Snelling Center for Government announces Vermont Leadership Institute Class of 2021

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Snelling Center for Government announces Vermont Leadership Institute Class of 2021

Wed, 07/07/2021 - 3:46pm -- tim

Photo credit: Kelly Diglio

Vermont Business Magazine The Snelling Center for Government announced today the graduates of the Vermont Leadership Institute Class of 2021:

Abeer Alzubaidy, South Burlington, Winooski School District
Shawn Burroughs, South Ryegate, Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital
Evan Carlson, Sutton, Whiteout Solutions
Mark Eley, Winooski, Department for Children and Families – Economic Services
Brian Horbal, Bradford, Agency of Transportation
Stevya Mukuzo, Burlington, Winooski School District
Brittany Nevins, Waltham, Agency of Commerce and Community Development
Jillian Niggel, Essex Junction, Department for Children and Families
Colleen Safford, Jericho, University of Vermont
Samuel Santos, Highgate, Department of Corrections
Louisa Schibli, Charlotte, Milk Money Vermont
Suzanne Shibley, Underhill, Department for Children and Families – Family Services
Melanie Slocum, Northfield, Blue Cross Blue Shield Vermont
Carrie Stahler, East Burke, Green Mountain United Way
Chelsea Takamine, Essex Junction, True Impact
Erin Wetherell, East Thetford, Community College of Vermont
Dennis Wrest, Winooski, TekLex

After a very unique year characterized by masks and Zoom tiles and a mix of in-person and remote sessions, the Vermont Leadership Institute (VLI) Class of 2021 celebrated their journey at a Commencement Ceremony held on June 5th at Basin Harbor in Vergennes. As the 26th class of the Vermont Leadership Institute, the Class of 2021 spent the past nine months delving into topics such as personal leadership adaptation; complex systems thinking and innovation; and leadership paradigms that support diversity, equity, and inclusion for all Vermonters. With a variety of new tools and knowledge and the strong support of a network of colleagues, graduates are well poised to lead transformative change, both professional and personally.

With commencement guests in attendance for the first time in two years, the joyous celebration was full of inspiring words from a number of speakers. Xusana Davis, Executive Director of Racial Equity for the State of Vermont, provided opening remarks, reflecting on what it means to be a leader, particularly in times of crisis. Paul Costello, Executive Director for the Vermont Council on Rural Development, delivered the keynote address, congratulating the graduates on their commitment to completing the program and showing up because of their determination to do what’s right. Leadership is about listening, bringing people together and determining a common mission, which is all the more important in this moment right now as we reach a crux both within Vermont and across the nation. Costello challenged the class to carry their learnings forward and embody true leadership by renewing their ideals, standing up together and taking action collectively.

As part of event, the Snelling Center was also honored to present the 13th Annual Excellence in Leadership Award. Given the unusual year in history and all the attention on public health, two candidates stood out for their unwavering leadership over the course of the pandemic. For the first time ever, the Excellence in Leadership Award was presented to two recipients: Michael Costa and Tracy Dolan. Costa is a 2012 graduate of the Vermont Leadership Institute and CEO of Northern Counties Health Care where he is committed to aligning people and teams to improve the health of local communities. As the Deputy Commissioner of the Vermont Department, Dolan is a 2013 graduate who is proud to have been one of the public voices on Vermont’s COVID response. With nominators describing both recipients as compassionate, calm, inclusive and responsive, Costa and Dolan have clearly made significant contributions to Vermont and its community life, demonstrating skillful and innovative leadership and vision and embodying the award criteria set forth in honor of Jan Eastman.

The Class of 2021 joins a professional network of over 1000 Vermont Leadership Network alumni, including more than 600 VLI graduates who are positively influencing Vermont’s future in business, public policy, education, community development and a wide range of volunteer and non-profit sector roles.

To learn more about the Vermont Leadership Institute and the Snelling Center’s other professional development programs, please visit or call 802-859-3090.

Source: July 7, 2021 – The Snelling Center for Government