Fortifying the Future of Vermont’s Downtowns

Event Details:
When: November 8, 2023 5:00 pm – November 8, 2023 8:00 pm
Location: Vermont Public Stetson Studio One, 365 Troy Ave, Colchester, VT 05446

Cost To Attend:
Nonmembers – $25
VBSR Members – Free

Registration is open

Event hosted by: Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility & Vermont Public

Join Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) and Vermont Public for networking, food, drinks, and a panel discussion about Fortifying the Future of Vermont’s Downtowns, hosted by Vermont Public statehouse reporter Peter Hirschfeld.

Our panel will discuss the importance of investing in Vermont downtowns and how we can ensure resilience among the changing environmental and economic climate. According to “The Value of U.S. Downtowns and Center Cities” report done by the International Downtown Association in 2020, downtowns serve five key roles in a community including: economy, inclusion, vibrancy, identity, and resilience. “Downtowns represent economic opportunity and have a built environment that supports future growth,” the report notes.

Join us for networking at 5:00 PM, followed by our panel discussion from 5:30 – 6:30 PM and a reception from 6:30 – 8:00 PM at Vermont Public’s studio in Colchester! We will reflect on what we’ve learned, meet the panelists, and enjoy a cash-only bar and free finger foods by the always delicious Sugarsnap Catering.

This event is a part of the VBSR People.Planet.Prosperity. Speaker Series, where we come together to learn from experts and innovators in the Vermont business community. This is a great opportunity to catch up with colleagues, make new connections, gain new ideas and inspiration, and have some fun. This event is open to anyone interested in VBSR’s mission: to leverage the power of business for positive social and environmental impact.

Meet Our Moderator

Peter Hirschfeld (he/him)
Reporter at Vermont Public

Peter Hirschfeld covers state government and the Vermont Legislature. He is based in Vermont Public’s Capital Bureau located across the street from Vermont’s Statehouse.

Hirschfeld is a Vermont journalist who has covered the Statehouse since 2009, most recently as bureau chief for the Rutland Herald and Times Argus. He began his career in 2003, working as a local sports reporter and copy editor at the Times Argus.

Meet Our Panelists

Caroline Corrente (she/her)
Chef-Owner, Haymaker Bun Company

Haymaker was born three months after my son. Some say that starting your own business is like having a baby, so on the really hard days I like to remind myself that I had twins.

My love language has always been sugar. I attended pastry school in Paris, became a classically trained French pastry chef and worked in bakeries for years until the day my son was born. Motherhood gave me the nudge to branch out on my own, and I wanted to make what I love to eat most: Buns. Lots of buttery, pillowy buns.

Kesha Ram Hinsdale (she/her)
Vermont State Senate

KESHA RAM HINSDALE is the first woman of color to serve in the State Senate, and is chair of the Senate Economic Development, Housing & General Affairs Committee. She also sits on the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Justice Oversight Committee. She received a BS in natural resource planning and a BA in political science from the University of Vermont in 2008. She served in the Vermont House of Representatives on behalf of Burlington, Chittenden District 6-4, from 2008 to 2016, where she sat on the House General, Housing and Military Affairs, and Ways and Means Committees, and served as vice chair of the House Natural Resources & Energy Committee. Kesha earned her Master of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2018. When not in the legislature, Kesha teaches Structural Inequality and Environmental Justice at Vermont Law & Graduate School. She has also served as co-chair of the Vermont Attorney General’s Immigration Task Force and as a member of the boards of Emerge Vermont, the Main Street Alliance of Vermont, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, the Regenerative Food Network, and the Vermont Natural Resources Council.

Sue Minter (she/her)
Executive Director, Capstone Community Action, Inc.

Sue Minter is the Executive Director of Capstone Community Action, a regional anti-poverty non-profit in Vermont dedicated to creating resilient communities and advancing social, economic and environmental justice. In 2021 she was appointed to serve on the Vermont Climate Council, established to create the state’s climate action plan, where she co-chair of the Just Transitions Committee.

Minter has served the state of Vermont as the Secretary of the Agency of Transportation (2015), Deputy Secretary (2011-2014) and as the state’s Chief Recovery Officer (2011-2013) following the devastation from Tropical Storm Irene. Sue also served on President Obama’s White House Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience (2015) as a sub-committee co-chair and also led a Vermont disaster response team to support Colorado DOT after 2013 flooding. Minter’s public service included elected office as State Representative in the Vermont legislature from 2004–2010.

Katie Trautz (she/her)
Executive Director, Montpelier Alive

Born and raised in Cabot, Vermont, Katie is a musician, mother, teacher and arts advocate. Katie is the co-founder of the non-profit folk music school Summit School of Traditional Music and Culture based in Montpelier, VT. Following her 8-year directorship at the Summit School, she became the Executive Director of Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph, VT. She then became the Events and Communications Coordinator for Montpelier Alive in 2021, and the Executive Director of the organization in winter of 2023. She has worked to bring vibrancy to the Capital City, supporting economic vitality and beautification in Montpelier’s historic downtown.

Thank you to our host! 

Vermont Public seeks to create an expanding, open community for all Vermonters, broadening access and opportunity for all voices to participate from every corner of our unique state.

Over the last 50 years, VPR and Vermont PBS’ audiences and supporters helped create two of the strongest statewide public media organizations in America. Together as Vermont Public we will build on that foundation of trusted information, high-quality education, and thoughtful programming to build the future of public media in Vermont.

Vermont Public remains Vermont’s unified public media source for programs from NPR and PBS and for locally produced, award-winning news, video and music content. We also host community events, both virtual and in-person, throughout the broadcast region.

Vermont Public is about bringing people and communities together. We want to give everyone a chance to participate – from every corner of our state and region.


Thank you to our sponsors!


Brattleboro Savings & Loan has been a part of this region for only a bit less than half the time that there has been a Vermont. Since our beginning in 1912, we have become a staple of the area by creating and providing competitive financial services and solutions to help the surrounding communities flourish.

BS&L is a mutual savings bank, which means we are owned by our depositors, and that has made all the difference in our focus on creating growth and prosperity in our community. In fact, mutuals were the earliest forms of banks in the US, beginning in the early 1800s, and were started explicitly to provide benefit to a group of people – the local community.


Copper Leaf Financial is a fee-only, fiduciary financial advisor firm with offices in Williston and Rutland Vermont. We help clients navigate their finances through each phase of life with an evolving plan that is updated regularly and acts as a roadmap for sound planning strategies. The firm’s holistic approach to wealth planning is what differentiates us, as we focus on the client’s overall financial health with a careful consideration of life goals – not just investments.

We are a leader in full-service community-scale renewable energy development, with a proven track record in project development from concept to completion. As a values-led commercial solar company, we specialize in reclaiming undervalued real estate for clean energy generation and storage, helping us to revitalize communities and create a cleaner, brighter future for all.

Hagan is an award winning media agency helping good brands reach the right people with creativity, ethics, humanity, and heart. Artfully & ethically amplifying connections since 2012.

Hanson+Doremus is an investment advisor offering integrated investment management and financial planning to individuals, businesses, and nonprofits. Founded in 1995 in Burlington, Vermont, the firm has been a fee-only fiduciary since it opened. Our advisors draw on our in-house research to build portfolios tailored to client objectives. They also work with clients on retirement, tax, education, charitable giving, and other planning strategies.


Let’s Grow Kids is a nonprofit organization on a mission to ensure affordable access to high-quality child care for all Vermont families by 2025. With nearly 40,000 supporters from all walks of life, Let’s Grow Kids, in partnership with Let’s Grow Kids Action Network, is empowering Vermonters to advocate for sustainable child care policy change. Working together, we can build a child care system that meets the needs of Vermont children and families and supports a brighter future for us all.

Open Approach is a full-service IT support company. A one-stop shop. A round-the-clock, do-it-until-it’s right kind of company. Our list of services is broad — and looks like what you’d find at any good IT company. Yet, while we may be jacks-of-all-trades, we’re a master of one: Making IT systems work to leverage and advance your business.

Our approach is, in fact, open. We get to know you and your needs first, then craft a customized solution that meets your needs (and leaves you room to grow). Connect with us today.


Reframe Lab is a Burlington-based consultancy that harnesses leadership, strategy, and creativity to help leaders and their teams collaborate, cut through complexity, and find the right problems to solve so they can innovate and prosper. Through workshop design and facilitation, strategic planning, and change management, we help teams uncover root causes, surface critical customer insights, and define and create intentional cultures that result in a clearer vision and stronger work environment.


Health & Safety

Please stay home if you are not feeling well or have been in close contact with anyone exhibiting symptoms related to COVID-19 as outlined by the Vermont Department of Health.

This event is family-friendly and caretakers of any kind are welcome to attend with your dependents. Please make note of any accommodation requests when you register.

All members of New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility are welcome to attend for free.

Interested in carpooling? If you are able to offer a ride, or if you are seeking a ride, add your name to the Carpool Coordination spreadsheet to get connected with other attendees! Free parking is available on site.


Are you interested in sponsoring this event? If so, please contact Madison Wood at for details.

Questions? Please reach out to VBSR Education & Events Manager, Molly Barfuss,