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Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund

Staff

Ellen Kahler

Executive Director
(802) 828-5320; ellen (at) vsjf.org

Ellen Kahler became the Executive Director of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) in late 2005. She is a graduate of Bucknell University in PA with a BA in Political Science and from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University with a Masters in Public Administration.

Prior to joining the VSJF, Ellen was the Executive Director of the Peace & Justice Center in Burlington (1990 to 2002). Her most well-known work through the Peace & Justice Center— the Vermont Job Gap Study and the Vermont Livable Wage Campaign — won statewide attention around the issue of basic family needs, livable wages, and under-employment.

Ellen has received numerous leadership awards including: The Con Hogan Award for Creative, Entrepreneurial & Community Leadership from the VT Community Foundation (2015), the Arthur Gibb Award for Individual Leadership from the VT Natural Resources Council (2015) and the Jan Eastman Excellence in Leadership Award from the Snelling Center for Government (2010). Ellen was also a recipient of a three year leadership development fellowship through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (1994-1997) and was a member of the Snelling Center for Government’s Vermont Leadership Institute class of 1997. Ellen currently serves on the Boards of the Working Lands Enterprise Fund, the Statewide Workforce Development Board, Energy Action Network, and the Vermont Sustainable Agriculture Council. She served on the Board of Directors for Red Tomato (2011-2016), Sustainable Forest Futures (2008-2012), the Clean Energy Development Fund (2009-2011), Vermont Works for Women (2007-2011), the Vermont Community Foundation (2001-2009), the Advisory Board of the VT-Small Business Development Center (2008-2009), on the Vermont Council on Rural Development’s Rural Vermont Energy Council (2006-2007) and as a Commissioner on the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (1998-2002).

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Janice St. OngeJanice St. Onge

  • Deputy Director, Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund 

  • (802) 828-0398; janice (at) vsjf.org

Janice St. Onge is President of the VSJF Flexible Capital Fund, L3C and Deputy Director of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund. Janice brings economic and business development as well as financial expertise to the organization, having served in the technology and financial services industries, as well as higher education and state government sectors during her 25-year career. Janis has 10 years of experience at Peoples United Bank in Connecticut serving in retail management, commercial real estate lending (managing a $21 million portfolio) and organizational development roles during her tenure there.

During her career, Janice has served as the Director of the Vermont Business Center (VBC) at the University of Vermont and Technology Business Development Director for the Vermont Department of Economic Development. She received the 2001 National Tibbetts Award in recognition for her outreach work with the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program in Vermont.  Additionally, Janice was the Director of Human Resources and Senior Manager of Customer Service for Kea Technologies, an e-commerce fulfillment business in Williston. 

Janice is a graduate of the University of Utah with a B.A. in Marketing and is an alumni of the Snelling Center for Government’s Vermont Leadership Institute.  She serves on the board of the Vermont Investors Forum, the Vermont Small Business Development Center Advisory Board, the Energy Action Network Capitol Mobilization Group, and is a member of the State of Vermont Community Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Committee.  A Stowe, Vermont resident, Janice is the co-founder of the Stowe Energy and Climate Action Network and a former International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup Freestyle Skiing Judge.

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Geoff Robertson

Geoff Robertson

Director of Business Assistance
(802) 828-3753; geoff (at) vsjf.org

Geoff Robertson joined the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund in 2017 as Director of Business Assistance. In this role he manages a suite of business assistance services to help Vermont business owners and management teams advance profitability, job creation, and sustainable business development and manages the VSJF's climate economy efforts. Most recently Geoff held the position of CEO at Empower Mobility, a mobile platform and software company, where he was responsible for managing business development, human resources, and finances. As the CFO at School Spring, LLC, Geoff negotiated the successful sale of the cloud based recruitment and applicant tracking system for K – 12 schools. He previously served as the Entrepreneurial Advisor at Davis & Hodgdon CPAs serving School Spring, the Vermont Food Venture Center, and many other small businesses in Vermont.

Geoff earned a Bachelor of Science degree in community development and applied economics and Master of Business Administration and from the University of Vermont. As an MBA candidate, he focused on finance and sustainable business practices and earned professional certificates in sustainable business and collaborative management (public/private partnerships). Geoff serves on the board of the Owl Research Institute and was an early member of the Stowe Climate Action Network. He lives in Stowe with his two boys and their dog and enjoys an active outdoor lifestyle.

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Jake ClaroJake Claro

Farm to Plate Director

(802) 828-5669; jake (at) vsjf.org

Jake joined the VSJF in September 2012 and has assisted in the development of the Food System Atlas, has written the Nutrient Management chapter of the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan and supports a number of Farm to Plate Network groups.  Before he was hired by the VSJF, he was an AmeriCorps member in 2011-12 serving with the Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC) and the Vermont Energy & Climate Action Network (VECAN) as the Community Energy and Climate Action Organizer. At VNRC, Jake worked closely with town energy committees across the state on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy planning issues. Before returning to Vermont, where he grew up, and serving with VNRC, Jake received a Master’s of Science in Environmental Policy from Bard College. His thesis focused on the value of ecosystem services from farmland in Vermont. Jake has an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Fordham University and still enjoys, time permitting, waxing philosophical. He lives in Barre with his partner and orange cats.

sarah danly

Sarah Danly

Farm to Plate Network Manager

(802) 828-3745; sarah (at) vsjf.org

Sarah joined the VSJF team as the Farm to Plate Network Manager in April 2017. Before VSJF, she worked at the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School as a program officer, a role that combined project management with research and creation of legal resources. Prior to moving to Vermont she lived in Boston, where she held positions that supported farmers markets’ and environmental outreach. Sarah holds a Master’s of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School and graduated from Tufts University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Community Health and Architectural Studies. Sarah also received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she took practical courses in design but developed a passion for ceramics and jewelry. She lives on a sheep farm in South Royalton and spends her free time gardening, hiking with her dog, and watching the sheep. 

Christine McGowan

Christine McGowan

Forest Products Program Director
(802) 828-5770; christine (at) vsjf.org

Christine McGowan came on board as VSJF’s new Forest Products Program Director in August 2016. The program is a collaboration between VSJF, the Northern Forest Center and the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Board with a goal of improving value chain investment opportunities for Vermont’s forest products industry and increasing the value of sustainable forestry in the state. 

Christine previously served in strategic communication roles for the National Wildlife Refuge Association, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Wildlife Federation, where her efforts around the 2010 Gulf oil spill disaster and the 2013 Green Inaugural Ball helped elevate the issue of climate change’s effect on wildlife through the media. Before working in conservation, Christine was a regional reporter on Capitol Hill and a local reporter in Texas. She’s a graduate of the Ithaca College Roy H. Park School of Communication.

Originally from Albany, New York, Christine grew up working in her family’s business, Dorsey Millwork, Inc., a distributor for Andersen Corporation, a major manufacturer of wood window and door products. Dorsey Millwork sold to lumber yards, building supply stores and other home construction retailers throughout New England. Christine and her husband, Dan, reside in Stowe with two dogs, a cat, and an abundance of wildlife. Together they own Lamoille Valley Painters, a custom interior/exterior painting company that serves builders, architects and homeowners in the Stowe area. In her spare time, Christine enjoys gardening, hiking, biking and skiing. 

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Rachel Carter

Communications Director

(802) 828-1121; rachel (at) vsjf.org

Rachel Carter joined the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund in February 2013 as Communications Director to help raise VSJF’s organizational and program profiles. Rachel brings to the VSJF public relations, social media, and grassroots marketing expertise as an entrepreneur, having operated a public relations business for six years working with Vermont clients in agriculture, tourism, food, finance, education, small business, government municipalities, and non-profit sectors. She was recognized as the 2008 Vermont Young Careerist of the Year by Business & Professional Women and was a 2010 Vermont Business Magazine Rising Star in its inaugural year. Prior positions include the director of public relations at a Vermont marketing agency, a marketing director at an insurance agency, and a program manager with the Girl Scouts. 

Rachel is the co-author of VERMONT: An Explorer’s Guide, a freelance writer, and social media influencer (follow on Twitter). She has taught public relations courses at Champlain College and is a speaker and presenter with Vermont industry associations. Rachel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations and Organizational Communication from Marist College. Rachel and her husband live in Plainfield, Vermont where they blog about their Vermont homesteading adventures.

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Lydia PitkinLydia Pitkin

Office Manager & Farm to Plate Coordinator

(802) 828-5670; lydia (at) vsjf.org

Lydia joined the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund in September 2016 as Office Manager. She provides support across initiatives, with an emphasis on assisting the Farm to Plate Network. Lydia has a background in programmatic and administrative work with the Vermont EPSCoR Streams Project, and accounting and inventory management at Zutano, Inc. Lydia grew up on a dairy farm in Cabot, where she now lives with her husband and two children and together with family they produce maple syrup, grow much of their own food and serve as the home base for Back Road BBQ- a food truck/catering business operated by her husband and three business partners. Lydia graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in Anthropology and Plant and Soil Science, and holds a Master’s degree from the University of Nottingham, England, in Archaeobotany/Foodways in Archaeology.


Anthony Mennona

Director of Finance

(802) 828-0614; anthony (at) vsjf.org 

 

Anthony Menonna joined the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund in November, 2012 as its Finance Director for both the VSJF and the Flexible Capital Fund, L3C. Anthony has handled the financial management, grant administration and human resources for several Vermont nonprofit organizations over the past 10 years.  From 2009 through 2012 he was the Director of Finance & Administration at th Biomass Energy Resource Center (BERC). Prior to his work at BERC, Anthony was the Controller at the Central Vermont Community Land Trust (CVCLT).  In addition to his nonprofit experience, Anthony has worked in finance at various private businesses. Anthony currently servers as the Treasurer for CVCLT and is also a member of the Montpelier Bike Path Committee. He has a BS in Business Administration, is an avid cyclist, and lives with his family in Montpelier.