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VBSR’s 23rd Annual Spring Conference

Date: Tuesday May 14th, 2013

Time: 7:30 AM - 5:30 PM

Location: University of Vermont's Davis Center

Address: 590 Main St, Burlington, VT 05401

To Register: Visit:

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Event Description


VBSR's 23rd Annual Spring Conference

Local Innovation, Global Inspiration: Leveraging Grass Roots and Global Action to Advance Social Responsibility

May 14, 2013 at the University of Vermont's Davis Center in Burlington, Vermont

Panelist-provided Conference Materials

Health Insurance Evolution

VBSR is proud to announce Bart Houlahan and Judy Wicks as conference keynoters. Scroll down to view the agenda and read their full bios, or register here today!

Our annual Spring Conference draws nearly 400 people to Burlington and gives VBSR members and like-minded colleagues a chance to come together and exchange knowledge and ideas. Spread the word among your business colleagues. The event is open to the public. Visit our online registration site to register today!

Carpooling Encouraged!

Traveling into town for the conference? Consider carpooling. Visit, click on “Find An Event” (in the left column) and use Lookup code: VBSRSpring2013

Driving and Parking Directions

First things first: Click here for your parking pass

For the 2013 Spring Conference, attendees are being asked to park in either the Gutterson Garage or in the Harris/Miller Parking Lot on the athletic campus. Please find parking directions below, and note that there is also an easy-to-read map of the parking spaces included on your parking pass.

From highway: Take Exit 14W off I-89 on US Rte 2W/Roosevelt Highway/Main Street/Williston Road, past Sheraton Hotel and take slight right onto East Avenue. Take immediate left and cross Main Street onto Spear Street. Take second right onto PFG Road and an immediate left into Gutterson Garage. You must park inside the garage.

From downtown Burlington: Travel up hill on US Rte 2E/Main Street, turn right onto Spear Street. Take second right onto PFG Road and an immediate left into Gutterson Garage. You must park inside the garage.

Miscellaneous Info

UVM will provide plenty of water bottle and coffee refill stations… please bring along a reusable container!

In the afternoon, we will feature a cash bar reception, don't forget to come prepared!

Please turn your cell phone ringer to vibrate, but don't forget to live tweet your experience and include “#vbsrspring”.

The two longest networking breaks during the day are at the beginning and end of the event… plan to arrive early and stay late, you won't be sorry!

Conference Agenda

(Download the Conference Agenda PDF)



Andrea Cohen, Executive Director, VBSR
Brian Dunkiel, Dunkiel Saunders Elliott Raubvogel & Hand; Chair of the Board, VBSR

MORNING KEYNOTE ADDRESS, Sponsored by Vermont Community Loan Fund

Judy Wicks - Author, “Good Morning, Beautiful Business”; Founder, White Dog Café; Co-Founder, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE)

Judy Wicks founded the White Dog Café on the first floor of her Philadelphia row house in 1983. As the restaurant grew, so did her notion that the strength of her business relied upon the quality of its locally grown ingredients. Envisioning how strengthening relationships among like-minded independent, locally owned businesses could inspire profound social change, she founded the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia in 2001, and co-founded the nationwide Business Alliance for Local Living Economies that same year. Judy also founded Fair Food in 2000, dedicated to building a local food system in the Philadelphia region. In 2009, she sold the White Dog through a unique agreement that preserves local, independent ownership and maintains sustainable business practices, including buying from local farmers, composting and using renewable energy. Her book, Good Morning, Beautiful Business was published by Chelsea Green, in March, 2013.


Workshop 1
Just Good Business: Family Friendly Work Policies

Join former VT Governor Madeleine Kunin and other workplace advocates as we explore successes, challenges, and opportunities for establishing family friendly culture, policies, and practices in our organizations. This workshop will explore how far (or not) the workplace has evolved to support the needs of women and families. Whether for childcare, eldercare, or personal care, flexibility in work schedules is one tool that can help attract and retain talented employees. Equal Pay, Paid Sick days, and other policy trends will also be discussed.

Cary Brown, Executive Director, Vermont Commission on Women
Madeleine Kunin, Former VT Governor; Author “The New Feminist Agenda: Defining the Next Revolution for Women, Work, and Family”
Beth Sachs, Co-Founder, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC)

Workshop 2
SR Toolkit:
Utilizing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to Develop Environmentally and Socially Responsible Products and Energy Solutions
Explore how Vermont businesses are using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to help guide their product development, business decisions and community relations. Come learn how to use LCA in your business and put the science behind your marketing claims. LCA assesses environmental impacts throughout all stages of a product’s or service’s life, from-cradle-to-grave (from raw material extraction through processing, manufacture, distribution, use, and end of life). LCA provides us with a holistic methodology to evaluate environmental impacts without burden shifting (changing one bad outcome for another). Join EarthShift, Seventh Generation, and Shelburne Farms as we explore how Vermont businesses are using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).

Melissa Hamilton, Managing Director, EarthShift LLC
Alec Webb, President, Shelburne Farms
Martin Wolf, Director of Product & Environmental Technology, Seventh Generation

Workshop 3
Show Me the Money: The New World of Capital Raising in the JOBS Act Environment

Crowdfunding, community supported enterprise, and other emerging, alternative forms of grassroots financing are highlighted by entrepreneurs and practitioners alike. Includes up-to-date review of the JOBS act and its implications for community based financing. The panel will discuss structuring, implementing, and closing a private offering in the new JOBS Act environment, as well as the process of raising capital from private investors in an offering exempt from the registration requirements of applicable securities laws (i.e. community based offerings). Panelists will discuss how entrepreneurs can structure an offering to attract the right type of investors and provide a fair rate of return without jeopardizing the long-term success of the enterprise. Different investment structures will also be reviewed, ranging from pure equity deals, to hybrid structures like convertible debt, to pure debt transactions, including the advantages and disadvantages of each structure for both the investors and the founder.

Kevin Harper, Founder, Bristol Bakery & Café, Inc.
Eli Moulton, Director, Merritt & Merritt & Moulton
Freeman White, Founder & President, LaunchT, Inc.
Moderator: Ken Merritt, Managing Director, Merritt & Merritt & Moulton

Workshop 4
Bright Ideas: Alternative Marketing Strategies that Rise Above the Clutter

Success stories of alternative marketing approaches and strategies that are effective, cheap, memorable… and fun! Want to break out of the staid and expensive world of traditional marketing while differentiating yourself from the competition? Looking for innovative and creative ways to put your products, services, and your mission in front of consumers? Join representatives from Ben & Jerry’s, SunCommon, and others as they share real world stories of Vermont companies that have successfully cut through clutter without breaking the budget. Others have put a smile on their customers and revenue in the till; you can too!

Chris Miller, Social Mission Activism Manager, Ben & Jerry's
Duane Peterson, President, SunCommon

Sponsored by MVP Healthcare, featuring locally-sourced ingredients.

AFTERNOON KEYNOTE ADDRESS, Sponsored by Vermont Community Loan Fund

Bart Houlahan - Co-founder, B-Lab; Former CFO, COO & President, AND 1

Bart Houlahan, 45, along with his partners, Jay Coen Gilbert and Andrew Kassoy, co-founded B Lab in 2006. B Lab is a nonprofit organization dedicated to using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Lab drives systemic change through three interrelated initiatives: 1) Certified B Corporations: a corporate certification for sustainable businesses and social enterprises that meet higher standards of social and environmental performance and legal accountability; 2) GIIRS Ratings and Analytics: a ratings platform (analogous to Morningstar and Capital IQ) that drives capital to impact investments by assessing the social and environmental performance of companies and funds; and 3) Benefit Corporations: a new, legally-recognized corporate form that changes corporate fiduciary duty, permitting companies to create shareholder value and social value.

Prior to B Lab, Bart was President of AND 1, a basketball footwear and apparel company. Over the course of 11 years, Bart helped to finance, operate and scale the business to $250 MM in brand revenues with distribution in 80 countries. AND 1 undertook a leveraged recapitalization in 1999 with TA Associates, and was sold in May, 2005, to American Sporting Goods out of Irvine, CA. Before AND 1, Bart was an investment banker with Stonebridge Associates, BNY Associates, and Prudential-Bache Securities. Bart is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and an Advisory Board Member of the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at the Fuqua School of Business. A graduate of Stanford University, Bart now resides in Devon, PA, with his wife, Chrissy, and daughters, Molly, 20 and Carly, 18.

1:15 - 2:30

Workshop 5
Health Insurance Evolution: Understanding and Preparing for Changes to our Healthcare System

Not to be missed for businesses with less than 50 employees! Get the latest developments, information and resources for moving to the health insurance exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act. An expert panel provides the most current information available, identifies resources available to businesses, and answers your questions about transition to the Vermont Health Benefit Exchange marketplace. With three of the people working most directly on health care reform for Vermont small businesses, this forum will talk about what the new laws coming into effect at the end of this year will require of small businesses, including key actions and decisions small businesses need to take in 2013. We will specifically talk step-by-step through the biggest decision employers with fewer than 50 employees have to make, which is whether to offer health insurance in 2014 or not. Time for questions and helpful handouts will be provided!

Bram Kleppner, CEO, Danforth Pewter; Co-Chair, Medicaid & Exchange Advisory Board; Member, Governor's Business Advisory Board on Health Care Financing
Robin Lunge, Director, Health Care Reform, State of Vermont Agency of Administration
Nicole Weidman, Small Business Project Director, Vermont Health Connect

Workshop 6
Metrics that Matter: The B Impact Assessment Tool for Measuring and Monitoring SR Performance

New for 2013! VBSR has partnered with B Lab to provide members free access to B Lab’s internationally recognized Impact Assessment tool! This practical workshop provides an introduction and practical advice from businesses that are utilizing the Impact Assessment. How do we measure our company’s social and environmental impact? How do we create a roadmap of improvements to advance our sustainability efforts? This practical workshop discusses how 8,000 small businesses have used the B Impact Assessment to measure their social and environmental performance and learn best practices. Come take a visual tour of the Impact Assessment and hear local experts share their stories about what they learned through the experience.

Flip Brown, Owner, Business Culture Consultants
Jed Davis, Director of Sustainability, Cabot Creamery
Ashley Orgain,
Manager of Mission Campaigns and Advocacy, Seventh Generation
Hardik Savalia, Head of Standards, B Lab
Moderator: Judy Warriner Walke, Collaboration & Planning Consultant

Workshop 7
Walking the Talk: Next Generation “Green” Employee Benefits

Discover innovative approaches and programs for “greening” employee benefits and incentives. There are a number of VT businesses that have provided “green” benefits to their employees as a way of meeting their own organizational goals or mission, or simply as a way to reduce their employees’ negative impact on the environment. After an overview of emerging programs and best practices from around the country, a panel of representatives from Vermont businesses will discuss their experience with green benefits, including challenges and future opportunities. The goal of the workshop is to broaden understanding and identify opportunities for “green” benefits as promising new approaches to meet the needs of employers, their staff, and the planet.

Jennifer L. Chiodo PE LEED AP, Managing Partner, Cx Associates, LLC
Nick Lange, Consultant, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC)
Andrew Savage, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, AllEarth Renewables
Tim Shea, Title, National Life Group
Moderator: Nikki Kuhn, Senior Consultant, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC)

Workshop 8
Big Ideas: Key Features and Building Blocks of the “New Economy”

Join a panel of New Economy thinkers to learn about the opportunities presented by public banking, crowd sourced investment, commercial barter and other exchange systems. The New Economy offers businesses in Vermont a variety of tools for expanding markets, lowering costs, configuring ownership, and obtaining critical finance and investment.

William Bittinger, Chair of the Board, Donella Meadows Institute
Gary Flomenhoft, Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at UVM

Gwendolyn Hallsmith, Executive Director, Global Community Initiatives
Amy Kirschner, VBSR Marketplace

Workshop 9
Into the Cloud: Digital Resilience & Security Training for Small Business

An interactive training session that introduces participants to various cloud computing tools and how these tools can help create resilience and continuity in times of disaster. This workshop, jointly conducted by the Vermont Digital Economy Project and the Vermont Small Business Development Center, is an interactive training session that introduces participants to various cloud computing tools and how these tools can help create resilience and continuity in times of disaster, protect sensitive documents, bolster online presence, and increase business productivity. Participants will be introduced to online back-up tools and shown how they function, as well as disaster preparedness measures that cloud computing can provide.

Sharon Combes-Farr, Director, VT Digital Economy Project, VCRD
Patrick Ripley, Assistant Director of e-Commerce, VT Digital Economy Project, VTSBDC

2:30 - 2:45

2:45 - 4:00

Workshop 10
Strategic Insights: Demystifying the Vermont Brand

Learn more about the Vermont brand’s rational, cultural and emotional attributes and how to enhance your business through informed opportunities and connections. Panelists will review recent research findings and demonstrate how to deploy the Vermont brand to differentiate products, recruit personnel, and enhance socially responsible business norms.

Elliot Burg, Assistant Attorney General, State of VT
Kathy Murphy, Chief Marketing Officer, State Of VT
Dan Weinstein, Director of Market Strategies and Insights, Resource System Group

Workshop 11
Workplace Design: Creating Workplaces that balance Collaboration, Concentration, Teamwork and Privacy

Using market research, analytical tools and local project examples, we will share specific design and planning strategies you can use to provide a comfortable balance between teamwork and individual privacy. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer recently announced an end to her company’s work-at-home policy. This policy change is intended to promote collaboration in the office, but the reason many employees choose to work from home is to escape the interruptions that hinder privacy and focused work. In today’s workplace, how do we design spaces that facilitate creative teamwork while simultaneously allowing for focused tasks free of distraction?

Matthew Bushey AIA LEED AP, Associate, TruexCullins Architecture and Interior Design
Jackie DesLauriers, Account Manager, Creative Office Pavilion
Jason Rouillard, Project Manager, Dartmouth College Office of Planning and Design
Margaret Gilchrist Serrato PhD AIA ASID LEED AP, Workplace Strategist, Herman Miller

Workshop 12
Report from the Golden Dome: VBSR Public Policy Update

Health care reform, the future of wind energy, marijuana decriminalization and state budget cuts from the federal sequester were just a few of the items on the Vermont Legislature's plate this year. Get the inside scoop on the big issues under the Golden Dome in 2013 and how they will affect your business. Key members of the Vermont Legislature will attend if the session has concluded for the year.

Don Mayer, CEO, Small Dog Electronics - tentative
Sen. Claire Ayer, Chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee - tentative
Rep. Tony Klein, Chair of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee (confirmed if Legislature is adjourned)
Sen. Tim Ashe, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee – (confirmed if Legislature is adjourned)
Moderator: Daniel Barlow, Public Policy Manager, VBSR

Workshop 13
Emerging Trends: Warming Up to Fossil Fuel Divestment

Divestment helped turn the tide in South Africa, can it help us shed our addiction to fossil fuels? Hear from panelists on the leading edge of fossil free divestment and socially responsible investing. This workshop will discuss an emerging movement around fossil fuel divestment, with specific perspective from institutional investors, retirement plan managers, and personal wealth advisors.

Eric Becker, Chief Investment Officer, Clean Yield Asset Management
Matthew Derr, President, Sterling College
Maeve McBride, Operations Coordinator & Divestment Campaigner, 350Vermont
Rob Thomas, President, Social(k) Inc.

Workshop 14
Keeping it Real: Sustaining Values and Mission During Organizational Transition

Discover strategies and lessons for preserving your organization's mission, values and culture in times of significant change, challenge and transition. What happens during a change of ownership, a friendly merger, a significant increase in sales volume, or the opening of a new location? How do the leaders and employees work together to change what is required, and hold on to the values that matter? What are the best practices at aligning mission, vision, and strategy so that the organization doesn't lose its heart and soul? We'll examine this topic from multiple perspectives, as we seek to understand and share best practices in creating and sustaining successful transitions.

Julie Goodhart, Owner, HRM Strategies
Rebecca Kraemer, Vice President IT&D, Consulting, Small Dog Electronics
Victor Morrisson, COO & Acting CEO, Dr. Hauschka Skin Care, Inc
Moderator: Flip Brown, Owner, Business Culture Consultants

4:15 - 4:30

4:30 - 5:30

Deb Markowitz, Secretary, Agency of Natural Resources

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

Directions to Event

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Event Sponsors

Keynote Underwriter

THE VERMONT COMMUNITY LOAN FUND (VCLF) transforms Vermonters' lives by providing loans, grants and technical assistance for affordable housing, small businesses, child care providers and other community facilities benefiting lower-income Vermonters. Visit for more information.






Lunch Sponsor


Founded in 1983, MVP Health Care ( is a community-focused, not-for-profit health insurer serving more than 613,000 members in Vermont, New Hampshire and New York. MVP is committed to working with Vermont and Vermonters to improve the health of the population and provide excellent, affordable health insurance services. Our proposed product offerings for Vermont Health Connect are well aligned with Vermont’s Blueprint for Health and have strong wellness components, designed to encourage Vermonters to increase their health knowledge and engage in healthy behaviors, consistent with our vision of helping to create and sustain the healthiest communities in the nation.




City Market, Onion River Co-op is a community-owned food cooperative with over 8,700 members, selling wholesome food and other products while building a vibrant, empowered community and a healthier world, all in a sustainable manner. Located in downtown Burlington, Vermont, City Market provides a large selection of local, natural and conventional foods, and thousands of local and Vermont-made products. Visit City Market, Onion River Co-op online at or call 802-861-9700.






Business Energy Action (BEA) is an Energy Challenge run by VBSR to help Vermont businesses reduce energy consumption by 5% annually for 3 years! BEA will help participants enhance their triple bottom line: People, Planet, Profit. Participants will see that reducing energy consumption is not only good for the environment- but will save businesses money. BEA helps businesses find innovative, easy ways to reduce your energy consumption- whether you are a farm, a home business, a manufacturer, a retailer, or anything in between! Visit our webpage for more information or to sign up today! helps neighbors connect and build community.  We host regional networks of online neighborhood forums across Vermont, and 50,000 households participate.  Neighbors use their FPF to report car break-ins, recommend babysitters, organize block parties, discuss home improvement projects, share wildlife sightings, and more.  Vermont businesses use FPF to insert their messages into these neighborhood conversations and find new customers.  Contact us at



EarthShift is a leading international provider of sustainability solutions, with an emphasis on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Sustainability Return on Investment (S-ROI). We provide a combination of services that allow organizations to engage in informed decision-making about the social, economic, and environmental consequences that flow from their activities. EarthShift leverages innovative thinking, tools, and approaches to sustainability challenges to effect significant change by shifting the way our clients think and interact with the planet’s ecosystems and the life it supports. We help organizations evaluate their sustainability performance from a systems-level perspective, and implement innovative, sustainability driven practices and improvements.


Interrobang Design Collaborative, Inc. provides brand strategy and develops branding, packaging, print and web communications for businesses and organizations. Now in its 15th year, Interrobang has provided strategic brand development and design services for many Vermont companies, including Switchback Brewing Co., Autumn Harp, Middlebury College, CVAA, PocketWizard, and has designed all three editions of the VBSR/Local First Vermont Buy Local Book.



In 1919, ninety-four enterprising dairy farmers formed a cooperative to purchase the local creamery.  Now, nearly a century later, the combined commitment of Cabot Creamery’s farmers and employees was honored when Cabot became a certified B Corp, a first for dairy cooperatives and cheesemakers.  This very same dedication has earned Cabot acclaim for making “The World’s Best Cheddar” while offering a full line of award-winning cheeses, cultured products and butter.  Cabot is owned by the dairy farm families of Agri-Mark, the Northeast’s premier dairy cooperative.  For more information, come visit us at our historic creamery, or online at





Media Sponsors

Listener-supported Vermont Public Radio has been serving the people of Vermont and the surrounding region since 1977. As Vermont's only statewide public radio network, VPR is a trusted and independent source for news, music, conversation, NPR programming, and much more. For more information about VPR News and VPR Classical, a list of stations and streaming audio from all of VPR's services, visit




Vermont Business Magazine is a locally owned statewide business publication based in South Burlington, Vermont. Since 1972, VBM has published the latest and most accurate information and economic data available in our monthly magazine. VBM also publishes an annual Book of Lists and Business  Directory. Our website, has become a must used resource for anyone in business and our daily and weekly enews products have become the state’s most trusted source for daily business news. Many Businesses have found a great way to be in front of Vermont’s business community is by sponsoring one of our events throughout the year. Our survey indicated that the main reason for attending was for the networking opportunities, with 84% saying that they go to network. is a publication of the 501(C)(3) Vermont Journalism Trust. It is the go-to source for political, policy, business and health care news in Vermont. Our readership has doubled this past year: We attracted 86,000 unique visitors to our site from March 10 to April 9, 2013.




A. N. Deringer, Inc.
Black River Produce
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Vermont
Burton Snowboards
Business Culture Consultants
Champlain College
Chroma Technology
Dunkiel Saunders Elliott Raubvogel & Hand
FairPoint Communications
Goddard College
Gravel & Shea
Hubbardton Forge
Marketing Partners, Inc.
McKenzie Country Classics
Merchants Bank
Merritt & Merritt & Moulton, Attorneys at Law
Middlebury College
National Life Group
People's United Bank
Sugarbush Resort
SymQuest Group Inc.
The Farmhouse Group
The Point, WNCS-FM
The Vermont Country Store
Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery
Vermont Economic Development Authority
Vermont Energy Investment Corp. (VEIC)
Vermont Public Television
Vermont State Employees Credit Union
University of Vermont (UVM)


Burlington Electric Department
Clean Yeild Asset Management
Davis & Hodgdon Associates
Vermont Intern Program

Champion Members!

Sponsor: All Earth Renewables Sponsor: Ben and Jerrys Sponsor: Dinse/Knapp/McAndrews Sponsor: Gardeners Supply Sponsor: Green Mountain Power Sponsor: Keurig Green Mountain Sponsor: Marketing Partners Sponsor: New Chapter Sponsor: NRG Systems Sponsor: Seventh Generation Sponsor: SunCommon Sponsor: Villanti & Sons, Printers, Inc. Sponsor: Vermont State Employees Credit Union