Which entrepreneur do you admire the most and why?
Trying to start and run a business is so messy and hard; it’s easy to celebrate the winners, the survivors. I have so much admiration for people in the thick of it, trying to bring their beautiful ideas to life. There’s a wonderful ice cream truck in Portland, Maine—Maine Maple Creemee—and for several years the founder and sole proprietor, Hannah Daman, has been bringing her amazing take on this special soft serve ice cream across Portland. It’s not glamorous and it’s not easy. Watching her overcome mechanical issues, ingredient issues, parking issues and so much more is a reminder that success is ultimately about winning a series of tiny, frustrating battles.
What’s currently on your bedside reading list?
“Kurt Vonnegut Complete Stories” has been the entire list for a while, because it’s nearly 1,000 pages and I’m an intermittent reader. But when I can force myself to engage—and lift the darn thing—I am recharged by seeing the world through his words.
What is the best career advice you’ve gotten?
Slow down. Sometimes, when working for larger organizations, “activity” and “looking busy” and “moving fast” can take precedence over actually adding value. When I started at Allagash, I needed to remind myself to slow down. Methodical, coordinated action and time for teams to gel around meaningful ideas—delivered with thoughtful preparation—eats speed for breakfast.
Name one brand, other than the one you work for, that you admire.
Appalachian Mountain Club. A century-old philanthropic organization that is reinventing itself for the future.
What is your secret weapon for business success?
Everything matters. Nothing we ever do, no person we talk with, no email we write—nothing—is ever too small to make a positive impact now, and in the future.