Report of State 23 Media’s Current Corporate Culture, Workplace Environment and Human Resources

Following State 23 Media’s acquisition of Maine Media Collective’s print and digital publishing assets, which includes Maine magazine, Maine Home+Design, Old Port magazine and all affiliated annual guides, websites and social media pages, State 23 Media engaged the services Barbara H. Furey, former chief compliance officer and deputy general counsel for Unum, and Paula D. Silsby, former United States Attorney for the District of Maine, to serve as “interviewer” and “adjudicator” respectively and conduct a thorough and independent review of the current corporate culture, workplace environment and human resource policies at State 23 Media and prepare a report.


State 23 Media’s current corporate culture is respectful, supportive, open, inclusive and intolerant of any form of harassing, demeaning or inappropriate comments or behavior. The behavior and “toxic” culture depicted in the recent publicity are not part of the current workplace environment.

Management is committed to creating a positive and respectful work environment free of any kind of harassment and has taken steps towards that goal. Employee and management have received sexual harassment training. An employee handbook has been created that includes a values statement that sets the tone and defines the culture that the company wants to create – one that is open and transparent, where people are treated fairly and with respect and dignity and employees are empowered. The handbook sets forth a number of policies and standards of conduct that underscore these values by prohibiting harassing, sexually harassing, discriminatory and intimidating language and behavior both on-line and in the workplace; contains an open door policy that encourages employees to discuss all work related issues with management without fear of penalty; and sets forth the disciplinary action, including termination, that can result from violating any of the policies or standards of conduct set forth. Management follows the policies and practices set forth in the handbook. The CEO has spoken publically about her commitment to a culture that represents a safe and respectful workplace.

Employees universally like their jobs, are committed to the mission and values of their company and are proud of the products they produce. They think of themselves as a team. They are empowered to express their ideas and feel heard and involved. They are overwhelmingly positive about the current company culture describing the workplace as familial, inclusive, close-knit, collaborative, caring, open-minded, positive, supportive, friendly, progressive, respectful, trusting, honest, upbeat, candid, professional and fast-paced with a zero tolerance for inappropriate comments and behavior. All employees know whom to contact if they experience or observe inappropriate behavior, are comfortable doing so and have no concerns of retaliation. Management is highly respected by all the employees as supportive and fair. The CEO is described as professional, inspirational, open, responsive, a leader, fair, supportive and collaborative.

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