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Agenda
Thursday Ma
y 9, 2024

Speakers, descriptions, and other details will be added as they are confirmed - please check back for updates!

Check-In & Networking Coffee Hour

Location: Hula Lobby 

Time: 8:00 am - 9:00 am

Complimentary coffee and tea will be served until 9:30 am.

Welcoming Remarks & Keynote Address by Ferene Paris

Location: Reef Room 

Time: 9:00 am - 10:15 am

Storyteller Ferene Paris, founder of All Heart Inspirations, will bring her courageous truth telling to an inspirational keynote on agency, addressing Climate Resiliency, Mental Health, and Joy. Whether it’s the transformative power of AI, a Just Transition, housing for all, responses to geopolitical events, or wellbeing – the future is IN OUR HANDS! 

BIPOC Affinity Space with Vermont Professionals of Color

Location: Channel (follow signs from the lobby)

Time: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Enjoy music, 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 

Time: 10:15 am - 10:30 am

Visit the exhibitor hall, make new connections, and catch up with colleagues!

BLOCK 1 | 10:30 AM – 12:15 PM

It’s Tough Out There! Employee Wellbeing and Creating Joy in 2024

Location: Reef Room 

Time: 10:30 am - 11:45 am

Joy! Does it feel out of place? It’s easy for the world to feel heavy, demanding, and urgent these days, which leaves little space for the things that bring us joy. However, research has proven that joy is essential to resilience, physical and mental health, social connections, self-worth, and productivity. For these reasons, it is even more important for us to intentionally create joy to increase our personal wellbeing, build community, and foster hope. Join us as we hear from experts in joy to gain understanding of the challenges employees are facing, how to restructure the workplace to serve as a support system, and learn joyful practices that can make a positive difference for both individuals and your business! 

 

Moderator:

Jason Lorber, Aplomb Consulting

Speakers:

Amanda Janoo, Economics and Policy Lead, Wellbeing Economy Alliance

Lindsay Simpson, Director of Well-being, The Richards Group

Auburn Watersong, Trauma-Informed Resilience Coach, Watersong Consulting 

Here at Home: Vermont’s Housing Crisis from Main Street to the State House

Location: Isthmus Room 

Time: 10:45 am - 12:00 pm

There’s no question that Vermont’s housing stock is not meeting the demand, and market prices are making homeownership increasingly unattainable for many. How do we ease these pressures and make the progress we need? Join this panel of housing policy experts for an overview of the State’s current investment strategy, opportunities for employers to take action, and ideas for bold restructuring to provide affordable, accessible, cost-effective, and secure shelter for Vermont's socioeconomically diverse residents.

 

Moderator:

Kristin Warner, VBSR Public Policy Manager, Moderator

Speakers:

Chad Simmons, Policy and Engagement Specialist, Vermont Housing Finance Agency

Hilary Melton, Executive Director, Pathways Vermont

Jean Myung Hamilton, Program Development Director, Land Access and Opportunity Board

Ornella Matta-Figuera, Advocacy and Engagement Director, Land Access and Opportunity Board

Innovation Lab: The Evolution of the B Corp Standards

Location: Sunset Room 

Time: 10:45 am - 12:00 pm

Certified B Corporations across the globe are preparing for the evolution in B Corp standards. Join the Vermont B Corp Collective (VBCC) for a standards planning session. Learn about how companies are conducting a gap analysis between the standard versions, and how they are supporting their businesses and clients to efficiently reach these social and environmental goals. From there, the session will break into groups and complete an evolution planning activity. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the session. The goal of this session is to equip attendees with resources and strategies to prepare their companies for a successful recertification.

Lunch Break 

Location: Hula Lobby

Time: 11:45 am - 1:15 pm

 

We encourage attendees to pre-purchase lunch as an "add-on" to their conference ticket. 100% of your lunch ticket price will go directly to Mulu's Kitchen & Catering, a BIPOC-owned business that offers delicious Eritrean and Ethiopian food throughout Vermont. Options include healthy and filling dishes that include meat, vegan, and gluten-free dishes. To learn more, visit their website at https://www.muluscatering.com/menu
 
If you have inquiries about specific dietary restrictions, please contact mollyr@vbsr.org. If you decide not to purchase a lunch ticket, your other options include The Spot Cafe or bringing your own lunch.

BLOCK 2 | 12:45 PM – 2:15 PM

Staying Steadfast (When Nothing Seems Steady and Everything Feels Fast)

Location: Reef Room 

Time: 12:45 pm - 2:00 pm

Today’s leaders are faced with numerous external factors including an existential national election, open and simmering conflict at home and abroad, cascading crises, and discombobulating disruption. The upheaval impacting our colleagues, clients, customers, constituents, and communities seems constant and more accelerated than ever. “Overwhelming” and “exhausting” don’t begin to describe the volatility of the moment for many. Under these uncertain conditions, what do organizational readiness and responsiveness look like – particularly through a values-led lens? In this session you’ll hear from leaders with decades of commitment to the purpose-driven economy about why change and instability must be embraced, how to guide disoriented teams with compassion and confidence, and where to look for actionable inspiration when everything seems out of control.

 

Moderator:

Jeffrey Hollender, Adjunct Professor, New York University

Speakers:

Esther Charlestin, CEO, Conversation Compass, LLC

Lindsey N. Godwin, Ph.D, Stiller Endowed Chair of Management & Academic Director, Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry 

Zoraya Hightower, Managing Director - USA, Nature for Justice

Rob Miller, President and COO, VSECU/NEFC

Climate Realities & Resilience: Learning from Vermont’s Most Impacted Businesses

Location: Isthmus Room 

Time: 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm

From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to Vermont downtown retailers, everyone agrees: Climate-related business interruptions are having a disproportionate impact on small, rural, BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and women-owned businesses. What have we learned from Vermont’s recent response to extreme weather and climate-related disruptions? What supports can our most vulnerable businesses look to for adapting to our changing climate and responding to crises? And where can (and must) Vermont do better? This session will be focused on Vermont’s historically marginalized businesses with insights, strategies, and action steps that can be applied to all organizations.

Moderator:

Ruchi Nadkarni, Principal Consultant, Fringe Impact

Speakers:

Claire Wheeler, Director of Inclusive Entrepreneurship, Mercy Connections
Gwen Pokalo, Vice President Policy & Director - Vermont Women’s Business Center, Center for Women & Enterprise
Kelly Klein, Owner & CEO, Groennfell Meadery & Havoc Mead
Weiwei Wang, Co-Executive Director, Community and Policy/Co-Founder, Vermont Professionals of Color Network

Innovation Lab: Creative Solutions for Sustainable Businesses

Location: Sunset Room 

Time: 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm

Are you a problem solver? Do you see a challenge and want to dive headfirst into its difficulties? Come listen, learn, and lend a hand at the this Innovation Lab! Hosted by the University of Vermont Sustainable Innovation MBA (SI-MBA) program, you’ll hear from Vermont businesses who are navigating challenges with circular business practices, regenerative agriculture and food, and sustainable marketing, and join a team of SI-MBA students in creating real-time solutions to these problems.Bring your thinking caps, outside the box ideas, and innovative energy. Leave with leading-edge ideas you can use in your own business!

Moderator:
Noah Miller, Founder and Chief Advisory Officer, Rho Impact

Speakers:
Cheryl Eaton, Managing Director & Partner, Guru
Kate Harvey, Founder and CEO, BirdieBlue
Andrea Bacchi, Owner, Think Dynamic Digital

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! 

BLOCK 3 | 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Session 3

AI for Good: Ethical and Responsible Artificial Intelligence

Location: Reef Room 

Time: 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm

Tools such as the typewriter, computers, the internet, and video calling have fundamentally changed the way we work throughout history. Artificial intelligence offers yet another technological revolution and the opportunity to bring unprecedented power to our businesses and social change…IF we embrace it! Join us as we hear from experts and practitioners about the ways artificial intelligence is being used as a force for good, the implications of both traditional and generative AI, ethics and responsible use, and why we need ALL voices contributing to AI’s future to ensure that it is used with us (and not against us) toward a just and regenerative economy for all.

 

Moderator:

Adam Davidson, CEO, Masterful Storytelling 

Speakers: 

Crystal L’Hôte, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics, Saint Michael’s College

Emiliano Void, CEO, nuwave Equity Corporation

Business Across Borders: Redefining “Vermont Values” in An Era of Globalization

Location: Isthmus Room 

Time: 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm

Advances in e-commerce, distribution, and remote work mean any business might now consider themselves global, yet new ways of engaging and working always bring along challenges together with the breakthroughs. Whether you’re scaling and exporting Vermont values (to virtual talent and customers), making local and international supply chain considerations, marketing in other cultures, or navigating anti-ESG/anti-woke laws across state lines, this panel has something for you. Bring your courageous questions, challenges, and opportunities, and be prepared for engaging discussion!

 

Moderator:

Kate Ogden, Head of Advocacy and Movement Building, Seventh Generation

 

Speakers:

Stacia Betley, Director of Sustainability and Social Impact, MegaFood
Ken Davids, Chief Operating Officer, OnLogic
Christopher Miller, Global Social Mission Director, Ben & Jerry’s
Libby Parent, President, Bag Balm

Claire Zhu, CEO & Co-founder, Hootie Hoo

After Party

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 sourced appetizers, a cash bar with non-alcoholic options and signature cocktails, and music from a local DJ!

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