Olympia Snowe’s personal and professional journey has inspired young women throughout Maine and America. Her resilience and accomplishments, despite many obstacles, have made her a role model for all the right reasons.
Orphaned at the age of nine and widowed at 26, Olympia, with the support of family and friends, overcame tragedy to embark on a remarkable political career which took her from the State House in Maine to the halls of Congress, where in 2006, TIME Magazine named her one of the top ten U.S. Senators.
After serving terms in both the Maine House and Maine Senate, Olympia was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978 and served eight terms before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994. In addition to her Congressional duties, she also served for six years as Maine’s First Lady, following her marriage to then-Governor John McKernan in 1989.
Throughout her career, Olympia has led with an approach that values a thorough studying of the issues, listening to and respecting other points of view, and building consensus and finding solutions. She earned a national reputation and respect across the country for forging policy solutions based on what was best for the common good, not political partisanship.
Since leaving the Senate in 2013 at the end of her third 6-year term, Olympia continues her public service by speaking out nationally on the need for bipartisanship. She also has committed herself to helping future generations of young women become leaders by raising their confidence and aspirations through the establishment of the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute.