Sisters #41

The ties between siblings are a unique mix of the biological and psychological. Shared DNA can go way beyond the physical, especially when it joins the same gender. Join us today as we explore the highs and lows of sisterhood with two sets of remarkable sisters: Best-selling author and sea captain, Linda Greenlaw and  her sister, Beth Shissler,  co owner of Sea Bags Inc, and Jessica Tomlinson, Director of Artists at Work at Maine College of Art and Board President of Space Gallery and her baby sister, local hip-hop artist, Sonya. Whether you have a sister or just feel like you do, discover how these kind of intense relationships add joy and inspiration to life.


Beth Shissler

Beth Shissler is, co-owner and President of Sea Bags and was born and raised in Maine. Beth established a career in technology manufacturing where she progressively developed distribution channels for global accounts. To facilitate a lifestyle change and to return to Maine, she became a co-owner of the Portland-based Sea Bags, a privately owned company that designs and manufacturers tote bags and other products from recycled sails. Now she combines her astute business experience with her entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to her home state to run this domestic manufacturing company that markets products worldwide.

Named in 2011 as a “Woman to Watch ”by Maine Biz, Beth serves on the Board for Make-A-Wish Foundation for Maine and is on the steering committee for Maine’s Advanced Textiles Consortium. She earned an undergraduate degree in business and international studies from Heidelberg University and an MBA from Boston University. Beth and her husband, Ben, reside in Harpswell.


Linda Greenlaw

Linda Greenlaw,  is America’s only female swordfishing captain. Linda is the author of three New York Times bestselling books about life as a commercial fisherman: The Hungry Ocean (1999), The Lobster Chronicles (2002) and All Fisherman are Liars (2004). She is the winner of the U.S. Maritime Literature Award in 2003, and the New England Book Award for nonfiction in 2004.   Linda is featured in the hit Discovery Channel series Swords: Life on the Line.

Linda first came to the public’s attention in Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm, where Junger called her “one of the best captains on the entire east coast.” She’s also been featured on Good Morning America, Today, CBS Sunday Morning, The Martha Stewart Show, and National Public Radio.  Linda lives on Isle au Haut, Maine.

Jessica Tomlinson

Jessica Tomlinson is the Director of Artists at Work at Maine College of Art. She is the Board President of Space Gallery. A graduate of Hampshire College, she lives in the West End of Portland with her husband, the artist Henry Wolyniec and their 9-year old son Otto.

Jessica’s past experiences include co-founding the Dead Space Gallery, serving on the board of the Maine Arts Commission and the Portland Arts and Cultural Alliance and working as the Community Coordinator for the Portland Press Herald.

Sonya Tomlinson

Sonya Tomlinson a local hip-hop artis, who performs as Sontiago, has been killing it since she moved to Maine 13 years ago. In 2001, her sister encouraged to try out her skills at a local hip-hop open mic night. Her 2004 debut album, Abuse My Adoration,  was released through a grant from the Maine Arts Commission. Two years later Steel Yourself, Sontiago’s sophomore album, was released on Endemik. The album earned her a number six spot on the CMJ hip-hop charts, landed her on the pages of URB’s Next 100, and was called “your Ipod’s best friend,” in Bust Magazine.  Since her last release, Sontiago has worked as a teaching artist with a non-profit writing center in Portland, leading songwriting and video workshops for area high school students. The results can be seen in a series of recently completed video shorts titled, “The Whole World Waiting.” Sonya was featured in the June 2010 issue of Maine Magazine.

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