Creating Irresistible Companies

Event Details:
When: November 7, 2017 12:30 pm – November 7, 2017 5:30 pm
Location: Killington Grand Resort, 228 E Mountain Rd, Killington, VT 05751

Cost To Attend:
Nonmembers – $65
VBSR Members – $50

Registration is open


We often hear companies have trouble recruiting or keeping employees. Yet we know that there are some companies in Vermont who have less trouble with this than others! What are they doing that we can all learn from? What best practices are your peers looking into or using? Who can you connect with to help you on your business journey?

Rob Miller of VSECUJoin more than 150 VBSR members and friends on November 7th for a half-day conference at the Killington Grand Hotel. We’re thrilled to announce that our Keynote Speaker will be Rob Miller, CEO of VSECU, talking about “Passion, Purpose & Determined Aspirations in Unexpected Places.” During the day, we’ll engage in roundtable conversations, hold a Q&A with Rob, and hear a variety of 10-minute inspirational talks from Vermont companies who have experience with the challenge of navigating culture and attitudes to create irresistible companies. Stick around afterward for a cocktail reception sponsored by WrightJones.


Whether you’re coming from near or far, carpooling can go a long way to help the environment and to make new connections early! Find or create a carpool here!


12:30 Registration and Networking

1:00 Intro into the Issue and Keynote Presentation


Krysta Sadowski, Gallagher Flynn & Co.

Making the Case for Irresistibility

US economic competitiveness and the growth (not to mention survival!) of Vermont’s companies are increasingly being challenged by the shortage of skilled labor. This dynamic presentation will set the stage for the day’s discussions by first examining the national and local labor market trends that are necessitating a shift in thinking about irresistibility from a “nice to have” to a “need to have”. We will look at what defines an irresistible company and why building irresistible companies is rapidly becoming a strategic imperative for improving company performance.


Rob Miller, President and Chief Executive Officer for VSECU, VSECU

Passion, Purpose & Determined Aspirations in Unexpected Places

When first introduced as the new CEO at VSECU, Rob Miller described what the future could look like for his coworkers at the 70+ year-old financial institution. “People lined up at our front door, eager to join us because we are an awesome place to work” and “Every Vermonter a member because we make a difference in people’s lives!” Rob will share the still-evolving journey of how VSECU is shaping an internal culture that brings its brand to life and serves its purpose of improving the lives of its members.

2:15 Facilitated Roundtable Discussions

2:45 Q&A with Rob Miller

3:15 VBSRTalks, Short, inspirational presentations from Vermont leaders who have gone through purposeful culture building or change as a way to engage, recruit, and retain employees. These talks will be held in Northstar conference rooms I & II and will be Featuring:

Creating Irresistible Companies








Northstar I

Ted Castle, President, Rhino Foods

Should business help their employees “bring their best selves” to work?

When companies say their employees are their most valuable asset, do they really mean it? Is a statement similar to this in your mission statement? If an auditor came to your business, could you demonstrate that you have multiple approaches that are deployed, improved upon over time, and integrated throughout your organization? At Rhino Foods we work very hard to live up to our Employee Principle. We have begun to become even more focused on finding meaningful ways to help our employees “bring their best selves to work.”

Suzanne McDowell, Co-CEO and Chief Human Resources Officer
King Arthur Flour

Creating Community from the Inside Out

Our employees are the heart and soul of King Arthur Flour. As a 100 percent employee-owned company, that means each one of us is equally invested in ensuring our success. We know it’s important to hire the best people, to create a respectful and empowering corporate culture, and to make it possible for our employees to thrive – both within the workplace and outside of it. Our commitment to our employees’ well-being, happiness, and overall job experience has helped make us an award-winning employer and a successful business for more than 200 years, and it will remain a critical part of our philosophy for the next 200.

Luke Stafford, CEO, Mondo Mediaworks, Mondo Media Works

Beyond “Giving Back”

For the first six years of its life, Mondo Mediaworks had a broad mission to “give back to the community.” But in 2016, Mondo went back to the drawing board and defined a clear, poignant values statement: “Save Vermont.” What followed was a certain business butterfly effect, culminating in a recently-launched marketing campaign to address population decline in Rutland County. Mondo’s CEO, Luke, will illustrate the importance of a socially-conscious mindset when growing a business in the Green Mountain State, and recount what happens when you set a bold vision for the future.

Northstar II

Adeline Druart, President, VT Creamery

Culture is a Manifestation of Values

Vermont Creamery has achieved success by staying true to its core values. By focusing on transparency and valuing their employees as the company’s greatest resource, Vermont Creamery has maintained its authenticity while undergoing rapid growth. Adeline Druart, President, will highlight the company’s strong workforce engagement and deeply held company culture that has evolved over the past 30 years. From open book management to a holiday party for employees’ children, Vermont Creamery prides itself on being present, celebrating the small victories and not taking themselves too seriously.

Richard French, Founder and CEO, The Works

Staying Ahead During a Tsunami of Cultural Changes

In 1988, The Works Cafe started as a bagel shop. As the winds of change blew and bagels began popping up everywhere, we evolved and became a bagel and sandwich shop. When larger chains entered the market and brought new expectations for fast casual restaurants, we embraced those changes and transformed our menu, decor and more. Now, cultural changes – those are more challenging to stay ahead of as they continue to come at us in a more and more accelerated rate, but we’re trying. Let’s discuss some the of the ways we’re trying to stay ahead and how it influences the way we hire, train and communicate with staff — and how we adapt our policies and benefit packages to embrace these changes.


Carrie Simmons, Founder + Owner, New Ground Creative

Leading Your Business with Integrity

As the leader of a company, your integrity is essential to retaining employee loyalty, and it gives you the freedom and energy to build a brand that truly reflects your business and personality. But it’s not easy. It means aligning everything in your life with your personal values, including the decisions you make, the way you run your business, and how you hold space for staff, as well as the clients and other people you choose to engage with.

4:00 Networking Reception

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Cocktail Reception Underwriter

WrightJones Logo


Cabot Creamery Cooperative

In 1919, ninety-four enterprising dairy farmers formed a cooperative to purchase the local creamery. Now, nearly a century later, the combined commitment of CabotCreamery’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

Gallagher, Flynn & Company

As one of the largest independent CPA and business consulting firms in Northern New England, Gallagher, Flynn & Company, LLP, (“GFC”) prides itself in offering trusted industry expertise rendered with a highly personal touch from our offices in South Burlington, Vermont and Hanover, New Hampshire. Our resources run deep – with over 75 full-time employees. We work with primarily privately held companies with varied ownership structures, private equity groups and non-profit organizations, ranging in size from start-ups to organizations with revenues in excess of $300 million. Our diverse practice offerings are the result of over 50 years of meeting the many needs of our clients. Our firm is comprised of highly qualified individuals who specialize in audit and accounting as well as tax and management advisory and specialized consulting areas of expertise. In complement, we are large enough to have the technical experience to meet diverse client needs. GFC enjoys a strong regional profile and a national/ international reach through our RSM Alliance. With more than 600 offices worldwide and 100 offices nationwide, our alliance gives us access to a full range of capabilities including the resources of RSM and over 70 other independent firms in the alliance.

King Arthur Flour

King Arthur FlourKing Arthur Flour is an employee-owned company, every one of us bakers at heart. Our mission is to inspire connections and community by spreading the joy of baking.


Merritt & Merritt

Merritt & Merritt is a B Corporation law firm based in Burlington, Vermont representing emerging growth companies with a focus on financing and intellectual property. The firm also represents angel, family office, venture capital and private equity investors and is an active participant in the New England venture ecosystem.


 Vermont Rural Ventures

Vermont Rural Ventures invests in growing businesses and nonprofits to create jobs and support the economic and social well-being of Vermonters and their communities.



A.N. Deringer, Inc.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Black River Produce

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Vermont

Burton Snowboards

Business Culture Consultants

Champlain College

Chroma Technology


Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC

Downstreet Housing and Community Development

Dunkiel Saunders Elliott Raubvogel & Hand

FairPoint Communications

Far Vision Consulting 

Ivy Computer, Inc.


Let’s Grow Kids

McKenzie Country Classics

Merchants Bank

Middlebury College

Northeast Kingdom Community Action

Norwich Solar Technologies

Small Dog Electronics

The Alchemist

The Farmhouse Group

Third Generation Media and Design

TruexCullins Architecture and Interior Design

Union Mutual

University of Vermont (UVM)

University of Vermont Medical Center

Vermont Business Magazine (VBM)

Vermont Creamery

Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA)

Vermont Energy Investment Corp. (VEIC)

Vermont PBS