Vital Communities Staff
— Tom Roberts, Executive Director
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
— Aaron Brown, 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 2009, 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.
Allison Rogers Furbish
Communications and Database Manager
— Allison Rogers Furbish, Communications and Database Manager
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.
Valley Food & Farm Communications Coordinator
Food & Farm
Food & Farm
— Becka Warren, Valley Food & Farm Communications Coordinator
Becka began her farm-related career at the age of 16 on Idyll Acres Dairy in Grafton, Vt., 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.
Valley Food & Farm Manager
Food & Farm
Food & Farm
— Beth Roy, Valley Food & Farm Manager
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, Vt. 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 lives in Hartland, Vt., 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.
Transportation Program Assistant
— Bethany Fleishman, 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 serves on the board of directors for both Advance Transit and Upper Valley CarShare and is a lifelong bike commuter.
Bookkeeper and Office Manager
— Carole Petrillo, 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.
Valley Food & Farm and Local First Coordinator
Local First, Food & Farm
Local First, Food & Farm
— Nancy LaRowe, Valley Food & Farm and Local First Coordinator
Nancy joined Vital Communities as the Valley Food & Farm Coordinator in 2014. She works to support and grow our local food system and economy. 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. Nancy is on the Board of the Norwich Farmers' Market, and a retired Norwich volunteer firefighter and EMT. She loves puttering in the garden, hiking with her dog, and, of course, bacon.
Finance and Events Manager
— Rachel Darrow, Finance and Events Manager
Rachel Darrow joined Vital Communities in November 2016 after two years as Finance Manager of Opera North. Prior to moving to Lyme, N.H., she worked for more than eight years with the Greensboro Jewish Federation in Greensboro, N.C., most recently serving as Director of Finance and Human Resources. She graduated summa cum laude with a BA in English from the University of Maryland University College and an MA in Liberal Arts from St. John's College. Rachel currently serves on the United Way Campaign Cabinet, dances with The Raqs Salaam Dance Theater, and enjoys spending time with her three goats.
Valley Quest Coordinator
— Sara Cottingham, Valley Quest Coordinator
Sara holds a BA in Geography and an MS in Community & Regional Planning, both from the University of Texas at Austin. A watershed planner by trade, Sara’s inner compass is guided by a passion for rural and mountainous places. After brief stints working for state and federal agencies, Sara spent the last four years cleaning up rivers in West Virginia. Her favorite pastimes include looking at maps, making art, exploring woods and rivers, and playing old-time fiddle and banjo for contra dances. Sara also maintains a private practice as an independent grant writer for nonprofits.
Energy Program Manager
— Sarah Brock, Energy Program Manager
Sarah Brock 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 Fleishman. Sarah holds a joint degree in architecture and environmental studies from Middlebury College.
Web Media and Leadership Upper Valley Manager
— Stacey Glazer, 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.