Social Community

Olivia Orr, Coordinator, Coach, Coder & Co-Director

Raised by a family of educators, Oliva Orr seeks to make an impact on social justice through mission-driven work. Olivia shares what she is most passionate about today and reminds us "success looks different on everyone."

When did you first get involved in working with non-profits?

While I was a college student, I spent a couple of summers working with Upward Bound. It was a bit of a whirlwind; I built relationships with the students, planned trips, and assisted with some of the administrative duties. The experience opened my eyes to the professional possibilities within the nonprofit realm. I think my studies in Sociology only further solidified my desire to participate in community-based, socially driven work. I was lucky to land a job at a Boston-based nonprofit called Silver Lining Mentoring after graduation, but eventually, I realized Portland might be a better fit for me, which is how I ended up here.  

Do you think you were born with the innate qualities to help others or did this evolve through travels and life experiences? 

I think that my parents have a lot do with my desire to help others. Both of my parents are educators – my dad is a Forestry Professor and my mom is a Head Start teacher. They raised me to understand the importance of giving back. I’m grateful for my education and everybody I’ve met along the way because of those experiences sort of filled in the gaps. I had to figure out what “giving back” looked like in the real world – how could I make that desire more tangible?

Can you explain what ILAP is and what lead you to be The Operations Coordinator?

ILAP (The Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project) provides free and low-cost immigration information and legal assistance to low-income Maine residents. We believe that everyone should be able to access our legal system regardless of income or background. We provide direct legal aid, conduct educational outreach sessions, and advocate for policy change at the systemic level. My Portland job hunt was mission-driven. I knew that I could use my administrative and development skills in just about any office environment, but I wanted to find someplace that felt like the right fit for me. ILAP’s mission sparked my curiosity, which led me to apply. 

 " ILAP  helps Maine's immigrants keep their families together, gain protection from persecution and domestic violence, attain residency and work authorization, and become proud U.S. citizens."

"ILAP helps Maine's immigrants keep their families together, gain protection from persecution and domestic violence, attain residency and work authorization, and become proud U.S. citizens."

What does your job entail?

I started off as the Office and Development Associate. My duties were evenly split between administrative and development work – it was all very straightforward. As time went on and I grew to be more comfortable with our work, I expanded on those duties. I wrote my first grant proposal (which was approved!) and designed new marketing materials. I am now trained to conduct Intake appointments (Intake appointments occur every Friday, by appointment, for all new clients), which gives me a chance to work directly with our clients. I think the title Operations Coordinator is sort of a catch-all for the little things I do here and there. 

How has Trump's immigration bills impacted your mission? 

We’ve certainly felt the impact of the new administration at ILAP. The work that we’re doing is now more important than ever, and we all recognize that. We’re lucky to have so many donors and supporters who have recognized that too. A lot of folks in our communities have chosen to speak up stand proudly with immigrants.

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Outside of work, what do you like to do? 

Music is important to me. Portland’s live music scene is amazing, so I try to attend shows when I can! I like hanging out at breweries and exploring new places in Maine. I’ve been learning to code in my spare time over the past couple of years, which has been awesome. I identify as an introverted extrovert, so relaxation is important to me too. My ideal evening is spent cooking dinner and swapping stories with my girlfriend.

What is Lesbians Who Tech and what inspired you to become the Maine Chapter's, City Co-Director? 

Officially speaking, Lesbians Who Tech is a community of queer women in and around tech (and the people who love them). That’s pretty much all I knew when my mentor, Allyson Casey, encouraged me to attend the LWT summit in NYC last fall. Up until then, I had wondered if I was learning to code for nothing. What could I do with those skills? Would there be a place for me in tech if I wanted it? Who could support me along the way? My hesitation was put to rest after attending the summit; words cannot describe my experience. I was blown away by the general badassness and inclusivity of the LWT community. I shared my experience with Allyson and she proposed that we start our own chapter here in Southern Maine. We strongly feel that there are queer women and allies here who are also seeking community and want to support one another. Our first meetup was held in January, which was a resounding success! Stay tuned for upcoming events.

How important do you think building mindful technology is today?

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can connect my love for social justice with my building passion for tech. I think sometimes people hear the word “tech” and recoil because it seems inaccessible to them. What I’ve learned through LWT is that tech takes many forms. 

You can build something by programming, sure, but you can also use technology to design, communicate, and teach. I think that tech is supposed to benefit everyone, but when you have a sector that’s largely led by straight white men, you’re going to see some bias in the outcomes that are produced. If more underrepresented folks (women, LGBT people, people of color, etc.) were encouraged to carve out spaces for themselves in tech, I think typically marginalized communities would be positively impacted. 

What is one thing not many people know about you? 

I love movie scores. No, I am obsessed with movie scores. I think I have over 2,000 songs in my music library from different TV shows and movies. 

  Olivia Orr  as Gary Coleman, and  Shawn Reardon  as Nicky in AVENUE Q at LYRIC MUSIC THEATER!  www.LyricMusicTheater.org  Photo:  Brandon Pullen Photography

Olivia Orr as Gary Coleman, and Shawn Reardon as Nicky in AVENUE Q at LYRIC MUSIC THEATER! www.LyricMusicTheater.org Photo: Brandon Pullen Photography

When did you start skiing and how long have you been assistant coaching with Portland Nordic?

I’ve been cross country skiing since I was about seven. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has a tremendous amount of lake effect snow (I think it’s something like 218” on average per year), so getting involved with skiing was pretty much a no-brainer. I skied competitively through high school and into my first year of college, but I sort of burnt out along the way and decided to try other things. When I heard about Portland Nordic late last year I wanted to get involved. It felt like the right time to get back into something that had defined me for quite some time but in a different capacity. I’m grateful the lead coaches let me on board! Middle schoolers are hilariously awesome and they work hard out there. 

What are you most passionate about today?

Recently I’ve been feeling an intense enthusiasm around things I’ve enjoyed in the past, but strayed away from over the years. I’m really lucky that I was encouraged to try so many different activities as a kid. Because of that, I can sort of jump around and dive into different things when the timing is right. I loved dedicated myself to that over the past couple of months. Now I’m looking forward to getting back into coding with more regularity since the ski season is wrapping up. There are a lot of things in this world that make me happy, and I like not knowing what will draw me in 6 months down the line, or a year from now.

 Olivia recently launched her  personal portfolio and wesbite . 

Olivia recently launched her personal portfolio and wesbite

What is one message I can repeatedly share with the world on your behalf? 

I spend a lot of time reminding myself that 

success looks different on everybody.

Sometimes I feel successful when my stress level is super low. Other times I measure my success by the number of items I’ve checked off on a to-do list. Sometimes I feel accomplished because I’ve gone to the grocery store on a Sunday instead of waiting until Monday. I think that’s what I’m drawn to Mindbosa, to be honest! It makes you realize that your goals can be flexible and your measure of success is your own.

What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote? 

"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities"

-Album Dumbledore

In one word describe yourself:

Dedicated.

oliviaorr.jpg

To Connect with Olivia: 

Website: oliviaheshimaorr.com || Email: oorr90@gmail.com || LinkedIn: Olivia Orr || Facebook || Instagram


Would you like to learn about Mindbosa? 

Would you like to become part of our community? 

Shannon Bryan - Founder of Fit Maine

What is Fit Maine?

Fit Maine is a website dedicated to cool ways to work out and fun, active things to do in Maine. (There's no shortage of either of those things, which means I'm always hearing about and discovering new stuff to check out, write about, and tell others about. And this makes me happy!). There is also a newsletter and an events calendar, plus Fit Maine Facebook and Instagram, all for the purpose of letting other people know about lively weekend activities, running groups, races, moonlight paddles, circus arts classes, easy hikes, etc. That's the whole point - to tell people about this really fun stuff (and encourage them to go check it out for themselves).

What inspired you to create Fit Maine?

I love doing active things in Maine, whether it's taking a kickboxing class, sweating it out at an outdoor boot camp, or finding a stunning new hike or easy-going paddle. I'd go do these things with a few friends and post about them on Facebook (that's what Facebook is for, right? Posting our wonderous adventures?) and I'd get questions from other people wanting to know more: "Where was this class? How much was it? Was it hard? Is it beginner friendly?" I realized there was no resource for this kind of stuff - a single place where you could find about new workouts or running groups or get tips on places to hike or paddle or trail run. So, two years ago, I decided to create it. Add to that the fact that I get a huge kick out of getting other people to go try new things. It makes my heart swell to hear someone say, "I read about that class/hike/group on Fit Maine and went and tried it and had a great time!" That's why I keep writing. These kinds of experiences are life-enhancing. They get people out of their comfort zones. On top of being a ton of fun, this stuff is good for our bods. Sure, some folks prefer to run on a treadmill at the gym, but for folks who'd rather paddleboard or do aerial trapeze, I've got you covered! (I also have a penchant for the kinds-weird stuff, like kitten yoga and goat hikes!)

What are one challenge and one lesson you’ve learned from your experience as FM founder?

One challenge I face is figuring out how to support the site financially. For the first couple of years, I've funded the site myself (I do make some money by selling "Maine is my gym" tanks and tees). And that worked because I believe so much in what I'm doing that I didn't mind spending money to do it. But it also means that a good chunk of my time is spent doing work elsewhere that does make money (and I've been supremely lucky to have work that I also really love doing). So my ability to focus on Fit Maine is limited, although my dream is to be able to do it full time. And I have little experience with sales and monetizing websites, so it's been a challenge to adopt a new skill set that'll help me talk to businesses about Fit Maine and why it's so fantastic and why supporting it has value for everyone (those who read it and the events/studios/gyms/trainers I write about). But I'm embracing the chance to learn new things! 

One lesson I've learned is to know my audience. Early on, I wrote a piece about beginner yoga classes and workshops (I know a lot of women and men who are curious about yoga but are hesitant to show up to a class), so this story was one I believed would be really useful. But I included a photo of a woman in crow pose, which is a fairly advanced hand balancing pose. And that clouded the message I was trying to convey - that these classes were for beginners. The photo wasn't of a beginner, so it was confusing, and a dumb move on my part. But that's the kind of thing I think about a lot now: Who am I talking to? What am I talking about? Do the words and images align? 

What are your top 2 favorite FM memories?

Just this spring, I went on a hike at Ovens Mouth Preserve in Boothbay and posted a photo on Instagram of a super-cool spot on the trail, where there's a wooden bench overlooking the tidal waters. Someone posted a comment to the photo asking if the trail was kid and dog-friendly, and I said "Yes! Saw kids and dogs on the trail today!" The very next day, that same woman posted a photo on Instagram of the same spot and tagged me in it, saying "thanks for the tip, we had a great time today!" Thinking about that still, makes me grin. I'm overjoyed that I got to help someone find a neat new adventure (it's even better when I get a report back that they liked it!). 

Another favorite memory is from last summer when I attended a Bike & Brews event in Gorham. These events have guided mountain bike rides for all levels and end at a brewery. I'd joined the beginner group for a ride on the Gorham trails, and afterward was talking with fellow riders at Sebago Brewing. One woman, I was chatting with found out I wrote about active things to do in Maine and mentioned a speed skating club she's in. My response? SPEED SKATING?! Tell me more! A couple months later I was on the ice in a pair of loaned skates, learning proper form and having a grand time. I love that Fit Maine is an excuse to go do cool things, but it also allows me to meet new people all the time AND learn about other cool stuff I didn't even know about. It's the circle of Fit Maine life! 

What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote?

"Do epic shit." I saw it on a Facebook meme, with a kid in a superhero cape. And while "epic" might conjure visions of base-jumpers or Everest climbers for some people, I think epic is relative. Taking a surf lesson, trying paddleboard yoga for the first time, mountain biking in the woods all afternoon or hiking in some stunning, new-to-you place can be pretty epic, too. The point is to welcome new adventures, to be open to trying new things and even being kinda bad at them. How expert you are isn't the point. Learning something new is thrilling. Exploring Maine, doing things that make you feel strong, engaging in something that's worth talking about over dinner is what matters. 

In one word, describe yourself:

Loud! 

For more information on Fit Maine please visit: 

www.fitmaine.com

or follow on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/fitmaine/

and Instagram

http://www.instagram.com/fitmaine

Gillian Schair - Founder of Ladies Adventure Club

What is Ladies Adventure Club? 

The Ladies Adventure Club is a membership group of like-minded women in Maine who have come together with the purpose of adventuring in community. Many of our adventures are outside, but we do have a handful of inside adventures too.

How did Netflix show, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries lead to the inspiration and creation of LAC? 

While watching a particular Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (a fantastic TV show about a feminist Australian detective in the 1920s) episode featuring an all-women race-car driving club with pool playing and general awesomeness, I realized that I wanted a club like that in Portland. First off, I’d love to be Miss Fisher, just as I’ve always wanted to be Nancy Drew and if I can’t be one of those fictitious women, I’d like to embody some of their strengths. I thought that there were possibly a good number of women in Maine who would like to find an avenue for adventuring and it turns out that there are.

Eleanor Roosevelt once stated, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” Where would you be today without adventure in your life? 

That’s a great quote. But I actually think that reaching out with fear is more powerful. If we’re afraid and we challenge ourselves, we grow in great ways. Without adventure, without pushing myself, my life would be staid and somewhat dull. With challenge and adventure, there’s an excitement and a bit of fear, which helps me feel vital. I’m reading a book now about the health benefits (mental and physical) of being outside and that resonates for me as well.

 Scarborough Beach State Park - "Adventurous surfers on a wet and chilly morning." -LAC

Scarborough Beach State Park - "Adventurous surfers on a wet and chilly morning." -LAC

What is one challenge and one lesson you’ve learned from your experience as a founder?

A challenge would be finding ways to engage all of the women who have joined the LAC. There are many different interests and thinking up adventures that satisfy everyone is tricky. A lesson is that at the core people are kind and want others to succeed. In our small groups of adventurers, people are exceedingly supportive of one another.

Can you give us one invaluable resource that has helped you in the development and growth of Ladies Adventure Club?

The state of Maine is the most amazing resource. We have so many places to explore and adventures to embark upon – it feels limitless in a wonderful and exciting way. Additionally, communities of other adventurers have helped promote and support the LAC.

What are your top two LAC memories so far?

Our first LAC two-night overnight in March 2016 to West Branch Pond Camps is a fabulous memory. We were a group of 12 and we snowshoed up a mountain, played some very funny card games, ate extremely well and had a great adventure in the northern part of the state.

And most recently, we had a fabulous hike up Rumford Whitecap Mountain and then my 80 year-old friend Walter treated us to a BBQ at his camp afterward and for dessert served homemade blueberry pie made with fresh wild Maine blueberries.

What is your proudest personal accomplishment?

I recognize that this might sound like a cliché, but I count the birth of my children as a very powerful accomplishment.

 "Without adventure, without pushing myself, my life would be staid and somewhat dull. With challenge and adventure, there’s an excitement and a bit of fear, which helps me feel vital." -GS 

"Without adventure, without pushing myself, my life would be staid and somewhat dull. With challenge and adventure, there’s an excitement and a bit of fear, which helps me feel vital." -GS 

What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote? 

I don’t have a favorite, but I read this last night and it resonated for me:

Annie Dillard, “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.”

In one word, describe yourself:

Adventuresome

  "We’re a group of Maine women who seek adventure in our lives. We all have different definitions of what an adventure is. What does it mean to you?"  BECOME A MEMBER! 

"We’re a group of Maine women who seek adventure in our lives. We all have different definitions of what an adventure is. What does it mean to you?" BECOME A MEMBER! 

To Connect w/ Ladies Adventure Club

Website: Ladies Adventure Club Maine

Instagram: Ladies_Adventure_Club_Maine

 or Email: gillian@ladiesadventureclubmaine.com

Morgan Surkin, Founder of PortSports & Owner of Blue Star Pilates in Portland, Maine

What are PortSports & Blue Star Pilates? 

PortSports is a charity-based sport and social club for adults based in Portland, Maine.  Blue Star Pilates is my venue for furthering my own Pilates practice as well as teaching others the Pilates method.

What inspired you to become the founder/owner of PortSports & Blue Star Pilates?

When we first moved back to Maine in the summer of 2007 after our son was born, my husband and I were having a hard time meeting people our own age and making friends.  We revisited an idea of his from our time living in NYC, to start a sport and social club, here in Portland, Maine.  We launched PortSports in the Spring of 2008 and have been playing ever since.  My love for Pilates began once I made the commitment to regain my strength and figure post-baby.  Pilates helps me not only stay fit, but it is also a meditative practice for me.  By focusing inward, on how the movement feels within, all external factors disappear and when the session is over, I'm left feeling incredibly rejuvenated.  I want to bring that feeling to others, and learning to teach has been exciting and humbling in itself.

 #BlueStarPilates provides mat classes around #Portland, #Maine led by Morgan Surkin

#BlueStarPilates provides mat classes around #Portland, #Maine led by Morgan Surkin

What is one challenge and one lesson you’ve learned from your experience as a founder/ownder?

The challenges and lessons are abundant as a founder (and owner).  With PortSports, one of the biggest challenges has been keeping the vibe of our sports social and inclusive.  Often in sports, people let their competitive nature get the best of them, which can turn people off to playing.  Our goal is to provide a safe space to play hard, but with respect for not just teammates, but opposing teams and staff members as well.  With Pilates, I'm learning to trust the learning process.  Pilates teachers are traditionally taught apprentice-style, so there is quite a large time and financial commitment to becoming a fully comprehensively-trained teacher.  Learning a new skill, and then to be able to teach that skill to others with clarity, has been a huge but fun challenge to undertake.

What are your top two PS & BSP memories?

My top PortSports memory...it's hard to pick...we have 4 PortSporters with our motto or logo tattooed on them, and have had several PortSporter weddings.  Hearing the stories of friendships that began with either a PortSports event or league are my favorite.  My top Pilates memory was launching my first class after my training and feeling the support of my new students.  Watching people move and feel good always makes me feel good too.

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What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote?

My favorite inspirational/motivation quote would have to be "stay positive and love your life," by my favorite band, 311.

In one word, describe yourself:

Describe myself in one word, holy moly what a challenge, looking back on my past 10 years, I would say "driven."

 

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For more information on PortSports please visit: 

www.portsportsmaine.com

or follow on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/portsports

and Instagram

http://www.instagram.com/portsports

 

bluestarpilates

For more information on Blue Star Pilates please visit: 

www.bluestarpilates.com

or follow on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/bluestarpilates/

and Instagram

http://www.instagram.com/bluestartpilates

 

 

 

 

Jaime Messina - Star Diamond Beachbody Coach

What is Beachbody?

Beachbody is the creator of the nation's most popular fitness and weight-loss solutions including programs like P90X Series, INSANITY T2521 Day Fix,  Body BeastPiYo, and Hip Hop Abs.  We have an extensive library that includes a variety of programs to help people to reach their health and fitness goals at home, whether they want to lose weight, learn to dance, build muscle, or just live healthier a healthier lifestyle. 

What inspired you to become a Beachbody Coach?

I became a coach after going through a Beachbody challenge group. For 90 days I committed to one of their fitness programs, drinking shakeology, and eating right with the support of a coach and accountability of a group. The changes that I saw within myself were not just physical, they were mental as well. The way I was transformed from the inside out absolutely baffled me. I had suffered from anxiety and depression my entire life. It wasn't until I implemented health, fitness, and personal development into my life through Beachbody that I actually felt like I could deal with my health issues. I was happier, healthier, more positive, and actually smiling. Within a month of starting the program, other people could see the changes within me. It changed me so much that I wanted to pay that forward to others. I wanted people to see that they were not confined or defined by past issues. I do that now by coaching other people the way my coach did for me.

 "I felt that my social anxiety and shyness defined me and that they would never change. Through making myself uncomfortable and stepping outside of my comfort zone I created a whole new me." -JM

"I felt that my social anxiety and shyness defined me and that they would never change. Through making myself uncomfortable and stepping outside of my comfort zone I created a whole new me." -JM

What are one challenge and one lesson you’ve learned from your experience as a Coach?

One challenge that I have learned from my experience as a coach is that you are going to have people that sometimes hate on what you are doing. Putting myself out there and sharing a message of positivity, health, and fitness aggravates some people. I think that sometimes if we aren't ready or wanting to make changes within ourselves we can lash out at others who are so public about it. A lesson that I learned is that 9 times out of 10 it is never about you. You can't take things personally in life. More often than not the interactions you have in life are never about you, but about the other person. For example, if someone lashes out at you, it is most likely because of something going on within themselves vs. something that you did. I have also learned that it is never too late to go after what you want in life. The only time it is too late is the day you die!

What are your top two BB memories?

This is a fun one. Hands down my top BB memory is when I was given the opportunity to surprise my coach at the top coach celebration in Nashville on stage by performing a rap that I wrote for her. For someone who dealt with social anxiety their entire lives, getting on stage in front of 25,000 people and performing something you wrote was scary as hell, but absolutely amazing. The second best memory I have is from our last Beachbody success club trip. I got to go to Punta Cana with hundreds of other coaches and just hang out and chill. The sense of community and family that we have as coaches is something I had been missing in my life. I am so happy to have found it!

What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote?

I'd have to go with "Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself". I like this one because in the past I thought the way things were was how they would be forever. I felt that my social anxiety and shyness defined me and that they would never change. Through making myself uncomfortable and stepping outside of my comfort zone I created a whole new me. If I had just wandered around "finding myself" that would have never happened.

In one word, describe yourself:

Grateful

Beachbody Top Coach Celebration

To connect with Jaime Messina & To Learn More About Beachbody:

Website: www.jaimemessina.com

IG: @jaimemessina

FB: fb.com/JMessinaShapeYourLife