Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility Welcomes New Board Members
Burlington, Vt. (January 26, 2023) – Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility is pleased to welcome three new members to the organization’s Board of Directors: John Kim of the University of Vermont Grossman School of Business, Karen Lawson of Lawson’s Finest Liquids, and Kate Ogden of Seventh Generation.
“We are honored to have John, Karen, and Kate join VBSR’s Board,” said VBSR Executive Director Roxanne Vought. “They each bring such unique perspectives to our work of building a just, thriving, and transformative economy, while expanding the already rich tapestry of industries, geographies, business types, and identities that make for a strong and effective Board of Directors.”
John Kim is the Graduate Programs Career Advisor at the University of Vermont Grossman School of Business, home of the Sustainable Innovation MBA (SI-MBA), the leading program for emerging changemakers who believe business can – and must – become a force for good. In this role he supports the next generation of changemakers as they leave higher education to build better organizations and a better society.
Over his career, Kim has worked at community-based nonprofits, large international NGOs, and spent 10 years at The Walt Disney Company and Herman Miller driving positive social and environmental change. He has consulted with VC-backed start-ups, foundations, nonprofits, and U.S. government agencies to scale-up purpose-driven ventures.
“As a person-of-color working in the world of sustainability, which is woefully lacking diversity, I hope to bring lived-experience, perspective, and representation to the VBSR board,” said Kim. “With my new role working at the intersection of higher education and sustainable business, I will continue the strong relationship between VBSR and the SI-MBA program. There are many opportunities for the program to support VBSR member companies who can benefit from the energy, passion, and smarts of these students.”
Karen Lawson is Co-Owner and Chief Impact Officer of Lawson’s Finest Liquids where she currently oversees the company’s values-based Social Impact Program which works to support thriving communities. Her past, part-time roles at Lawson’s Finest Liquids have spanned from overseeing wholesale distribution logistics to taking on Chief Creative Officer duties when the Waitsfield brewery, taproom and retail store were launched.
Before joining Lawson’s Finest Liquids full time in 2017, she had a 20-year career in Vermont state government holding a variety of roles including Housing Coordinator with the Department of Corrections and manager of the state’s Serious and Violent Reentry grant program. Lawson also worked at the Secretary of State’s office to launch the Safe at Home program which provides address confidentiality to victims of violence.
“In my new role as Chief Impact Officer I’m responsible for shaping and guiding the mission-based initiatives of Lawson’s Finest Liquids to create the greatest possible social impact, act as a steward for corporate responsibility, and bring our company values to life for staff, fans, community and the environment to create a lasting legacy,” said Lawson. “I greatly respect the work that VBSR does to support corporate social responsibility for Vermont businesses and the opportunity to participate on the Board of Directors is exciting.”
Kate Ogden is Head of Advocacy and Movement Building at Seventh Generation. In this role she leads the company’s advocacy work in the U.S. and globally through partnership with movement-leading NGOs. She oversees Seventh Generation’s engagement in organizing spaces dedicated to the business community’s advocacy for climate justice, democracy, reproductive freedom, and other values-led issues.
Prior to joining Seventh Generation, Ogden spent 12 years at the global environmental organization Greenpeace, most recently as Deputy Director of the Grassroots Department. She is passionate about climate and energy justice but has also developed and implemented advocacy campaigns on toxics regulation, deforestation, protecting our oceans, and protecting the right to protest.
“Past advocacy work in Vermont, done in collaboration with VBSR, has been effective, impactful, and delightful, giving me endless appreciation for the effective membership organizing model of VBSR,” said Ogden. “I bring a depth of experience in nonprofit advocacy and corporate advocacy and I believe in service leadership. I am excited for the opportunity to serve the mission of VBSR as a board member, bringing my time and experience to the table in support of the organization’s policy priorities.”
Annually, in the late summer, VBSR makes a call for Board Nominations. Members and friends of VBSR are asked to consider who might be a great addition to VBSR’s Board of Directors, including those who would benefit from the opportunity. VBSR especially seeks board members who identify as women and non-binary, people of color, veterans, individuals with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, rural businesses, and other identities and lived experiences traditionally underrepresented in dominant business culture. Learn more here.
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 700 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.