Emerging Leaders recognized at Southern Vermont Economy Summit

Vermont Business Magazine Eighteen Southern Vermont Emerging Leaders were recognized on May 23 during the Southern Vermont Economy Summit. With sponsorship from the Community College of Vermont, the Southern Vermont Young Professionals and the Shires Young Professionals conducted the annual recognition event, which celebrates young people from the Bennington and Windham regions. Individuals were nominated based on their work as community leaders and volunteers, and for their professional accomplishments and commitment to serving the region.

Once nominated, each Emerging Leader was asked to submit an application describing their career and community service accomplishments. Many responses were characterized by a desire to cultivate healthier, more welcoming communities, recognizing the incremental nature of change.

Rory Price, a public health specialist in Bennington said, “I’m fortunate that my role as a public health specialist allows me to focus attention on the systems and structures that create opportunity for some and disadvantage for others. The outcomes from these efforts can take months, years, or generations to manifest, but I am hopeful that the Vermont of the not-so-distant future will be a place where everyone has the opportunity to be healthy and thrive.”

Jess Bouchard, director of Queer Connect, wrote, “Our Queer Connect mission, and my heart mission, is to build resilient allies and to make healthy communities that are both inclusive and supportive. I believe the work I do every single day makes a difference, and I will continue to make my community a better place to live because I believe in this work, and I believe in the people around me.”

Melanie Lopez, owner of Mel’s Bookkeeping, said, “I moved to Vermont almost 10 years ago and have grown my own small bookkeeping business in the last few years. I hope my work helps to keep my clients in the community, in turn also keeping jobs and families in town.”

While many Emerging Leaders cited housing, childcare, labor shortages, and substance use as big challenges facing the region, they also feel optimistic about Southern Vermont. Ahmad Yassir, artists and marketing manager for VT News & Media, commented on the region’s “dynamic and exciting atmosphere,” saying that he has found Southern Vermont to be “an ideal location for young professionals who are interested in working collaboratively with other community members.”

“I admire native Vermonter's can-do, self-reliant attitude and seek to embody that in all my business dealings,” said Celine Lacroix, managing director of Brattleboro Portable Storage. “My parents spent their lives building a deep foundation in Brattleboro, and I am fortunate enough to be able to spend my days evolving what they started.”

All of the 2023 Southern Vermont Emerging Leaders will be nominated for the Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Rising Star awards.

2023 Emerging Leaders of Southern Vermont

Rory Price, Bennington
Joy Auciello, Marlboro
Callie Fishburn, Bennington
Camille Kauffman, Bennington
Eleni Maksakuli, Putney
Megan Herrington, Bennington
Kayla Bernier-Wright, Brattleboro
Bethaney Laclair, Guilford
Stephanie Muñoz Wells, Manchester Center
Andie Fusco, Bondville
Ahmad Yassir, North Bennington
Daveq Anderson, Putney
Daniel Chiaccio, Brattleboro
Melanie Lopez, Wilmington
Celine Lacroix, Brattleboro
Alexandra Mushinski, Brattleboro
Bethany Connelly, Wilmington
Jess Bouchard, Bennington

About the Southern Vermont Economic Summit
The Southern Vermont Economy Summit is a daylong learning and networking event for municipal, community and business leaders that focuses on the long term development of Southern Vermont’s economy. ​This year’s theme is Forging Our Future – strategies for planning, focus, and developing the economy. The day will highlight entrepreneurial projects and strategies that are currently being employed in Southern Vermont with an eye toward learning and collaborating on future planning focus and development support efforts. The Summit is a joint effort of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC), Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategy (SeVEDS), Bennington County Industrial Corporation (BCIC) and the Bennington Regional Economic Development Group (RED Group).

About Southern Vermont Young Professionals
The Southern Vermont Young Professionals is a workforce initiative of Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS) and the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC). Our mission is to attract, retain and support Young Professionals in Southern Vermont by providing engaging opportunities and networking through social and educational events, and volunteer opportunities. The YP initiative is increasingly important to Southern Vermont’s businesses and communities as a strategic approach to growing the region’s workforce and increasing the number of younger households. For more information please visit: brattleborodevelopment.com/southern-vermont-young-professionals/

About Shires Young Professionals
The mission the Shires Young Professional group is to help young professionals and families create deep roots in our community that encourage them to stay and build a prosperous life in the Shires of Vermont. The SYP looks to engage, emerge, and empower young professionals throughout the region. Our young professional’s events, programs and gatherings are open to all people, but we do focus on the 21 to 40-year old age range. More information at www.ShiresYP.com

About BDCC and SeVEDS​
Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) is a private, nonprofit economic development organization that serves as a catalyst for industrial and commercial growth throughout Southeastern Vermont, including Windham County and the towns of Readsboro, Searsburg, and Weston. BDCC serves as the State of Vermont’s certified Regional Development Corporation (RDC) for the greater Windham County area. BDCC is one of 12 RDCs throughout Vermont. For more information visit: ​https://brattleborodevelopment.com/

Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS) is an affiliate of BDCC that grew from a 2008 grassroots effort, initiated by BDCC, to reverse the economic decline of the Windham Region and plan for the economic impacts from the closure of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. In 2014, after multiple years of regional input, education and data gathering, SeVEDS submitted the Windham Region’s federally recognized S.M.A.R.T. Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for federal approval. For more information visit: www.seveds.com

Source: 5.26.2023. BDCC. Southern Vermont – brattleborodevelopment.com/ www.seveds.com