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Nominations Sought for Southern Vermont Emerging Leaders, 2021 Marks Fifth Annual Cohort to be Recognized

Southern Vermont – This year presented enormous challenges, but it also offered unique opportunities for ordinary people to support their communities in crucial ways. 2021 Emerging Leaders recognition will highlight those young professionals who went above and beyond during this unprecedented time for our generation. Honorees will be chosen by the Southern Vermont Young Professionals Steering Committee and the Shires Young Professionals Steering Committee, who together co-sponsor the Emerging Leaders recognition. But they need help from community members to identify these extraordinary individuals by nominating young professionals from Windham Region (encompassing Windham County and the towns of Readsboro, Searsburg, Winhall, & Weston) or Bennington County to be honored as one of this year’s Emerging Leaders of Southern Vermont.

Nominations are due March 15th and can be submitted using a brief online form at www.sovermontzone.com/emerging-leaders. The simple eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • Previously recognized Emerging Leaders will not be honored again. (For a list of past recipients, visit sovermontzone.com/emerging-leaders.)
  • Nominees must be between 21 and 45 years old.
  • Nominees must live or work in Bennington County or the Windham Region.
  • You may submit as many nominations as you’d like.

Typically, Emerging Leaders are honored at the annual Southern Vermont Economy Summit. With the 2020 Summit canceled due to the pandemic, last year’s 31 Emerging Leaders were recognized with a press release, highlight reel, and a locally made gift from Better Wheel Works.  This year, we will follow a similar model. Regardless of the times we find ourselves in, we are committed to recognizing these Emerging Leaders from Bennington County & Windham Region both regionally and statewide: As happens each year, all eligible Emerging Leaders will also be nominated for the Vermont Business Magazine (VBM) Rising Stars. In the past two years 12 southern Vermont Emerging Leaders have become Vermont Rising Stars.

The purpose of the Emerging Leaders nomination is to highlight and honor Young Professionals in their roles as leaders and change-makers in the Southern Vermont economy and community.  Nominees will be notified and asked to supply the selection committee with more detailed information about themselves.  Here’s what some 2020 Emerging Leaders shared:

“As a nonprofit development professional, I’ve learned that philanthropy is not about wealthy people giving away money to help needy people. It’s about mutual sharing. It’s about understanding our connectedness- as human beings and as a community. Some people have access to monetary wealth. Some people have art, music, vegetables. Some people share kindness … Living and working in Southern Vermont has given me so many opportunities to see this in action!”

  • Ain Thompson, Director of Development and Outreach, Out in the Open, Brattleboro, VT

 “I am just proud to be recognized for my hard work, passion and love for the community I serve. Overall, just being able to consistently give back and help make a difference.”

  • Alex Figueroa, Blueprint Care Coordinator & CAG Project Supervisor, Southwestern Vermont Health Care, Bennington, VT

“Serving my surrounding community as an environmental educator has always meant a lot to me, especially in my work with youth. Receiving this award shows me that my work is noticed and is impactful. I feel grateful to receive this and it helps encourage me to keep doing the work that I do for our community.”

  • Jay DeGregorio, Senior Environmental Educator, The Nature Museum, Grafton, VT

For more information, visit www.sovermontzone.com/emerging-leaders or email Sarah Lang at slang@brattleborodevelopment.com.

About the Southern Vermont Economy Summit

The Southern Vermont Economy Summit is an initiative of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation’s Southern Vermont Economy Project. SVEP works to stabilize, improve and expand the rural economic and workforce development network in Southern Vermont. Its goal is to increase capacity and collaboration among partnering organizations and communities. SVEP is funded by the USDA Rural Community Development Initiative, as a program of BDCC & SeVEDS. For more information on the summit, please visit www.SoVermontZone.com/summit.

About Southern Vermont Young Professionals

The Southern Vermont Young Professionals is a workforce initiative of Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS) and the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC). Our mission is to attract, retain, and support Young Professionals in Southern Vermont by providing engaging opportunities and networking through social and educational events, and volunteer opportunities. The YP initiative is increasingly important to Southern Vermont’s businesses and communities as a strategic approach to growing the region’s workforce and increasing the number of younger households. For more information please visit  brattleborodevelopment.com/southern-vermont-young-professionals/.

About Shires Young Professionals

The mission of the Shires Young Professional group is to help young professionals and families create deep roots in our community that encourage them to stay and build a prosperous life in the Shires of Vermont. The SYP looks to engage, emerge, and empower young professionals throughout the region. Our young professional’s events, programs and gatherings are open to all people, but we do focus on the 21 to 40-year old age range. More information at www.ShiresYP.com.

About BDCC and SeVEDS

The Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) is a private, nonprofit economic development organization that serves as a catalyst for industrial and commercial growth throughout Southeastern Vermont, including Windham County and the towns of Readsboro, Searsburg, Winhall and Weston. BDCC serves as the State of Vermont’s certified Regional Development Corporation (RDC) for the greater Windham County area. BDCC is one of 12 RDCs throughout Vermont. 
This BDCC activity was made possible in part by a grant from the State of Vermont through the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. For more information visit https://brattleborodevelopment.com/.


Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS) is an aliate of BDCC that grew from a 2008 grassroots effort, initiated by BDCC, to understand and create long term strategies needed to reverse the economic decline of the Windham Region and plan for the economic impacts from the closure of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. In 2014, after multiple years of regional input, education, and data gathering, SeVEDS received federal approval for the Windham Region’s federally recognized S.M.A.R.T. Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). SeVEDS partnered with Bennington’s Regional Economic Development Group in 2018 to develop the 2019 Southern Vermont Zone CEDS. For more information visit www.seveds.com.