Good advice is not always that easy to get. But, when you have three champions in their fields, three CEO’s describing how they got to where they are, what to do and what not to do, that’s amazing.

That’s also what was served up along with lunch Wednesday at Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber of Commerce’s “Champion’s Panel” held at Maine Maritime Museum in Bath.

On the panel was Betsy Biemann, CEO of C.E.I. in Brunswick; Meredith Strang Burgess, CEO of Burgess Advertising in Falmouth, and Lois Skillings, president and CEO of Midcoast-Parkview Health.

They’re three very different people, with different types of businesses, but have each had remarkable paths they’ve traveled over the years to get where they are now. It’s their advice which drew a crowd of about 70 attendees.

This event was sponsored by WILL Power, “Women in Local Leadership,” which is affiliated with the Southern Midcoast Chamber of Commerce. So the audience was primarily women, many in different types of businesses and occupations, with a wide age range.

There was a lot of conversation and networking beforehand, with a lot discovery but also touching on common ground. Clearly, this is a group that is moving, and wanted to know from these three panelists how to successfully move even further.

Linda MacMillan, who has helped launch WILL Power events, deftly handled moderating duties, giving the panel three pre-chosen questions, and then opening it up to the audience.

The answers given had some common themes: Having self-confidence. Honing one’s communication skills, both verbal and written. Striking a balance.

For Lois Skillings, the question of what two skills are the most important in a path to senior management had a lot to do with balance. She felt it’s a balance between having a strategic vision, and a more practical sense of completing things.

“I’m a practical Maine girl,” she said, laughing, “And I love to just get it done!”

And that was how it went … good, solid advice, mixed in with laughter from them and from the audience. But it also helped to hear how they began, such as Skillings, who started out as an RN, but rapidly shot up to being head nurse at the age of 23. “What were they thinking?” she said, again with a laugh.

Meredith Strang Burgess was 29 when she started her own advertising company, which is now in its 31st year. She pointed out how she didn’t have the confidence to start it by herself, so she had three male friends join her on this scary but exciting venture.

“But…I eventually bought them all out, and one still works for me,” she finished with a flourish, and to a round of applause.

Betsy Biemann stressed how passion is needed in order to be successful in any line of work. “You bring enthusiasm to it … to be living and breathing this work that you love, and to be able to bring others along with you.”

And, she stressed how you also have to be a good listener.

One question from the audience wasn’t about successes, but rather mistakes, as to how to handle it when you do make a mistake.

Burgess calls mistakes “learning experiences,” pointing out how there are so many different styles of doing things. She believes in debating, as clarity gradually will appear.

“Just listen better,” she said. “Keep asking questions.”

Skillings’ answer was simple: “Don’t be defensive … Get your head out of the emotional basement, be aware, own it, move on, and try not to do it again.”

All three CEOs had praise for millennials who are now making their way into the workforce. The fields these “champions” work in now were pretty much male-dominated when they started.

Millennials are clearly starting out in a different environment. Many of them are able to throw themselves into their work, and are yet able to step away from it, balancing personal/professional lives.

“I am in awe of young people today, the health care professionals I see,” said Skillings. “They are so compassionate …we’re all trying to figure out in this modern world, how to have balance and have full lives, and be successful.”

Spoken like a true champion.