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Agenda, Workshops & Exhibitors
Thursday May 11, 2023


Check-In & Networking Coffee Hour

Location: Hula Lobby 

Time: 8:00 am - 9:00 am

Enjoy a delicious breakfast and beverage bar courtesy of Sugarsnap Catering and Kestrel Coffee Roasters, including vegan and gluten free options. Coffee will be served until 2:00 pm!

Welcoming Remarks & Keynote Address by Christal Brown: "Seizing This Moment"

Location: Reef Room 

Time: 9:00 am - 10:15 am

Begin the day with an inspiring address by mother, artist, educator, disciple, coach, author, and sought-after orator Christal Brown, speaking to the opportunity in this moment - HERE and NOW - for our organizations and ourselves. 

This Keynote Address will be graphically recorded by Mellisa Cain from Iceberg Consulting. Be sure to checkout Mellisa's work in the lobby after this session!

Networking Break

Location: Hula Lobby 

Time: 10:15 am - 10:30 am

Visit the exhibitor hall, make new connections, catch up with colleagues, and grab that last cup of coffee!

Session 1

SESSION 1 | 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Putting Humanity First in the Workplace 

Location: Reef Room 

Time: 10:30 am - 11:45 am

What does it take to build a work environment that respects humanity and encourages creativity, productivity and connection? We all want workplaces that make recruiting and retaining team members easier, where productivity and emotional safety co-exist, and businesses can deliver on their mission effectively. Join this conversation to hear about new ideas and practices to support our people – and therefore our organizations – in being the best that they can be. 


Mara Neufeld Rivera, VP of People & Culture, Chroma Technology Corp


Doug Cavett, Team Leader and Mental Health First Aider, Rhino Foods

Alison Nihart, Rights & Democracy

Sas Stewart, Founder, Adventure Dinner 

Simeon Chapin, Head of Social Impact, VSECU/NEFCU

Developing Public Policy for the Here and Now

Location: Isthmus Room 

Time: 10:45 am - 12:00 pm

VBSR has a long tradition of advocating for socially responsible issues under the Golden Dome. Join VBSR’s Public Policy Manager Kristin Warner and members of our Public Policy Committee to discuss the core issues impacting industries and people here in Vermont. We’ll also hear from Vermont’s Congressional delegation on the national policy picture as it relates to Vermont businesses and socially responsible policy. Together we’ll explore the tools business leaders can use to influence legislation and leverage the power of business for positive social and environmental impact.


Kristin Warner, Public Policy Manager, VBSR


Will Stevens, Senator Sander's Staff

Fauna Hurley, Senator Welch's Staff

Morgan Nichols, Congresswoman Balint's Staff

BIPOC Affinity Space with Vermont Professionals of Color

Location: Sunset Room 

Time: 10:15 am - 12:30 pm

Enjoy music and refreshments and a mental break in an affinity space hosted by the Vermont Professionals of Color Network for those who identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color.

Lunch Break 

Location: Hula Lobby

Time: 11:45 am - 12:45 pm


We have had overwhelming support of the "add-on" lunch tickets for Mulu's Kitchen & Catering, which is now sold out. If you purchased a lunch ticket, 100% of those dollars are going directly to Mulu's, a BIPOC-owned business that offers delicious Eritrean and Ethiopian food throughout Vermont. Options will include healthy and filling dishes with meat, vegan, and gluten-free options. To learn more, visit

For those that did not purchase a lunch ticket for Mulu's, you will have plenty of other options, including:

If you have inquiries about specific dietary restrictions, please contact ​

Sesson 2

SESSION 2 | 12:45 PM – 2:15 PM

Distributing the Labor of Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (JEDI)

Location: Reef Room 

Time: 12:45 pm - 2:00 pm

The work of tackling equity issues in your organization and in your community can be challenging, especially when you are “the one” at your company who is representing and educating, while also navigating inequities and ignorance. Join this conversation with Vermont leaders to hear about the equity work happening at their organizations, and how they are getting buy-in to keep the work going without burning out.


Myra Flynn, Producer/Reporter, Engagement Journalism, Vermont Public


Amer F Ahmed, Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, The University of Vermont

Ashley Laporte, Vice President of Purpose & Impact, Burton 

Mari McClure, President & CEO, Green Mountain Power

Rooney Castle, President/CEO, Rhino Foods

Welcoming Workers & Removing Barriers

Location: Isthmus Room 

Time: 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm

To find the employees we seek, we need to expand our vision of the workforce, and reduce the barriers to employment that we – and our society – often create unintentionally. How can we make it easier to connect with and hire the people we need, while recognizing and accommodating the challenges they face? In this discussion we’ll cover everything from background checks to salary disclosure, onboarding, and supporting people in recovery and New Vermonters. Changing business-as-usual starts with opening your doors.


Mickey Wiles, CEO and Founder, Working Fields


Dr. Mel Houser, Executive Director, All Brains Belong

Alex Beck, Welcoming Communities Manager, Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation

Rich Arentzen, Founder, AO Glass 

Shabnam Nolan, Executive Director, King Street Center

Innovation Lab: Leading-Edge Packaging Practices with the Vermont B Corp Collective

Location: Sunset Room 

Time: 12:45 pm - 2:15 pm

How can brands address sustainability goals while keeping products accessible to the average consumer in today’s financial landscape? In this Innovation Lab with the Vermont B Corp Collective, we’ll hear from Vermont B Corps who are bringing creativity, experimentation, and bold thinking to the challenge of packaging. Participants will discuss the opportunities and challenges of these particular innovations, how to apply these learnings to their own companies, as well as ideas for driving more widescale innovation in packaging and how the Vermont B Corp Collective and others could support this work.

Eliza Leeper, Mission and Business Operations Manager, Vermont Creamery


Greg Bove, Director, Sourcing & Procurement, Cabot Creamery Cooperative

Michael Moriarty, Chief Growth Officer, Gardener’s Supply Company

BIPOC Affinity Space with Vermont Professionals of Color

Location: Peninsula Room 

Time: 12:45 pm - 3:00 pm


Enjoy music and refreshments and a mental break in an affinity space hosted by the Vermont Professionals of Color Network for those who identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color.

Networking Break

Location: Hula Lobby & Outdoor Patio 

Time: 2:15 pm - 2:30 pm

Visit the exhibitor hall, make new connections, catch up with colleagues or email, and enjoy the beautiful waterfront of Lake Champlain! 

SESSION 3 | 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Session 3

Made in Vermont: Values-Led Business Innovations

Location: Reef Room 

Time: 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm

Vermont’s long tradition of socially responsible innovation permeates our business culture. There are companies around the state who approach the challenges of our time with local solutions, including ways of doing business, engaging their communities, and meeting customer needs. We’ll learn how Vermont entrepreneurs are approaching business here and now and share ideas for sparking innovation in your own organization! 


Sam Roach-Gerber, Vice President, VCET


Jacob Racusin, Director of Building Science and Sustainability, New Frameworks

Jovial King, CEO Urban Moonshine & Silt Botanica 

Martha Bruhl, Founder, Fog Valley Farm

Ren Weiner, Owner, Baker & Organizer, Miss Weinerz 

Focusing the Lens of Social Responsibility for Greatest Impact

Location: Isthmus Room 

Time: 2:45 pm - 4:00 pm

There are many actions we can take to have a positive impact, from thoughtful employee policies to minimizing waste and energy footprints. How do you choose the most impactful values-led commitments for your business, and how do you know where to start? Incorporating learnings from a variety of organizations, this workshop is designed to help you identify the key questions to ask in defining your impact and focusing your efforts. 


Molly Lawrence, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, King Arthur Baking


Hillary Orsini, Chief of Staff and Interim Chief Equity, People and Culture Officer, Vermont Foodbank

Marlena Tucker-Fishman, Chief Cannabis Guide, Co-Owner, Zenbarn Farms

Molly Betournay, Director of Social Research and Shareholder Advocacy, Clean Yield Asset Management

Trevor Braun, Engineer, Concept 2 

Networking Reception

Location: Hula Lobby & Outdoor Patio 

Time: 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm


Celebrate the end of an inspiring day with connections new and old over locally inspired appetizers by Sugarsnap Catering. Cash bar by The Spot Cafe with non-alcoholic options and signature cocktails in partnership with Barr Hill (cards accepted!). 

Innovation Lab: Learning from Vermont Entrepreneurs with UVM SI-MBA

Location: Sunset Room 

Time: 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm

Have you ever wondered how entrepreneurs and startups find solutions to obstacles with small teams and limited resources? They get creative! Come join three Vermont entrepreneurs for this Innovation Lab hosted by the University of Vermont Sustainable Innovation MBA program. We’ll break out into pods and each pod will hear from one of our entrepreneurs with an obstacle they are currently facing that could benefit from your fresh perspective! We are asking YOU to bring your creativity, bold thinking, and innovations. The entrepreneurs and attendees will discuss opportunities and solutions that our three entrepreneurs can use to move forward as they face their next obstacle! 


Erik Monsen, Associate Professor, Steven Grossman Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship, University of Vermont


Bill Calfee, Founder, Chief Visionary Officer, Myti

Rick Johnson, CEO, VOI
Kate Whelley McCabe, Owner, Vermont Evaporator Company


Creative Reflection Room 

Location: Atoll Room 

Time: 10:15 AM - 6:00 PM


Throughout the day, Mellisa Cain of Iceberg Consulting, LLC will host a creative reflection space in the Atoll room. Using a variety of tools, techniques, and art attendees will have a chance to reflect on the Here & Now of what they’ve learned throughout the conference, the connections they’ve made, and how today's experience will continue to impact their work!  

Healthy Kingdom Coconut Cart

Location: Outside the Atoll Room 

Time: 10:15 AM - 6:00 PM

Pay a visit to the Healthy Kingdom Coconut Cart to enjoy a FREE coconut, complete with a straw and ready to enjoy! You will also have a chance to connect with Prince Awhaitey as he shares his training and knowledge about the nutritional benefits of the coconut and how nutrition can help you to acheive your goals!  

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