From small businesses and large, health care, municipal government, a church, and many other corners of the Upper Valley, 24 people came together on Wednesday, June 9, to complete a 10-month program to help them build the skills, knowledge, and personal networks to be effective leaders in the Upper Valley. The day-long event took place at the Vermont Institute for Natural Science pavillion in Quechee, VT.
“The world needs you,” keynote speaker Monique Priestley, Vital Communities Board Chair, told the graduates at a late afternoon culminating event. Start small and start anywhere, she advised graduates who are wondering how to apply what they learned.
“I have seen what the smallest actions can do. The library board you serve on where the librarian serves a child patron an after school snack when that snack is the only food he will eat that day. The chamber board that supports the executive director who helps secure recovery funding for husband and wife business owners who are at risk of losing an entire life’s work. The community action board that helps a veteran experiencing homelessness find a warm, safe, stable place to live. The youth program that teaches an elementary school child living in poverty to use a screwdriver for the first time in her life, inspiring her to pursue a career in mechanical engineering. … The world needs you. You just need to decide whether or not you are going to step up and accept the charge.” Read the full text of Monique’s speech.
The 24 graduates began meeting for monthly, day-long sessions in September, when warm temperatures allowed them to meet in person, also at VINS. Successive sessions were a mix of virtual and in person. The sessions explored the topics of Education, Art and the Creative Economy, Health and Human Services, Economic Development, Justice, Transportation and Livable Communities, and Environment. Upper Valley leaders in those areas who helped plan the days included Joanne Roberts, Superintendent, SAU 88 Lebanon Schools; Jarvis Antonio Green, Founder and Producing Artistic Director, JAG Productions; Barbara Farnsworth, Manager, Community Health Improvement, Dartmouth-Hitchcock; Nancy Merrill, Director, Planning and Development, City of Claremont; Robert Sand, Founder, Center for Justice Reform, Vermont Law School; Karen Liot-Hill, Lebanon City Councillor and former Mayor; Bethany Fleishman, Transportation Manager, Vital Communities; and Hannah Gelroth, VINS Director, School Programs & Teacher Professional Development.
Leadership Upper Valley Class of 2021
Jane Clifford, Mascoma Bank
Jessica Clow, West Central Behavioral Health
Zachary Conaway, Dartmouth Hitchock Health
Janet Couture, Hanover Consumer Cooperative
Kathy Dunham-Bellavance, Geokon
Leon Dunkley, North Universalist Chapel Society (North Chapel)
Kimberley Gibbs, Dartmouth-Hitchcock
Susan Goodell, Otto & Associates, Inc.
Lynne Goodwin, City of Lebanon
Daynia Langlois, Dartmouth-Hitchcock
Nancy Lindahl, BAYADA Hospice
Jill Marshall, Jill Marshall Consulting (self-employed)
Ashleigh McFarlin, Claremont Savings Bank
Davis McGraw, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
Shari McLaughlin, Gallagher, Flynn & Company, LLP
Steven Monteverdi, Hypertherm
Melissa Norton, Spark! Community Center
Rebecca Owens, City of Lebanon
Amanda Roberts, Mascoma Bank
Tamara Rockwell, Dartmouth-Hitchcock
Valerie Thompson, LISTEN Community Services
Celeste Wetherell, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
Ashley Wood, Upper Valley Haven
Terra Wheeler, Red River