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DOVER — Nearly two dozen Southern Vermont Emerging Leaders were recognized at the 3rd Annual Southern Vermont Economy Summit in May.

Southern Vermont Young Professionals and the Shires Young Professionals co-hosted the third annual recognition event which celebrates young people from the Bennington and Windham regions. Individuals were nominated based on their work as community leaders and volunteers, and for their professional accomplishments and commitment to serving the region.

McKenna Hayes of Food Connects, one of the young professionals recognized during this event, commented that "It's incredibly humbling to receive this recognition - although I am a native Vermonter, I'm new to this area of the state, and my experience thus far has been delightful and inspiring. We all know Vermont is a very special place; that's why we're here, right? The fact that I get to live in this state, while working to build resilient systems and partnerships that protect and expand our working landscape and unique way of life - now that's truly the dream."

The Emerging Leaders event was sponsored by the Vermont Student Assistance corporation (VSAC), and by Bennington Potters which provided a special gift for each recipient. Awards were presented by Adam Grinold and Bill Colvin, directors of the Windham and Bennington Regional Development Corporations (Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation and Bennington County Industrial Corporation).

"It is a privilege as a young professional in Southern Vermont to have the opportunity to further develop a flourishing community through hope, education, and action," stated Leeanne Hadsel, a Behavior Interventionist at the Vernon Elementary School, another young professional recognized during this event. "It is exciting to be a member of this emerging population of working professionals, who plant their roots here and continue their educational and professional pursuits, while responding to the evolving needs of the populace and respecting the diversity and the unique vibrancy of the region. Southern Vermont is rich with resources, intelligence, grit, and hope. It is an honor to work and grow among this community and to be recognized as an emerging leader who is committed to fostering the success of this region and its people"

Sarah Lang, coordinator of BDCC's Southern Vermont Young Professionals, and Matt Harrington, director of the Bennington Chamber, shared a quote from each recipient about what Southern Vermont or "SoVermont" means them. One person said, "Southern Vermont is neighborly and community-oriented, with community members developing unique solutions to unique problems." Another described SoVermont as, "a place where individuals matter. This is an area where one person's energy, enthusiasm, or excellence can legitimately make a difference in the community, which coming from a more densely populated area has been a huge cultural shift for me. This is a special place, to say the least." Several said simply "SoVermont is home."

All of the 2019 Southern Vermont Emerging Leaders will all be nominated for the Vermont Rising Star awards.

The 2019 Emerging Leaders of Southern Vermont are as follows:

Alex Beck, workforce and education program manager for Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, Brattleboro.          

Cat Bryars, regional planner - community planning program manager for Bennington County Regional Commission, Bennington.          

Kelly Clarke, architect with Centerline Architects, Bennington.               

Jonathan Cooper, community and economic development specialist with Bennington County Regional Commission, Bennington.                    

Becky Gilbert, licensed clinical mental health clinician, HCRS Clinician II/EFS Clinician/Brattleboro Primary Care (BPC) consultant and clinician/per diem crisis screener, and Entera Catering, Brattleboro.          

Steffen Gillom, president of the Windham County NAACP, VPR commentator, and disability services associate at SIT Graduate Institute, Brattleboro.     

Leeanne Hadsel, behavior interventionist at Vernon Elementary School, Vernon.     

Ashley Havreluk, EB-5 manger at Mount Snow, West Dover.               

McKenna Hayes, food hub operations manager for Food Connects, Putney.               

Marissa Hutton, executive director of Dorset Theatre Festival, Dorset.               

Sarah Kovach, Brattleboro Literary Festival, Brattleboro.                    

Lori Langevin, assistant business manager/HR support for Windham Central Supervisory Union, Townshend.                    

Beq Lendvay, field production coordinator for Catamount Access Television, Bennington.               

HB Lozito, executive director of Green Mountain Crossroads, Brattleboro.               

Brian Maggiotto, general manager of The Inn at Manchester, Manchester.               

Diane Michalczuk, psychologist-doctorate geriatric neuropsychology at The Memory Clinic, Bennington.          

Mel Motel, executive director of Brattleboro Community Justice Center, Brattleboro.                    

Peter Paggi, director of real estate development for Windham & Windsor Housing Trust, Brattleboro.               

Christopher Parker, food service director for Windham Central Supervisory Union, West River Education District, Vernon.          

Avery Schwenk, co-founder of Hermit Thrush Brewery, Brattleboro.               

Emma Stewart, housing support coordinator for Windham & Windsor Housing Trust, Brattleboro.          

Carson Thurber, fundraising/development director for Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, Bennington.                         

Joshua Unruh, digital marketing specialist for New England Newspapers, Inc., Brattleboro.     


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