Knight Canney Group president Felicia Knight returns to the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) 2nd term on Advisory Council.

Felicia Knight, President of the Knight Canney Group, a public relations consultancy based in Portland, ME.

The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) has announced the appointment of four new members to the organization’s advisory council and the return of veteran councilors, including Knight Canney Group President, Felicia Knight.

NEFA invests in artists and communities and fosters equitable access to the arts, enriching the cultural landscape in New England and the nation. NEFA serves as a regional partner for the National Endowment for the Arts, New England’s state arts agencies, and private foundations.

“I’m honored to return for another term on the New England Foundation for the Arts,” said Knight. “In addition to my work on the board for Portland Ovations, serving NEFA gives me an even wider perspective on the needs, goals, and achievements of arts organizations across New England and how they are providing equity, inclusion, diversity, and access to as many people as possible.”

Dead River Company Given Gold Medallion Award by U.S. Department of Labor for Hiring Veterans

Dead River Company receives Hire Vets national award for stellar record of hiring military veterans, members of Army and Air National Guard, and reservists

Award praised by Governor Mills

 SOUTH PORTLAND, ME Dead River Company is the first Maine-based company to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor with its Gold Medallion award, an honor from the department’s HIRE Vets program, part of the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act of 2017. The award was announced today by the Labor Department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Services (VETS).

“We’re honored to receive this award,” said Dead River Company President and CEO, Deanna Sherman. “Our company has a long history of recruiting military veterans because our motto of ‘delivering on a promise’ resonates with men and women who are mission-driven to serve others. They are independent thinkers who also work well as part of a team and who can push through sometimes adverse conditions—such as New England weather.”

Dead River Company’s selection for the Gold Medallion Award drew praise from Maine’s Governor, Janet Mills. “I could not be more pleased to congratulate Dead River Company on this achievement,” said Governor Janet Mills. “This well-deserved award is not only a testament to Dead River’s support of our veterans, but it is also proof that Maine companies are national leaders in hiring those who bravely served our nation.”

With nearly 12 percent of its workforce coming from the military, Dead River Company has developed a reputation as a company eager to help veterans transition to civilian life and willing to train qualified applicants who have no experience in the industry.

Back row – Rob Daniels, Mark Ramsay, John Hammond, Dalton Simmons, Tim Corbett, Guy Langevin, Peter J. Coggins

Front row – Left to right  Casey Cramton, John Andreozzi, Mike Aboud, Robert Eaton, Greg Gibson, Grant Delaware, Pete Black, Tom Waters

Names and Military Branches:

Dalton Simmons – US Marine CorpGreg Gibson – US ArmyMark Ramsey – US Marine Corp Sea BeeTom Waters – US Navy Sea Bee

John Andreozzi – US Air Force

Rob Daniels – US Army

John Hammond – US Navy

Robert Eaton – Maine Air National Guard

Mike Aboud – US Coast Guard

Peter J Coggins – US Coast Guard

Casey Cramton – US Army

“We work closely with organizations such as Boots2Roots in recruiting employees,” added Guy Langevin, Dead River Company Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer. “Ours is a complex industry with a need for people with technical, intellectual, business, and practical skills. We need people who are adaptable to changing environments and situations, and people with a military background bring those skills. We can train them in the particulars of the industry because they bring the ability to learn and be trained.”

“Dead River Company understands the value that military members bring to the civilian workplace and takes every opportunity to diversify its skilled and executive workforce by utilizing the talent found in those with military training,” said Jen Fullmer, Executive Director of Boots2Roots. “Dead River Company has fostered an impressive team culture that forward-thinking, service-oriented professionals want to be a part of, and Boots2Roots is proud to partner with this fantastic company. The Gold Medallion is well earned and deserved.”

Headquartered in South Portland, Maine, with locally-operated fuel offices throughout its service footprint in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and western Massachusetts, Dead River Company is a family-owned company over a century old, with a strong commitment to the states and communities it serves.

The Hire Vets Gold Medallion is the only veterans hiring award at the federal level that recognizes employer efforts to recruit, employ, and retain veterans.

About Dead River Company:

Founded in 1909 by Charles Hutchins, Dead River Company originated in the forest products industry, along the banks of the Dead River, from which the company took its name. Today, Dead River Company is the largest retailer of home heating products in northern New England. Trusted for their reliable, on-time fuel deliveries and highly-skilled and quality home heating equipment maintenance, Dead River Company is a full-service energy provider offering its customers around-the-clock, no-heat response service, as well as energy-efficiency advice. For more information, visit


Lisa Morrissette

(207) 358-5800

Managing Client Expectations

It’s October. This time last year, many of us in Red Sox Nation were living the dream. The Yankees were sent packing for the off-season and the Boston Red Sox were en route to winning the World Series.

This year, the Red Sox, who many sports pundits thought could be the first to repeat as world champions since the Yankees won three straight from 1998 – 2000, limped out of September in third place in their division without so much as a passing glance at a wild card berth.

Despite a rough spring training, Red Sox leadership was happy to fan the flame that burned in the hearts of the Red Sox faithful, but by the end of May, the expectations of repeat greatness were slipping away.

Which brings us to managing expectations—and clients.

In public relations, it’s one thing to believe in the cause and exude confidence, but it’s quite another to lead a client down the garden path of their grand expectations that stand a slim chance of being met. You don’t have to be a naysayer, but you don’t have to be a cheerleader either for bad ideas. (See: Red Sox see no need for a closer.)

If a client thinks a minor piece of news warrants a “media event,” but in fact, it won’t even raise an eyebrow, a knowledgeable PR professional is going to speak up and do it constructively. Savvy clients will listen as alternatives are offered up that lay out the desired outcomes. Instead of a news conference, which likely will lead to an embarrassing concert of crickets, perhaps that minor nugget of information could be pitched to a beat reporter as part of a larger story that includes other stakeholders. The story is covered, the client is featured, everyone wins.

Maybe the client wants to launch a new product in time for a high-volume buying season, but all the crucial pieces are not quite ready. The PR pro in the room will explain the long-term consequences of launching a great product but without the support of an up-to-speed sales team or a consistent supply chain.

The expectations game can be difficult to play. It’s hard to walk the line between denying clients what they want yet delivering what they expect. There needs to be an understanding that if all the elements needed for success are not in place, it’s nearly impossible to bring the client a win.

Or put another way, you may have the highest payroll in Major League Baseball, but if you don’t have good pitching, you’re not going to win.

Felicia Knight is President of The Knight Canney Group and is the Maine representative for PRConsultants Group. She is a veteran PR professional with a background in journalism and government policy. She also has unconditional love for the Boston Red Sox.

Volunteers of America Northern New England Joins VOA National in Effort to Address Moral Injury

VOANNE will host two-day seminar on moral injury in Augusta, September 19 & 20   

 Volunteers of America Northern New England is part of a national effort by Volunteers of America to raise awareness of and treat moral injury. Volunteers of America national is launching an ad campaign on moral injury in New York’s Times Square to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day, tomorrow September 10th. Launch of the campaign, titled “The War Inside” will include video on the NASDAQ and Reuters digital boards for the first 10 minutes of every hour on Sept. 10.

Locally, Volunteers of America Northern New England, which is based in Brunswick, will hold a two-day seminar on treating moral injury. The seminar, titled Moral Injury, Pathways to Recovery, will be held at

The Senator Inn

284 Western Avenue, Augusta, ME

September 19, 2019

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

September 20, 2019

9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It will be led by Dr. Rita Brock, a foremost authority and researcher on treating moral injury, and will feature sessions with Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, Rev. Dr. Linda Mercadante, and Mr. Jesse Estrin, all of whom have extensive experience working in the moral injury realm.

“There is an urgency to raising awareness on moral injury,” said Richard Wayman Hooks the CEO of Volunteers of America Northern New England. “From military veterans to those struggling with substance use disorder to victims of domestic abuse, we recognize that there are significant numbers of people suffering and Volunteers of America is here to help. Our seminar is aimed at those who are trying to help and treat people dealing with moral injury. Mental health workers, law enforcement, social workers, clergy, and veterans’ service workers—all will gather vital information that will greatly aid their efforts.”

Volunteers of America has characterized moral injury as “a war inside.” The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs defines moral injury as “a psychological harm resulting from either (1) acting, failing to prevent, or witnessing actions that violate an individual’s deepest values and principles, or from (2) betrayal by a trusted authority figure in a high-stakes situation.” While moral injury first emerged in research on military veterans, anyone who works in high-stakes situations or who has endured trauma can experience it.

The effects of moral injury are pervasive throughout society and contribute to homelessness, self-harm including suicide, rage, addiction, compulsive overwork and/or depression. Unlike some causes of distress, moral injury is not a mental illness. It is an existential crisis in identity and meaning because of devastating life circumstances and it can happen at any age. Fortunately, recovery is possible. Volunteers of America has stepped up to assist in the recovery for thousands suffering across the U.S.

“The first step in recovery of moral injury is recognition and understanding it,” said Rita Brock, Ph.D., founding director of the Shay Moral Injury Center at Volunteers of America. The center is named for Jonathan Shay, a medical doctor and clinical psychiatrist best known for his work with post-traumatic stress disorder who first introduced the concept of moral injury. Brock leads Volunteers of America’s efforts to identify and treat moral injury as part of its service programs and is eager to lead the seminar in Augusta. “Some think that moral injury is the same as PTSD,” said Brock. “While they can share some symptoms, they’re very different conditions and treating moral injury the same as PTSD can actually worsen the condition.”

A noted theologian, Brock was the founding director of the Soul Repair Center at Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University, where she was also a research professor of theology and culture. She is an author of multiple books on moral injury and is a leading national expert on moral injury in combat veterans.

For more information on Volunteers of America Northern New England’s seminar, go to or to see the national campaign, go to

About Volunteers of America Northern New England

At Volunteers of America Northern New England, we serve the people of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont with the promise to reach out and uplift the human condition and provide opportunity for individual and community involvement.

About Volunteers of America

Volunteers of America is a national, nonprofit, faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need live healthy, safe and productive lives. Since 1896, our ministry of service has provided compassionate care to a variety of groups, including veterans, seniors, people with disabilities, at-risk youth, men and women returning from prison, homeless individuals and families, those recovering from addictions and many others. Through hundreds of human service programs, including housing and health care, Volunteers of America helps almost 1.5 million people in over 400 communities. Our work touches the mind, body, heart and ultimately the spirit of those we serve, integrating our deep compassion with highly effective programs and services. For more information about Volunteers of America, visit