34th Annual VBSR Conference Set for May 9th at Hula

Participants to explore the transformative power of nature and technology, agency, and joy

Burlington, Vt. (May 1, 2024) – Tickets are still available and the keynote speaker is set for the 34th Annual Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) Conference, “In Our Hands”, which will be held on May 9th at Hula, the award-winning lakeside coworking and innovation campus in Burlington.

VBSR business and nonprofit leaders, policymakers, students, and inspired individuals will gather for a full-day event that will include a keynote address by Ferene Paris, six timely sessions, two innovation labs focused on the leading edge of social and environmental impact, and ample opportunities for networking and meeting exhibitors.

The conference will feature three themes: Bold Restructuring, Redefining Connection, and Joyful Resilience. Conference sessions 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 new awareness, resources, and action steps to drive change.

Storyteller Ferene Paris, this year’s keynote speaker, is the founder of All Heart Inspirations where she creates heart-centered spaces through live performance, interactive workshops, and community engagements. Known for living out loud as a Black Haitian femme, she embodies courageous truth telling and vulnerable vibes as an artist.

Aspiring to make a collective difference within her local Vermont community and beyond – one story at a time – Ferene has manifested over 100 storytelling offerings. Highlights include opening up for activist/author Dr. Angela Davis and musician/actress Angélique Kidjo, heartfelt keynotes, storytelling workshops, artist residencies, and guest appearances on a variety of Vermont Public programs such as Brave Little State, Homegoings, and Vermont Edition, as well as Seven Days’ Stuck in Vermont.

Ferene's feature on Vermont Public’s Homegoings was nominated for an Emmy in the Best Interview/Discussion category. She believes we all have stories worthy of sharing and will be asking attendees “What's yours?!”

“The future of Vermont and our businesses is ‘In Our Hands’. Whether it’s the transformative power of AI, climate resiliency, housing for all, or joy – it’s up to us to create the future we want,” said Roxanne Vought, Executive Director of VBSR. “In its 34th year, the Annual VBSR Conference remains a unique opportunity to strengthen bonds between Vermont changemakers and push the boundaries of what businesses can be - addressing the realities of our global business environment with joyful resilience and action here at home.”

Session Topics, Innovation Labs and More:
Sessions include It’s Tough Out There! Employee Wellbeing and Creating Joy in 2024; Here at Home: Vermont’s Housing Crisis from Main Street to the Statehouse; Staying Steadfast (When Nothing Seems Steady and Everything Feels Fast); Climate Realities & Resilience: Learning from Vermont’s Most Impacted Businesses; AI for Good: Ethical and Responsible Artificial Intelligence; Business Across Borders: Redefining “Vermont Values” in An Era of Globalization.

Innovation Labs will be facilitated by the UVM Sustainable Innovation MBA program (Creative Solutions for Sustainable Businesses) and the Vermont B Corp Collective (The Evolution of the B Corp Standards).

In addition, the Vermont Professionals of Color Network (VT PoC) will host a BIPOC Affinity Space from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Registration, sponsor information, and a complete conference agenda are available at www.vbsrconference.org.

The 34th Annual VBSR Conference is generously supported by:

Keynote Underwriter: Mascoma Bank

Networking Reception: Encore Renewable Energy

Reef Room Underwriter: Gordon’s Window Decor

Isthmus Room Underwriter: Open Approach

Sunset Room Underwriter: Acrisure

Champion Underwriters: The Alchemist Brewery, Ben & Jerry’s, Casella Waste Systems, Ceres Collaborative, Champlain Investment Partners, Chroma Technology Corp., Dinse, Green Mountain Power, Hula, King Arthur Baking Company, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, Mamava, National Life Group, Paul Frank + Collins, Seventh Generation, SunCommon, Union Mutual, VEIC, Vermont Creamery, Vermont Family Farms, and VSECU.

Underwriters: Champlain Housing Trust, Delta Dental, Let’s Grow Kids, Norwich Solar, The Richards Group, SRH Law, United Way of Northwest Vermont, The University of Vermont Health Network, Ursa Major, VermontBiz, VTDigger, Vermont Electric Power Company, Vermont Gas Systems, Vermont Public, and Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.

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 700 member businesses and organizations strive toward a just, thriving, and transformative economy that works for all people and the planet through shared learning, community building, and collective action. Learn more or join the cause at www.vbsr.org.