Vermont Leaders

Who leads for Vermont and how are they improving the quality of our lives and the psychological health of our communities?

  • Kensi Pierce: “Henri June Bynx & Free Food from Your Local Sex Workers” - Henri June Bynx is a co-founder of the Ishtar Collective based out of Montpelier and Burlington, Vermont. Henri is an outspoken advocate for the rights of marginalized Vermonters, specifically speaking to the experiences of and dangers posed to adult consensual sex workers by our current legislature and culture. Sex work has long been vilified and […]
  • Nga Willey: Xusana Davis Fighting for Me! - Xusana Davis was appointed Vermont’s first Director of Racial Equity by Governor Phil Scott. “The director of racial equity, and the five-member Racial Equity Advisory Panel, which the director oversees, were established by lawmakers and the governor [in 2019] to help identify and address systemic racism in Vermont state government.” (Landen, 2019, January 21) Ms. […]
  • Ruth Venman-Clay: Ann Braden Leads for Children - Ann Braden is a Vermont author, activist, and teacher whose overarching work can be summed up simply: Being motivated by love, she dives in; once in, she works to bridge the divide. Rooted in love, her activism is generative, creating spaces and opportunities where the community can come together to act, whether on gun reform […]
  • Anne Koplinka-Loehr: “Parenting for Social Justice — Angela Berkfield” - When families come together in a social justice community of practice they have an infinite power to alter the fabric of their families and communities,” according to Angela Berkfield, a leader of social justice work for parents in Southeastern Vermont, throughout the state, and beyond. (Berkfield, 2016) She is the Founder and Director of ACT for Social […]
  • Megan Irons: “Enrigue Balcazar Leads the Fight for Dignified Working Conditions” - When you think of Vermont, one of the first images that comes to mind are rolling green fields, dotted with grazing dairy cows. You then may think of some of the famous Vermont companies these cows provide milk for, such as Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and Cabot Cheese. Do you ever think of the […]
  • Dan Smith: “Andrew Gonyea Leads the Fight Against Addiction” - The plague of addiction that has beset the country has not spared Vermont. Fortunately, a shift in the public perception of addiction, both locally and on the national level, has aided those suffering its consequences in getting help. Andrew Gonyea, Co-Founder and Director of Operations at Vermont Foundation of Recovery, is one of many Vermonters […]
  • Sarah Green: “Tracy Penfield’s Pioneering Work” - Tracy Penfield is an artist, educator, advocate, and the Founder and Artistic Director of SafeArt in Chelsea, Vermont. As such her vision involves the healing and empowerment of survivors of domestic, sexual, and relationship abuse, as well as teaching individuals how to avert relationships that could be damaging.  According to the mission and action statements from the […]
  • Mandy Snyder: “Andrea Stander Leads for Rural Vermont” - Andrea Stander is a champion for Vermonters, with a passion for supporting farmers (Rural Vermont, n.d.). Her contribution has been tremendous since setting foot in Vermont in 1997, with roles at the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, The Vermont Council of the arts, Northern Forests Alliance, and Rural Vermont, a nonprofit where she has been […]
  • Tathiana Tanzey: “Ted Castle and the ‘Inside Out’ Strategy” - Ted Castle, CEO of Rhino Foods, believes in uplifting and supporting employees. In a TED Talk hosted by UVM in  2010, Castle explained that top quality businesses invest in their most valuable asset — their employees. They do so by focusing on personal development and interpersonal relationships, while nurturing a sense of purpose in their employees. ‘The best businesses in the […]
  • Kimberly Myers: “Kelly Walsh and the Girls Programs of Vermont Works for Women” - One of the reasons that young woman do not go on to pursue careers in the trades or in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is simply that they do not see them as an option. Young girls who have no experience with these careers or have no female role models who work in these […]
  • Paul Curtiss: “Steve Marinelli Changing Kids, One Fry at a Time” - In 2011 Steve Marinelli arrived at the Milton Town School District Cafeteria. He had a vision, one that would transform the food system district-wide. Immediately, food in the cafeteria went from french fries and pizza to sweet potato slaw and baked halibut. Steve would have a profound impact not only on the healthy food served to […]
  • Anne Baron: “Giving Life Through Books with Duncan McDougall” - Duncan McDougall started Children’s Literacy Foundation in 1998. This organization has reached 140,000 children, given away $2.5 million of books and touched children in 400 cities and towns in Vermont and New Hampshire. The Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF) “is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire a love of reading and writing among children […]
  • Alicia Keesler: “Danilo Lopez Wins Immigrant Rights in Vermont” - Danilo Lopez has shown courage and determination of spirit in his fight for immigrants’ rights in Vermont and across the country. His story is a battle cry for all to stand up against injustice, to organize, and to change legislation. While he was working as a migrant farmworker in Vermont in 2011, Danilo Lopez was a […]
  • Kerry Max Labrecque: “Vermont Dismas and Rita McCaffrey” - Rita McCaffrey has worked to reintroduce newly released non-violent offenders back into society with a transitional program called Dismas. The Vermont Dismas program was founded by Rita in the Burlington area in 1986 and then expanded to the Rutland area in 1990. Our incarcerated offenders are among the most disenfranchised groups in America today. All […]
  • Angela Ross: “Marissa Parisi: What Does 30 Cents Mean to You?” - If you have listened to or been a part of the conversations about food insecurity, if you have or know a child in school, or if you are interested in nutrition, you most likely have heard Marissa Parisi’s name and her voice. Marissa Parisi has been the Executive Director at Hunger Free Vermont since 2009, and […]