graduation blog

30 Local Leaders Graduate from Leadership Upper Valley

Vital Communities celebrated its Leadership Upper Valley Class of 2017 on June 14, in a commencement ceremony at Harpoon Brewery. Thirty of the region’s emerging local leaders graduated from the 10-month professional and personal development program that builds knowledge and networks to help local leaders succeed in and serve the Upper Valley.

“Leadership Upper Valley has been opening minds and hearts to the region’s challenges and inspiring innovative solutions from emerging local leaders for more than a decade,” said Leadership Upper Valley Manager Stacey Glazer. “This year’s class included 30 participants from some of the area’s largest employers, small businesses, local nonprofit organizations, schools, and municipalities who came together to explore regional issues through their range of perspectives and build the kinds of connections that weave the fabric of the Upper Valley community. We’re thrilled to expand our ranks of alumni to nearly 250 with the members of the Leadership Upper Valley Class of 2017.”

To develop a deeper understanding of the Upper Valley, this year’s class of 30 participants spent a day at the Southern State Correctional Facility to learn more about the inner workings of our justice system; rode Advance Transit to downtown Lebanon, where they walked the city discussing community design with a city planner; learned to identify native trees on the nature trails at VINS; went behind the scenes during Northern Stage’s production of A Christmas Carol; toured the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center; met with more than a dozen Upper Valley nonprofit service providers at The Woodlands; toured the mill buildings in Claremont to see firsthand the adaptive reuse of historic buildings; and learned how to run their own campaign to effect positive change in their communities. They also completed two service projects supporting the Mascoma River Greenway and Claremont Soup Kitchen.

This year’s Leadership Upper Valley graduates include:

Alice Ely of Grantham – Mascoma Valley Health Initiative

Beatriz Cantada, formerly of West Lebanon – formerly of Dartmouth College

Brett Mayfield of White River Junction – Spark! Community Center

Chris Kennedy of Hanover – UK Architects

David Urso of Quechee – Kendal at Hanover

Elizabeth McShinsky of Sharon – River Valley Community College

Erin Gooch of Lebanon – Dartmouth-Hitchcock

Evan Leary of Enfield – Family Financial Strategies

Heidi Postupack of Hanover – Second Growth

Jeff Roosevelt of Sunapee – Kendal at Hanover

Jennifer Fontaine of Haverhill – Upper Valley Haven

Jennifer Riccio of Etna – Hypertherm

Jessica Walker of Claremont – Claremont Savings Bank

Reese Madden of Norwich – Hypertherm

Julie Martin of Charlestown – Claremont Savings Bank

Katie Kobe of Hanover – Granite United Way

Kelly Crate of Enfield – City of Lebanon

Kimberly Quirk of Enfield – Energy Emporium

Kim Vacca of Brownsville – Red River Computer Company

Leah Romano of Norwich – MedU

Linda Lanteigne Magoon of West Lebanon – Thetford Academy

Marie McCormick of Lebanon – Upper Valley Educators Institute

Mark Bradley of Lebanon – Lebanon Opera House

Nelly Palmer of Cornish – Mascoma Savings Bank

Patrick Christie of Lebanon – Advance Transit

Paul Coats of Lebanon – City of Lebanon

Peggy Allen of White River Junction – Consultant

Sadie Simpson of Norwich – The Simpson Companies

Sarah Sincerbeaux of South Pomfret – VINS

Susan Jacobs of West Lebanon – Co-op Food Stores

markell blog

Closing Remarks for Heroes & Leaders from Markell Ripps

Thank you all for joining us to celebrate the young leaders who are being honored tonight, and thank you to Vital Communities for recognizing their important contributions to our community. It is so important to make a point to pause in our busy lives to recognize those around us who make our community what it is—the Upper Valley. As we all know, each year Vital Communities honors a different category of heroes and leaders. So the natural question that I am tasked to answer tonight is “Why are young leaders important?” It just so happens I have been asking myself this question since I first joined the Upper Valley Young Professionals in 2012, the year the group was founded. After five years being on the group’s board, and serving as its co-chair and chair for several years, I find that while I don’t feel as young as I did back then, through furthering the group’s goal of supporting young leaders by connecting them to one another and to their community, I have learned quite a bit about this subject.

The first thing I have learned is that the Upper Valley is especially scant on young professionals. If you are under 40 and accidentally walk into any non-profit board meeting in the Upper Valley, you will almost certainly be sweet-talked into joining. My own fiancé made the mistake of missing just one Grafton County Bar Association meeting, and—oops—he was voted onto the board and was deemed the group’s website guru! Now that isn’t to say that young professionals don’t want to join non-profit boards—they certainly do, like many of the leaders being honored tonight. The problem is that there just aren’t enough young leaders to go around. In the 2015 census, the populations of both New Hampshire and Vermont had a higher average age than almost all the other 50 states.

Perhaps partly due to this fact, being a “young person” in a field or community where your colleagues are usually in a different demographic category than you are can be quite challenging. Many young people in the Upper Valley’s workforce find themselves here to take on a new career opportunity or start a new educational program, and many are moving from more populated areas around the country. Our young professionals group would hear that many in this category arrive in our area feeling somewhat isolated. Many of the Upper Valley’s workers not only live in one town and work in another, but they don’t congregate in the same city center during the day, as is the case in metropolitan areas. This means that there is less chance to strengthen social interactions among members of our workforce unless we make those chances more readily available ourselves. We also often hear that many of our young professionals may be the only ones under 40 in their offices, and sometimes even in their whole fields. Once they get here to the Upper Valley, they are faced with being not only a newcomer, but also someone in the dreaded “young” category.

We all know being in the “young” category often does not have positive connotations when you are trying to be successful in your career or be a leader in your community. We have heard how our honorees tonight have been quite successful in their fields, but I also wanted to give a voice to our other peers, who may have trod a more difficult path. “Young” is often associated with “inexperience,” which means it can be difficult to have one’s voice be heard and taken seriously in some scenarios. I have heard from several of my peers that even though groups and businesses are eager to welcome young people, those peers then often face challenges when offering a new idea or solution, when it has been done the same way for a very long time. However, it is imperative for young leaders to be able to contribute to the cause they are interested in, because when they can, in turn they will feel invested in the business or group’s success. Likewise, professionals in the mentor class can pass down their experience and expertise. This helps a business or group remain relevant and resilient, and by including a young person in your business or group, it builds in continuity and succession planning for the future.

How can we help a young person to succeed? As an example, when I first joined Dan Grossman in law practice, he made a specific point to encourage everyone in the office to refer to me as just another lawyer in the office—not a young one; not a new one. You don’t want your brain surgeon to be introduced as the young, new brain surgeon. That does not instill confidence. Words matter. Just this week, a colleague and I were referred to as “girls” in a professional setting. I know it was not intended to be a slight, but when you speak to someone who is a professional peer, it doesn’t make them feel like one if terms such as “young” or “girls” or “boys” are used. Often, the person using these terms doesn’t even realize the effect this can have, but that’s exactly why I wanted to talk about it. Our young professionals group has even considered that maybe including the word “emerging” professional in our mission would be more accurate than “young.” We all know what is meant by the term “young,” and if used correctly, it can be worn as a badge of pride, like it is tonight for our honorees, who are in a special class of leaders that deserves to be celebrated due to that specific circumstance and the challenges they face because of it. However, in certain contexts, it can be used in a way that is not helpful to promoting one’s sense of confidence and ability. All of us of all ages need to think about how we can best support this special type of leaders and professionals.

So why are emerging leaders important to a healthy and vital community? Well, let me tell you another quick story. When I first became a lawyer in my mid-twenties, some fellow professionals and clients would tell me that I looked too young to be a lawyer, or that I couldn’t possibly be a lawyer because I was the same age as their own children. To which I would respond, “Old lawyers don’t grow on trees.” And guess what—experienced professionals, those who create jobs and pay taxes, they don’t grow on trees either. They have to ripen over time. In other words, seasoned professionals just don’t show up out of nowhere. The community has to plant the seeds that encourage young leaders to move here. As a community, we have to provide them with affordable shelter and affordable education; we have to mentor them, listen to their ideas, and support them in their goals. If we are lucky, they will decide to put down their roots here, contribute to our economy, populate our schools, pay taxes, shape local policy, stabilize our community, and plan for its future. This takes work on all of our parts.

Young leaders reinforce why the Upper Valley is such a great place to live. If you ask the person sitting across from you at the table today why they chose, out of the whole country, to live here, you will most likely get a response identifying the area’s work/life balance, natural beauty, community cohesiveness, availability of social services, opportunity to be involved in local government, or friendly corporate environment. When you work here at a local business, most of us can call up any one of our competitors if we need help. You can call your neighbors when your car gets stuck during mud season. Or when your neighbors find your goats in their own yard, eating their flowers, they will bring them back to you—an experience I can personally attest to. These qualities just don’t happen by accident. They are created by a balanced community that strives to take care of all the needs of its members. A community where every little bit can go a long way and a new idea can spark real change. Our region provides fertile ground for fostering this cohesiveness, and with the right amount of care, our young leaders have demonstrated for us the amazing results that can be grown from it.

Our honorees today help to weave these very intangibles together to provide the fabric that is our sense of place. Some of them have overcome moving from across the country, far from their own families and friends; have started a new career or new educational program; have developed a new business; and even started new families, all while taking what little precious personal time they have left to give back, for the benefit of all of us in this room. Despite these challenges, our honorees today have made amazing contributions to our community’s health care, environmental, economic development, finance, technology, corporate social responsibility, disability awareness, international advocacy, civic engagement, entrepreneurship, athletic, and education spheres. They were not afraid that they didn’t have enough experience. They were not afraid that their voices wouldn’t be listened to. They were not afraid of trying something new that perhaps hadn’t been thought of before. They were not afraid that they couldn’t make a difference, or that it wasn’t worth trying. They started by giving back a little bit a time, and their success and impact grew and grew.

We celebrate your hard work, your perseverance when facing these obstacles, and your dedication to an idea greater than yourself. An idea that connects all of us in this room together. An idea we call the Upper Valley.

You should all be proud to be called a “young” leader, and we know you will give back to whatever community you live in—even though we truly hope you will continue to make the Upper Valley your home.

Delivered at Heroes & Leaders celebration 5.24.2017 honoring Young Leaders by Markell Ripps

Meet the 2017 Heroes & Leaders Honorees

 

Merritt Patridge

Merritt Patridge

Merritt Patridge joined the Tuck School of Business in 2015, where she serves as Executive Director of the Center for Business, Government & Society. Prior to Tuck, Merritt worked at The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science as Program Lead for HCDS Impact Investing and then Director for Strategy and Operations. Her work included ethnographic research to understand the social, cultural, and economic factors of tuberculosis in the mining sector in South Africa and support for the Ministry of Health of Rwanda in their national palliative care strategy. From 2008-2011, Merritt worked as an investment analyst for a $10 billion global long/short equity hedge fund, Maverick Capital. At Maverick, Merritt joined the Board of its philanthropic foundation, where she led grant-making activities, developed analytical tools for evaluating nonprofit organizations and their impact, and set strategic direction. She also managed investment team recruiting. Prior to Maverick, Merritt worked for two years as an investment analyst at Morgan Creek Capital Management, an endowment-style investment firm. She has worked for the Clinton Health Access Initiative in Abuja, Nigeria, and the National Park Service in Jackson, Wyoming. Merritt earned her MBA from Tuck, where she was a Tuck Scholar, and a BA with Honors from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill where she majored in History. She currently serves as President of the Board at the Upper Valley Haven.

 

Dan McGee

Dan McGee

Dan McGee was born and raised in the Upper Valley and returned in 1997 to take a position at Red River, a start-up technology firm. In 2001, Dan became a member of the Red River management team, where he has since served in a variety of roles focused primarily on sales and operational leadership. Today Red River is a 235 person technology transformation company with employees nationwide and offices in Claremont, Reston, Va., and Austin, Texas. Dan is Red River’s President of Operations and responsible for Sales Operations, Program Management, Service Delivery, Technical and Business Operations, and Human Resources. Prior to Red River Dan worked in the financial services industry at SNL Financial in Hoboken, New Jersey. He is a graduate of Bates College (1996) where he majored in Economics. Dan is also a volunteer hockey and soccer coach and has served on several Boards including the Carter Community Building Association, the Red River Charitable Foundation, and Mascoma Savings Bank. Dan lives in Lebanon with his wife Kristin and their three children ages 12, 10, and 8.

 

 

Elyse Crossman

Elyse Crossman has been the Executive Director of the Greater Claremont Chamber of Commerce since 2015 and has focused on rebuilding the Chamber as an essential community influencer for economic development. Under Elyse’s direction, the Chamber has expanded its membership, as well as built on a number of initiatives; Business Before and After Hours, Speed Networking, Lunch n Learns.  Elyse returned to the Connecticut River Valley after graduating from High Point University in 2010.  She has been active in several community based initiatives including Claremont Green Dot, Greater Claremont Concert Series and the Early Childhood Education Leadership Team.  Elyse and her husband reside along the scenic Sugar River in Claremont.

 

emily photo

Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson learned about the resiliency of life by growing up watching her mother, a veterinarian, advocate for animals. While a student at Mount Holyoke College, Emily founded the youth-led nonprofit Cultivating Action, with the mission to build community around environmental solutions. Cultivating Action focuses on bringing the natural world into the classroom by placing aquaponic systems in schools across the country. This closed-loop microcosm of life is a way for students to interact with biology and chemistry in a hands-on way. While on exchange at Dartmouth, Emily joined Stand With Me, a medical nonprofit that produces and distributes pediatric standing frames in the developing world. Her work with that organization took her to South and Central America where she saw firsthand the challenges faced by children with disabilities and their caregivers. These experiences, coupled with her work as a research assistant in Dartmouth’s aquaculture lab, led to Emily’s appreciation of the importance of science-based policy. To further that professional focus, Emily looks forward to attending Oxford’s Enterprise and the Environment Summer School this July and joining the Vermont Law School this fall to begin her Masters in Environmental Law and Policy/Accelerated JD.

 

Gordon Ehret

Gordon Ehret

Gordon Ehret has enjoyed living in the Upper Valley since graduating from Dartmouth in 2002. He is a member of the Leadership Upper Valley class of 2013. He has been an associate at Hypertherm since 2007, serving in various positions in corporate improvement, operations leadership, and now engineering project management. Gordon is committed to helping others and improving this community. Gordon is invested in corporate social responsibility at Hypertherm, both as past chair of the HOPE team, which makes funding decisions for the HOPE Foundation, and as a member of the Green Team, focusing on environmental stewardship. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Granite United Way and chair of their Upper Valley Community Impact Committee. Additionally, he is an Everybody Wins reading mentor at the White River School and a ski instructor for the Rivendell Interstate School District’s ski program. Gordon is on the Advisory Group for Thayer School of Engineering’s Bachelor of Engineering program. In 2014 he was recognized as one of the New Hampshire Union Leader’s “40 Under Forty.” He lives in Orford with his wife, Amanda, and his 6-year-old son Willem and 2-year-old daughter Margaret, who amaze him every day.

 

 

Nicole LaBombard

Nicole LaBombard

Nicole LaBombard works in Community Health at Dartmouth-Hitchcock as the Program Coordinator for Partners for Community Wellness. She has been with D-H since 2014 and enjoys working collaboratively with community members and D-H to support a stronger, healthier population. She is a member of the Leadership New Hampshire class of 2017 and connects with fellow classmates across the state to engage more deeply in the issues and opportunities unique to New Hampshire. Nicole currently serves as Chair of the Upper Valley Young Professionals and has been on the board since 2015, helping to foster connections between young people in the Upper Valley. She is proud to volunteer as an advocate for WISE and is passionate about supporting their mission to end gender-based violence. Nicole grew up in Lebanon and graduated from Dartmouth College in 2009. She returned to Lebanon in 2014 and enjoys staying active, spending time with family, and working on obedience with her dog, Remy.

 

Sam Drazin

Sam Drazin

 

Sam Drazin, an Upper Valley native and former elementary school teacher, is the Founder and Executive Director of Changing Perspectives, a nonprofit organization that promotes disability awareness in schools. Sam was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome – a rare congenital disorder resulting in both facial anomaly and hearing loss. Sam underwent seven surgeries as a child while attending his local public school. Sam’s experiences, both as a student with a disability and as a teacher working in an inclusive classroom, made him recognize the importance of improving awareness and understanding of disabilities. Sam continues to be amazed by the positive impact that disability awareness initiatives are having on students and teachers around the country.

 

 

 

Stephanie Thompson

Stephanie Thompson

Stephanie Thompson is a native of Springfield, Vt., where she serves as Vice Chair of the Select Board and has worked to help improve the circumstances of her community in recent years. She is also Executive Director of the Springfield Prevention Coalition and President of Springfield Project ACTION, the community-based holistic response to the opiate epidemic. She was recently appointed to represent the Vermont League of Cities and Towns on the Governor’s Opiate Coordination Council. Stephanie is also Town Administrator for the Town of Londonderry. Stephanie has a strong passion for her community and state, and for representing those who are often not provided a voice. Stephanie received her undergraduate degrees through the Community College of Vermont and Johnson State College. In 2017, she graduated with a Master’s in Public Administration from Norwich University and began working as an adjunct faculty member with the Community College of Vermont. In addition, Stephanie is a member of Emerge Vermont, a 2016 graduate of the Snelling Center for Government’s Vermont Leadership Institute, and a 2017 Vermont State College Hall of Fame inductee.

 

Holly West

Holly West

Holly West graduated from Mascoma Valley Regional High School in 2000 and went on to earn her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with concentrations in Management Information Systems and Marketing at Northeastern University in Boston. Holly spent the first year after college working in marketing at Kallmann McKinnell & Wood Architects. She then transitioned to a career in information technology (IT) at Eze Castle Integration, where she worked for almost seven years before joining Ascend Learning. After working in IT in Massachusetts for over a decade, Holly, her husband, and son returned to Enfield in November of 2013; they welcomed a daughter to the family in November of 2015. Holly has found many opportunities to volunteer within the community since returning to Enfield. She is President and a founding member of Friends of Mascoma Foundation, and a member of the Enfield Budget Committee, Enfield Capital Improvement Program Committee, Enfield Tax Increment Finance District Committee, Enfield Energy Committee (and actively promoted Solarize Enfield-Lebanon), Community Lutheran Church. Holly is also a volunteer with Mascoma Cooperative Preschool and for Whaleback Mountain (UVSSF), where her husband is Chief Operating Officer and Board member. Holly’s parents have always been active volunteers in the community and set a great example for her and her siblings to follow.

 

Paul Coats

Paul Coats

A southern gentleman who loves the outdoors, Paul Coats was drawn to the Upper Valley first by the Appalachian Trail. After hiking the trail, he moved to the area to become Lebanon’s Recreation Coordinator, and he was promoted to Director of Lebanon Recreation and Parks in 2009. His commitments to the Recreation Department and community development run deep, convinced that our community is healthier and stronger when neighbors gather at beautiful parks, interact at special events, stay physically active in fun programs, and mentor our youth to become better citizens. Paul has actively served on several community-building boards, including the Lebanon Opera House, ReThink Health, Skip Matthews Run, Covered Bridges Half Marathon, Healthy Eating Active Living, DHMC’s Healthy Living Committee, Upper Valley Recreation Association, Upper Valley Running Club, and is the Youth Ministry Coordinator at Valley Bible Church. Paul is married to Kristen Coats, also an active member of the community, and they enjoy skiing, biking, running, hiking, canoeing, camping, snowshoeing, traveling and volunteering. Paul’s education includes a Bachelor of Science from Georgia Tech, and Outdoor Educator from National Outdoor Leadership School.

 

Noah Crane

Noah Crane

Noah Crane is an Upper Valley native and Founder and General Manager of the Upper Valley Nighthawks. A former collegiate baseball player and coach, Crane launched the Nighthawks in the fall of 2015. The Nighthawks are the second summer collegiate baseball conceived and managed by Crane. He spent six years as general manager of the Laconia Muskrats, also a member of the prestigious New England Collegiate Baseball League. Crane is a frequent speaker at college campuses throughout New England on the subjects of entrepreneurship, marketing, and athletics. He serves on the board of Mid Vermont Christian School and CCEF New England. Crane graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a degree in Classical Studies. Noah and his wife, Alyssa, reside in Lebanon with their three children.

LUV Rail Trail-4_blog

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.

2016pageheader

“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.

 

elizabeth_blog

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.

 

artsday_blog

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.

Bob-Sarah_Aug15 (1)

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

1 2