How to Build a Sense of Belonging at Work
Belonging is a sense of fitting in or feeling secure with oneself or a group member. It is the root of all social situations, from finding peace with one's body, finding friends to sit with at lunch in high school, and even finding a place within one's workplace. For our article this month, our theme is belonging. What does it mean, how does it affect the workplace environment, its role in the broader DEI framework, and how can an employer build a space that fosters the feeling?  

Belonging should be prioritized in the workplace because its primary function will drive the formation and maintenance of personal connections and relationships. These connections are the glue that holds employees to their organization's goals, values, and workplace. When employees feel like their personal and professional selves have achieved synergy, they are more apt to stay and invest in their mission. This increases a company's retention rate, productivity, and profitability.

But how does a workplace go about the cultivation of belongingness?

They allow space for differences.

Historically, we know that a correlation between belonging and engagement is higher for underrepresented groups. One way to actively combat that statistic is to include Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) measures in the workplace. For example, businesses can increase their organizational synergy by recognizing Juneteenth as a workplace holiday, implementing the CROWN Act into their workplace policy, or offering DEI workshops yearly for all employees. While they raise their DEI on an organizational-wide level, they can also improve their sense of belongingness at the team level.

However, it can't be just company-wide changes; individual managers have the most significant impact on employees' sense of belonging within an organization. For example, maybe when an employee has a home repair or delivery scheduled, they can work from home that day. Not only does this help the employee, but it also builds a sense of support that the manager understands life happens. Another way a manager can support the creation of belongingness is by instilling agency in an employee that they have support to make decisions and still ask for support. Whatever avenue a manager takes to increase/sustain a sense of belonging, what counts is that they are actively building a DEI space.

Making these changes can be scary, but the long-term goal is worth all the initial fear when businesses can positively enrich their employees' lives. So, be a bridge to equity because creating opportunities for inclusion and belongingness supports all business areas and has the power to combat high employee turnover rates, poor work-life balance, and general burnout. By simply approaching one's coworkers and employees with compassion and fairness, the workplace can be a place where all employees can belong.

So, ask yourself this: what is one thing you wish your workplace allowed you to do that would let you be a better employee?

-Iris Alexander
February 16th, 11:30-1:00 pm
Augusta Civic Center
$20 for Members & $30 for Non-Members
Lunch Provided

Join The Chamber and our talented speaker for a presentation on
Social Media is a Double-Edge Sword: Choose to Use it for Good.

Join the Kennebec Valley Chamber and Marshall Communications Whitney Raymond for a presentation on the role of social media in our everyday lives. Social media continues to be a way for people to stay connected and has become increasingly more critical as the pandemic continues. Unfortunately, while there is much good that comes from social media, like all things, there is something terrible that stems from it. This presentation will focus on the current social media climate, examples, and tips for individuals and small businesses navigating social media effectively and positively using the platforms. 

For the health of our guests, the luncheon meals will be served in pre-portioned containers.
Thank you to our Women's Network Sponsors!
Thank you to our Women's Network Room Sponsor!
The Shop CrossFit
February 23rd, 5:00-7:00 PM

The Shop CrossFit is pleased to host this month's Business After Hours, located at 56 Western Ave, Suite 4 Augusta. We hope all our members can join us Wednesday, February 23rd, 5:00-7:00 pm. Remember every Business After Hours is an incredible opportunity to meet and network with other business community members, win fantastic door prizes and participate in the 50/50 raffle.

We can't wait to see you there!

Thank you to our Business After Hours Sponsors!
Cynergy News
February 22, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm, via Zoom

Join Cynergy and ELS for a Lunch and Learn event with Ellen Miller from MPowhers. Ellen will present on unconscious bias and how it affects the workplace. Her presentation follows a conversation-based approach to learning, with attendees actively building the learning environment. Bring your questions, ideas, and understandings, and get ready to challenge your biases. 

Challenge Your Personal Bias and build better Professional Practices.

Thank You to Our Sponsors!
Welcome Our New Members!
Affinity LED Lighting
Steve Lieber, (978) 378-5338
Dover, NH

Compass32, LLC
Deb Carpenter, (207) 505-5189

Dave Dostie Photography 
Dave Dostie

Hancock Lumber
Ben Adam, (207) 622-5025
Ideal Comfort Solutions
Travis Rednour, (207) 930-5212

Kennebec Valley Coaching
Amy Lawson, (207) 513-0943

Lallis and Higgins Insurance 
Michael Stuart, (617) 842-7136

Maine Osteopathic Association 
Amanda Richards, (207) 623-1101

Radon Technologies
John Martin, (207) 441-4981

Smart Eye & Med Spa
Jenn Quint, (207) 441-8422

Studio 330
Trena Martin, (207) 514-4485

Ultra Electric
Randi Dennett, (207) 620-2583

Member Anniversaries
40+ Years
Gagne and Son, Gosline Insurance Group, Hammond Lumber Co., Kennebec Journal, Kennebec Savings Bank, Knowlton Hewins Roberts Funeral Homes, and Cremation Service, KV Federal Credit Union, Le Club Calumet, Inc. , Macomber, Farr & Whitten, Maine Instrument Flight, Meadow Park Development Corp., Plummer Funeral Home, Quality Inn & Suites Maine Evergreen Hotel, Senator Inn & Spa, Sprague & Curtis Real Estate

30+ Years
Dead River Company, G & E Roofing Co., Inc., J.S. McCarthy Printers, MaineGeneral Health,
Wipfli, LLP

20+ Years
Bangor Savings Bank, Kennebec Valley Council of Governments, Maine Better Transportation Association, Readfield Insurance Agency, LLC, Richmond Insurance Agency, Windsor Fair

10+ Years
C & C Realty Management, LLC, Cornerstone Insurance Agency, Inc., curtisWorks Communications Solutions, Darling's Chrysler, Dodge, Hyundai, Erickson Bonding & Insurance Associates, Inc, Gosline Retirement Planning, J/R Metal Frames, Kristie Rowell Insurance Agency, Quirion Inc., Quirion Insurance Agency, SCORE

5+ Years
Day's Jewelers, Gardiner Federal Credit Union, KYOCERA Document Solutions New England, Snow Pond Center for the Arts, Sportsman's Alliance of Maine

Cappza's Pizza, Healthy Communities of the Capital Area, Maine Dental Association, The Curious Caterpillars Learning Center, Union Office Interiors, YMCA Camp of Maine

Chamber Member News
The Raging Bull Saloon is now The Whiskey Kitchen. Under the new management of Ryan and Megan, the Raging Bull Saloon has transformed into The Whiskey Kitchen. Not only have they made some significant changes, but they also have a plan to continue the revamp with new menu items, liquor options, and specialty drinks and decor. Here is a note from owners Ryan and Megan:

You will still see those familiar faces when you walk through our doors. If you have been down in the last several months, we sincerely appreciate you allowing us to serve you. And if you haven't, come down and give us a try. We’ll' be working hard to make sure you have a great experience. We love and appreciate all of our amazing patrons, and that won’t' ever change!
Katherine Higgins and Alexis Bowman join Golden Pond Wealth Management. Waterville, ME– January 24, 2022, We are pleased to announce that Katherine Higgins and Alexis Bowman have joined Golden Pond Wealth Management as Client Service Associates. Alexis recently graduated from Thomas College with a bachelor’s degree in sports management in 2020 and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) in 2021; she grew up in Freedom, Maine, and now resides in Waterville. Katherine graduated from Husson University with her Master of Business Administration in 2021; she grew up in Glenburn, Maine, and now lives in Detroit. 
38th Annual TREK ACROSS MAINE – LOCAL VOLUNTEERS NEEDED. Join the American Lung Association in support of the 38th annual Trek Across Maine, a multi-day cycling event with as many as 1,500 cyclists and over 600 volunteers each year. We have fun, make friends, and help others while holding one of the largest fundraisers in Maine.
Volunteer positions are available in our Augusta office at this time; we need your helping hands to assemble mailings inventory supplies and get organized in advance of the event. We have a variety of scheduling options.
An adult guardian must accompany all volunteers under 18 years old at all times. In addition, all volunteers must be fully vaccinated.
Call Debbie at 207-624-0308 or email at
Central Maine CA$H provides free tax preparation services with IRS-certified volunteers. Those who qualify (earning $58,000 or less per household) can file taxes for free and get information about classes, savings, and other resources.
Central Maine CA$H is also offering scan-and-go appointments again this year. You can bring your tax documents to a tax site location in Augusta, Waterville, or Skowhegan where they will be scanned and returned to you. An IRS-certified tax preparer will prepare your taxes at a different time and call you if they have questions or if additional information is needed. You will return to the tax site at a time determined later to pick up your tax documents. These scan-and-go appointments will be held on Monday evenings in Waterville, Tuesday evenings in Augusta, and Wednesday evenings in Skowhegan in February and March. Call 211 or visit for an appointment or for more information.
The Art Walk Shop & Studio Will Host a Valentine's Paint Night Saturday, February 12 from 1 pm-3:30 pm which includes an 11”x14” canvas and supplies to paint the portrait. This class requires pre-registration using the link provided. Up to 6 participants for the event. No refunds for canceled or missed classes. ticket is $30 per person. Sign up at The Art Walk or use the link below to Pre-registration.

Kennebec Savings Bank Announces Promotion of Jennifer Bechard
Augusta, ME – Andrew Silsby, President and CEO of Kennebec Savings Bank, recently announced the promotion of Jennifer Bechard to the position of Assistant Vice President & Human Resources Managing Officer.
Bechard joined the Bank in 2015 as the Payroll and Human Resource Information System Manager. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in marketing from Thomas College and her Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification.
“Jen has a great deal of knowledge on all things HR here at Kennebec Savings Bank and is seen by so many as the go-to person for answers to HR questions,” said Silsby. “Jen has more than 20 years of experience that she brought to the Bank when she started here and has continued to deepen this knowledge throughout her years at the Bank. This is a well-deserved promotion, and we look forward to Jen’s continued success.”
“Kennebec Savings Bank’s employee culture is exceptional,” said Bechard. “I am grateful for the opportunity to grow with the Bank and take this next step in my career.”
For more information, please contact Community Engagement Officer Amanda Cooley at ACooley@KennebecSavings.Bank
Viles Arboretum presents A Brown-Tail Moth Management and Control Workshop In this workshop Thomas Schmeelk from the Maine Forest Service Insect and Disease Lab will walk you through Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and how it applies to brown-tail moth. With a better understanding of IPM, you will be able to make safer, more effective decisions on how to manage pests such as brown-tail moth in your own backyard
Brexit at 5: How is it going? with Andrea Hester | Tuesday, February 1st at 6:30 pm Via Lithgow Public Library. Join Andrea Hester for a discussion on what happened in the aftermath of the referendum and examine some of the most pressing issues that remain today, including disputes over fishing rights, Scottish independence, and the Northern Ireland Protocol.

To submit Member News, send your press releases to:
KVCC Board of Directors
Earl Kingsbury, Chair*
Augusta Civic Center
Tim Walton, Chair-Elect*
Walton External Affairs
Michele Pelletier, Vice Chair*
PERFORMANCE Foodservice - NorthCenter
Matthew Tardiff, Treasurer*
J.S. McCarthy Printers
Alec Rogers, Past Chair*
Quality Inn & Suites Maine Evergreen Hotel
Cathy DeMerchant, Human Resources*
Capital Area Staffing Solutions, Inc.
Katie Doherty, President & CEO*^
Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce
* Executive Committee  ^ Full-Time Executive

Randall Anderson
The Meadows Golf Club
Joyce Blanchard
The University of Maine at Augusta
Karen Boston
Lipman Katz & Boston, P.A
Nathan Cotnoir
Camden National Bank
Lori Dube
Sprague & Curtis Real Estate
Sue Grenier
G&E Roofing Co., Inc.
Robbi Lockhart
Team EJP
Stacey Morrison
Ganneston Construction Corp.
Richard Parkhurst
Stained Glass Express
Rebecca Pushard
Lynn Quirion
Macomber, Farr & Whitten
Andrew Silsby
Kennebec Savings Bank
Amy Marston
Central Maine Power Company
Nicole McSweeny
MaineGeneral Health

Special Counsel
Dennis Carrillo
Cloutier Carrillo, Capitol Law, PLLC

Emeritus Member
Eric Jermyn
Cross Employee Benefits
Steven Marson
Central Maine Pytrotechnics
KVCC Staff

Katie L. Doherty, President & CEO
Lindsay L. Corbett, Chief Operating Officer
Melissa L. Walden, Membership & Development Manager
Iris R. Alexander, Marketing & Events Manager