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Connection, Collaboration & Service

With the graduation of this year’s class of 30 participants, Leadership Upper Valley has trained more than 200 community leaders — from bankers to educators to nonprofit staff and retirees — in its first decade.

The power of the program is the ways in which it connects participants to the community — and to each other — to the benefit of all.

Read the entire article in the Valley News Enterprise Magazine.

30 Community Leaders Graduate from Leadership Upper Valley

Leadership Upper Valley Program Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Largest Class Ever

The largest class yet – 30 participants – graduated from Vital Communities’ Leadership Upper Valley program on June 8 in Windsor, VT. The year-long program aims to inspire, educate, and engage established and emerging leaders to better serve their communities.

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“This program changed the very way we think and interact with one another and with our community,” said graduate Markell Ripps, an attorney at Grossman & Ripps PLLC, who spoke on behalf of the Class of 2016 at the ceremony. “We entered this program as individuals, bankers, nonprofit employees, lawyers, educators, entrepreneurs, CEOs, family care givers, business owners, Vermont and New Hamphsire residents, and we leave as volunteers, future public servants, board members, questioners, and best of all classmates, fellow Upper Valley community members, and friends.”

Established in 2007, Leadership Upper Valley engages participants in 10 day-long sessions from September through June focused on key aspects of community life in the region. Topics include Economic Development, Education, Government and Politics, Arts and the Creative Economy, Communication, Health and Human Services, Environment, Transportation, and Justice.

Including this year’s graduating class, there are now more than 200 Leadership Upper Valley alumni. The Class of 2017 will begin in September.

This year’s graduates include:

Addy Mae Williams, Mascoma Savings Bank

Ayeshah Al-Humaidhi, Upper Valley Humane Society

Brent Edgerton, Kendal at Hanover

Christopher Coughlin, Dartmouth Printing

Cynthia Twombley, West Central Behavioral Health

Daniel McCarthy, Sage Dining Services

Diane Reinhardt, COVER

Elizabeth Long, Twin Pines Housing Trust

Emily Rogers, Hanover Consumer Co-op

Frank Gould, Mascoma River Greenway Coalition

Georgie Sawyer, David’s House

Irene Green, Northern Stage

Jeremy Coylewright, WISE

Jessie Farnham, Frazer Insurance Agency

Kyle Fisher, Listen Community Services

Lindsey Klecan

Lyn Miller, Our Hybrid Lives, LLC

Margaret Monroe-Cassel, TLC Family Resource Center

Marion Steiner, Lake Sunapee Bank

Markell Ripps, Grossman & Ripps, PLLC

Michael Baymiller, Hypertherm

Rachel Abendroth, Dartmouth College

Ron Miller, Sustainable Woodstock

Sadie Wells, Mascoma Savings Bank

Shawn Bard, Ledyard National Bank

Sue Nadeau, Southwestern Community Services

Terri Decker, Claremont Savings Bank

Tim Condon, Cook Little Rosenblatt & Manson, PLLC

Tina Stearns, City of Lebanon

Wendy Farnsworth, Dartmouth-Hitchcock

See more photos from Graduation here.

 

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What I Learned About Mentoring From My Mentor, Donella Meadows

At the May 19th Heroes & Leaders celebration of mentors in the Upper Valley, Elizabeth Sawin, Co-Director of Climate Interactive delivered a keynote speech focused on what she learned about mentoring from one of her mentors, long-time Upper Valley resident, Donella (Dana) Meadows. Meadows was the founder of the Sustainability Institute (now the Donella Meadows Institute) and a co-founder of Cobb Hill Co-housing.  Elizabeth worked with her from 1995 until Donella’s death in 2001. We asked Elizabeth to share the list of six traits of mentorship that she outlined in her speech in this blog post.

Donella Meadows influenced so much about my life, especially where I live and the work that I do. In reflecting on how it is that she had such a significant impact, I realized that there were six habits and attitudes that she cultivated that made her a powerful influence not just on me, but on hundreds of other people.

A mentor really sees you, and the goodness in you, and makes you feel special, and chosen, even while you might be one of dozens or hundreds of people who each also feel that special bond. Even fifteen years after her death, I run into people who tell me how much Dana influenced them. Philanthropists, writers, teachers, researchers, all came out of study with her at Dartmouth somehow transformed and found ways to turn that transformation into work in the world. I hear stories from people touched deeply by her genuine desire to hear the essence of their ideas and her willingness to provide practical help to put those ideas into practice.

A mentor makes you jump and stretch and leap and try things you never thought you could. My husband and I, brand new parents, with a brand new mortgage, took a job at Dana’s new institute when she offered it to us. It was a 50% pay cut from our previous jobs and had a guaranteed salary for only six months, and we jumped. Some of our neighbors at Cobb Hill uprooted their lives to join our experiment mostly on the basis of her encouragement. They packed up households, kids, in one case a truckload of farm equipment and animals, on the strength of her vision and her ability to articulate it.

A mentor is so fully herself that she creates a little sliver of space for you to be more fully yourself. Before I knew Dana I knew people who were top-notch thinkers and academics. And I knew people who were intuitive and good at expressing feelings. But I hadn’t met anyone who did both, at the same time. You’ll see that balance today, if you look at her writing, but it was even more apparent in her being. Today, whenever, I am in a group that’s deeply emotional and I feel brave enough to bring in some quantification, or whenever I am in a group that is only looking at analysis and I feel brave enough to talk about my feelings, I feel Dana there, still at my side, reminding me that it is possible – and in fact essential – to bring my full self into this world and into my work.

A mentor finds something to praise and deeply appreciate in whatever you produce. Whatever effort, product or prototype, someone brought her, no matter how amateurish their effort to make the world a better place, Dana embraced it and celebrated it, and then suggested and nudged it just a little further towards excellence.

Mentors allow you to figure things out for yourself and leave you the pleasure and pride of self-discovery, even if you are walking along a path she has already traversed.  As we started to work together I’d have sparkling, shiny ideas for projects we might undertake at her new Institute. I’d bring them to Dana and she’d get excited and encourage me on. It was only after she died, and I began to read essays and papers she’d written before I knew her, that I realized that, for at least several of those brainstorms of mine, she’d already had the idea herself, or most of it, five or ten years ahead of me.

A mentor so empowers you that you believe you did it yourself, and in fact, the illusion is so strong that you did it yourself, that you can keep on doing whatever ‘it’ is even if you loose her. When Dana died so early, so unexpectedly in 2001, the Sustainability Institute was extremely young, and Cobb Hill was still in the construction phase. Both efforts continued in part because of the shared ownership and vision Dana had cultivated in each member of both projects.

 

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Apply Now for the 2016-17 session

Leadership Upper Valley (LUV) provides leaders with extensive networking, learning, and service opportunities with a wide range of community members and employees from companies big and small, nonprofit organizations, and municipalities. The program runs from September through June each year, with participants spending one day each month learning about a different aspect of the Upper Valley. The 80 hours of training includes sessions on Education, Arts and the Creative Economy, Health and Human Services, Economic Development, Justice, Government and Politics, Transportation and Livable Communities, and the Environment.

“Leadership Upper Valley participants come away from the program with knowledge of regional issues, opportunities, people, lifestyles, and trends, an expanded network of community leaders and partners, and motivation and experience to provide service within the community,” said program manager Stacey Glazer. “No other program offers such a comprehensive overview of the Upper Valley.”

Leadership Upper Valley is open to anyone living or working within Vital Communities’ 69-town service area and is limited to 30 participants each year. Learn more and apply .

Application deadlines: March 15 – Early Decision,  June 1 – Regular Decision.

Honoring 12 Upper Valley Mentors

Vital Communities will honor a dozen Upper Valley mentors at its 2016 celebration on May 19. The annual event, now in its fifth year, recognizes community leaders who have made significant positive impacts in the region and serves as a benefit for the Leadership Upper Valley program of Vital Communities.

“The Upper Valley is a special place because of the people who care so deeply about our community,” said Vital Communities Executive Director Tom Roberts. “The 12 mentors we’re pleased to honor this year have invested their time and energy to provide guidance and inspiration to our region’s current and future leaders.”

Beth 2012Keynote Speaker: Elizabeth Sawin is Co-Director of Climate Interactive. A biologist with a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Beth trained in system dynamics and sustainability with Donella Meadows and worked at Sustainability Institute, the research institute founded by Meadows, for 13 years. Beth’s work increasingly focuses on Multisolving, helping people find solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions while producing multiple benefits in health, justice, equity, resilience, and well-being. She writes and speaks on this topic to local, national, and international audiences. In 2014 she was invited to participate in the Council on the Uncertain Human Future, a continuing dialogue on issues of climate change and sustainability among a select group of humanities scholars, writers, artists, and climate scientists. Beth’s work also focuses on capacity building – helping leaders achieve bigger impact. She has trained and mentored global sustainability leaders in the Donella Meadows Fellows Program, and provided systems thinking training to both Ashoka and Dalai Lama Fellows in recent years. Beth lives in rural Vermont and is a member of Cobb Hill Co-Housing along with her husband, Phil Rice, and their two daughters.

Chief Alexander and carJim Alexander has spent his career helping and uplifting people both in his community and his work. Jim began his 25-year police career in the Upper Valley, culminating in the role of Chief of Police of Lebanon. He has a BS in Criminal Justice Administration and had a unique opportunity to graduate from the FBI National Academy in 2004. During his tenure as the Lebanon Chief of Police he was integral to several community programs, including the Grafton County Drug Court, which seeks to provide treatment and break the cycle of recidivism for repeat, non-violent offenders. Jim was one of a handful of local officials who launched the program, which has become a key part of the local criminal justice system. He is now the Emergency Management Coordinator for Dartmouth-Hitchcock and serves on the New Hampshire and Vermont Emergency Manager Hospital Association Boards. In addition he has been on the board for the Friends of the Drug Court and Lebanon Outing Club and is active in the Christ Redeemer Church in Hanover. Jim lives in Canaan with his wife Deb.

Barnes Boffey Barnes Boffey head shothas many passions, significant among them his love for the work and the vision of the Aloha Foundation. Summer 2016 will be his 24th and final summer as the Director of Camp Lanakila, and his 55th all together. He uses his Middlebury College drama major skills in all facets of his professional life, primarily teacher training, including directing the UVTTP (now UVEI) in its early adolescence and then as Director of Teacher Training at Dartmouth. He has maintained a private counseling practice since 1977, specializing in “Success Counseling.” As a long-term faculty member of the Institute for Reality Therapy, he worked closely with one of his primary mentors, Dr. William Glasser. Barnes credits much of his perspective in helping others to his own struggles with addiction and recovery, and his book Reinventing Yourself shares some of that journey. His true passion is helping people find their best selves and bringing those into being. He thanks Aloha for giving him the opportunity to do that as a way of making a living.

 

Tommy ClarkTommy Clark is a pediatrician and former professional soccer player. He conceived the idea for Grassroots Soccer after living and playing soccer in Zimbabwe. Tommy was born in Scotland and moved to Zimbabwe at age 14, where his father Bobby Clark was coach of the Highlanders Football Club. He attended Dartmouth College, where he was captain of the soccer team. Following graduation, Tommy returned to Zimbabwe to teach English and play professional soccer. He attended Dartmouth Medical School and was twice named the Resident Teacher of the Year during his residency in pediatrics at the University of New Mexico.  Following residency, Tommy was a research fellow at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at the University of California at San Francisco. Tommy has been awarded the American Academy of Pediatrics Annie Dyson Child Advocacy Award, the Dartmouth College Martin Luther King Junior award, the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care Nkosi Johnson Award, and the Peach Abbey Courage of Conscience Award.

 

CD HeadshotCarol Dunne has directed many acclaimed productions as the Producing Artistic Director of Northern Stage. She joined Northern Stage in 2013 and has helped to reimagine and reshape the company in its new home, The Barrette Center for the Arts. Under Carol’s leadership, Northern Stage has successfully launched a new works festival whose first play, Orwell in America, will transfer Off-Broadway in the Fall of 2016. A Senior Lecturer in Theater at Dartmouth College, she has forged an official partnership with Dartmouth offering a groundbreaking collaborative program called Shakespeare in the Schools for area schoolchildren, and creating an Experiential Term for Dartmouth theater students. Carol also introduced musical theater into the curriculum at Dartmouth and has directed half a dozen musicals there. She received the Distinguished Lecturer Award from the College in 2010. Prior to joining Northern Stage, Carol was the Producing Artistic Director of the New London Barn Playhouse, where she produced over 50 plays and musicals and is credited with dramatically transforming a struggling yet beloved institution into an artistically excellent, fully professional and financially successful company. She lives in Etna with husband Peter Hackett and children Ellie and Jamie.

 

PETERPeter Faletra received a Ph.D. from Boston University, where he was a teaching fellow in the accelerated medical school program. During his Ph.D. years he co-founded a successful biotech company and invented a novel method of producing large amounts of antisera for medical and scientific use. He spent 10 years at the Office of Science in the Department of Energy, where he was the Director of Workforce Development. In 2012, he was awarded an AAAS fellow for his many years as a mentor to students from middle school through medical school. Dr. Faletra is the Executive Director of the New Hampshire Academy of Science that has a mission to help secondary school students perform extensive scientific research and become members of the scientific community. He is now semi-retired and teaching science at Crossroads Academy where he and his wife Elaine take great enjoyment mentoring students from the Upper Valley and helping to inspire them to be the sort of scientists our world needs to address some of the most challenging issues facing the human race.

 

Dan JantzenDan Jantzen has been a member of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock management team since 1990 serving in a variety of leadership positions. In his current role as Executive Vice President for Operations and Chief Operating Officer, he oversees operations across the D-H system. In 2012, he was named one of the “100 Hospital and Health System COOs to Know” by Becker’s Hospital Review. A Certified Public Accountant for over 30 years, Dan was previously a Senior Manager in the Audit Department of KPMG Peat Marwick, primarily serving clients in the health care, public utilities, and financial services industries. He graduated from Northeastern University with a BS in Business Administration and a concentration in Accounting. Dan has served on the Boards of a variety of Upper Valley organizations including David’s House, Crossroads Academy, New London Hospital, and Mascoma Savings Bank. He is a guest lecturer at Tuck, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice (TDI), and the Geisel School of Medicine and enjoys passing on what he has learned to the next generation of leaders. Dan lives in Etna with his wife, Deb. They have three adult children and a new grandson.

 

Shirley's head shotShirley Jefferson, a Selma, Alabama native, received her BS in Public Administration from Southeastern University and a JD degree from Vermont Law School. As the law school’s Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity, she provides leadership and guidance for individual students and student organizations, administers the VLS Code of Conduct, serves as chair of the Student Services and Diversity Committee and serves as an advisor to the President and Dean and other Deans and Directors on student and diversity issues. Shirley is also an adjunct professor teaching Race and the Law and Non-Profit Organizations and was appointed by Governor Jim Douglas to the Vermont State Police Advisory Commission. She is known for her motivational speeches on diversity for many different audiences. Shirley lives in Sharon, VT, with her son Jamaal and her granddaughter Liyah.

 

 

JoeJoe O’Donnell has been an Upper Valley resident for most of the time since 1969, when he arrived in Hanover to attend Dartmouth Medical School. He trained in medical oncology at the National Cancer Institute from 1976-78, but soon returned to become chief of oncology at the White River Junction VA Hospital. He and his oncology colleagues were very involved in the development of the care of patients with cancer in the region, and the programs and outreach of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. He has also been influential in coordinated efforts aimed at preventing illness and developing palliative care programs. He has been in the Dean’s Office at Dartmouth Medical School since 1985 and is currently Senior Advising Dean. He has led award-winning efforts to involve students in service to the community, and nurtured efforts to embed compassion in medical care and to create a focus on wisdom in medicine. Joe and his wife Janice raised four children and now have four grandsons. They live in Grantham, N.H.

PeggyPeggy O’Neil  has been the Executive Director at WISE since 2003, working to support Upper Valley people and communities impacted by domestic violence, sexual violence, and stalking. She also serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. With an undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a certificate in Nonprofit Management from Antioch College, Peggy has worked in nonprofits focused on crisis services and mental health for over 25 years. She is a trained domestic and sexual violence advocate and received her crisis worker certification from the American Association of Suicidology. Peggy is also a 2005 graduate of Leadership New Hampshire and the 2015 recipient of the Deborah Aliber Award for Community Service from the Women’s Network of the Upper Valley. She lives in Cornish, N.H.

 

Susan Reeves colorSusan Reeves is Professor and Dean at the School for Health Professions at Colby-Sawyer College. A retired employee of Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital, she served the organization for 35 years, specializing in oncology nursing. Susan joined the adjunct faculty at Colby-Sawyer in 2003 teaching Biomedical Ethics. After serving in a part-time role as the Chair of the Nursing Department, in 2007 she was asked to lead and re-build the Nursing program where she has served since. She also led the development of the College’s Health Care Management, Health Promotion, and Public Health programs, as well as both an online bachelor degree completion program for registered nurses and the College’s first master’s program, which will be in nursing.  Susan is the Chair of the Board of Trustees for New London Hospital and is a Director for the Crotched Mountain Foundation. She also works closely with faculty of the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth to offer interprofessional education sessions to nursing and medical students as well as electives in the medical humanities. Susan and her husband David live in New London, N.H.

 

gayGay Sabin has been a beloved teacher for over 47 years, and also an award-winning supervisor and mentor, and an active leaders in many educational associations. Although she has officially retired, Gay is still serving as a substitute teacher at the Grantham Village School, where she has taught since 2002. Nominated by her 1965 classmates, Gay was awarded the 2015 Touch the Future Award by the Independent Alumni Association of Framingham State University honoring teachers who teach teachers and demonstrate and instill an enthusiasm for teaching. Among other accomplishments, Gay was awarded the national Thanks to Teachers Excellence Award in 1990. Gay began her teaching career in Deerfield, MA, where she and her husband, Chris, raised their daughter Kate. They moved to NH (Eastman) in 2002 and she began to work at the Grantham Village School.  In 2013, Gay was awarded the Eastman Recreation Volunteer Award for her work mentoring the teen business project, “Peppermint Patty’s.”

 

fwt photoFred Thomas, at age 89, personifies the mission of SCORE, an organization dedicated to providing counselors, advisors, and mentors to aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners and for which he often volunteers five days a week. Since 1984 Fred has served as a mentor for the Lebanon Chapter of SCORE, offering advice and encouragement to countless Upper Valley business owners. He served as President of the Lebanon Chapter for four years and has also been the Chair and President of the SCORE National Board of Directors. He has served as a past Board Member of both the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and Vital Communities. In addition, he served as a Board member and Treasurer for the Upper Valley Land Trust. Fred holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Brown University. He and his wife Marjorie live in Thetford and have three daughters, Laurie, Kathryn, and Barbara.

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Home Green Home

Many people will buy a house at least once in their lifetime. Some will ask about energy use and seek to purchase an energy-efficient home. Few will invest in home energy improvements at the time of the sale.

Leadership Upper Valley alumni Bob Walker (Class of 2010) and Sarah Simonds (Class of 2014) are setting out to change that. Their effort kicks off this spring with help from a diverse group of partners including nonprofits, real estate professionals, lenders and state programs. The project is one of many efforts led by Leadership Upper Valley alumni who use skills and connections formed through the program to effect positive change in our region.

Click here to read more

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What effect can you have?

Participants in the 10-month Leadership Upper Valley program from Vital Communities discover the rich diversity of the Upper Valley region. They gather in municipalities across the Twin States, grapple with critical regional issues, connect with local service organizations and establish a strong, collegial network.

After graduation, as an outgrowth of their learning experience, participants often step into new leadership roles — including as elected officials in local and state offices, like alumnae Patricia Higgins, of Hanover, and Windsor’s Heather Prebish.

Read the entire article here...

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Show Them The Magic

It’s a common problem among manufacturing companies in the Upper Valley and elsewhere: Experienced employees are nearing retirement, and there aren’t enough younger folks lining up to replace them.

“We have been realizing over the past few years that we need to think outside the box to recruit talent to GW Plastics,” said Cathy Tempesta, human resources director for the Bethel-based company that specializes in precision injection molding.

In one of those fortunate instances of being in the right place at the right time, Mollie Naber, then a participant in Vital Communities’ Leadership Upper Valley program and a consultant for Green Mountain Economic Development Corp., found at least part of a solution.

Read more of this Valley News Enterprise Magazine article here

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Inspiring Conversations About our Region’s Addiction Problem

Though he’d never given the justice system much thought, Anibal Sepulveda, who leads the North American marketing team for Hypertherm, found himself at the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield a little less than four years after arriving in the Upper Valley. Fortunately for Sepulveda, he wasn’t there for a drug offense, but instead as part of the Leadership Upper Valley program from Vital Communities, the White River Junction-based nonprofit that brings people and organizations together to address regional opportunities in the areas of agriculture, energy, transportation, economy and community leadership.

Read more of this Valley News Enterprise Magazine article here…

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