Meet Our Keynote Speaker
Dr. Carolyn Finney (she/her)
Photo by Nicholas Nichols
Carolyn Finney, PhD, storyteller, author, and cultural geographer, currently an artist-in-residence and the Environmental Studies Professor of Practice in the Franklin Environmental Center at Middlebury College, will give a keynote address on hope and the role that a recognized and shared humanity plays in our aspirations. Underwritten by Mascoma Bank, this inspirational talk will explore a practice of relationship-building across difference that invites creativity and maximizes the possibility for positive change.
Finney’s work grows out of a commitment to question conventional wisdom and reconsider long-held assumptions regarding the production, representation, and dissemination of knowledge about people, places, and ideas. These efforts include academic pursuits focused on gender and environmental issues in the U.S. and abroad, artistic expressions spanning theatrical performance and filmmaking, and various forms of writing including her 2014 book, Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors.
Currently working on her new book which addresses the complicated relationship between race, land and belonging in the U.S., Finney is also developing a performance piece entitled “The N Word: Nature Revisited” as part of an Andrew W. Mellon residency at the New York Botanical Gardens Humanities Institute. She is a columnist at the Earth Island Journal and was recently awarded the Alexander and Ilse Melamid Medal from the American Geographical Society which recognizes “outstanding work on the dynamic relationship between human culture and natural resources.”
Meet Our Speakers
Amanda Adkins (she/her)
Chief Financial & Chief Operating Officer, The Masiello Group
Amanda Adkins is the Chief Financial and Operating Officer at The Masiello Group and is responsible for Finance, Human Resources, Operations, Facilities and IT. She has over 28 years of finance and operations experience spanning several different industries including manufacturing, staffing and retail. Early on in her career, Amanda recognized the power of co-creation and collaboration. She has led her teams over the years with this at the forefront.
Amanda remains dedicated to her personal growth as well as that of The Masiello Group, her peers and co-workers and is a proven mentor and advocate for employees.
Amanda studied Accounting and Finance earning her Master’s degree from Southern New Hampshire University in 2016. She is also an RYT certified Yoga Instructor and enjoys helping others connect their mind, body and heart through their practice both on and off the mat.
In her free time Amanda enjoys yoga, running, hiking and any activity that will get her moving. Amanda resides in Southern NH with her husband and three children.
Ishmael Ahmed (he/him)
Founder and CEO, Verdant Roots LLC
Ishmael was born in Denver, Colorado. His mother grew up on horseback in eastern Oregon. His sire was an ovum in a woman enslaved on this continent. The man he called father spent his years growing up between Karachi and Sri Lanka before making his way to these United States. Ishmael is rooted in Vermont, spending most of his life between the Winooski, Lamoille, and Missisquoi watersheds. Growing up on a subsistence farm, he understands the importance of place, yet having the chance to travel with his father, he has seen the common struggles experienced by people as they navigate their way through the world. Verdant Roots is about rooting locally for global change. How do we acknowledge our ancestors and their paths? How do we leverage those insights and experiences to support this generation and the many to follow? Verdant Roots is developing products and produce that generate health and wealth from the land we walk upon. Current projects involve working with mycelium and cedar and identifying places in the environment where there are existing foodstuffs and medicines. The goal is to find the most appropriate ways to expand access and resiliency to those resources through productive land stewardship. Ishmael does his best to make common cause with those whose work is grounded in place. He shares poetry, tells stories, walks with folks across the land, and does his best to be loving, caring, and share gratitude along the way.
Michele Asch (she/her)
Vice President, Leadership & Organizational Development, Twincraft Skincare
Michele Asch is the VP of Leadership & Organizational Development within her family business, Twincraft Skincare. Twincraft Skincare is a custom contract manufacturer of specialty bar soap and skincare products for over 150 brands throughout North America. Michele has a diverse background which includes 14 years at the University of Vermont. The first 10 years she was responsible for leadership development and service-learning programs for students. She then moved on to the UVM School of Business and, as the Director of the UVM Family Business Program, she assisted Vermont family businesses with their succession planning. Thriving on the creativity found in entrepreneurship, she founded and sold two small businesses, a sea kayak adventure travel business and a men’s salon. She currently serves on the Champlain College Board of Trustees, Let’s Grow Kids Board of Directors, the ECHO Science Center Board of Directors and the Burlington Business Association Board of Directors. She recently ended a 3 year appointment as Chairperson of the Burlington Police Commission. Michele also served as Chair of Vermont Children’s Trust Foundation where she was a board member for 7 years. Michele graduated from the UVM School of Business in 1988.
Becca Balint (she/her)
President Pro Tempore, Vermont State Senate
Becca Balint of Brattleboro was elected President Pro Tempore of the Vermont Senate on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. She is the first woman and first openly gay person to hold the position. She serves Windham County. Her career in education has been spent teaching in public and private schools in New England, as well as at the Community College of Vermont. She first moved to Vermont in 1994 to lead rock climbing trips at the Farm and Wilderness Foundation in Plymouth and relocated permanently to Vermont in 1997. Becca was elected to the Vermont Senate in 2014, and during her first term she served on the Committee on Institutions and the Committee on Economic Development and Housing, as well as the Judicial Rules Committee. During her 2nd term she was made vice chair of the Committee on Education and continued to serve on the Committee on Economic Development. In 2016, she was elected to the position of Senate Majority Leader and was also appointed Chair of the Senate Sexual Harassment Prevention Panel. In her 4th term she was elected to the position of President Pro Tempore. Becca’s successes as Majority Leader include shoring up the votes to pass the largest Vermont housing bond in decades, which secured much-needed housing for hundreds and hundreds of Vermonters, and passing a minimum wage increase for thousands of low-wage workers. Becca also led the caucus through a successful fight for the most progressive reproductive freedom legislation in the nation, and she worked hard to pass the boldest climate justice bill to date in our State. Over the years, she’s also fought for protections for consumers, for renters, and for women in the workforce, and she’s been a strong advocate for additional workforce training programs that will assist Vermonters and small businesses. When she's not running around the State House, she's running in Hubbard Park. Becca lives in Brattleboro with her wife, attorney Elizabeth R. Wohl, and their two children.
Joe Buley (he/him)
President and Owner, Joe’s Kitchen at Screamin’ Ridge Farm, Inc.
Joe's grandmother’s kitchen in East Randolph VT is the inspiration for the wholesome, flavorful, value-added agricultural products from Joe’s Kitchen at Screamin' Ridge Farm. Joe trained in France at the prestigious École Supérieure de Cuisine Française in Paris (also known as Ecole Ferrandi)—he was the only US citizen in the school. Joe landed back in the US and sampled food and life in Brooklyn NY, San Francisco, San Diego, and Austin Texas. In 1999, Joe and family settled in Vermont. Joe was a chef -instructor at New England Culinary Institute for about 10 years where he began learning how to grow food. Screamin' Ridge Farm started small, with one tiny plastic greenhouse and a walk-behind tractor. He saw an opportunity to realize his ambition of both growing ingredients and cooking them into great-tasting prepared foods. Joe's Kitchen began as delicious hot soups and CSA customers also received a smattering of ready-to-eat foods and meal-launching sauces in their boxes. They now produce in their own kitchen in downtown Montpelier, VT. Most of the produce and herbs are grown on their small farm at Joe’s home in East Montpelier. Their focus is on creating great-tasting, healthy food using primarily local ingredients cultivated sustainably.
Bill Calfee (he/him)
Founder and Chief Visionary Officer, Myti
Bill stewards the mission and vision of Myti by supporting and empowering the Myti team. The Myti team is developing an online buying process with a human touch that keeps money in local communities everywhere, encourages people to know their neighbors, and benefits the local character and connections of villages, towns, and cities. Bill launched and managed two previous successful businesses: Water Works, Treatment Services and Equipment in Manchester, VT, and Peak Energy Solutions, a building science company in Dorset, VT. He created the possibility for him, his wife, and his child to sail safely across 4000 miles of the open Pacific Ocean, the culmination of 23,000 miles of ocean sailing. He planned, built, and managed systems for wiring, plumbing, medical supplies, emergency gear, rigging, sails, navigation (both electronic and manual), weather, ocean currents, and communication. Bill is well prepared to take on Myti, another infinite, complicated, ambiguous project.
Ted Castle (he/him)
Owner and President, Rhino Foods
Ted Castle is the owner and President of Rhino Foods, a certified B Corporation located in Burlington VT. Rhino employs 250+ employees and manufactures bakery style inclusions for ice cream manufacturers, and a variety of frozen desserts and snacks that are distributed in North America and Europe. Rhino Food’s Purpose is to “Impact the Manner in Which Business is Done” through its Financial, Customer and Supplier, Employee, and Community Principles. Rhino Foods and Ted have been recognized for their efforts with the Hal Taussig B the Change Award from B Lab, Beta Gamma Sigma Entrepreneurial Award. Vermont Small Businessperson of the Year, by the SBA, the Terry Ahrich Award for Socially Responsible Business by Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, Forbes Magazine’s List of Small Giants. Optimas award for vision in the workplace (past winners include UPS, Coors and 3M), Inc Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and Special Recognition Award from the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program. In 2018 the Rhino Foods Foundation was formed with the mission to "Spread Innovative Workplace Practices that Champion Employee Financial Stability and Make Good Business Sense" with an initial focus is to spread the Income Advance Program Rhino nationwide. Ted lives in Charlotte Vermont with his wife Anne. Their two sons Ned and Rooney are presently living in Vermont.
Cheryl Eaton (she/her)
Managing Director & Partner, Guru Media Solutions
Cheryl Eaton is a 20-year strategist and Managing Director of GURU, a B Corp, full service marketing agency with offices in Sausalito, CA and Burlington, VT. Guru connects conscious consumers with the purpose-driven, sustainable brands, organizations and movements sparking change for the greater good.
Jon Erickson (he/him)
Blittersdorf Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and Fellow of the Gund Institute for Environment, University of Vermont
Jon Erickson is the Blittersdorf Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and Fellow of the Gund Institute for Environment at the University of Vermont. He has published widely on climate change policy, renewable energy economics, environmental management, and the theory and practice of ecological economics; led international research and education programs as a Fulbright Scholar in Tanzania and visiting professor in the Dominican Republic, Iceland, and Slovakia; produced Emmy award-winning documentary films on water, energy, and food system transitions; and founded and led numerous non-profit organizations including the U.S. Society for Ecological Economics, Adirondack Research Consortium, Deportes para la Vida, and Bright Blue EcoMedia.
Randy George (he/him)
Owner, Red Hen Baking Co.
Randy George founded The Red Hen Baking Company in Duxbury, VT in 1999 with his wife, Eliza Cain. Red Hen is s best known around Vermont for its line of certified organic, hearth baked breads which are baked and delivered daily throughout the state. Red Hen’s staff now includes 42 employees. Randy and Liza have been outspoken supporters of Paid Sick Days Legislation, increasing the minimum wage, and the Wage Gap Compact. Their employees enjoy these benefits as well as other benefits such as health coverage, at-work massage therapy, bicycle commuting incentives and a dedicated lactation room.
Caitlin Goss (she/her)
Vice President for Human Resources and Chief People Officer, Middlebury College
A native Vermonter who grew up in Hinesburg, Caitlin Goss holds an MBA in sustainable innovation from the University of Vermont and a bachelor’s in political science and East Asian studies from Dickinson College. She is currently serves as the Vice President for Human Resources and Chief People Officer at Middlebury College, leading a team responsible for people experience, operations and programs. Goss joined Middlebury from Rhino Foods in Burlington, where she served as the Director of People & Culture for four years. Previously, she was the Team Leader for Employee Engagement in global human capital at consulting firm Bain & Company, where she worked in the Boston and Shanghai offices.
Damaris Hall (she/her)
Co-founder, Global Village Foods
Damaris Hall is co-founder of Global Village Foods, ready to eat allergy friendly meals with bold African flavors. A trained chef and allergy-mom, Damaris grew up on her family's farm in Kenya enjoying traditional foods with fresh ingredients. After immigrating to Vermont and with a passion for good food, Damaris and her husband & co-founder Mel Hall, started serving African flavors at local Farmers markets and later ran a successful African restaurant in White River Junction, VT. With years of experience in the food industry Damaris has worked to successfully grow the idea of authentic African cuisine, Made in Vermont, from a home kitchen concept to now a regionally and nationally recognized brand.
Mel Hall (he/him)
Co-founder, Global Village Foods
Mel hall, co-founder of Global Village Foods, has lived in the Upper Valley of VT/NH since 1987. Originally from Memphis, Tn., and a Vermont resident for decades, he currently focuses on strategies to expand Global Village Foods from a regional specialty foods brand, to one with national reach and high-volume distribution in both food service and CPG. A key goal is to source Vermont and regionally grown agricultural produce to the greatest degree possible; thereby spurring local economic activity with national level food sales demand. In addition, Mel drives efforts and research into sustainability in materials and practices, and together with wife and co-found Damaris Hall, seeks to create career path & living wage employment and support sustainable food systems and community based action in the good-food-space, both locally, nationally and abroad.
Lori Hanau (she/her)
Founder, Global Round Table Leadership (GRTL)
Lori Hanau is the founder of Global Round Table Leadership (GRTL), a training and coaching company dedicated to providing transformational learning and leadership development for conscious companies, campuses and networks. Lori works to foster group vitality through her advising, facilitation and co-creative practices, including GRTL’s Shared Leadership Framework™ and The Compassionate Accountability Process™. Lori launched GRTL in 2002 after leaving her role as President and COO in the manufacturing sector to pursue her commitment to support the flourishing of people and organizations. She has training and expertise in the areas of mindfulness, martial arts, healing arts, spirituality, entrepreneurialism, social impact and mission-driven business. Lori is proud to serve on the Board of Advisors for The Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership at New York University. Lori has previously served on the Board of Directors for the Social Venture Network. Lori is a founding member of the Nature Based Leadership Institute (NBLI), at Antioch University New England, and also a founding consultant of the Center for New Leadership at Marlboro College. In 2002, Lori co-founded the Mindfulness Practice Center in Keene, NH, where she also resides.
Wazirgul Hashimi (he/him)
President and Founder, Vermont Afghan Alliance
Owner, Equinox Transportation Agency
Owner, Bamyan Kebab House
Wazir moved to the United States in 2013 from his home country of Afghanistan with the goal of getting a good education. He spent his junior year of high school at Rice Memorial and graduated from the Long Trail School after moving to southern Vermont to live with his brother. After high school, Wazir moved out on his own and attended CCV in Bennington for two years before transferring to Castleton University where he graduated in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Wazir has recently founded The Vermont Afghan Alliance. “My goal is to try to build a better relationship between my two homes,” Wazir states. “To work with Afghanistan and the United States to bridge gaps between our nations in the future is my top priority.”
Dana Kaplan (he/him, they/them)
Executive Director, Outright Vermont
Outright Vermont is on a mission to build celebratory, affirming realities for young people of all gender and sexualities. Formed in 1989 by a handful of community members who had the heart, grit, and gumption to see to it that LGBTQ+ youth could always find their people, the statewide non-profit remains true to that vision today. Dana got to know Outright as a volunteer facilitator fresh out of college in the early 2000’s, and well over a decade later, joined the staff as Director of Education. In 2017 he took the helm, and it’s been non-stop hope, equity, and power ever since! Dana received a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, and a Masters in Mediation & Applied Conflict Studies, and that lens of question-asker, relationship-builder, and justice-seeker informs his way in the world. He is the co-author of Trans objects: materializing queer time in US transmasculine homes, and plays in the local indie pop band, The Smittens. When not working, Dana can be found people watching, searching for the next best chocolate chip cookie recipe, and hanging out with his spouse and their two kids in and around Burlington. Born and raised in Manhattan, he’ll forever be a city kid at heart.
Emma Kast (she/her)
Visiting Faculty in Political Economy, Bennington College
Emma Kast studies the global political economy of capitalism and imperialism. She is from Burlington, Vermont and is currently a Visiting Faculty in Political Economy at Bennington College in Vermont. She earned her PhD and MA in International Politics from Aberystwyth University in Wales, UK. She also holds a BA in Politics from Ithaca College. Her recent research locates notions of deservingness in the history of political economic thought.
John Kim (he/him)
Social Impact and Sustainability Consultant, 1Row
John spent 10 years in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and ESG (environment/social/governance) roles at The Walt Disney Company and Herman Miller. Prior to that he worked at Lipman Hearne, a branding and marketing agency focused on the nonprofit sector, supporting higher education institutions, large foundations, and member associations. Earlier in his career, he served in the United States Peace Corps, worked on food insecurity impacting communities in the Washington, DC area and South Africa, and evaluated programs for the United Nations World Food Programme in Malawi. He’s also the creator of the blog, Virtuous Cycle, which highlights changemakers using bikes to do good. He received his master’s in public policy (MPP) from Georgetown University and his bachelor’s from Cornell University. He lives with his family in Montpelier, VT.
Bram Kleppner (he/him)
CEO, Danforth Pewter
Bram Kleppner has served as CEO of Danforth Pewter for over a decade, during which time he has instituted company-wide profit-sharing, employee representation on the Board of Directors, and partially paid maternity leave. He has also put the company on the path to zero fossil fuel use. Prior to Danforth, Bram worked at Ben & Jerry’s for 10 years, where he co-led B&J’s first anti-global warming campaign. In the non-profit sector, he served for seven years as Board Chair at the Population Media Center, working globally on the interconnected problems of women’s rights, and in particular reproductive rights, global population, and the environment. In the public sector, he served on the Governor’s Business Advisory Board on Health Care Financing, served for five years as co-chair of Vermont’s Medicaid & Exchange Advisory Board, was one of three Commissioners on the Vermont Tax Structure Commission, and currently serves on the Vermont Climate Council, representing Vermont Manufacturers. He lives with his family in Burlington, in a house that Burlington Electric believes was the first 100% conversion of a historic home in Burlington to zero emissions.
Jill Krowinski (she/her)
State Representative & Vermont Speaker of the House
Jill Krowinski of Burlington was elected Vermont Speaker of the House on January 6th, 2021. She is the 92nd Speaker and fourth female Speaker of the House.
Jill has served in the House since 2012 and was elected as House Majority Leader in 2017. Krowinski has experience working at non-profits and serving on community boards. Jill has served as the Executive Director of Emerge Vermont, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of Democratic women in public office through recruitment, training and providing a powerful network. Previously, she worked at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, her last role as the VP of Education and VT Community Affairs. Krowinski also served as a Commissioner for the Fletcher Free Library, Vice Chair of the Health Care Oversight Committee, Chair of the Vermont Child Poverty Council, and is currently an Advisory Committee member of Emerge Vermont. She also has served as a delegate for the American Council of Young Political Leaders in the Philippines. Krowinski is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh.
Meghan Ksiazek (she/her)
Vice President, Turtle Fur
Meghan has worked at Turtle Fur for the past 19 years as the Headwear Designer, Head of Design and now as the Vice President. One of her favorite parts of being a designer is seeing things that she’s made out in the world, on people. Since 1982 Turtle Fur® has been a leading headwear and accessories brand in the outdoor, snow sports, and lifestyle markets. Their mission is to create comfortable, quality products, which help their customers stay outside longer enjoying the things they love to do. They pride themselves on holding true to their values of quality, comfort, creativity, sustainability, and community…all while having fun.
Alison Lamagna (she/her)
Director of Programs & Gender Equity Services, Vermont Works for Women
Alison Lamagna is a nonprofit leader with more than 20 years of experience delivering and managing people-centered nonprofit programming in Colorado and Vermont. In her current role, she oversees all programming at Vermont Works for Women (VWW), and leads gender equity training and professional development for schools, tech centers, and employers. She is a member of the Working to Advance Vermont Equity steering committee, and represents VWW as an advisor to the Vermont Commission on Women. Alison also organizes VWW’s advocacy efforts around issues that impact women and gender expansive individuals in Vermont such as equal pay, criminal justice, affordable childcare, paid family leave, etc. When not working or managing her busy household, Alison enjoys spending her free time cooking, hiking, kayaking, and visiting the Italian markets and beaches in her native Rhode Island.
Chris Masiello (he/him)
CEO, The Masiello Group
Chris Masiello has built a successful, nearly forty-year career, spanning a variety of nationally recognized business units in the real estate and financial services sectors, accounting for over two billion in annual sales. He is a recognized expert in team building, personal coaching, personal empowerment speaker, franchising, business leadership, marketing, and operations. His experience includes over 100 mergers & acquisitions in residential and commercial brokerage, property-casualty insurance, title services, land development, and private equity. Drawing from his diversified experiences, Chris continues to lead a portfolio of successful companies recognized for their progressive culture, market dominance, and high customer satisfaction rates. He is a speaker and industry contributor often sought out by regional and national news sources such as ABC affiliates, Wall Street Journal, and other business publications. Chris has served on numerous industry councils and committees, and has received numerous industry achievement and recognitions These including be named in 2022 one of the most influential and a trendsetter in the real estate industry.
Sascha Mayer (she/her)
CEO & Co-Founder, Mamava
Sascha Mayer is the CEO and Co-Founder of Mamava, Inc. in Burlington, Vermont. Mamava designs solutions for nursing mamas on the go, and since 2015 has placed over 550 lactation suites in locations as diverse as airports, sports stadiums, automobile factories, and military bases.
Mission driven, women-owned, and a Certified B-Corp, Mamava created a category and is the leading expert in lactation spaces. Mamava’s smartlock enabled lactation suites and mobile app are designed with consideration of the biological, physical, and emotional needs of nursing mamas (and babies) on the go.
Sascha started with Solidarity of Unbridled Labour (Mamava’s birthplace) in 1995. She helped to develop the Living Brand®, Solidarity’s philosophy on brands and brand creation. As Strategy Director, Sascha participated in the creation of many brands, including HP, Levi’s, Lululemon, Merrell Apparel, Nike Women. Before joining Solidarity, Sascha worked for the office of Congressman (now Senator) Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), where she served as staff assistant and assistant press secretary. In 2018 Sascha and her Mamava co-founder, Christine Dodson, were the SBA’s Small Business Persons of the Year from Vermont.
Beyond her work life, Sascha was a founding board member of Mobius Mentors, and she sits on the marketing committee for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and loves to spend time outside with her husband, two children, nine chickens, and her rescue dog Cletus.
Suzanne McDowell (she/her)
Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, King Arthur Baking Company
Suzanne McDowell is the Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability at King Arthur Baking Company, where for more than two decades, her work has been deeply rooted in human resource leadership as well as social and environmental impact. Suzanne is a longtime member of the Norwich community and enjoys skiing, gardening, beekeeping, baking, and all the enrichment that life in Vermont offers. She currently serves or has in past years served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Delta Dental Plan of Vermont, Johnny's Selected Seeds, the National Center for Employee Ownership, Finding Our Stride, Vermont Business for Social Responsibility, and most recently, Willing Hands.
Noah Miller (he/him)
Founder & Chief Strategist, Rho Impact
Noah Miller has over a decade of ESG consulting experience, working with organizations across industries, missions, and geographies. From global companies like Bloomberg, Hyatt, and Beyond Meat, to tech start-ups like Rho AI and Lob, Noah brings a wealth of experience in ESG strategic planning, implementation, and reporting. Noah is the Co-Founder and Chief Strategist of Rho Impact, which combines ESG advisory with proprietary software and technology tools to address the key barriers to ESG performance. Noah is also the Founder and CEO of Calibrate Partners, a global network of boutique ESG consulting firms dedicated to helping organizations around the world adapt and thrive in the new normal of business. Noah has also been influential in ESG capacity-building at the industry level, leading the curriculum development for several industry-specific ESG certification programs, including collaborations with the Corporate Finance Institute, the Green Building Initiative, and Regennabis. Internationally, Noah serves as an advisor and liaison to North America for Net Zero Israel, an initiative launched by the Israeli business community in 2021. Noah’s formal education includes an MBA in Sustainable Innovation and a BA in Community Development & Applied Economics and English from the University of Vermont. Noah also holds an MS in Mediation and Applied Conflict Studies from Champlain College and has received graduate certifications from The Centre for Inclusive Leadership in London and NGO Catalyst in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Jermaine Moore (he/him)
Principal Consultant, The Mars Hill Group
Jermaine Moore is the founder of The Mars Hill Group where he specializes in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Team Development, Culture Assessment and Development, Communication Training, and Change Management. Jermaine is an active instructor for University of New Hampshire’s Professional Development and Training Program, serves as the Diversity Director for SHRM’s NH State Council and is a board member for the Diversity Workforce Coalition (DWC) whose mission is to promote diversity in the workplace through education, training, and enhanced networking opportunities.
Blain Newton (he/him)
Chief Operating Officer, BETA Technologies
Mr. Blain Newton is the Chief Operating Officer of BETA Technologies, a Vermont-based aerospace company developing all electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft with a focus on both passenger and cargo and logistics missions. BETA has already partnered with leading operators including UPS, the U.S. Air Force, United Therapeutics and Blade. At BETA, Blain is responsible for leading the company’s commercialization strategy and approach supporting the company’s pursuit of electric flight. BETA’s aircraft and integrated charging infrastructure will ultimately create an electric aviation solution to move people and cargo around the world safely, cost-effectively, and with minimal environmental impact. Mr. Newton was previously in executive leadership of several high growth, multinational healthcare software and analytics companies in the US and EMEA, including IDX Systems, Allscripts, and HIMSS Analytics. In these roles, he oversaw multiple global product launches, opened new operations on 4 continents, and led multiple M&A transactions valued collectively at more than $1bn. Prior to these leadership roles, Mr. Newton served in audit and consulting roles with more than 35 high growth technology companies while at Andersen in Washington, DC.
Derek Peebles (he/him)
Executive Director, American Independent Business Alliance
Derek Peebles is the Executive Director of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA). AMIBA has supported and formed more than 60 independent business alliances (IBA’s) that are geographically dispersed around the country. These IBA’s count for over 60,000 local businesses as members throughout 26 states that are united in support of protecting local economies. Derek is a leader in community economic development with extensive success in moving organizations forward by building on cross-cultural and cross-sector collaboration. He began his career in small business banking and over the past 15 years has successfully organized local business communities, residents, and institutions to leverage both social and private capital for sustainable economic development.
Casey Reese (she/her)
Job Developer, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)
Casey Reese is the Job Developer at the United States Committee for Refugees field office location in the state of Vermont. She specializes in working with newly arrived Refugees, Asylees and Parolees in achieving early self-sufficiency through employment. Originally from Massachusetts, Casey attended Salem State University where she received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and minor in Social Work. Following graduation, she spent time working in the field of Applied Behavioral Analysis both domestically and internationally. During this time, she developed a passion for vocational development and helping others reach their goals. She also enjoys spending time outside, particularly snowboarding at the local mountains, along with traveling and experiencing various cultures outside of the United States.
Dan Smith (he/him)
President and CEO, Vermont Community Foundation
Dan Smith is the president and CEO of the Vermont Community Foundation, where he has led the organization to back-to-back record-setting grantmaking years, with more than $60 million active in Vermont communities in 2021. Smith constantly strives to understand how the Community Foundation—and philanthropy in general—can address the systemic gap in opportunity that exists in rural communities. To that end, in 2018, Smith committed the Vermont Community Foundation to making the heart of its work closing the state’s opportunity gap—the divide that leaves many Vermonters struggling to build bright, secure futures no matter how hard they work. Prior to the Community Foundation, Smith served as president of Vermont Technical College. He began his career as a law clerk in the Vermont Supreme Court and then practiced law at Downs Rachlin Martin before taking a position with the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation. Smith, an eighth-generation Vermonter who grew up in central Vermont, holds a B.A. in History from the University of Virginia and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Dave Stever (he/him)
Chief Marketing Officer, Ben & Jerry's
Dave Stever has worked for Ben & Jerry’s for 33 years and he was appointed CMO in 2011. He is responsible for the strategic and tactical marketing that nurtures and drives Ben & Jerry’s three-part mission in 35 countries. Through his tenure with Ben & Jerry’s, David has been involved in numerous campaigns and initiatives ranging from Fair Trade, labeling GMOs, same sex marriage rights, climate justice and getting the dough out of politics. David has also had the joy of working with many partners such as Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Dave Matthews Band, Rock The Vote and Saturday Night Live to create unique flavors and promotions to drive the business. David was raised in Vermont and loves hiking, running and, of course, eating ice cream. He is a University of Vermont graduate where he received a BA in Sociology, and a graduate of Saint Michael’s College where he received an MSA. He lives in Williston, Vermont with his wife and two daughters.
Richard Vaughn (he/him)
Founder and Owner, Persist, LLC
Richard Vaughn is the founder of Persist, LLC where we are exploring the unique opportunities of business as a catalyst for social good. At Perky Planet, we've designed our coffee shop from the ground up to make meaningful, competitively paid jobs accessible to people with disabilities. At www.coffee.gay we are supporting LGBTQ causes at origin by unbundling the mission from the supply chain and bureaucratic certification processes. At Zombie Run our event series provided funds for 54 surgeries to children with cleft palates as a result of our business practices.
Emiliano Void (he/him)
Founder and CEO, nuwave Equity Corporation
Emiliano Void is the Founder and CEO of nuwave Equity Corporation giving leadership and oversight to all aspects of the organization’s activities. He is responsible for the coordination, development and implementation of systemic solutions centered around the dismantlement anti-Black and systemic racism through profitable and innovative approaches. Emiliano grew up in Montreal, Canada and has lived in the US for the past 11 years splitting time between the two countries. His need to get involved in equity work came directly as a result of the continued highly publicized racial injustices that Black people face today. Unable to stay on the sidelines, he was spurred into action and decided to try to affect change in any possible way across his sphere of influence. He joined community groups, started community-based initiatives, lead a Black focused employee resource group in his workplace as well as an industry wide initiative to dismantle systemic racism. Through nuwave he aspires to drive real, actionable, and sustainable change that creates more opportunities for Black and systemically excluded people, brings awareness and conversation to a problem that is long overdue for a solution, and helps organizations understand the profitability in equity.
Alison Whritenour (she/her)
CEO, Seventh Generation
Alison Whritenour has spent nearly a decade at Seventh Generation, contributing to transforming the world into a healthy, sustainable and equitable world for future generations. Using business as a force for good drives Alison in all she has done with Seventh Generation across various roles in everything from brand activation to product innovation. Most recently, Alison was the head of channel and customer development at Seventh Generation, where in 2020, she delivered more than 40% growth, while navigating COVID-19’s business and consumer impact. Prior to her work with Seventh Generation, Alison worked in brand management at Colgate-Palmolive. Alison holds an MBA from Fordham University and a BA from Loyola University. She lives in Vermont with her husband and three children.
Kate Williams (she/her)
CEO, 1% for the Planet
Kate Williams is CEO of 1% for the Planet, a global movement that inspires action and commitment so that our planet and future generations thrive. Kate joined the 1% for the Planet team in 2014 and stepped into her role as CEO in May 2015 with a strong leadership track record, including roles as Board Chair of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), as Executive Director of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, as founder of an agricultural business, and as an elected political official. She brings a deep passion for the power of collective action to all she does. As CEO, Kate has led significant growth in 1% for the Planet’s scale and impact, guiding deep work on best practices for implementing high-impact giving strategies, growing a global brand, and operating as a highly effective and innovative enterprise. Kate earned a BA at Princeton University and an MS at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and has served on a variety of nonprofit boards throughout her career. She is a trail runner, active dog walker and kitchen gardener. Kate lives in Vermont with her husband and two children.