For Election:

Kelly Clements (she/her)
President, Gordon’s Window Decor

Kelly Clements is the second-generation president of Gordon’s Window Decor, founded by her father Gordon Clements in 1986. Ms. Clements graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communication with a degree in film and started her own film company upon graduation through which she had the opportunity to travel the world. Through her extensive travel she discovered how much roots mattered to her- specifically her Vermont roots. 

She joined Gordon’s Window Decor in 2003 and assumed presidency in February of 2015. She is passionate about manufacturing, family business, and the role a business plays in its community. As the exclusive manufacturer of EcoSmart Insulating Window Shades, Gordon’s Window Decor is a pioneer in manufacturing high-quality window treatments that benefit both the client and the environment.

Gordon’s Window Décor was named the Vermont Family Business of the year by the Small Business Administration and Clements was recognized by Family Business Magazine in the “25 Under 35”. She has been honored to speak on panels at various conferences including Transitions West and the SBA. 

Ms. Clements is proud to call Vermont home and even more proud to be able to provide high-quality Vermont made products to clients all over the world. 

 

Chad Farrell (he/him)
Founder and co-CEO, Encore Renewable Energy

Chad is the Founder and co-CEO of Encore Renewable Energy, a leader in community scale renewable energy project development services. He has over 25 years of professional experience in the fields of brownfields redevelopment and renewable energy project finance, development and construction. At Encore, Chad has led the team’s innovative and collaborative efforts to design, permit, finance and construct nearly 90 different commercial scale solar PV projects throughout the State of Vermont and beyond, representing more than $130M in total investment value. Many of these projects involve reclaiming undervalued real estate for clean energy generation and storage, helping to revitalize communities and create a cleaner, brighter future for all.

He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Bucknell University and earned a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Vermont. Chad served on the Board of Directors of the Vermont Natural Resources Council and Renewable Energy Vermont. Following appointment by the Vermont Senate to represent the clean energy sector, he also served on the Vermont Climate Council. He currently serves on the Leadership Council for the Northeast Clean Energy Council. 

 

Mel Hall (he/him)
Co-founder and CEO, Global Village Foods

Mel Hall, co-founder and CEO of Global Village Foods, has lived in the Upper Valley of VT/NH since 1987. Originally from Memphis, Tn., a Dartmouth c/o ’91 and a Vermont resident for decades, he currently focuses on strategic direction for the Global Village Foods brand both in food service & in the CPG space. Prior to co-founding Global Village Foods, Mel and his wife ran a successful African restaurant in White River Junction, VT. Mel is passionate about growing sustainable food systems and community based action in the good-food-space, both locally, nationally and abroad. The vision is to build a national brand sourcing Vermont and regionally grown agricultural produce to the greatest degree possible, spurring local economic activity and creating career path & living wage employment. When not working Mel can be found biking, walking the dog, enjoying time with family or tinkering on the next potential innovation.

 

Ruchi Nadkarni, MA/ MBA (she/her)
Partner, Karni Consulting Bazaar

Ruchi is a Social Impact Management Professional based and committed to the underestimated stakeholders of VT. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from UVM, and a Masters in Politics from the University of Mumbai. Her work centers the amplification of opportunities for BIPOC and minority communities in VT, which she was led to through a long career in nonprofit management in India, effective philanthropy in NY and systemic social impact across the US through large corporate foundations and Fortune 500 companies.

She is an immigrant, mother and woman of color dedicated to using her experiences and reliance on deep empathy and rigorous research in her projects to catalyze an inclusive VT through targeted systemic changes. She believes in moving her stakeholders through individual connections and empathy while telling stories that inform a larger impact systemically. She believes that art is the essence of life, and endeavors to integrate it into her work.

She finds deep comfort in exploring deep spirituality, connecting with animals and spending time with her toddler son and partner exploring and connecting with her community of Colchester, VT. She is deeply influenced by her Indian roots and loves integrating those unique experiences with her life in VT.

 

For Re-election:

Jed Davis (he/him)
Vice President, Strategic Engagement and Sustainability, Cabot Creamery Cooperative

Jed Davis is Vice President, Strategic Engagement and Sustainability for Cabot Creamery Cooperative, a long-time VBSR member.

Born and raised on a six-generation family dairy and fruit farm, Jed came to Vermont and joined Cabot Creamery in 1991 and has held a variety of marketing, sales and operations positions. In 2008, Jed was named Cabot’s first Director of Sustainability. In his current role, he remains the point person on sustainability, facilitating smart collaborations not just within the cooperative, but beyond, helping expand Cabot’s Sustainability Credo of “Living within our means and ensuring the means to live” – from cow-to-creamery-to-customer.

Cabot Creamery is owned by the dairy farm families of the Agri-Mark cooperative, and is proud to be a certified B Corporation and a recipient of the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award. He was recognized by VBSR in 2023 with the Terry Ehrich Award for Lifetime Achievement in values-led business.

 

Duane Peterson (he/him)
Retired

Duane has a varied background. A social entrepreneur, he’s had 7 careers with stints as a medic, police officer, non-profit manager, political campaigner, justice department official, legislative director and values-led business practitioner.
The common thread: organizing people to take meaningful action towards positive change.

He moved to Vermont in 1996 to help Ben use Ben & Jerry’s as a force for social change. After 12 years there as Ben’s Chief of Stuff, Duane left to launch his most recent venture — SunCommon — to make it easy and affordable for homeowners to help repower Vermont with clean, safe, in-state energy. A Benefit Corporation and a Certified BCorp, SunCommon is Vermont’s largest provider of residential, community and commercial solar business with over 100 employees.

Duane has been a part of the VBSR community since 1996 and his wife Laura served as VBSR’s Program Manager back in the day. He’s a member of the Social Venture Network and serves on the Board of Trustees at VPIRG. He was recognized by VBSR in 2015 with the Terry Ehrich Award for Lifetime Achievement in values-led business.

 


Beth Rusnock (she/her)
Head of Corporate Communications and Community Relations, National Life Group

Beth Rusnock is the Head of Corporate Communications and Community Relations for National Life Group as well as the President of the National Life Group Foundation. In these roles, she drives employee and community engagement by building a culture based on the company’s values of do good, be good, make good.

Beth co-founded Do Good Fest, a benefit music concert series with annual events held in Montpelier, VT and Arlington, TX. She established ending childhood hunger as National Life’s corporate cause, and created and managed the Main Street Grant program to support struggling Vermont communities. She also leads many initiatives that bring recognition and support to local nonprofits and the community from the distribution of free Thanksgiving meals to on-site puppy adoption days and hosting exhibits of hospice caregivers.

In addition to her current VBSR board commitment, Beth serves on the Working Communities Challenge Steering Committee led by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. She has served on the boards of the Vermont Foodbank and Preservation Trust of Vermont as well as on the Vermont Community Foundation’s Covid-19 Response Fund Steering Committee.

In her spare time, Beth enjoys traveling with her husband and two daughters.

 

Sas Stewart (she/her)
Founder, Adventure Dinner & Founding Member, On The Fly

Sas Stewart is an entrepreneur passionate about creating products, spaces, and events that engage and activate community. She co-founded Stonecutter Spirits, an award-winning craft spirits distillery in Middlebury, Vermont, and later launched the activist cocktail bar Highball Social in Burlington, Vermont. Sas is also the creator of Adventure Dinners, the sought after pop-up cocktail dinner series in secret locations around Vermont, now in its fifth year.

In 2019 Sas was named one of the top 50 entrepreneurs to watch in the US, and currently consults in brand and business strategy with a specialization in food, beverage, and hospitality.

Sas and her projects have been featured in Martha Stewart Living, Food and Wine, Outside Magazine, Sift, Bloomberg, Imbibe, Better Homes and Gardens and other publications.

She is a graduate of the SBA Emerging Leaders program, and holds a B.A in English from the University of Michigan and a M.S. in Sustainable Planning and Development from Pratt Institute.