(Dr. Carolyn Finney, Ph.D.; Photo by Nicholas Nichols)

32nd Annual VBSR Conference Set for May 11th at Hula

Participants to Explore The New Workforce, Humanity & Belonging, and The Purpose Economy

Burlington, Vt. (April 20, 2022) – Registration is open and the keynote speaker is set for the 32nd Annual Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) Conference, “Rising Together,” which will be held on May 11th at Hula, the award-winning lakeside coworking and innovation campus in Burlington, and virtually.

VBSR business and nonprofit leaders, policymakers, students, and inspired individuals will gather for a full-day event that will include a keynote address by Dr. Carolyn Finney, Ph.D., nine workshops focused on the leading edge of social and environmental impact, and ample opportunities for networking and meeting exhibitors.

The conference will feature three themes: The New Workforce, Humanity & Belonging, and The Purpose Economy. Workshops will explore the unique issues and opportunities that each of the themes present, as well as the points where they intersect. Attendees will emerge inspired, connected with forward-thinking leaders, and replenished with resources and concrete action steps to drive change.

Dr. Finney, storyteller, author, and cultural geographer, currently an artist-in-residence and the Environmental Studies Professor of Practice in the Franklin Environmental Center at Middlebury College, will give the keynote address on hope and the role that a recognized and shared humanity should play in our aspirations. Underwritten by Mascoma Bank, this inspirational talk will explore a practice of relationship-building across difference that invites creativity and maximizes the possibility for positive change.

Finney’s work grows out of a commitment to question conventional wisdom and reconsider long-held assumptions regarding the production, representation, and dissemination of knowledge about people, places, and ideas. These efforts include academic pursuits focused on gender and environmental issues in the U.S. and abroad, artistic expressions spanning theatrical performance and filmmaking, and various forms of writing including her 2014 book, Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors.

Currently working on her new book which addresses the complicated relationship between race, land and belonging in the U.S., Finney is also developing a performance piece entitled “The N Word: Nature Revisited” as part of an Andrew W. Mellon residency at the New York Botanical Gardens Humanities Institute. She is a columnist at the Earth Island Journal and was recently awarded the Alexander and Ilse Melamid Medal from the American Geographical Society which recognizes “outstanding work on the dynamic relationship between human culture and natural resources.”

“As we adapt to this period of great upheaval and reassessment, it’s clear that we can only build a just, thriving, and transformative economy by ‘Rising Together,’” said Roxanne Vought, Executive Director of VBSR. “In its 32nd year, the Annual VBSR Conference remains a unique opportunity to strengthen bonds between Vermont’s changemakers – pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and catalyzing our collective actions toward the shared future of our workplaces, communities, and economy.”

Workshop topics include: The New Workforce – How Employers Can Support Their Workforce with Belonging & Wellbeing; Inclusive Language and the Power of Words; Co-Creating Employee Culture – A Journey of Sharing Leadership, Power, Meaning & Responsibility; What a Leading-Edge Brand Looks Like in the Purpose Economy; National Leaders Talk Capitalism & the Purpose Economy; How Businesses Can Welcome New Americans; Innovators in Sustainability – Businesses Generating Change for Big Impact; Beyond Corporate Philanthropy – Nurturing Authentic Business-Community Partnerships; and The Legislative Lookback – Business, Advocacy, and the Pursuit of an Equitable, Prosperous Vermont. Registration, sponsor information, and a complete conference agenda are available at www.vbsrconference.org. 

The 32nd Annual VBSR Conference is generously supported by

Keynote Underwriter: Mascoma Bank

Reef Room/Networking Reception Underwriter: Vermont Community Foundation

Isthmus Room Underwriter: Gallagher, Flynn & Company LLP

Sunset Room Underwriter: Vermont Gas Systems

Champion Underwriters: The Alchemist, Ben & Jerry’s, CeresMED, Champlain Investment Partners, Chroma, Dinse,  Gardener’s Supply Company, Green Mountain Power, King Arthur Baking Company, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, National Life Group, Northfield Savings Bank, Paul Frank + Collins,  Seventh Generation, SunCommon, TruexCullins, Union Mutual, VEIC, Vermont Creamery, Vermont Family Farms, Villanti Printers, and VSECU.

Underwriters: Baystate Financial, Bia Diagnostics, Cabot Farms, Dunkiel Saunders Elliott Raubvogel & Hand, Greenbacker Capital, Let’s Grow Kids, Merritt & Merritt, New England Federal Credit Union,  Northeast Delta Dental, The Richards Group, Seven Days, Sheehey Furlong & Behm, Solidarity of Unbridled Labour, United Way of Northwest Vermont, Ursa Major, UVM Health Network, Vanguard, VEDA, VELCO, Vermont Business Magazine, Vermont Department of Economic Development, Vermont Federal Credit Union, Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, VPR, VTDigger, Wake Robin, and Working Fields.

About VBSR
VBSR is a statewide, non-profit business association with a mission to leverage the power of business for positive social and environmental impact. VBSR’s 650 member businesses and organizations strive toward a just, thriving, and transformative economy that works for all people and the planet through shared learning, building connections, and collective action. Learn more or join the cause at www.vbsr.org.