Friday, November 3, 2023

Windham attorney wins crown in 2024 USOA Mrs. Maine Pageant

By Ed Pierce

Competing in the United States of America’s Mrs. Maine 2024 Pageant on Oct. 21 in Augusta was the realization of a dream for Windham attorney Katie Winchenbach. Her confidence and enthusiasm were on full display as she won the state crown and now advances to compete in 2024 USOA Mrs. America Pageant next July in San Antonio, Texas.

Windham attorney Katie Winchenbach was
crowned as the winner of the 2024 USOA
Mrs. Maine Pageant in Augusta on Oct. 22.
She will represent Maine in the 2024 USOA
Mrs. America Pageant in Texas next July.

As a corporate attorney and a champion for women’s rights, Winchenbach was a first-time pageant participant in the USOA Pageant, which was created to encourage women to strive to achieve their hopes, dreams, goals, and aspirations, while making them feel confident and beautiful inside and out.

“I have never done a pageant before,” she said. “When the USOA Pageant Director, Christie Hines, reached out to me to see if I would be interested in competing, I really thought she had the wrong woman. Once I learned how much of the pageant was focused on community involvement and championing causes close to your heart, I knew I had to say yes.”

Winchenbach currently serves as the Program Director for Ms. JD, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the success of aspiring and early career women attorneys. She has also served as the Vice-President of The Maine Women's Conference, where she contributed to the strategic direction and planning of an influential one-day conference to empower and uplift Maine’s women.

Recently Winchenbach joined Women Standing Together, an organization that supports women leaders in various professional fields. Her role with that group will allow her to better advocate for emerging women leaders in Maine's business community. She’s also a published writer with her articles appearing in publications such as Fashion Republic, Gladys Magazine, Marie Claire, Long Island Bride and Groom, and Chicago Style Weddings.

She says that she intends to use her title as USOA Mrs. Maine 2024 to advocate for women’s empowerment, provide critical leadership opportunities, and to break down barriers to women’s success.

"It’s important for me to empower and inspire women to dream bigger and boldly pursue these dreams,” Winchenbach said. “This passion is at the heart of everything I do. I’m honored to be representing Maine as USOA’s Mrs. Maine 2024 and to be able to positively impact Maine’s young women leaders. I believe in empowering and inspiring women to dream bigger and boldly pursue these dreams. As the Program Director for Ms. JD, a national nonprofit dedicated to the success of aspiring and early-career female attorneys, I am able to impact over 800 women per year. More locally, I am partnering with the Compassionate Leadership Project to create a one-day conference for Maine’s emerging female leaders. The conference will provide attendees with access to prominent female leaders from Maine, practical training on key leadership skills, and the opportunity to build their networks. The conference will be live streamed, to provide this critical resource to women from all over the State of Maine, and eventually, across the United States.”

Along with her husband, Jared, Winchenbach moved to Windham two years ago and grew up in Milford, near the University of Maine Orono. She earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Maine, a Juris Doctorate law degree from Quinnipiac University School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hofstra University. In her free time, she enjoys paddleboarding, and spending time with her husband and their rescue dog.

She hopes her pageant experience will help her to grow both personally and professionally.

“Upon starting this journey, I was surprised by how much it pushed me outside of my comfort zone and how many opportunities there were for me to grow as a person,” Winchenbach said. “Already, I've been able to become more confident in the way I carry myself and in the way I speak publicly. I work as a corporate attorney and a non-profit program director, so these are skills that are going to help me immensely even once the pageant is over.”

Winchenbach said that competing in the USOA Pageant also helped her to honor the memory of her late mother.

“My mom competed in a Mrs. Pageant when she and my dad were just married,” she said. “She passed away from cancer last November, so this is a really nice way for my family to be able to come together again.” <

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