From left, Sas Stewart and Will Flemming of Stonecutter Distillers work at VBSR's June Get-Together in Hinesburg.

Red Wagon Plants hosts networking night

HINESBURG — Guests were treated to an ideal early summer evening when Red Wagon Plants in Hinesburg hosted a Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) networking Get-Together in June. If that wasn’t enough, they also enjoyed pizza from the “wandering wood-fired pizza oven” provided by One Hearth, a food truck and catering business located in Burlington’s Old North End. Event sponsors included Champlain Community Services, City Market, Localvore Today, Merchants Bank, Merritt & Merritt, Office Squared, ReVisions, and TruexCullins. Red Wagon Plants owner Julie Rubaud said, “I’ve been selling plants for 22 years, the past 11 at this location as Red Wagon Plants. Our primary focus is edible gardening, but every year we seem to grow more and more ornamental plants, annual flowers, perennial flowers, and shrubs.

Employees from Community Health Centers of Burlington, Kim Anderson, Janine Fleri, Matt DeFrange and Christy Gustafson, pose for a photo at Web & Wine.

‘Web & Wine’ combines learning, networking

BURLINGTON — The most recent Networking After Hours event promoted by the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce featured a unique coupling of educational opportunities for guests. Co-hosted by Burlington Bytes and EB Strong’s Prime Steakhouse, the chamber pitched “Web & Wine” as a night of learning and networking — “for those who love the web, and love wine more.”

Conference Keynote speaker Sonia Kowal, president of Zevin Asset Management, is shown with Jacob Park of Green Mountain College and the VBSR Board of Directors.

VBSR Spring Conference draws hundreds to UVM

BURLINGTON — More than 300 participants, representing the private, public and nonprofit sectors, gathered at the Dudley H. Davis Center at the University of Vermont recently for the annual Spring Conference of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, or VBSR.

Speakers, breakout sessions and panel discussions, a networking lunch and dozens of exhibitors offered a variety of opportunities for engagement. A Vermont-themed networking reception concluded the daylong event in May. Russ Elek, VBSR communication and membership manager, said the event drew 327 attendees, with 44 exhibitors and 15 workshops across a range of topics, geared toward all sizes of businesses. “We had a keynote speaker — Sonia Kowal, president of Zevin Asset Management — who talked about socially responsible investing and where it’s going, and some of the challenges of putting your money into funds that are really green, and not just green-washed,” Elek said. “The Spring Conference is our marquee event, really geared toward education.

From left, Eric LaMontagne of Lake Champlain International poses for a photo with Taylor St. Germain, an intern at Mass Mutual, at the recent VBSR Networking Get-Together at Mead Hall in Colchester.

VBSR event comes to Colchester’s Mead Hall

Groennfell Meadery recently played host to a Networking Get-Together, in its recently christened Colchester’s Mead Hall, for members and friends of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) in late March. About 100 guests packed the hall to sample craft mead and light fare while networking, learning about Groennfell’s commitment to Vermont water quality initiatives, and hearing short presentations from event sponsors. Those sponsors included Career Networks, City Market, Office Environments, Ogee, Pride Center of Vermont, Sugarsnap Catering, SunCommon and TruexCullins Architecture + Interior Design. Ricky Klein is head brewer and “chief visionary officer” at Groennfell (his wife Kelly Klein is owner and CEO). He outlined some exciting changes at the businesses.

From left, Heather Wright of WrightJones, PLC, Rebecca Manchester of Rebecca Manchester Illustration & Design, and Katie Kelley, representing DreamTrips travel club, pose for a photo during the chamber event at The Tap Room at Switchback Brewing Co. in early March.

Switchback hosts BYP networking event

Burlington Young Professionals, an affiliate group of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, or LCRCC, celebrated its sixth anniversary with a networking event March 10 at The Tap Room at Switchback Brewing Co. in Burlington’s South End. Event sponsors included Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports, Hickok & Boardman Insurance Group, City Market, New Moon Café, Jolley, Birnn Chocolates, Burton, and Leunig’s. Katie Taylor, director of workforce development and entrepreneurship at LCRCC, coordinates the Burlington Young Professionals, or BYP, initiative. “It’s our sixth anniversary for Burlington Young Professionals,” she said.

Educators in attendance included, from left, retired teacher Joan Conroy, teacher Patricia King, speech pathologist Carol Emery and teacher Hellen-Anne Cafferty.

Networking News: Chamber presents Valentine-themed auction

The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, or LCRCC, presented “How Sweet it Is,” a Valentine-themed silent auction that served as both a fundraiser and business-networking event on February 10th at The Essex Resort and Spa. Other event sponsors included Farrell Distributing and Top Hat Entertainment. Guests bid on an array of gifts, many donated by LCRCC member businesses. Featured items included an Ocean Jasper Pendent from Tradewinds in Burlington, an autographed Boston Bruins jersey donated by TD Bank, a marketing package courtesy of WCAX, as well as an Acapulco vacation package. The evening offered a strong giving component as half the proceeds from ticket sales were donated to Dragonheart Vermont, a local nonprofit that provides resources and support to cancer survivors and their loved ones.

From left, Care Net was represented by volunteer Cheryl McCabe, board member Todd McCabe, Development Director Terri Seward, board member Josh Pothen and Client Services Manager Charlotte Martin.

Networking News: KeyBank hosts full house at holiday party

In December, KeyBank once again hosted a full house at its annual Holiday Party, teaming up with Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, or LCRCC, for one of Greater Burlington’s most popular celebrations. The lobby and mezzanine level of KeyBank’s downtown Burlington branch were once again transformed into a festive site for the business community to network and celebrate the season. Burlington Bay Market & Cafe provided food, and other event sponsors included Farrell Distributing, Top Hat Entertainment, Claussen’s Florist & Greenhouse, Lake Champlain Chocolates, and New Moon Cafe. LCRCC encouraged guests to bring donations of canned goods or other non-perishable food items, which were distributed to Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf. Don Baker, Vermont market president at KeyBank, said, “We’re thrilled to host this party every year.