Community leaders help us thrive.
In addition to providing strategic direction, the VYCC Board of Directors and VYCC’s handful of advisors do the invaluable work as ambassadors of the organization. Learn more about these amazing leaders.
ANNE ADLER, Vice Chair
Anne Adler, a graduate of Wheaton College (Norton, MA) and Boston College Law School, practiced securities law for 15 years. While raising 5 sons and a daughter she did volunteer work and then became webmaster for an independent day school from 2002-2010 working with the communications, alumni and development teams. Her volunteer work included serving on multiple boards acting as counsel and/or overseeing the organization’s website, including being President/Board Chair of The Keewaydin Foundation based in Salisbury, VT. Anne has also served on the parents boards of her children’s schools, the Junior League, and Women of Vision.
BEN EASTMAN, Secretary
Currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at UVM, Ben is a cultural anthropologist whose research focuses on contemporary Cuba and Latin America. His scholarship addresses socialism/post-socialism, entrepreneurialism, sports, semiotics, and the relationships between nationalist rituals, moral authority, and political legitimacy. As a professor, Ben teaches courses based on these themes, providing active, often hands-on learning opportunities for students not only to understand non-Western cultures in their own terms but also to think about students’ own cultures in new ways. Ben earned his degrees in cultural anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz (BA) and the University of Chicago (MA, PhD). Ben first encountered the VYCC while riding his bike past a trail crew in Jericho, and he immediately appreciated the intrinsic value of their work. After learning more about the organization, he is more convinced than ever that beyond the impressive material productivity of trail and farm crews, it is the ethical aspects of their work in terms of how “personal responsibility” is also a social resource that is not only valuable but simply vital. Ben also serves as the Vice President of the Lucius and Eva Eastman Fund, a small foundation that supports social justice, environmental, and educational issues. With his wife Vicki Brennan, Ben lives in Huntington, VT, which gives him easy access to some of the best cycling and split boarding in the Green Mountains.
JIM FEINSON, Treasurer, Past-Chair
Jim Feinson is President and CEO of Gardener’s Supply Company, a 100% employee-owned company and one of the nation’s largest multi-channel marketers of gardening products and accessories. Jim is a graduate of Cornell University, where he studied Economics and English. He received his MBA from the Harvard University Graduate School of Business. Under Jim’s leadership, Gardener’s Supply has won numerous local and national awards for their business success, innovative products, employee ownership, and community contributions. The company is recognized nationally as a leader in the socially responsible business community, and donates 8% of profits to gardening, sustainable agriculture, and hunger-related causes. Jim is also very active in the community. He serves or has served on several company boards; as an officer, board member or active member in several national industry associations and local and statewide business organizations; and as an officer and board member for many local nonprofits, focusing on gardening, conservation, youth development, and the arts.
A love of the outdoors and historic architecture drew Frances Brawley Foster to Vermont in 1978. After graduating from Vassar College where she studied history and art history, Frances went to work for the Historic Charleston Foundation in S.C., followed by a move to Vermont to study for an M.S. degree in Historic Preservation from UVM. She worked in preservation and took time off to have a family. Shifting focus, Frances went back to work part-time for 15 years in the Education Department at the Shelburne Museum. She has served on numerous boards including the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and as Chair of the Charlotte Land Trust. For many years, Frances helped organize a trip for teenagers to help rebuild a church and other buildings in an African American community in South Carolina. This experience convinced her of the merit of meaningful work for young people, which exposes them to experiences outside their normal world. She is excited to be part of the VYCC Board, which also makes a lasting impact on the lives of young people through emphasizing personal responsibility, skill building, and conservation.
Joe is a vice president of Casella Waste Systems, where he serves as an advisor to the chairman and CEO. He teaches in the University of Vermont’s Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA program, and is chair of the program’s Advisory Board. In addition to being a director of VYCC, he served on the Vermont Climate Change Economy Council and recently completed twelve years of service as a member of the board of directors of the Vermont Council on Rural Development. He also served as the chairman of the Vermont Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy steering committee during 2013 and 2014. Joe speaks frequently to companies and organizations on leadership, organizational culture, problem-solving, business and cultural trends, economic development, business strategy and sustainability, and life/work balance. He’s been engaged as a speaker by groups and companies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Project Management Institute, MyWebGrocer, Green Mountain Power, the Enterprise for a Sustainable World, and the Vermont Federal Women’s Network. Joe lives in Chittenden, Vermont with his wife, Renae. They are the parents of five children.
Kim Hayden has more than 25 years of experience in all facets of energy and climate policy, energy siting, regulation, and transactions.
Kim is passionate about advancing solutions to climate change and increasing the penetration of renewable and clean energy resources. Kim serves on Renewable Energy Vermont’s (“REV”) policy committee, where she actively works to improve Vermont’s climate and energy policy and laws. Kim also represents REV in state energy regulatory proceedings.
Working with her clean energy clients at Paul Frank + Collins Attorneys, Kim has assisted in gaining siting approval for Vermont’s largest solar rooftop facility, dozens of commercial scale solar generating facilities totaling more than 40 MW, Chittenden County’s only commercial scale wind farm, as well as over 170 miles of new high voltage electric transmission lines and dozens of substations. Kim also won precedent setting energy siting decisions from the Vermont Supreme Court in Rutland Renewable Energy LLC, 2016 VT 50, and Re Vermont Electric Power Co, 2006 VT 69.
Linda McGinnis is the Program Director for the Energy Action Network, an active network of non-profit, business, government and education leaders working to creating a clean, affordable and secure energy future for Vermont. Linda has dedicated her professional life to seeking concrete solutions to sustainable development challenges, globally and locally. She worked for 20 years as lead economist and senior manager for the World Bank, advising governments and investors across 5 continents on policies and projects promoting sustainable economic development. Since moving to Vermont in 2010, her focus has been on state-level climate change strategies, renewable energy and energy efficiency policies and programs. She directed Governor Shumlin’s Energy Generation Siting Policy Commission (2012-2013), served as an analyst to the leadership team at the Agency for Natural Resources on climate change strategy and joined EAN in 2015. She currently serves as co-chair of the Clean Energy Development Fund, is a member of the Climate Economy Council (Vermont Council on Rural Development), is a family sponsor for the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, and feels especially privileged to be living in this beautiful state. She is married to Sam Carlson and is the proud mother of three children, Maya, Misha and Sean. She holds degrees from Stanford (BA), Princeton (MPA) and Harvard Business (Exec Ed).
Jenny is an Executive Director and Banker at J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Boston and has been working with wealthy families for almost 25 years. Bringing to bear the full resources of the firm, Jenny helps to provide her clients with J.P. Morgan’s expertise in investment management, banking, fiduciary and wealth advisory services. Prior to J.P. Morgan, Jenny spent 15 years with Goldman Sachs in Private Wealth Management where she orchestrated a full array of client services to affluent individuals, families, and organizations. She is passionate about the state of Vermont and spends a significant amount of time here with her family, enjoying camping, skiing, taking advantage of the local food scene and photographing the beautiful VT landscape. Jenny is chair of the Finance Committee for Mercy Connections in Burlington and recently joined the board of the VYCC as a strategic advisor. Jenny is an avid photographer in all her free time, loves to travel, and resides in the Boston area with her husband, two children, and two English labs.
Wendy has over 32 years of financial services experience. She is a founding partner of Champlain Investment Partners and oversees compliance and operations at the firm. Prior to joining Champlain, Wendy was a Registered Principal at Equity Services, Inc., where she managed the home office operations of the broker-dealer. Prior to that, she spent 14 years at Scudder Kemper Investments. In her most recent role at Scudder Kemper, Wendy was Vice President of The Regulatory Oversight Group; her group was responsible for all non-routine regulatory interactions, oversight of the Code of Ethics, as well as the compliance audit function. Wendy also held management positions in distributor and advisor compliance and investment operations.
Wendy graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Vermont and earned her Masters of Business Administration degree from Boston University. Wendy currently serves on the boards of University of Vermont’s Grossman School of Business, Green Mountain Adaptive Sports, and Vermont Youth Conservation Corps.
Julius Rosenwald has lived in Pownal, Vermont, for over fifty years.
Upon graduating from Williams College, he began teaching grades one through three in a two-room schoolhouse in Woodford. He then moved on to Buxton School in Williamstown, MA, where he taught courses at the high-school level. A change of direction landed Julius in the restaurant business and ultimately he moved on to the job of freelance journalist. Over many decades, he has remained devoted to his adopted town of Pownal. He served on the Select Board, oversaw the implementation of a public water system, and continues to be a board member of the town’s Solomon Wright Public Library. In addition, he is on the boards of Shires Housing in Bennington and Second Chance Animal Center in Arlington.
A constant in his life has always been the bicycle. His curiosity and fascination with the unknown have taken him via two wheels to all parts of the world. From the beginning, he realized how much his values and those of VYCC dovetailed: stewardship, cooperation, self-reliance, and common sense.
GEORGE RUSSELL, CHAIR
George Russell is an 8th generation Vermonter who left the state for college and returned in 2009 to be close to family and his roots. His corporate career involved selling and servicing products used by farmers and contractors both in North America and globally. He is founder of Machinery Advisors Consortium whose several independent consultants advise machinery manufacturers and their dealers in North and South America, and Europe. His corporate leadership positions have been in marketing, product development, strategic and business planning, and international dealer sales management. He and his wife Judy lived and managed for Case and CNH Industrial in Italy and France, where he was last Regional Vice President of Sales and Marketing for construction equipment in Europe, Africa, Middle East and CIS. His history honors thesis at Harvard was about agricultural development in Addison Country and his MBA from Chicago was in Strategic Marketing. He lives in downtown Burlington and serves on several local boards including The Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History in Middlebury, which provides the opportunity to check on the family farm in New Haven dating back to 1788. The Vermont legacy and future is his driver to help VYCC deliver on its mission.
MICHAEL SNYDER, Ex Officio
Michael Snyder was appointed Commissioner of Vermont Forests, Parks, and Recreation by Gov. Peter Shumlin in December 2010. Prior to that he served for 14 years as Chittenden County Forester, providing land stewardship assistance to private landowners and municipalities. He also taught, for 12 years, two courses in Forestry at the University of Vermont and he continues to write the Woods Whys column for Northern Woodlands Magazine. Previously he worked in forest ecosystem science at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest and in land surveying and forest management in New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Sweden. He was a U.S. Youth Conservation Corps member as a 15-year-old. He lives in Stowe and owns and manages a 91-acre forest in the northern Connecticut River valley of Vermont. He received both his Bachelor’s and Master of Science degrees in forestry from the University of Vermont.
Blake is an entrepreneur and recovering New Yorker whose work has crossed the industries of film, tech, marketing, and events. He grew up on a sheep farm in central Virginia where early experiences in farming and adventuring set the tone for many of his interests in life. Middlebury College somehow let him attend their institution, where he received his degree in the decidedly liberal-arts combination of Eastern Religion and Film. Blake started his first company while traveling abroad in India, Tibet, and Nepal during his junior year in college, importing art and decor from various parts of Asia and later opening an art gallery in Bali, Indonesia.
The dingy streets of Brooklyn drew him to New York City, where he joined the tech start-up Vimeo.com in 2007. Blake rose through the ranks quickly, helping ideate, create, develop, and market most of the core features and revenue-generating products on the site. Blake left Vimeo as VP of Creative Development, with the products he helped co-create accounting for over 20mm users and $30mm in gross revenue. After 13 years in Brooklyn, Blake finally came to the conclusion that he enjoyed mountains and rivers more than ones and zeros and left Brooklyn to travel the world for a year, eventually settling in Vermont. He now advises and invests in early-stage start-ups and is currently developing a boutique lodge and wellness retreat in the mountains of Stowe.
Blake is an avid adventurer, traveler, skier, photographer, and sauna enthusiast. He hopes to write a book one day so he can lead this bio with that seemingly impossible accomplishment.
Advisors to the Board
We are appreciative of the insights of these key leaders in their fields. Their advise to our board and organizational leadership help us move mountains.
Dr. Dan Goodyear
State Senator Ginny Lyons
VYCC Directors Emeriti
VYCC is better for having the following community leaders be part of our organization’s leadership in past years. We are forever in debt to them.
DAVID CONARD (1961 – 2013)
DORIS “DOT” EVANS (1916 – 2011)