Workforce Director, ME Business Education Partnership
Mari joined the Retail Association of Maine in January of 2021, with the task of promoting and growing the National Retail Federation Foundation’s RISE Up retail training credential program in Maine, with a focus on Workforce Development within the retail sector, as well as managing their 501 (c) (3) organization, the Maine Business Education Partnership.
Previously, Mari served as a board member of the Retail Association of Maine for nine years. Ms. O’Neil’s role has evolved over the past two years to include in-depth collaboration with business partners and educators to develop career pathways in the retail industry. In November of 2022, the Maine Business Education Partnership was awarded a Maine Industry Partnership for Workforce Development grant through the ME Department of Labor. This grant enables further collaboration in growing the retail workforce in Maine. In December of 2022, she successfully completed the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation – Talent Pipeline Management Academy.
She has more than 30 years of retail, training, and educational experience. Mari has worked in a variety of retail sectors, including specialty & department store management, training, loss prevention, specialty leasing, marketing, and shopping center management. Mari holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire, where she also served as a teaching assistant during her junior and senior years and 2 years post-graduation. She earned a Certified Marketing Director designation from the International Council of Shopping Centers and is a certified trainer for the National Retail Federation Foundation’s RISE UP curriculum.
Mari loves animals and the natural world and has been accredited by the Natural Association of Interpretation, as a Certified Interpretive Guide. She is the board chair for the Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick, Maine, and a Docent at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness, NH. She also volunteers at the Ogunquit Playhouse, during the summer season.