VBSR names 2021 awardees: Cindy Turcot, HELM Construction, Ashley Reynolds

HELM Construction Solutions. Courtesy photos.

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) is honoring three outstanding individuals and businesses who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in socially responsible business: Cindy Turcot of Gardener’s Supply Company with the 2021 Terry Ehrich Award for Lifetime Achievement, HELM Construction Solutions with the VBSR Innovation and Inspiration Award, and Ashley Reynolds of Elmore Mountain Therapeutics with the VBSR Young Changemaker Award.

Awardees were selected for their achievements in championing new ideas and initiatives, leading by example, and developing successful socially responsible business models. Awards will be given during the 20th Annual VBSR Awards Ceremony on October 12th at Basin Harbor Club in Vergennes.

“For more than 30 years, VBSR has been transforming what business looks like, how it works, and who benefits. Our members are changemakers and innovators, with impact reaching far beyond the marketplace to advance leading-edge policy and practices, bolster communities, shape the Vermont brand, and fuel the social responsibility movement,” said VBSR’s Executive Director, Roxanne Vought. “The Annual Awards Ceremony is a moment to celebrate the inspiring business leaders among us who exemplify VBSR’s vision of a just, thriving, and transformative economy that works for all people and the planet.”

The Terry Ehrich Award for Lifetime Achievement honors an outstanding individual in honor of Terry Ehrich, late owner of Hemmings Motor News and a founding member of VBSR’s Board of Directors. The award is given annually to a person exemplifying Terry’s commitment to community, the environment, progressive public policy, and the workplace. Previous Terry Ehrich Awardees include Jen Kimmich of The Alchemist, Ted Castle of Rhino Foods, and Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s.

Cindy Turcot is the CEO and President of Gardener’s Supply Company. Cindy has been with Gardener’s since its inception in 1983, starting in data entry and progressing through many roles including Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer. She has played a key role in creating the company’s unique and innovative management style that reinforces the emphasis on a triple bottom line – people, planet, and profit.

"I am so honored to have been chosen for this award, with so many visionary leaders who have won this award over the years. I appreciate the recognition of my passion and advocacy for employee ownership and wealth equality, on the local and national fronts” said Cindy Turcot. “I am grateful to lead Gardener’s Supply as we strive to be a socially responsible company through gardening, sustainability, and innovative business practices."

Gardener’s Supply is 100% employee owned through an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan). Cindy was a key player in transitioning the company from founder-owned to an ESOP, and is a driving force for a strong employee ownership culture. Nationally, she is well known for her commitment to employee ownership, empowerment, and wealth equality. She is a sought-after speaker on ownership culture, corporate governance, and open book and participatory management practices.

HELM Construction Solutions is an innovative Vermont-based firm providing business consulting, coaching, estimating, project management, and specialized training to high-performance design and build companies across the U.S. and Canada. HELM’s purpose is to “revolutionize the construction industry, centering the triple bottom line principles of planet, people, and prosperity to become a catalyst for climate justice.” HELM is a majority woman, trans, and non-binary owned and operated company. They work to disrupt toxic masculinity and advocate for the participation of women and LGBTQIA people in the trades.

The VBSR Innovation and Inspiration Award is given to a Vermont business who has recently accomplished an innovative and/or inspirational achievement with not only economic impact but social or environmental impact.

"HELM Construction Solutions is honored to be the recipient of VBSR's 2021 Innovation & Inspiration Award. As a small business that focuses on the planet, people, and prosperity within the construction industry, we are proud to be active in an organization with so many shared values,” said Mel Braiser, Strategic Director of HELM Construction Solutions. “The education and advocacy that VBSR advances on behalf of the member businesses is critical. We are particularly moved by their leadership around centering Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the effort to build more impactful and resilient Vermont-based businesses.”

Ashley Reynolds, President and Co-Founder of Elmore Mountain Therapeutics and her husband Colin established their business in May of 2017 after Ashley’s personal struggle with postpartum anxiety. Finding relief through the use of CBD, Ashley saw a need for cannabis advocation to all. Reynolds believes the strong household decision makers of the world stand to benefit the most from the use of cannabis and has worked tirelessly empowering women to make smart, safe decisions around cannabis use. A Tedtalk presenter, "Cannabis - A Future Without Stigma," she has recently been appointed by Speaker of the House Jill Krowinski to the Vermont Cannabis Control Advisory Committee.

The VBSR Young Changemaker Award recognizes an individual under age 40 who has led the formation of a socially responsible enterprise that has been in operation three or more years. The award seeks to recognize both entrepreneurs and those that have led change within Vermont companies and organizations.

“With the legalization of an adult-use cannabis market, Vermont is on the verge of a significant agricultural revolution and economic opportunity. In this moment lies the rare potential to incorporate socially responsible business practices into an industry from its inception,” said Ashley Reynolds. “Elmore Mountain Therapeutics is immensely grateful for VBSR’s recognition of our mission to support well-being, economic development, social justice and environmental sustainability. This acceptance and support will be critical in ensuring Vermont's cannabis future is just, green, and equitable.”

VBSR’s 20th Annual Awards Ceremony will be held on Tuesday, October 12th at Basin Harbor Club in Vergennes. This year’s event will take place outdoors, on the shore of Lake Champlain at sunset. Registration and more details may be found at: https://vbsr.org/event/20th-annual-vbsr-awards-ceremony/.

This year’s event has been made possible by the generous support of Gardener’s Supply Company, Mascoma Bank, Ben & Jerry’s, King Arthur Baking, Gallagher, Flynn & Company, LLP, National Life Group, Vermont Employee Ownership Center, Cabot Creamery, Vermont Awards & Engraving, KSV, The Alchemist, Birdseye Building, Let’s Grow Kids, and JAM Creative.

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.

Source: Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility 10.4.2021