Anti-Racism Policy

VBSR Virtual Workshop: The Importance of an Anti-Racism Policy for Your Business

Event Details:
When: June 8, 2021 1:00 pm – June 8, 2021 2:00 pm
Location: Virtual Workshop

Cost To Attend:
Nonmembers – $20
VBSR Members – Free

Registration is open

Event hosted by: VBSR


Click here to register


Join VBSR and the Wedding and Event Vendor Alliance as we discuss the ins & outs of developing an Anti-Racism policy and implementation plan.


At this workshop, the Wedding and Event Vendor Alliance, a Vermont based non-profit for growth, diversity and inclusion in the wedding and event industry, will share the key elements to consider when creating an anti-racism policy for your business or organization. The Alliance will explain the comprehensive process they went through to identify the purpose and implementation of their organization’s anti-racism policy. Then as a group, we’ll discuss the process and important organizational benefits of implementing an anti-racism policy.


This workshop is a great fit for any business or organization who may be considering creating an anti-racism policy or who are looking to revise or refresh an existing policy.


Registration for this workshop is free for VBSR members and $20 for non-members to attend. The workshop will take place virtually, and the details to join the workshop will be sent via email to all who register, in advance of the event.


Questions? Please reach out to VBSR Education & Events Manager, Carra Cheslin, at


Click here to register


Meet Our Workshop Presenters:


Maricela Ehmann


Maricela Ehmann

Executive Director/Board President, Wedding and Event Vendor Alliance

Maricela moved to Vermont in 2017 from the San Francisco Bay Area where she was deeply rooted in the events and restaurant industries. She was Executive Assistant the president and Executive Chef at an industry leading events corporation where she served as secretary of the Safety Committee and developed their Injury and Illness Prevention Program. Within the Human Resources aspect of her role, she advocated for employee empowerment.

Maricela and her husband launched Ehmann Events in 2018, an events services company providing planning and management services based in Killington, Vermont.

During the early days of the COVID 19 pandemic, Maricela developed an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan to be prepared to execute weddings and events in Vermont. The plan was vetted by the ACCD and the WorkSafe program. She was asked to join the Governor’s Restart Task Force team for the wedding and event sector and provided valuable insight in safety measures to reduce the risk of infection.

Maricela currently serves on the Board of Director of the Killington Pico Area Association and is a member of multiple organizations including VBSR, the Event Safety Alliance and ALPFA. Advancing diversity and inclusion as well as providing resources to uplift our underrepresented vendor communities are top priority in her roles at WEVA.


Alison Ellis


Alison Ellis

Director of Finance/Treasurer, Wedding and Event Vendor Alliance

Alison is a floral designer and owner of Fresh Event Design, LLC. She’s been flowering Vermont weddings since 2002 from her home-studio, Floral Artistry. Alison graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in Plant & Soil Science and a minor in Small Business.

Alison is a business educator, speaker and published author who teaches a large community of florists around the globe and has enrolled thousands of students in her online business training at Real Flower Business. Alison is also on the Advisory Board of Bloom Trust Co.

In 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, Alison collaborated with the Governor’s Restart Task Force Team for the Wedding and Event Sector, to help create re-opening guidelines and safety measures for events in the State of Vermont.

Following this effort, she partnered with Maricela Ehmann to provide safety updates for weddings and events and together with Michelle Boleski they founded Wedding and Event Vendor Alliance to advocate for safe and welcoming events with a mission to increase equality and visibility in the industry for our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ community.


Phebe Robinson-Higgins


Phebe Robinson-Higgins

Vice President of the Board, Wedding and Event Vendor Alliance

Phebe is the Owner & Lead Designer at Grace Floral and Co. in New Hampshire. Prior to joining the wedding world nearly 16 years ago, Phebe was working in Higher Education cultivating and growing new Diversity and Inclusivity programming for colleges to not only recruit students, but help foster student success throughout their college experience and beyond. The programming she developed is still in place today.

Phebe is the first African American woman to have an endowed scholarship in her name at her Alma Mater and she currently sits on the Board of Trustees.

It may have been an untraditional path to the wedding world, but Phebe realized she could combine her calling for program development into a creative field. Phebe has been instrumental in building momentum and education in the floral industry with her online training and resources via Popped with Phebe.


Michelle Boleski


Michelle Boleski

Director of Community Affairs/Secretary, Wedding and Event Vendor Alliance

Michelle is the owner of Petals Floral Design, a Vermont based floral studio specializing in weddings and events since 2006. Michelle was an elementary school art teacher until 2011. During her teaching career, she incorporated civil rights in the classroom and collaborated with colleagues to extend the curriculum, introduce historical BIPOC figures and study art from around the world.

In 2016 Michelle was elected to the school board and became involved with the Equity and Inclusion Committee where she advocated for change in her school district. In 2019, the state put forth H.3 (Act 1), an act relating to ethnic and social equity standards for public schools; the bill was signed into law in 2019.

Michelle has consistently attended workshops and conferences, including weekly Racial and Equity Caucus meetings. She’s connected with many advocates for change at the state and local level during her time on the board.


Thank you to our JEDI Learning Community Sponsors:


King Arthur Baking Company


Baking with joy since 1790.
We’re an employee-owned company, every one of us bakers at heart. And for generations, we’ve been there with you as you bake. Our mission is to be the ultimate resource and inspiration in the kitchen, to inspire connections and community through baking, and to use our business as a force for good.




Vermont Gas


Safe, clean, affordable and reliable energy choices.

We are northwest Vermont’s integrated energy services company. We offer customers clean, affordable and reliable thermal energy service, award-winning energy efficiency programs, home and business energy equipment service and maintenance, and a first-in-the-nation renewable option for families and businesses.

For over 20 years, has been committed to creating cutting-edge solutions for our clients while investing in our people and our local communities. From volunteerism to environmentalism, we are continuously building connections with our team members, our clients, and our neighbors.



Mascoma Bank

Mascoma Bank was founded in 1899 by community members seeking ways to establish a healthy local economy. For over 120 years, Mascoma Bank’s foundation of mutuality has continued to be a force for positive change supporting communities to reach thriving sustainability. As a Certified B Corporation® we continue on our mission to be Best for the World®, a company where we don’t answer to stockholders, but respond to the needs of our communities, where we also live, work, and play.



City Market

City Market/Onion River Co-Op is Burlington’s community-owned grocery store with over 12,000 members and locations Downtown and in the South End. Guided by their Global Ends and the Co-op Principles of “strengthening the local food system” and “concern for community”, City Market seeks to ensure that consumers have local access to progressive environmental, social, and healthful choices at affordable prices.




White + Burke

Strengthening communities for more than 30 years. White + Burke creates healthy, productive, and profitable spaces for Vermonters to live, play, and work. Whether consulting on a new commercial development project, providing strategic analysis of a real estate portfolio, structuring a public-private partnership, or seeking a new location, we provide in-depth, objective, strategic advice and action to businesses, property owners, institutions, and municipalities. We are an outsourced real estate department – here when you need us and costing nothing when you don’t.