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Conference Sessions

Maine Volunteer Leadership Conference

•  All sessions will occur on line. Links will be sent to registrants prior to event.
•  Presenter introductions are on the "Presenters" listing on the right sidebar menu.

8:45-9:00 am      Opening Plenary. 
Welcome and Appreciations

9:00-10:15 am    Keynote Plenary

Understanding and Engaging 21st century volunteers   
This session will look at some of the key ways in which society is changing and how these changes affect volunteerism. We will also discuss what leaders of volunteers can do to update their practices to accommodate these changes, further enhancing their engagement and retention of 21st century volunteers.

Rob Jackson, Director, Rob Jackson Consulting Ltd       

 SESSION BLOCK A (select 1 session)

10:30-11:45 am

A.1. Concrete Steps for Reengineering a Viable, Valuable Program  
Before changing how you do business amidst societal and organizational disruption, invest an hour to reflect on what your program does and what decisions might propel it into future opportunities. Examine assets, values, stakeholders, community context, inclusion, and what re-engineering and re-invention may be warranted. You’ll leave with specific ideas to help your program remain relevant, inclusive, and sustainable. Bring creativity, courage, candor, humor, and your existing language on mission, vision, and values.

Presenter: Jennifer Rackow, Jenergy International          PRESENTATION SLIDES

10:30-12:00 pm

A.2. Don't Sue Me! How to avoid liability pitfalls in attracting, training and managing volunteers  
This session will explore federal and state statutes governing the management of volunteers, highlight potential liability hotspots, and identify best practices to avoid violating the law and to keep you and your organization out of court.

Presenter: Melissa Hewey, Attorney, Drummond Woodsum        PRESENTATION SLIDES

10:30-12:00 pm

A.3. Myths of volunteer management  
Volunteers can’t handle confidential information. Volunteers are less effective than paid staff. Volunteers take people’s jobs. We’ve all heard these kinds of things but do we know how to respond? In this workshop we’ll explore some of the commonly held myths about volunteers and volunteering so you can sharpen those arguments to stand up for your work.

Presenter: Rob Jackson, Director, Rob Jackson Consulting Ltd          PRESENTATION SLIDES


12:45-2:00 pm 

Where Volunteer Engagement fits in the move to eliminate systemic racism
Four thoughtful panelists will explore the issues surrounding civic engagement and volunteer engagement in a time when leaders of all community activity are called to change, be more inclusive, and rethink fundamentals. Volunteer leadership must look inward personally and programmatically while continuing to serve communities. Where and how to start, who to involve or look to for mentoring, what it means – it’s all part of learning where volunteer engagement fits in the movement to eliminate systemic racism.


  • Natalye Paquin, President, Points of Light Institute
  • Lelia DeAndrade, Vice President of Community Impact, Maine Community Foundation
  • Rev. Jane Field, Executive Director, Maine Council of Churches
  • Ian Yaffee, Executive Director, Mano en Mano

Host and Moderator:

  • Marge Kilkelly, Policy Program Manager, Maine Primary Care Association

SESSION BLOCK B (select 1 session)

2:00-3:15 pm

B.1. Role Descriptions- A Starting Point for Successful Volunteer Management   
Knowing what you really want a volunteer to do is essential to matching the right volunteer to the right position. Communicating what you want a volunteer to do is equally important. This interactive session will look at the importance of role descriptions and help you gain practice in matching the volunteer to the right role.

Presenter: Jennifer Lobley, Extension Educator, Volunteer Development

2:00-3:15 pm

B.2. Volunteer to Tell Your Story: Using Digital Storytelling to Get Noticed   
“You’ve got to be on Facebook!” “You’re not on Instagram?” “Why aren’t we tweeting?!?” If you are a volunteer leader or handle communications for a volunteer agency, you have probably heard one of these phrases from a supervisor or board member. The use of social media and digital communications has exploded to the point where it may now seem impossible to break through the noise. Why? Well, because it feels like everyone is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube…the list goes on. However, those in the volunteerism and service fields have a bit of an advantage. Why? Because somewhere, within your efforts, there is a good story to tell. This session will focus on using a storytelling approach to break through the noise. We’ll discuss strategies, tools, tricks and look at a few examples.

Presenter: Bryan Roche, Communications Officer, Volunteer Maine

2:00-3:15 pm

B.3. Strengthening Relationships and Community in a Virtual World   
Whether volunteers serve on-site, off-site, ensuring volunteers feel a part of something larger than themselves can transform one-time volunteers into engaged and committed volunteers. Nowhere is that more important than when volunteers are serving virtually. Discover tactics to nurture your volunteer community by structuring virtual roles, leveraging social media, strategically designing communications, checking-in regularly, and celebrating together. Individuals often start volunteering to make a difference, but they stay when they develop relationships and feel a part of a team. Building those relationships and nurturing community among virtual volunteers today will serve your future well.

Presenter: Beth Steinhorn, President, VQ Volunteer Strategies          PRESENTATION SLIDESHANDOUT


3:30-4:30 pm

Toward an Ideal State: Every citizen inspired and eager to serve  

Toward an Ideal State: Every Citizen Inspired and Eager to Serve  
“The United States has a strong spirit of service dating back more than 200 years. From the earliest days of the Republic, service has been a central part of what it means to be an American—and it remains so today. … We believe that the current moment requires a collective effort to build upon America's spirit of service to cultivate a widespread culture of service—a culture in which individuals of all backgrounds both expect and aspire to serve their Nation or community and have meaningful opportunities to serve throughout their lifetime.” (Inspired to Serve, March 2020)

In 2016, Senators John McCain and Jack Reed shepherded through Congress the creation of a National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service. Both leaders saw the need to promote the notion of service above self and develop ideas to inspire more Americans to serve. In March 2020, the Commission released its final report Inspired to Serve - a comprehensive plan with 164 recommendations to strengthen all forms of service to address domestic and security needs, invigorate civil society, and strengthen our democracy. The Commission’s plan and accompanying legislation would elevate all forms of service, revitalize civic education, expand service-learning, increase participation in military, national and public service, and strengthen the ability to mobilize Americans in an emergency.

Four panelists representing the Commission, military, national, and public service will explore the recommendations, their implications for Maine communities, and what steps are beneficial and could be implemented in Maine regardless of federal action.


  • Steven Barney, Commissioner, National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service.
  • Hannah Pingree, Director, Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future, State of Maine
  • Michael Wisecup, Harold Alfond Director of Athletics, Colby College
  • Maryalice Crofton, Executive Director, Volunteer Maine (the state service commission)

Host and Moderator

  • Yellow Light Breen, President and CEO, Maine Development Foundation