps You Dancing

Sam Shain, front man of Sam Shain and the Scolded Dogs

In a recent webinar, the host suggested a modified version of the Pareto principle was applicable to social media, saying that 80% of your content development should be personal items that make you relatable to your audience and that sliding in the sales and marketing pitches in the remaining 20% is the key to social media success.

If that’s the case, then this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Sam Shain of Sam Shain and the Scolded Dogs, is doing social media very well!

Shain grew up in Hallowell and credits its “charm and strong community” for keeping him here. Sam also adds, “I’ve been going downtown to listen to music since I was a little kid—Hallowell has an outstanding scene for such a small city!”

If you’ve been downtown yourself, then you have most likely popped into the Liberal Cup, Higher Grounds, The Wharf, Hoxter’s, Easy Street Lounge or one of the many other venues that host live music on a regular basis. The scene has come a long way since Sam first started booking gigs. He says, “I used to make events for gigs, but I rarely use that feature anymore.”

Why not? Facebook.

Shain says, “My Facebook page is a great outlet when it comes to getting the word out and posting my schedule.” Another thing Shain does on his Facebook page is connect with his fans (over 1,000 of them) by asking them questions, and getting their feedback on his show and music. He says, “More activity equals more awareness, so I try to keep it light in my posts and have fun.”

Sam Shain during an interview at WBLM discussing the band’s latest album, A Song We Know.

So, what’s next for Sam Shain and the Scolded Dogs? They are working their way into the Portland music scene and are currently pushing their latest album, A Song We Know. It is currently on sale at all of their shows and Musicians First Choice in Augusta, and will soon be available on iTunes and in Bull Moose.

Shain says, “With any luck, we’ll have a 2014 release to follow up on the success of A Song We Know. In the meantime, we are going to keep gigging it up and keep all of the awesome people that come to our shows dancing.”

To learn more about Sam Shain and the band, like their Facebook page at facebook.com/samshainmusic.

Hallowell Homecoming Extravaganza

NMC client and local filmmaker Chris Walters celebrated his recent meetings with Hollywood producers by hosting a Hallowell Homecoming Extravaganza on Sunday, June 2 at Maple Hill Farm.

The event featured a screening of his film Jim Jones Juice, and music by The Band Apollo, Loc Da American Bulldog, and Sam Shain and the Scolded Dogs along with works from local artists. Hallowell Mayor Charlotte M. Warren introduced the event, which was sponsored by RE/MAX Capital Chris Vallee Associates.

The Band Apollo were one of the many performers at Chris Walters’ (right) Hallowell Homecoming.

Walters begins filming the sequel, Dave’s Intervention, this summer in Maine. To learn more about Chris Walters Productions please visit their website, www.chriswaltersproductions.com.

WGAN’s Mike Violette Gives the Inside Scoop on Social Media

WGAN Talk Host, Mike Violette

Politics are dicey in the world of public relations, so it’s probably a good thing that this week’s Monday Maine Maven, WGAN’s Mike Violette, would rather talk about himself and how his love of Maine and social media keeps him fresh.

Violette says, “Politics aside, I just try to listen to what people are talking about when I’m not behind the microphone. Whether it’s in Mardens or Hannaford, I make mental notes and who knows? It might just make it on the next day’s show.”

He adds that he is lucky that the management at WGAN, the Portland Radio Group and Saga Communications are supportive of his leanings, whether they’re political or not, and credits this for his transparency on social media. Mike says, “My job is to have an opinion on the WGAN Morning News, so I take that same approach with Facebook.”

For Violette, Facebook simply feels like an extension of what he has been doing for the past 30 years on radio. He says that even before social networking came about, he was already sharing his life with listeners each day. He says, “You have to connect with your listeners, and there is no better way to do that than to talk about the same things they do—your kids, your families, your dog.”

A recent example of that relationship comes from Mike’s family beagle, Hope. After 14 years his family had to make the difficult decision to say goodbye. His daughter, Jessica, had created a Facebook page for Hope, and when he mentioned on air what the family was going through he says, “The outpouring of support and love from people I had never met was amazing. Even though I had never met them, they had met me, my family and our dog because they’re loyal listeners, and I love them for it.”

Hope Violette aka “Hope the famous beagle”

The responses he receives on Facebook are generally positive, but he encourages the other side to voice their opinion because “it makes for a spirited debate.” He adds that, “No one gets whacked by me for having an opposing view, I encourage that!”

However, you might get whacked if you try to talk smack about fresh scallops and fresh Shipyard brews, two of the items Violette credits for his staying in Maine all these years, but he also says that “in February I could be convinced to move to Key West.” All joking aside, Mike says, “I’m a Mainer and I just love the state and the people.”

When he’s not on air, Violette is a movie fan listing the following as his top 5:

You can connect with Mike on Facebook, or by tuning into the WGAN Morning News weekdays from 5-9am on 560AM.

 

 

Jon James of 92Moose Talks Social Media and Radio

92Moose radio host/personality, Jon James

If you’re from the Augusta area, then you most likely have listened to 92Moose once or twice (or maybe a lot more), and you are undoubtedly familiar with long-time on-air personality, Jon James, this week’s Monday Maine Maven.

James has been a part of 92Moose’s daily line-up for more than 20 years, and currently is well-known as a third of the Moose Morning Show trio, Jon, Renee and Mac. Jon was born and raised in Maine and says that as he’s gotten older he’s only fallen in love with the state more, and he knows that Maine will always be home.

With so much experience, Jon says that the integration of social media into radio has been unbelievable, but also for the good. He says, “I like to think that these sites (Facebook and Twitter) broaden our fan base, but the best part of using them is the immediate feedback on just about everything we say and do.”

Being in touch with fans and listeners like never before is a definite advantage and Jon says he enjoys sharing not only what they do on the radio, but what goes on in his personal life adding, “I’ll friend anyone who will have me.” Why?  He figures that even if he doesn’t know you personally, that you have somehow formed a connection, and adds that “social media has made us more of a community with our listeners.”

James says that 92Moose has become a true multi-media company and that the Web is only slightly less important than radio. He says, “We all write articles for the website and use Facebook as a way to connect with people and drive them to the website for all of the latest information on contests, people, news and more.”

Jon James (L) with fellow Moose Morning Show hosts Renee Nelson (C) and Mac Dickson (R).

When James isn’t on the radio, he can be found hanging out with his grandson Evan or recording voiceovers. How does he juggle it all? Jon jokes, “Well, I’m a horrible juggler. That’s why I only do one thing at a time!” He says the biggest part of it all is patience and prioritizing. He says his family has always come first and he has been lucky to always find an easy balance between work and play.

Do you want to be a radio DJ? Jon says, “Be willing to move, and do it while you’re young! There are so many opportunities out there, but you have to look a little harder, and be computer savvy because so much is done digitally.”

To listen to Jon and the Moose Morning crew tune in weekdays to 92.3 FM 5:00am- 9:00am. Feel free to shoot Jon a friend request at facebook.com/jjamesvoiceovers or follow 92Moose on Twitter. Don’t forget to check out the latest contests from 92Moose here!

A Nightfly With A Rock ‘N Roll Soul

Frank FM Assistant Program Director and On-Air Personality, Leif Erickson

If you’re a fan of classic hits and live practically anywhere in the state of Maine, then you are probably familiar with 107.5 Frank FM.  As a member of Frank Nation, then you are also familiar with Assistant Program Director/Music Director/Afternoon Drive Host Leif Erickson.

Yes, he really does wear that many hats on a weekly basis—and that doesn’t even include the additional work he does for Snocountry Mountain Reports, and his recent official announcement of Leif Erickson Voiceover Services.

As a native of Massachusetts and Boston University graduate, Erickson was hired as a radio ski reporter for Snocountry Mountain Reports in Lebanon, New Hampshire after graduating with a degree in broadcast journalism. He soon made his way onto the air with Classic Rock station Q106 in Claremont, and after a few years he was recruited by a start-up station called Frank FM.

After eight years, Erickson says he can’t imagine living anywhere else. He credits the broad audience as the best and most challenging part of his job saying, “We’re a local station to not only Portland, but to Lewiston, Augusta, Bridgton, Sanford, South Paris, Farmington and well into New Hampshire! I enjoy bringing people together under that umbrella—Frank Nation—one big community, even if they do know I’m physically in the ‘big city’ of Portland.”

Social media has made Leif’s job a little easier, and he frequently uses it to test new material with listeners. He adds, “If I have some wise-crack on a relevant topic, I may test it out on my own Facebook page to see what kind of reaction I get. If the feedback is positive then I’ll repurpose it for my show later.”

Leif Erickson hits the slopes at Sunday River last winter.

Facebook is an incredible tool when it comes to connecting with listeners for Erickson. Even though he has a radio-specific fan page, listeners frequently find his personal Facebook page as well, and he always accepts their friend requests. He jokes, “I do have a brief disclaimer on my personal page that says:  Hey, this is me off the clock, don’t complain to my boss! I’m not above sharing a slice of life behind the scenes if I think my listeners might find it interesting.”

For Erickson, Facebook is also a way to learn more about his listeners, and he often uses it as a way to learn what they like, where they hang out, and what they want to hear—“This is a business that is all about connecting with the listener, is it not,” he asks.

That question is answered by the way he delivers content. Leif says, “Our listeners would rather I paint a picture of an odd individual’s antics on Monument Square that I’m witnessing from the studio window than whatever Lindsay Lohan’s in court for this week.”

When Leif isn’t juggling his work, he can frequently be found on the Portland Peninsula. He says, “I enjoy a bite and a brew at the Thirsty Pig, or Shay’s for dinner and drinks, but my favorite haunt is Slainte. It’s always full of interesting people, good brews on tap and kick- (enter expletive here)-bartending staff, and a diverse slate of music and culture just about every night of the week.”

To listen to Leif Erickson’s show, be sure to tune in to 107.5 Frank FM Monday through Friday 2pm to 7pm, or on Sundays 6am to noon. You can also check out his Facebook Fan Page at www.facebook.com/leifericksonontheradio.

We asked Leif to share five songs that describe him—click on the links below to find out what he picked! Did any of your favorite songs make the list?

Donald Fagen “The Nightfly”

Grand Funk Railroad “Rock and Roll Soul”

James Taylor “Country Road”

Todd Rundgren “There Are No Words”

Yes “Yours Is No Disgrace”

Eventbrite Changing the Way You Buy Tickets

NMC Account Assistant, Erika Bush

Hi, Erika here! It seems that every event I’ve been invited to in the past year has been linked to Eventbrite, and for good reason—it’s free! That’s right, completely free to create an online event.

Planning an event is stressful enough, without having to worry about ticketing, too. Another great feature of Eventbrite is that if your event is free than so is their service—they provide the perfect platform to promote it within your area without paying a thing.

The fees only begin when you start selling tickets, and what you pay for them to take all the stress out of online ticketing is minimal:

Eventbrite Fee

2.5%  plus $0.99 per ticket

*Cap fees at $9.95 per ticket for organizations

Processing Options

 

Standard Credit Card Processing Fee: 3% of ticket value

 

Paypal: 2.9% of ticket value + $0.30 per transaction

 

Google Checkout: 2.9% of ticket value + $0.30 per transaction

 

Authorize.net: rates vary

Kevin and Julia Hartz, husband and wife co-founders of Eventbrite

Since Eventbrite’s inception in 2006, the company has slowly been taking over the ticketing industry. They recently received a $50 million investment that makes some believe they could begin competing with larger sites such as TicketMaster and StubHub.

The first sign of them being ready to step it up comes from their recent partnership with Facebook’s “Buy Tickets” feature—a partnership that occurred within 48 hours of the new feature’s launch.  This seamless connection comes from the relationship that was already in place between Eventbrite and Facebook from their work together on Open Graph, which helps people tell stories about their lives through the apps they use.

The way the new “Buy Tickets” feature works is that when someone creates an event using Eventbrite, they will be given the option to “Publish to Facebook.” After this is done, the event will be on Facebook and they simply invite people to their event, or make the event public for the “Buy Tickets” button to appear.

The new feature will allow Eventbrite users to seamlessly link their events to Facebook.

Sharing events on Facebook happens every day; it’s coordinating where to send the money for these events that gets messy. You have to either be directed to another site to pay or you show up to the event and hope there are tickets left. Taking out the middle man makes sense. Kevin Stone of the New York Times quotes Eventbrite CEO Kevin Hartz saying, “Events are naturally social. You are certainly likely to share with others what conference you are attending, what club event you are going out to or what class you are going to take.”

Eventbrite has been growing steadily since its founding in a small one-room office in San Francisco back in 2006. It took off in 2010 and by 2012 it had more than tripled in size. Much like Pinterest, Eventbrite doesn’t show any signs of slowing down anytime soon, and is the one to watch when it come to online ticket sales.

Bases Loaded and Going for the Grand Slam

Maine Maven, Jessica Chahanovich

The Love Gun is just one of the many aliases of this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Jessica Chahanovich. Categorizing just what she does is hard to do because…well, she does just about everything. Chahanovich is the social media guru behind the upcoming dating app, FriendFlirt; works for Fenway Park (possible new public address announcer); writes for the Yawkey Way Report; works as a nanny; co-hosts a radio show; and writes for multiple blogs on dating advice and baseball.

How does she juggle it all? Jessica credits her grandmother saying, “She has Alzheimer’s, and she told me to make sure that I do everything I want to do while I still have the ability to enjoy it all. I took her advice literally and it inspires me each day to keep trying as many fun and new things as possible.”

Chahanovich has many interests, but her major passion is the major leagues. Her love of the Red Sox is prominent on her Twitter page, where she often receives and shares exclusive news and sneak peeks with her followers. Jessica broke every teenage girl’s heart when Justin Bieber recently started following her posts. Her response, “I think it’s pretty hilarious—the kid must really like baseball. I have no idea how he would have stumbled upon me otherwise, unless he’s looking for a new online dating site!”

Jessica’s alter ego, The Love Gun.

One of Jessica’s latest venture has been working as The Love Gun for the upcoming online dating app, FriendFlirt. Chahanovich says, “It’s going to take the creepiness and anonymous feeling out of online dating. It makes it real by using your current social media accounts to find people you might know, or should know, to go on dates with—no outside sites and memberships.” She adds that the first 10,000 people that sign up will receive a free membership.

As the designated Love Gun, she is responsible for their social media posts and blog. Man Candy Monday, Foxy Lady Friday and a weekly post with relationship advice and dating tips are the weekly features. Jessica is also hosting a podcast show with the Big Sauce Radio Show team. The show will include online dating horror stories from fans and weekly competitions for Best 6 Pack, Best Pedicure and more.

Jessica at her home away from home, Fenway Park.

When she’s not blogging for FriendFlirt, Chahanovich is blogging about her love of baseball. Her latest topic has been about the audition process she is going through to become a public address announcer for Fenway Park, where she already works as a quality control team member. She is currently a finalist, and waiting to see if she makes it to the next round of auditions in Fort Meyers, Florida to announce a spring training game.

Chahanovich’s love for baseball has also landed her a gig writing for the Yawkey Way Report. On their blog, she contributes her thoughts on baseball news related to the Red Sox and their players. Her wit and sense of humor shine through and you almost feel like you’re sitting at a bar, discussing the latest over a burger and beer.

While Jessica isn’t quite sure what she loves the most, she hopes that her sentiment will inspire others to pursue their own happiness. She says, “I love to share my passion with people who don’t have it, or better yet, simply haven’t discovered it yet.”

To keep up with Jessica you may follow her on Twitter @RedSoxChach, like FriendFlirt’s Facebook page, read the FriendFlirt blog, read her Red Sox blog, or check her out on the Yawkey Way Report.