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2023 Summit schedule and SEssions


Summit introduction: 9:00-10:00

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

Main Stage

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.

Sponsored by MSK Engineering

Morning Sessions: 10:20-11:30

Morning sessions

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

Movie Theater (Basement Level)

Joining forces with neighboring communities 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 housing, recreation and energy resilience around our state and region.

Sponsored by Efficiency VT

Increasing Local Engagement: Practices to invite and encourage participation

Main Room (Stage Area) 

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

Experts from VLCT (Executive Director, Ted Brady) and VCRD (Community Engagement and Policy Director, Jenna Koloski) will present their perspectives on community engagement and help facilitate a conversation (Joined by Front Porch Forum Chief of Staff Jason Van Driesche) around practices to help towns and organizations encourage greater participation.

The Missing Link: Connecting recreational assets to the local economy 

Stone Room (Mezzanine Level)

Are recreational assets working well as an economic engine for your town?  How are you communicating about these assets, and linking them to local business?

Hear from some state-wide leaders from Kingdom Trails and Stowe, who will share their experience and hard-won wisdom, and also look into a local way finding project.

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.

Sponsored by VT ACCD

Demystifying Visa Work Programs for Local Employers

Board Room (Main Level)

H-2B, J-1's H-1B Visa program- come learn the ins and outs of these various programs, & discuss how small employers can use these programs to solve their seasonal workforce needs. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to join a collaboration of small employers to begin recruitment for their next season and help to secure the necessary seasonal housing for hires.

Sponsored by the Richards Group

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

Ski School Room (Lower Level)

In the data-abundant 21st century, rural communities must be able to take advantage of available resources to drive programs, policies, and planning. How do we leverage information, build relationships, and learn skills to enhance our data-informed decision making? Join Kevin Chu (Vermont Futures Project) and Emma Spett (UVM Office of Engagement) for an interactive session on the problem and promise of data use for community and economic development in Vermont.

Sponsored by The VT Futures Project

CEDS vital Projects Video Project 11:45-12:15 (Lunch 12:15-1:15 PM)

CEDS Project film

CEDS Vital Projects: Video Project Showing

Main Stage

Be inspired by videos from around the region showcasing initiatives that were chosen as Vital Projects over the past four years, produced by GNAT-TV. Vital projects are selected yearly as part of an update process for the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). See the value that these projects have brought to Southern Vermont over the past four years, and keep dreaming big!

Sponsored by M&T Bank  

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

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

Board Room (Main Level)

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.

Sponsored by VT ACCD

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

Main Room (Stage Area)

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.

Sponsored by VT ACCD 

MidAftenoon Sessions

Welcoming Communities: From partnership to programming

Stone Room (Mezzanine Level)

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

Ski School Room (Lower Level)

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!

Sponsored by Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA)

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

Movie Theater (Basement Level)

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.

Emerging Leaders Award Presentation 2:45-3:15 (and Coffee BReak)

Emerging Leaders Awards

Main Room (Stage Area)

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!

Sponsored by CCV  

Awards supported by Southern VT Young Professionals & Shires Young Professionals

EL presentations

Late Afternoon Session: 3:30-4:15 

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

Seeking Business Investment: The Mortifying, Frustrating and Exciting Process 

Fireside chat format, bring your ideas and questions!

Board Room (Main Level)

Community /Municipal Project Funders: Roundtable

A Chance to 'Talk to Your Funder' in person.

Main Room (Stage Area)

Small Business Resources and Q & A

Meet Business Bankers, Marketing Specialists, Mentors, Technical Assistance Providers, and more! An opportunity to make connections and ask questions one on one.

Upper Mezzanine (Bar Side)

Community Partnerships: Workshop (and Raffle!)

An opportunity to share what you learned from the day with peers, connect that to initiatives you might be developing or working on, and help you form partnerships to move forward. And, yes, a raffle!

Ski School Room (Lower Level)

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

The Creative Economy is a major driver of the Southern VT economy. Join colleagues for a conversation about how data collected by the VT Creative Network can help this sector show and expand its impact.

Hayloft (Mezzanine Level)

Local Housing Solutions: Discussion, plus Legislative Update

Update on recent legislative action and connection with peers working to advance local housing availability.

Stone Room (Mezzanine Level)

Summit Close and Reception 4:15-5:30

Summit Hosts

2022 Summit Hosts Logo.PNG
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