Inaugural Women In Leadership Luncheon celebrates women of Southwestern Vermont

 Inaugural Women In Leadership Luncheon celebrates women of Southwestern Vermont

The women gathered at Bennington College’s President Walker during the Women’s Luncheon:

Vermont Business Magazine The Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Berkshire Bank, presents the inaugural Women In Leadership Luncheon at Wilson House in Dorset, Vermont on Wednesday, May 11 from 12pm to 2pm.

Eighty ticket holders, most of them women, enjoyed an afternoon full of networking, conversation, lunch, awards and celebrations.

The lunch highlighted many of the women leaders of the Southwestern region of Vermont, while creating connections, collaborations and networking opportunities among attendees. Lunch is provided at Wilson House and includes light appetizers, salad, chicken and salmon, rice pilaf and peas and blueberry pie.

Matt Harrington, executive director of the Chamber, welcomed the audience before passing the microphone to Lori Kiely, the Vermont Regional President of Berkshire Bank.

Kiely welcomed the group of business, non-profit and community leaders who introduced the many women-focused initiatives being launched today at Berkshire Bank.

“Providing women with opportunities for financial, physical and emotional well-being is a priority at Berkshire Bank, so we are excited to help make this gathering possible,” Kiely added.

After the welcome, Laura Walker, President of Bennington College, gave the keynote address. President Walker, who before Bennington College led the transformation of NYPR from two local city-owned stations to the largest independent non-profit group of public radio stations, was delighted of those who attended stories about NPR, big bird, her mother and femininity. leader in a competition in the New York City environment.

Presented at the end of the luncheon the Chamber and Berkshire Bank presented four awards.

The first award is Young Woman in Leadership award given to a young woman between the ages of 21 and 40 for outstanding leadership and service and who is seen by her peers as a woman of progress.

This award goes to Kaiya Kirk on sofa and cork, the Better Bennington Corporation and the Bennington Bookshop.

Harrington added, “After studying Theater and Black Studies at Bennington College and graduating in 2020, he chose to stay in Bennington and we were very lucky, as a community, that he did. One nominator said this about him: he a force for positive change and an example of leadership, service and citizenship; active, enthusiastic, and compassionate. ”

The second award was given to Woman of the Year for his outstanding leadership and service to his organization, community and career. This award goes to Susan Plaisance of the Bennington Banner and Manchester Journal.

“This woman has tirelessly worked for her home community and the region for over 30 years. One nominator said, ‘He’s a supporter, supporter and friend to many.’ I will also be adding a mentor to many who have gone before and decided to make The Shires their home, ’” Harrington commented before the award was given.

The third award for Life Success and was given an award to a woman who, throughout her life, has made a remarkable contribution to business/nonprofit leadership in her community, while inspiring other women through mentoring and support.

This award goes to Carolyn Blitz who founded Old Mill Road Media, publisher of Stratton Magazine, Vermont Magazine, Vermont News Guide, Berkshire Magazine, and Manchester Life. Blitz also serves as Chair of the Board of the Carlos Otis Stratton Mountain Clinic, Chair of the Board of the Stratton Community Foundation, and Chair of the Board of the Mountain School in Winhall. He is a founding member of the Manchester Business Association, and has served on the boards of the Southern Vermont Arts Center, Bennington Museum, and Manchester Music Festival.

A final award was given by The Wilson House, host of the event, to a Woman in Recovery.

This award was given to Representative Kathleen James who was unable to attend due to the ongoing legislative session, but received the award via video.

“After the last few weeks we’ve all had it, even if we didn’t plan it this way, I think it’s a perfect time to celebrate the power of women in our lives.” by Harrington about the incident. “This event is about celebrating the many great women of the region and the sacrifices for career, family and community they have all made. It is time for us to celebrate the remarkable women of our region and the wealth of knowledge, talent and understanding they bring to our businesses and organizations.Our mission in the House is to promote, lead and promote the collective effort, for our members.I think we should also include the marginalized, underrepresented and the underprivileged minority-based members. We are excited to bring the best of the region together today; a day full of sunshine, celebrations and new connections. ”

Berkshire Bank and the Chamber would also like to thank the many supporting sponsors of this event including Shires Young Professionals, the Bennington Banner, KW Vermont Brenda Jones Real Estate Group, Green Mountain Academy for Lifelong Learning, VNA & Hospice at Southwest Region, United Counseling Service, Coggins Auto Group, Park-McCullough Historic Governor’s Mansion, At Home Senior Care, Lundgren Subaru of Bennington, Bennington College and the host of the event, The Wilson House.

More thanks to GNAT-TV for filming and distributing the event. The event will be broadcast on GNAT-TV’s Comcast Cable channels and GNAT-TV’s website

Photos courtesy of Southwestern Vermont Chamber and Lorianna Weathers Photography

Kaiya Kirk receives the Young Woman in Leadership award, along with Lori Kiely, Vermont Regional President of Berkshire Bank (left) and Matt Harrington, executive director of the Southwestern Vermont Chamber (right):

Carolyn Blitz received the Lifetime Achievement award, along with Lori Kiely, the Vermont Regional President of Berkshire Bank (left) and Matt Harrington, executive director of the Southwestern Vermont Chamber (right):

Susan Plaisance received the Woman of the Year award, along with Lori Kiely, Vermont Regional President of Berkshire Bank (left) and Matt Harrington, executive director of the Southwestern Vermont Chamber (right):

President Laura Walker of Bennington College gave the keynote at the Women In Leadership Luncheon:

(Dorset, VT) The Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce 5.12.2022.

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