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VBSR's 24th Annual Spring Conference

Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM (EDT)

VBSR's 24th Annual Spring Conference

Ticket Information

Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
2014 Governor's Award Recipients - Full Day Option Ended $150.00 $0.00
2014 Governor's Award Recipients - 1/2 Day Option
Attend Workshop Sessions B & C during the afternoon, and the award ceremony. Ticket good from 1:00-5:30; lunch is not included in this option.
Ended $80.00 $0.00
Legislator Ended $35.00 $0.00
Full-time Student Ended $35.00 $0.00
Champion Member
Limit 5 per Champion.
Ended Free $0.00
Keynote Underwriter or Lunch Underwriter
Limit 2 per Keynote and Underwriter Sponsorships.
Ended Free $0.00
Conference Underwriter
Limit 1 per Underwriter.
Ended Free $0.00
Workshop Presenter
Thank you to our presenters, panelists and speakers for helping us create a successful and engaging conference!
Ended Free $0.00
Limit one per exhibiting business. (Pre-approved only.) Exhibitors will be invoiced separately for $350-$400 depending on membership status, but should register their one complementary admission here. Questions about tables? Email russe@vbsr.org
Ended Free $0.00
Complimentary tickets must be approved in advance by VBSR. Please explain in "Comments" section.
Ended Free $0.00

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Conference Agenda (Subject to Change)

May 14, 2014


Chris Miller,
Ben & Jerry's; Vice-Chair of the Board, VBSR
Andrea Cohen,
Executive Director, VBSR

MORNING KEYNOTE ADDRESS, "An Update from Washington D.C."  

Congressman Peter Welch, US House of Representatives

Congressman Peter Welch

Peter Welch has been a champion for working Vermonters throughout his distinguished career as a state legislator and Member of Congress. Since his election to Congress in 2006, he has been widely recognized in Washington as a skillful and effective legislator.

Peter’s solid record of accomplishment reflects his strong commitment to bringing people together to find real solutions to the difficult challenges facing our state and nation. In a climate of gridlock and partisanship, he has worked across the aisle in Congress to create jobs, make college and health care more affordable, balance the budget fairly, increase energy efficiency, end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and take care of our veterans.

As a member of the House, Peter has championed legislation to make homes and buildings more energy efficient, make college affordable, and expand access to health care. He took on big banks and credit card companies who were ripping off small businesses and consumers. And he fought to block efforts to repeal health care reform, give tax breaks to millionaires and big oil companies, and restrict a woman’s right to choose. In 2011, Peter was appointed to serve as a Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus. He serves on the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Peter graduated magna cum laude from the College of the Holy Cross in 1969 and earned a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1973. Peter is married to Margaret Cheney, a member of the Vermont Public Service Board. They share a home in Norwich, Vermont.


Workshop 1
Magical Workplaces: Creating Organizational Cultures that Attract and Engage

This workshop will leave participants with practical ideas to create workplace environments specific to their organizational cultures that improve employee engagement and performance. Armed with real world examples of how top performing businesses create environments and systems that allow employees to thrive, the panel will explore topics such as establishing leadership development systems, developing consistent language, and framing effective conversations. Following the panel discussion, participants will explore their own workplace environment and identify ways they can create an environment that positively impacts their key workforce challenges.

Moderator: Liz Dallas, Co-Owner, Coaching Center of Vermont
Dennise Casey, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont
Duane Peterson, President, SunCommon
Rebecca Towne, Chief Talent Officer, Green Mountain Power

Workshop 2
Emerging Ideas: Is a Public Bank Right for Vermont?
Join us for a lively discussion as advocates and skeptics debate the pros and cons of public banking in Vermont. Learn more about the concept of public banking and develop an understanding of the potential benefits, risks, and dynamics that shape the debate as it plays out in the State of Vermont.

Moderator: Anne Galloway, Editor, VTDigger.org
Jo Bradley, Chief Executive Officer, Vermont Economic Development Authority
Gary Flomenhoft, MPP; Affiliate Fellow, Gund Institute; Author: "Exploring a Public Bank for Vermont"
Dylan Giambatista, Assistant to State Treasurer Beth Pearce, Office of the Vermont State Treasurer
Gwendolyn Hallsmith, Co-Founder, Vermonters for a New Economy; Executive Director, Public Banking Institute

Workshop 3
Start Me Up: Vermont’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
Are you surprised to learn that Vermont is recognized nationally as an entrepreneurial and innovative state? This panel will provide an overview of Vermont’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, highlight trends in our entrepreneurial productivity, and – with an eye to the future – identify strengths and weaknesses of our state’s entrepreneurship sector and policies. Participants will also learn about the current realities of raising capital in Vermont – including seed, angel, and venture capital resources as well as non-dilutive financing sources – and explore creative financing mechanisms that aim to increase entrepreneurial activity.

Cairn Cross, Co-Founder & Managing Director, FreshTracks Capital
David Bradbury, President, Fund Manager, and Investment Committee Member, VCET
Lisa Gosselin, Commissioner, VT Department of Economic Development
Ken Merritt, Managing Director, Merritt & Merritt & Moulton

Workshop 4
Walking the Talk: Conference & Event Greening
Conference and events are often overlooked when it comes to managing our environmental footprint. This workshop will provide an overview of ASTM/APEX methodology for sustainable events and highlight some of the key issues, dynamics, and myths relative to conference and event greening (hint: you may save money!). Participants will also be treated to a tour of UVM’s Davis Center – the first LEED Gold student center in the country – to point out a number of best practices for conference greening and identify key features to consider when selecting a site for your next event. Participants will also receive resources to help them plan and manage their own sustainable events.
Allen Josey
, Director of Operations & Event Services, UVM’s Dudley H. Davis Center

CS Wurzberger, The Green Up Girl

Workshop 5
Good Works: Creating Mutually Beneficial Non-Profit/For-Profit Partnerships
When businesses think about working with non-profits it is often in the context of charity or community service. Yet as non-profit organizations get more creative about building earned income to further their mission and balance their books, for-profit organizations are rising to the challenge of supporting third sector success in creative ways. This panel will explore creative for-profit/non-profit partnerships that improve both organization’s multiple bottom lines, using ECHO and Sugarsnap’s partnership that is helping both organizations meet their financial, operational and mission-driven goals. In this interactive workshop you will learn about how they built this partnership and explore ways that you can incorporate partnerships in your own business or organization.
Abbey Duke, Founder/CEO, Sugarsnap
Phelan Fretz, Executive Director, ECHO
Leslie Halperin, Partner, Resilient Philanthropy

Sponsored by: Black River Produce, featuring locally-sourced ingredients!

AFTERNOON KEYNOTE ADDRESS, "The Greening of America: Everyone's Business"  Sponsored by Go! Vermont

Alisa Gravitz, CEO and President, Green America

For nearly 30 years, Alisa Gravitz has led Green America, the national green economy organization. Green America (formerly Co-op America) is a nonprofit organization that develops marketplace solutions to social and environmental problems with a key focus on tackling climate change, building fair trading systems, stopping corporate abuse and growing the green economy. Green America's major events and publications include Green Festivals, National Green Pages and Green American. Green America operates the nation’s largest green business and green consumer networks.

Ms. Gravitz is a leading expert on how families and businesses can "go green," saving money and resources. She is also a nationally recognized leader in the social investment industry. She authored Green America's acclaimed Guide to Social Investing, with over a million copies in print and the popular Guide to Community Investing. The 1% in Community Campaign, a joint program of Green America and the Social Investment Forum, has moved over $2 billion into community investments from social investment portfolios.

Ms. Gravitz’s board service includes Ceres, Positive Future Network, Network for Good and People 4 Earth. She earned her MBA from Harvard University and her BA in economics and environmental sciences from Brandeis University.

1:15 - 2:30

Workshop 6
State of the Union: Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever Turn 14
The sale of Ben & Jerry’s to Unilever in 2000 jolted the corporate social responsibility (CSR) movement. Few noticed that the sale included a binding agreement that preserved Ben & Jerry’s independent board of directors and gave that board legal authority to protect the social mission and product quality. Brad Edmondson, author of Ice Cream Social: The Struggle for the Soul of Ben & Jerry’s (Berrett Koehler, 2014), will tell the complete story of the three-part mission of Ben & Jerry’s, the company’s difficult transition to corporate ownership, and how the Vermonters ultimately forged a partnership with their multinational owner that brought the mission back to life. Joining him is Rob Michalak, Global Director of Social Mission for Ben & Jerry’s, who first joined the company in 1989. They will focus on lessons learned, discuss the company’s social mission goals, and leave plenty of time for discussion.
Brad Edmondson, Independent Journalist and Author
Rob Michalak, Global Director of Social Mission, Ben & Jerry’s

Workshop 7
Nature’s Inspiration: Biomimicry and Biophilia as a Powerful Business Tool
Nature’s wisdom and inspiration can be a successful tool for generating design solutions in today’s business environment. As humans, we have lived in the bounty of nature for thousands of years and are hardwired to appreciate living systems. This love of engagement with nature is called biophilia. In observing nature’s evolution we can learn from the innovative creation of new materials, forms, and living organisms. This learning from living systems is called biomimicry. This forum will explore the emerging fields of biophilia and biomimicry: What are they? How can they be used successfully in business? What are practical and successful examples? And how can they apply to small, medium and large businesses in Vermont today?
Michael Dupee, Vice President Sustainable Innovation, Keurig Green Mountain
Stephen Kellert, Author of Birthright: People and Nature in the Modern World and Biophilic Design
Bill Maclay, Founder and Principal, Maclay Architects
Sarah-Lee Terrat, Artist

Workshop 8
The Business of Change: Impacting Public Policy Debates and Decisions
We all understand that businesses – and business interests – have unique power to shape and determine policy development on local and national levels. Quite simply, legislators and the media pay attention when business leaders speak out. In a policy world often dominated by traditional business interests and voices, how can you harness the power of your company to advocate for socially responsible policies and a sustainable economy here in Vermont, and perhaps even Washington, D.C.? Attendees will hear real life examples of business leaders affecting positive changes on the state and national levels and discuss successful advocacy strategies for policy development, implementation, and change.
Moderator: Daniel Barlow, Public Policy Manager, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility
Russ Bennett, Founder and Owner, NorthLand Design and Construction; VBSR Board Member; Chair, VBSR Public Policy Committee
Pat Heffernan, President, Marketing Partners; VBSR Board Member
David Levine, Co-Founder & CEO, American Sustainable Business Council
Ashley Orgain, Mission Advocacy and Outreach Manager, Seventh Generation

Workshop 9
Insight and Innovation: Introduction to Design Thinking
Creative leaders like IDEO and the Stanford Design School believe Design Thinking is the future of business… come find out why! And, more importantly, learn the basics of Design Thinking and how to begin applying them in your organization. Fundamentally, Design Thinking is a process used to create new products, new services and even new policies. At its core is a human-centric approach to solving problems with a heavy reliance on empathy and co-creation. In this workshop, participants will learn about Design Thinking through the experience of a real design exercise. We’ll be using a design thinking exercise format that takes participants quickly through a specific design challenge. Each person will work with other partners and focus on a specific design challenge.
Rich Nadworny, Empatico
Leigh Samuels, Smart Girl LLC

Workshop 10
Growing Together: Collaborative Innovation in Vermont’s Farm and Food Sector
Vermont’s food and agriculture sector is growing and adding value to all aspects of the food system, from farm to plate. Relationships and transparency are key values within local food systems. Vermont is a national leader in developing the local farm and food economy, and is taking a highly collaborative approach that is fostering innovation. During this panel presentation, participants will hear from businesses and organizations that are working together to grow jobs in the farm and food sector and to increase access to local food. Panelists will discuss both boots-on-the-ground projects they are working on with their partners, as well as statewide coordinated “game-changing” activities through the Farm to Plate Network. Participants will also learn about the Vermont Food System Atlas, an online tool designed to strengthen Vermont’s food system.
Moderator: Ellen Kahler, Executive Director, Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund
Susan Alexander, Owner, Vermont Switchel
Erica Campbell, Director, Vermont Farm to Plate Program
John Ryan, Director, Vermont Agriculture Development Program
Sarah Waring, Executive Director, Vermont Food Venture Center and the Center for an Agricultural Economy

2:30 - 2:45

2:45 - 4:00

Workshop 11
Wise Investments: The Link Between Quality Early Childcare and a Vital Vermont Economy
Vermont’s economic competitiveness may well hinge in part on the investment we make – or don’t make – in our youngest children. With 80% of a child’s brain developing in its first three years, is Vermont missing an opportunity to build a solid foundation for future development of executive skills and civic engagement? Can investing in early childcare help to avert declines in workforce quality, diminishing workforce availability, stunted economic growth, increased burdens on social services, and, worst case, higher crime rates? Here in Vermont, 70 percent of parents with children ages 0 to 6 work full-time, yet Vermont’s early childcare programs rank 35th in the country. Join this panel of experts and advocates for a discussion on the brain science of early development, the beneficial economic impacts of quality early childhood education, and what you can do to help improve Vermont’s childcare system.
Moderator: Pat Heffernan, President, Marketing Partners
Dr. Kristen Connolly, MD, Franklin County Pediatrics
Mark Curran, Founder, Black River Produce
Robyn Freedner-Maguire, Campaign Manager, Let’s Grow Kids

Workshop 12
On the Move: Strategies for Reducing Transportation Costs and Impacts
Transportation is the largest energy use sector in Vermont and our largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Whether you operate a fleet, have a workforce that travels, customers and/or employees that access to your business by car there are many things you can do to inspire the move to more efficient transportation. Hear from our panel of experts on efficient transportation. You will learn about electric vehicles – how they work and options in the marketplace. You’ll also learn about how to start a “Commuter Assistance Plan” that encourages people to get out of their single-occupancy vehicle, and may even have tax benefits for the business! Hear about Vermont companies who are already successfully addressing emissions and the cost of transportation in their businesses to inspire your transportation plan.
Ross MacDonald, Go! Vermont Program Manager, Vermont Agency of Transportation
Michelle McCutcheon-Schour, Coordinator, Vermont Clean Cities Coalition
David Roberts, Consultant / Drive Electric Vermont Coordinator, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation
Rebecca Towne, Director, Talent and Support Operations, Green Mountain Power

Workshop 13
Sage Advice: Bring Your Business Problem!

The Bring Your Business Problem (BYBP) workshop will provide an opportunity for participants to bring a business problem they are wrestling with and have an expert panelist weigh-in on your challenge to get you moving again. The workshop will be decidedly fast paced and high energy (think speed dating!). Each participant will be asked for a concise business problem they face and get a response from at least one of the expert panelists.  The panelists represent a broad array of industries and disciplines, and bring nearly 200 years of combined business experience to the table!
Moderator: Bruce Seifer, Seifer Associates
Jim Lampman, Founder & CEO, Lake Champlain Chocolates
Alan Newman, Alchemy & Science; Co-Founder, Magic Hat Brewing and Seventh Generation
Pat Robins, Co-Founder & Chairman of the Board of Directors, Symquest

Workshop 14
Workplace Design: Workspaces that Suit Introverted & Extroverted Personality Types
Who we are as individuals affects how we respond and adapt to the physical space we work in every day. This workshop will look at various personality traits and explore how to translate these into real world design solutions. By considering the personality types of a company's workforce, we can provide a more tailored environment where individuals can work more effectively, in collaboration with others or individually, free of distractions. The workshop will include an overview of the Myers-Briggs personality types, a summary of market research in this area, and survey results from multiple Vermont companies.  Attendees will gain an understanding of various personality traits and their implications on the physical workspace, along with workplace design strategies to improve worker comfort, satisfaction, and productivity.
Matthew Bushey, AIA, LEED AP, TruexCullins Architecture and Interior Design
Cam Featherstonhaugh, CSI, CDT, TruexCullins Architecture and Interior Design

Workshop 15
Alternative Ownership: Exploring Worker-Owned Cooperatives

What's a worker-owned Cooperative (a.k.a. "Coop")? Is the Coop model right for your organization, be it a start-up or mature business? How do worker Cooperatives fit into the larger movement for social responsibility here in Vermont? How does one go about establishing a Cooperative? And how does a Cooperative differ from more traditional ownership models? With a panel of Cooperative practitioners and representatives, this interactive workshop will give participants a window into the world of worker-owned Cooperatives. Participants will learn about the Cooperative model and how worker Cooperatives are formed, operated, and managed. Participants will leave with tools and concepts to start evaluating their own potential conversion to a Cooperative structure.
Deb Harris, Worker/Owner, PT360 Cooperative
Kelsy HenneBarrows, Worker, Webskillet Cooperative
Bekah Mandell, Worker/Owner, Webskillet Cooperative
Daniel Shearer, Worker/Owner, Tamarack Media Cooperative

4:15 - 4:30
Honorable Governor Peter Shumlin


4:30 - 5:30
Deb Markowitz, Secretary, Agency of Natural Resources


Unwind while sharing your news and insights from the day with colleagures, peers and friends. Cash Bar.

Have questions about VBSR's 24th Annual Spring Conference? Contact Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility

When & Where

University of Vermont's Davis Center
590 Main Street
Burlington, VT 05405

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM (EDT)

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VBSR's 24th Annual Spring Conference
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