Creating impact that is and does good... that's Stacey Dietsch's mission and that's just how I think of her. I first met Stacey when she was introduced to me by a real estate colleague. She's spent summers here in Maine and she was eager to make a permanent relocation with her husband and three kids. I remember our very first conversation! It was full of energy and humor and love. We shared an instant connection and I could hardly wait to get Stacey to Maine on a full-time basis. Since moving to Maine, Stacey has taken an active role in our community and spent a lot of time exploring local spots.
Here she is in her own words:
My name is Stacey Dietsch. I am a Partner at McKinsey & Company, where I help lead our People & Organizational Performance practice and focus on Leadership Transformation and Coaching.
My personal and professional purpose is to enable those in my sphere of influence create impact that does and is good, by helping them to discover their authentic gifts, immerse themselves in the beauty of the present, and choose to act in accordance with their values.
What do you love about Maine and who here inspires you?
To me, Maine is synonymous with Beauty. Portland evokes creativity in art, food, and ways of living and working.
Maine isn't lacking for inspiring figures - there are a few who come to mind. Truly, the first person who came to me was Heather. She inspires me through her work ethic, her love for family, her ability to see the beauty in others and create communities.
Heather also introduced me to the work of the second Mainer who inspires me – Olympia Snowe. The Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute mission is perfectly aligned with my commitment to help young girls succeed by helping them realize their capabilities and go after their dreams.
The final person who came to mind was L.L. Bean. His commitment to exposing people to the beauty of nature as a way to preserve it has helped Maine become a leader in conservation and ecotourism. The present day commitment of his company to diversity and inclusion continues to inspire me — as do the iconic goods that have stood the test of time, like the Bean Boots I wear today and also wore in middle school!
What is our community's biggest challenge?
The fact that Maine is the oldest and least diverse State in our country puts Maine at a disadvantage in terms of growth and innovation. Given global projections on population decline, I am eager to see how we can create programs to address these challenges in Maine that can become templates for the rest of the country and the world, e.g., encouraging migration to Maine, creating apprenticeship programs so retired residents can help teach and mentor the next generation, encouraging intergenerational community building and living.
A related challenge that I have personally experienced is some coldness to outsiders, new folks – the whole concept of people “from away.” I’d love to see more appreciation of the potential gifts that each person and group has to offer and see more welcoming and more opportunities to invite newcomers into the traditions of longstanding Maine communities, so there is a collision of the old and new that can bring forth ideas that are unexpected and wonderful.
What are Maine's greatest assets?
Maine’s greatest asset is the beauty of nature and the diverse ecosystems of mountains, lakes, farmland, and ocean. I am impressed by the nearly universal commitment to preserve this asset. Portland’s greatest asset is the intimacy of the city. It feels like the perfect size to really know, while offering experiences that inspire a range of tastes.
What changes would you like to see?
Over the next five years, I would like to see Portland and Maine overall become more diverse in our population and even more open to new ideas that keep our city and state exciting.
What are your favorite local spots?
My favorite restaurant is Knotted Apron. Our family had our first meal there when we moved to Maine and we return because we have been delighted by the food and the experience each time. I also just love Jack Rabbit Cafe and Elda in Biddeford.
Our family’s favorite brewery is Bissell Brothers because of the great location at Thompson’s Point and the good food to go along with the great beer – plus my kids love their gear aka “drip” (a new word I learned from one of my 12 year olds).
Speaking of the kids, their favorite restaurant is Yosaku. They love sushi and sitting on tatami mats to eat. It’s their perfect lunch on a half day from school.
Blanche & Mimi is my favorite store to browse and buy the perfect gift.
Favorite outdoor spots?
It’s very hard to pick a favorite outdoor spot, so I will list a few:
All the Coastal Rivers preserved lands with Niko, my husband
Kettle Cove at Sunset with Axel, my 10 year old
Ferry Beach at sunset with Eliot, my 12 year old
Cliff House Beach with Iris, my other 12 year old
Saco Heath for such a special ecosystem
Scarborough Beach and the Prouts Neck Cliff Walk for sunrise
Higgins Beach at low tide…that shipwreck is amazing!
Let's talk about women's leadership and how we can impact Maine:
I firmly believe that the three attributes all leaders need to create thriving organizations are Caring, Curiosity, and Courage. I think the way women have been raised and socialized has given us an advantage on the first two in particular through nurturing, putting others first, and humility to listen and learn. Because the world of work is still largely male dominated, women need to help each other even more proactively, sharing our mistakes and lessons learned and creating opportunities for more junior women through active sponsorship. We also need to push each other to be bolder and ask for more – women tend to think we need to do it on our own to prove our worth, while men tend to seek leverage to help them more quickly and visibly get things done – and recognized. Women need to share our triumphs with each other as inspiration and share our hardships to ask for and receive the help we need to thrive.
What made Maine home for you?
Our family fell in love with Maine on our first visit to Midcoast about 10 years ago and we came every summer after that. When we were living in Mexico City as part of a mobility program for my work, we asked ourselves where we loved more than anywhere in the world and we all answered Maine. We spent six months of the start of the pandemic in Round Pond, and that helped us make the final decision to move to Maine permanently after Mexico instead of moving back to Washington, D.C. It’s been one of the easiest and best decisions we’ve made!