In 2007, when Natalie St. Pierre came to New Ventures Maine (NVME, then Women, Work, and Community), she was a new mom, a recent transplant to Aroostook County, and facing a sudden divorce. Natalie had no idea what she was to do next. Her mother-in-law introduced her to NVME where she learned what services were being offered.
Natalie says, “I hadn’t been on my own before – I lived with my parents before moving in with my husband. So I took money management courses, learned about the Family Development Account for my education savings, and took business courses.”
Natalie decided to go into business offering Aroostook County businesses help with management of their online social media presence. NVME helped her with her business plan and she successfully created Social Envy Image and Event Consulting. Ultimately, it turned out not to be a full-time business, and Natalie now works full-time at athenahealth in Belfast while still working for herself on the side.
Natalie had multiple barriers to overcome in working towards her goals: “When I came to NVME, I wasn’t just divorcing and a new mom. I am also a woman with a disability. I really didn’t know what I was going to do next. Thanks to this organization, I was able to muster the courage and self-esteem, to see past those limitations, break down the boundaries, and go for it. If I failed, it was okay because I had the NVME support system to be there with me to lift back me up. NVME supported me, helping me to develop my business plan and push me through those courses.”
Since working with New Ventures Maine in several areas – business development, money management, career planning – Natalie has paid it forward by serving as an Ambassador and advocate for New Ventures Maine.
She says, “New Ventures Maine is a cheerleader for folks who need an extra push to awaken the potential within them that they don’t quite see. The program helped me say, ‘Here is my goal, this is how I can achieve that goal, this is my roadmap, and once the roadmap is there, I can do whatever I want.’ I couldn’t have gotten to where I am today without the strength and support of New Ventures Maine.”