Entrepreneurship & Education #304

Sometimes it takes a willingness to engage in conflict—and work our way through difficult situations—in order to succeed. Today we discuss this idea with executive and entrepreneur Jean Hoffman, and we also speak with the superintendent of Portland public schools, Xavier Botana. Both Hoffman and Botana were recently featured in Maine magazine’s 50 Mainers issue for their contributions to our state.


Jean Hoffman

Jean Hoffman is an executive and entrepreneur who has built successful companies in the global pharmaceutical, veterinary, and healthcare information technology industries. In 2006 Hoffman founded Putney, a pet medicine company, and served as chairman, president and CEO until the company was sold to Dechra Holdings US, a subsidiary of Dechra Pharmaceuticals, for $200 million in April 2016. She has been honored with numerous awards including a 2014 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year New England award in the life sciences category. In 2016, Hoffman was named to NewSpring Capital’s CEO Hall of Fame and was selected as CEO of the Year in 2015. Putney and Hoffman were honored by Deloitte’s 2013 North America Technology Fast 500, Inc. 5000’s list of America’s fastest-growing private companies in 2011 and 2013, and Goldman Sachs Builders & Innovators Summit Honoring 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs in 2012. Putney was also chosen as Portland’s Business of the Year in 2013 and was recognized as the Society for Human Resource Management’s Best Place to Work in Maine in 2013.

Xavier Botana

Xavier Botana has been superintendent of the Portland Public Schools since July 1, 2016. The Portland Board of Public Education selected him after conducting a nationwide search that drew more than 40 applicants. In choosing Botana, the board cited his credentials and his work as an innovative school leader in such key areas as parent engagement, budget development, and curriculum alignment. In his seven months leading the Portland Public Schools, Botana has spearheaded a successful update of the district’s Comprehensive Plan; worked with school and city officials, families and the community to draft a transformative proposal for critical renovations at four elementary schools; and aided in the process of developing a new family partnership policy for the district. Botana, 53, was born in Cuba during the Castro regime. His family’s experience immigrating to the United States from Cuba motivated his work in education.