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2023 Summit schedule and SEssions

Summit introduction: 9:00-10:00

Plenary Keynote Speaker: Rob Riley, President, Northern Forest Center

Sponsored by MSK Engineering

Rob has guided the Northern Forest Center to become the respected regional innovation and investment partner it is today and launched the Center’s first impact investment funds to support the Millinocket Housing Initiative  and Lancaster Main Street Fund. Learn how the Center is bringing new ideas and resources to accelerate innovation across geographic, social and ideological boundaries.


Morning Sessions: 10:20-11:30

The Power of Collaboration: Working across towns to increase capacity and clout 

Sponsored by Efficiency VT

Inter-municipal cooperation is a great way to build capacity for the services and programs your town wants to provide, but can’t do (or afford to do) alone! 

We’ll hear from leaders of recent successful cross-town collaborations that are moving  the dial on broadband, housing, recreation and energy resilience.

Increasing Local Engagement: Practices to invite and encourage participation 

Our communities are people-powered, but a lack of human capital is the challenge most commonly cited by community leaders.  

Experts from VLCT and VCRD will present perspectives on how we got here, and provide actionable recommendations on  how towns and organizations can encourage greater participation.

The Missing Link: Connecting recreational assets to the local economy 

Sponsored by VT ACCD

Are you doing a good job of connecting your recreational assets to your small businesses and using them to grow the local economy? 

We’ll hear from leaders in the field who will share their experience and hard-won wisdom. Whether your town’s recreational assets are a large entity like a ski mountain, or a home-grown network of trails (or both!) this session’s for you.

Extending Your Workforce Options:  J1, H2,  H1B, and other ways to find workers for your business in the new workforce reality

Sponsored by the Richards Group

Whether your workforce fluctuates seasonally, or your team must have specialized qualifications, hiring staff in today’s labor market is a challenge. 

Explore hiring options, including hosting J1 visa holders or sponsoring H2 or H1B workers. From legal requirements to housing needs, get an overview of how employers, small and large, across several sectors, have successfully used these programs.

Morning sessions

‘Show me the numbers:’ Data-Informed Community and Economic Development

Sponsored by The VT Futures Project

What data is needed to inform decision-making and planning for community and economic development? What are the state’s primary data resources, and what are the data gaps that must be filled?

Representatives from the Vermont Futures Project and UVM Office of Engagement discuss key challenges and opportunities facing communities and organizations in accessing the information they need. Explore different ways to access and use data at the state, county, and local level, and learn about some organizations that are innovating around data use in their work.

Emerging Leaders Award Presentation 11:45-12:15 (Lunch 12:15-1:15)

EL presentations

Emerging Leaders Awards

Sponsored by CCV  

Join us in recognizing these outstanding Vermonters under 40 who are doing amazing work in their community. They bring passion, skill and empathy into the workplace and beyond!

Awards supported by Southern VT Young Professionals & Shires Young Professionals

Mid-Afternoon Sessions: 1:20-2:30

"Big Money for Big Projects:” Preparing for and funding local infrastructure & energy resilience in your town

Sponsored by VT ACCD

Between ARPA and upcoming federal and state funding programs, money is out there to fund big projects. 

But as a small town, how do you plan for your community’s future and take these projects on? Meet with our Regional Planning Commissions to learn about resources to help you Think Big and take the first steps.

‘Steal  This Idea!’ Workshop: Actionable strategies for Main Streets of all sizes

Sponsored by VT ACCD

There are proven strategies that any size town can implement to support a vibrant downtown or village center! 

In this session we'll review best practices and success stories, then workshop YOUR town’s ideas and stuck points in small group conversations with peers, guided by local, state and regional experts. 

MidAftenoon Sessions

Welcoming Communities: From partnership to programming

How do we as a region go from small successes to systems-wide change?
Learn about how the Welcoming Communities initiative is building a foundation of partners to attract, welcome, support, and retain New Vermonters. We’ll share the short, medium, and long-term solutions we’ve identified to develop systems that will support
all Vermonters.

Marketing Fundamentals For Businesses and Organizations

Sponsored by Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA)

Join business and marketing expert Joanne Randall for a ‘back to basics’ session on marketing best practices. Joanne will address how marketing fits within a larger organizational plan, and help you overcome ‘scarcity mentality.'

Learn proven tactics that will help you market your organization, services or products and make better use of your valuable time!

A Place for Youth: Efforts to help them stay (or return) and thrive 

How do we create a Vermont where young people can thrive?

In this panel we will look at ways to meet the needs of the next generation of Vermonters, and build a place where they can stay or return to, and succeed.  We’ll go into current workforce education programs and hear directly from youth about what they want for their future.

CEDS vital Projects Video Project 2:40-3pm (and Coffee Break)

CEDS Vital Projects Video Project Showing

Sponsored by M&T Bank  

GNAT-TV produced video profiles showing a selection of projects from around our region that were chosen as Vital Projects over the past 4 years. These projects are submitted with yearly updates of the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). See the value that these projects have brought to our region over the past 4 years, and keep dreaming big!

CEDS Project film

Late Afternoon Session: 3:30-4:15 

Taking Action from Today's IDeas (Roundtables & Small groups)

Sessions under development: check back for updates!

Business Investing for Local Impact - Presentation & Discussion

Community /Municipal Project Funders: Roundtable

Small Business Support Services: Q&A with SCORE mentors

Developing Partnerships for Resilience (Roundtable with UVM Office of Engagement) 

Local Trails Groups: Meetup and Conversation

Big Ideas for the Creative Economy: From Data to Action (Roundtable)

​Local Housing Committees/ Small Developers: Discussion and Resources

Summit Close and Reception 4:15-5:30

Summit Hosts

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