Tom Roberts joined Vital Communities as Executive Director in February 2015. A resident of Cobb Hill Cohousing in Hartland, Vermont, Tom has more than a decade of successful leadership experience in Upper Valley nonprofits, including as a Senior Philanthropic Advisor at the Vermont Community Foundation, and prior to that as Executive Director at the Ottauquechee Health Foundation in Woodstock. Before moving to the Upper Valley in 2002, Tom worked as an attorney both in a small litigation and government practice firm, and for the Homeless Advocacy Project with the Bar Association of San Francisco. He has worked in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors on issues of justice, housing, children, and healthcare. He holds a B.A. in English from Stanford University, a law degree from the University of California’s Boalt Hall School of Law, and is a graduate of the Vermont Leadership Institute.
Transportation Program Manager
As Transportation Program Manager at Vital Communities, Aaron Brown works to increase the use of biking, walking, carpooling, and public transit options through community engagement and planning, workplace sustainability projects, and policy studies. His studies focus primarily on ways that small towns can make informed financing and land use decisions to reduce reliance on driving alone. Before coming to Vital Communities in 2008, Aaron taught in the History Department at Ohio State University and, more recently, worked on renewable energy issues with the Conservation Law Foundation and Clean Energy Group (both in Montpelier, Vermont). An avid homebrewer, Aaron has won more than a dozen awards for crafting inspired Belgian and sour ales and the occasional American IPA. He lives in Strafford, Vermont, with his bloodhound Daisy.
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Stephanie has a M.S. in Resource Management and Administration from Antioch New England Graduate School. She lives in North Thetford, VT.
Transportation Program Assistant
Bethany Fleishman was born at the old Mary Hitchcock hospital in Hanover, N.H., grew up in West Hartford, Vt., and now lives in Hartford Village, where she can see the White River and the trains from her window. She has a biology degree from St. Lawrence University and has worked in public health outreach, as a line cook in San Francisco, a pastry chef in Hanover, and as a member of the Town of Hartford Selectboard. She now serves on the Hartford Solid Waste Committee, or the “Trash Team,” as she prefers, which is looking at the future of the town transfer station and how the town can prepare for Vermont’s universal recycling and composting law. Bethany walks, rides her bike (whose frame came from the Hartford dump!), and takes Advance Transit, too. When not working, Bethany cooks, eats, knits, makes things, grows things, and hangs out in fabulous White River Junction.
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Events, Corporate Relations and Local First Alliance Manager
Emily grew up in Sharon, VT and graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelors of Fine Arts. She is happy to have recently returned to the Upper Valley after working for almost a decade in the entertainment and event industries of Los Angeles, CA.
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Web Media and Leadership Upper Valley Manager
Stacey Glazer loves to help people make connections and build community. She has been the Vital Communities webmaster for more than a decade, and since 2012 has also managed the Leadership Upper Valley program. She enjoys helping local leaders navigate the complex challenges raised by living in a bi-state community. Stacey also supports the regional town list discussion groups. Stacey has lived in Thetford Center, Vermont since 1999 and serves on the board of the Peabody Library, the oldest library in continuous use in Vermont, and the Vermont Arts Council. She earned her BS in Computer Science and Mathematics and an MA in Mathematics.
Ron has over 33 years of nonprofit experience in general and financial administration. He received an MBA from Northeastern University and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of New Hampshire. He became a Certified Internal Auditor in 1993. He has lived in the Upper Valley since 1982 and currently resides in Hanover.
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Valley Food & Farm Coordinator
Food & Farm
Nancy joined Vital Communities as the Valley Food & Farm Coordinator in 2014. She works to support and grow our local food system and Upper Valley farms. Nancy has lived, worked, and farmed in the Upper Valley for more than 25 years and believes our community is healthier and stronger when our connections to food and the farms that produce it stay vital.
Nancy's informal job title is Farmer-in-Residence: she also runs Hogwash Farm, a pasture-based livestock farm in Norwich, VT that focuses on heritage breed animals. It's a great day when she can hang with the pigs in pasture, watch the lambs frolic at dusk, or enjoy an amazingly delicious, completely locally grown meal al fresco.
Nancy is on the Board of the Norwich Farmers' Market, a member of the Vermont Swine Advisory Group and the Norwich Planning Commission, and a retired Norwich volunteer fire fighter and EMT. She loves puttering in the garden, hiking with her dog, and, of course, bacon.
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Bookkeeper and Office Manager
Carole Petrillo joined Vital Communities in 2013 as Bookkeeper, Office Manager, and Human Resource Manager. She is also a longtime yoga instructor and practitioner. Since arriving in Vermont in the 1980s, Carole has sought work and play where it contributes to services to lead a healthy lifestyle. Working at Vital Communities is a team effort to practice these goals in the workplace and in our community. Carole takes pleasure in contributing to make the office run smoothly and helping to support Vital Communities’ great programs. Carole grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., where she embraced winter – her favorite season. When not working, you can find her enjoying the adventures of skiing endless wooded trails with Jimmy, her partner and best friend. During all the other seasons, look for her on some mountaintop in the White Mountains or the Adirondack Mountains, her favorite playgrounds.
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Allison Rogers Furbish
Communications Manager and Energy Program Assistant
Allison Rogers Furbish joined Vital Communities after a decade-long career in local journalism and public relations in the Upper Valley. A native of Lebanon, N.H., she has a BA in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic, an MBA in Sustainable Business from Green Mountain College, and a passion for telling stories that help make the community more sustainable and vibrant. She was the Founding Editor of The Lebanon Times, a hyperlocal newspaper launched in 2013 to cover the “good people, good places, and good things happening” in the city. She lives in Canaan, N.H., where she enjoys the sights and sounds of nature, explores the local trails and waterways, and is slowly learning to garden with her husband and two children. Outside of work, she loves to bake, eat, read, hike, ride her bike on the Northern Rail Trail (with kids in tow!), and spend time with her family.
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Farm to School Program Coordinator
Food & Farm
Before joining Vital Communities, Beth Roy worked in the environmental and place-based education fields for 15 years in various positions around New England including at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science and as the Director of Education at the Nature Museum in Grafton, Vermont. Beth is also on the boards of the Vermont Science Teacher Association (VSTA) and the Vermont State-Wide Environmental Education Programs (SWEEP), a coalition of dozens of individuals and organizations promoting sustainability and environmental education in Vermont. Beth is a New Hampshire native and currently lives in Hartland, Vermont, with her husband and two children. When Beth is not working you will find her exploring the woods around her home with her family or cooking up a new taste test (made of local foods, of course!) for her children.
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Energy Program Manager
Sarah Simonds joined Vital Communities in 2013 as our Energy Program Manager. Through her work Sarah provides support for our region’s 35+ local energy committees and 20+ businesses engaged in Vital Communities’ Corporate Energy Work Group. In 2014, Sarah led the launch of Solarize Upper Valley, a program that has since engaged 23 towns in helping hundreds of Upper Valley homes switch to solar energy. Prior to joining the Vital Communities team, Sarah was an Environmental Philanthropy Associate with the High Meadows Fund, a supporting organization of the Vermont Community Foundation. At High Meadows, Sarah led the development of a statewide network of transportation efficiency stakeholders. Years later, the Vermont Transportation Stakeholders Network is now supported by the Vermont Agency of Transportation and coordinated by Vital Communities’ own Bethany Fleishmann. Sarah holds a joint degree in architecture and environmental studies from Middlebury College.
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Valley Food & Farm Manager
Food & Farm
Becka began her farm-related career at the age of 16 on Idyll Acres Dairy in Grafton, Vermont, with the vital job of keeping the barn corners clear where the tractor couldn't reach. Now, at Valley Food & Farm since 2012, she fosters relationships that keep agriculture a daily part of community life in the Upper Valley. She works with current and future farmers, businesses, schools, and partners across Vermont and New Hampshire to build connections that support farm viability and keep our landscapes working. Becka believes that real connections to our farmers make us happy and builds projects that can take advantage of that simple premise, whether that means introducing workplaces to farm -fresh delivery, facilitating peer-to-peer learning among farm staff, or helping schools use farms as learning resources. She lived in Seattle for many years, where she worked for the Washington State University Small Farms Program, Cascade Harvest Coalition, Seattle Tilth, and area vegetable farms. Becka is also a writer, founding and writing Ask Umbra at gristmagazine.com until 2009. She holds a BA from Brown University and lives in Hartland, VT with her family.
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Valley Quest and
Lauren grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and holds a degree in music theory from Ohio University. After discovering that music theory is not a skill that is in high demand, she went on to earn an MPA in non-profit management from Baruch College in Manhattan. Prior to joining the Vital Communities staff, Lauren worked in marketing and communications at the Student Conservation Association, recruited real estate professionals for Bullseye Hiring, and ran youth programs at the Meeting Waters YMCA in Bellows Falls, Vermont. She is a proud AmeriCorps alumna, and served on the alumni board for City Year New Hampshire. She lives in West Lebanon with her husband, daughter, dog, and two cats. When she’s not chasing a toddler, she enjoys reading, crocheting, and traveling.
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