Brattleboro Remarkable Women, 2020

Page 1


The 2020 Remarkable Women Awards

Sponsored By:

Saturday, November 7, 2020 | Remarkable Women 2020 The Brattleboro Reformer |

Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country Realtors is proud to continue our tradition of women in leadership. For 55 years, this local, independent, family-owned business has been supporting the careers of extraordinary women.

Tamara Purcell, Owner Broker

Penelope Arms, Realtor

Ingrid Bennett, Realtor

Heidi Bernier, Realtor

Jessie Heller, Realtor

Karen Hoppe, Realtor

Danielle Lauria, Realtor

Oona Madden, Realtor

Wilma Skovinski, Realtor

Jane Sonntag, Realtor

Janet Walkiewics, Realtor

Lucinda Bernard, Office Admin.

Maria Diran, Realtor

Jody Graves, Realtor

Stephanie Peduzzi-Baker, Realtor

Claire Renaud, Realtor

Erika Elder, Office Admin.

Nancy Shulman, Accounting

Berkley & Veller Greenwood Countr y Realtor s 119 Western Avenue, Brattleboro, Vermont • 802-254-6400 •




Serenity Smith Forchion

Nancy Heydinger Nancy Heydinger is the founder and director of Girls on the Run Vermont, a non-profit organization that has helped empower over 45,000 girls since 1999. She has been widely recognized for her work, most recently in a State House Resolution honoring her for her visionary leadership of Girls on the Run. In 2018, she received the Brattleboro Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year award. Addition-

ally, she has received the Girls on the Run National Legacy Award, awards from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition for Community Leadership, the Vermont Leaders in Fitness and Sports award, and was named Recreation Person of the year by the Vermont Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Heydinger was also featured in the Vermont Works for Women ‘Labor of Love Project’ and is a member of the RunVermont Hall of Fame. In September, Nancy joined Brattleboro Savings and Loan’s mortgage lending team, returning to the profession that she enjoyed previously for 18 years. She is a marathoner, coach, mother of three grown children and lives with her husband in Vernon, Vt.

Kristen Ziter Taylor Kristen Ziter Taylor is honored to be a judge for the 3rd annual Remarkable Women Event this year. She feels fortunate to have been raised in this wonderful community. After graduating with a health fitness degree, she worked in that industry for 13 years before getting her real estate license in 2004. Realizing that real estate was her passion, she and her husband Ken purchased a real estate company in 2011 that had two agents. Today, her company, Brattleboro Area Realty, has nine agents and continues to grow. The team Kirsten has created is truly amazing and she credits all of her success to the hard working realtors on her team.


Kristen lives in Brattleboro with her husband and two lovely daughters, Kali and Kennedy. Nothing brings her more pleasure than raising these amazing young girls, and she loves being involved in their interests as well. A few years ago, she joined the Brattleboro Swim Team board and was appointed the President. She foresees many years of involvement with this fabulous organization. There is not a day that goes by that Kristen is not humbled by the amazing life she has, and she thanks God for all the blessings she has been granted.

Tami Purcell Tami Purcell is Broker/Owner of Berkley Veller Greenwood Country Realtors. Growing up in the beautiful Green Mountain State, Tami knew that it would be here where she eventually would want to settle down to work and raise a family. She has been a Realtor since 1986 and is the second generation to operate the family business. She is licensed in both Vermont and New Hampshire. She holds the Realtor GRI designation, and is a member of the National Association of Realtors, the Vermont Association of Realtors, and the Southern Vermont Board of Realtors, where she serves as chairperson of the Grievance Committee. While she likes listing and selling property, Tami’s time mainly focuses on managing the company’s two offices. She likes working with vacation properties, country homes and farms. She specializes in equestrian

BRENNAN facilities and currently owns a small horse boarding facility with her family, which enables her to capitalize on her love of horses. Currently, she is a member of the Brattleboro Rotary Club. She appreciates the camaraderie of the Club as well as the service and community volunteer projects it helps with. She enjoys being involved in the community and is currently on the Board of Directors of the Windham County Humane Society and the River Gallery School. Marlboro is the town that she calls home. She lives there with her husband Michael, their daughter Giovana, their dog Gracie, two cats and several horses. When she is not involved in real estate, Tami takes pleasure in gardening, snowshoeing, kayaking and photography. She is a member of the 251 Club of Vermont, having visited and photographed every town in Vermont.

Crystal Brennan Crystal Brennan is Director of Operations for C&S Wholesale Grocers. She has a demonstrated history of working in logistics in the food distribution industry, with over 20 years of leadership experience in operations, transportation, and human Resources. She was the first female General Manager at United Natural Foods. She has been successful at achieving results by creating a purposeful site culture and strong team member engagement through establishing clear goals and empowering her people.

The Brattleboro Reformer |

Serenity is an award winning aerialist and business woman. Along with her twin sister, Elsie Smith, she is the winner of the BDCC Business Plan Competition that led to their founding the New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro, Vt., in 2007. Serenity’s resume includes Cirque du Soleil, Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey, Special Award at Wuqiao Festival, Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and American Circus Educators Award for Excellence in Education. Serenity’s expertise as a teacher and performer focuses on bringing together detailed technique with theatrical complexity to expand capacity for creative storytelling through circus. Through their award winning production company, Nimble Arts, Serenity tours the world as an aerial performer while continuing to serve at NECCA as Producing Director. Serenity hopes to inspire the current and next generations of circus performers and teachers with authenticity and grace. nimblearts. org /


Remarkable Women 2020 | Saturday, November 7, 2020



Saturday, November 7, 2020 | Remarkable Women 2020 The Brattleboro Reformer | 4


Carol Lolatte

Karen Peterson

Nicole Reisman

Carol Lolatte started at the Brattleboro Recreation and Parks in the Fall of 1986 as the Program Director, after graduating from Lyndon State College with a BS in Recreation and Leisure Studies in the spring of the same year. She continued in this capacity until the spring of 1990, when she succeeded Frank H. Dearborn as the third Recreation and Parks Director in Brattleboro’s history. As Recreation and Parks Director, Carol is responsible for the fiscal management, planning , organizing and directing of Recreational activities and special events, along with Park Maintenance. Her other responsibilities include organizing community-wide special events like the Brattleboro Winter Carnival, 4th of July, and the Last Night Celebrations. Carol has been a Steering Committee member of the Brattleboro Winter Carnival for 34 years, and a four-time President of the Winter Carnival. In 2007, Carol was awarded the Theresa S. Brungardt Award. This is the highest honor bestowed by the Vermont Recreation and Parks Association, established to recognize recreation pioneer Theresa S. Brungardt. The two crowning achievements of Carol’s stewardship are the purchase and development of West River Park. West River Park opened in May of 2013, and the construction and opening of Perseverance Skatepark at Living Memorial occurred in the fall of 2020. The skatepark had been in the planning stages for over a decade. 2020 has been especially daunting, as Carol had to think outside the box to keep Recreation and Parks facilities and programs as open to the public as possible, while keeping the safety and welfare of staff and participants as her number one concern. Carol Lives in Brattleboro with her husband Bud and has raised two children, Sara, of Hannover, Germany, and RJ, of Worcester, Mass.

Karen Peterson, the Executive Director of the AIDS Project of Southern Vermont, has lived and worked in southern Vermont her entire life. Her 27-year tenure at the AIDS Project has been marked by advancement with everexpanding responsibilities from the organization’s Administrative Assistant beginning in 1993, to Office Manager, then Operations Manager. In 2013, Karen was selected to be Executive Director. She started her career at the Vermont company Dunham Footwear, advancing from sales clerk to Buyer, but found her home in the nonprofit world where she could follow her true joy at helping people achieve their best lives within whatever circumstances they find themselves. Karen is on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Windham County, and for years has volunteered for their annual free tax preparation program. Always proud of her family’s longtime state affiliation, she and her husband Michael “Pete” Peterson raised their four sons in Newfane, Vt. – all four of whom also reside in-state. When not working, she loves to spend time with her two granddaughters. She prefers a life full of activity and new adventures, traveling whenever possible with family and friends.

No one suspected that a world-renowned chef from Memphis would make such an impact on our Brattleboro community, but Nicole Reisman has done exactly that. After moving to Brattleboro less than a year ago, Nicole saw a need in the community for quality meals cooked and delivered to those in need. She got to work right away, cooking 50-100 meals weekly out of her small apartment kitchen and posting on social media that anyone who needed a meal could get one. Immediately, she had community members asking for meals. But she also had folks lining up to help deliver meals or make donations. Soon, with the help of Jon Julian from Top of the Hill Grill and United Way of Windham County, Nicole was able to double her meals and create Nicole’s Community Kitchen. Since January, Nicole has served 400 meals a week to those in need or anyone who wants a deliciously prepared meal. Nicole’s experience around the world, in places like London, Tel Aviv, New York and Memphis, allows her to draw on an eclectic wealth of food knowledge to create masterpiece dishes, way beyond the usual quality of charitable food. Nicole believes that all people deserve quality, nutrient-dense food regardless of their income. And that is exactly what she is bringing to the Brattleboro community. Nicole has been working with organizations like the Vermont Food Bank and others to help fill the gaps in the local food system, which has become crucial post-COVID. She is working on turning Nicole’s Community Kitchen into a 501(c)(3) so she can continue to support Brattleboro and surrounding communities.

Non-Profit Leader Award Nominees Jeanne Walsh Lydia Thompson Mollie Burke Melissa Clark Michelle Dufort Ruth Tilghman

Elizabeth Bridgewater Mel Motel Laurie Garland Donna Hawes Laura Chapman Carmen Derby Lori Schriner

Kalea Shipppe

Katherine Theriault

35 year old Gretchen Hardy grew up locally in Chesterfield, N.H. She attended Keene High School, where she took Culinary Arts. She put herself through college at the Culinary Institute of America, and worked at restaurants at Colorado ski resorts. Her plan did not include Brattleboro — the town where she was born — but now she has a hard time imagining starting her business anywhere else. She returned in 2010 and started Hardy-Foard catering in her home kitchen. One of the first engagements was catering Peter Shumlin’s inaugural party for over 400 guests. Since then, she expanded to her own food truck, which operated both as ‘The Porch Cafe’ and a catering hub for two years. When she outgrew the food truck, she moved to a then-defunct D’Angelo’s on Putney Road in 2014. Now a thriving cafe, The Porch, Too is filled with locals eating locally sourced food. Hardy Foard Catering operates out of the cafe kitchen. Now, Hardy and Foard’s catering business — once the dream of an amateur high school cook — has grown to cater about 150 events per year, and their restaurant has gained a loyal following in the local community. Hardy’s focus is on creating locally-sourced, made-from-scratch, affordable dishes. She runs the company with her husband Nate, and business partner Bo Foard. Her latest creation is an infant daughter, Charlie!

After graduating from Keene Beauty Academy in 2006, Kalea worked very hard to grow her clientele and continue her education. After a few years, she realized that hair coloring was her true passion — creating dimensional color that brings your hair to life! Outside of the salon, you will find her with her high school sweetheart (now husband) and their three boys. Their second home is the track, where her older two boys race go-karts competitively. She also enjoys spending time with her family, drinks with her girls, interior design, Pinterest crafts — and there is always time for a good Netflix series!

Katherine Theriault is Manager of the West River Marina Katherine came to Brattleboro from northern Maine at the tender age of 18, and never left. She fell in love with the town and the people in it. She began her career in the hospitality industry with her first job at Idlenot, then on to Flat Street Nightclub, Via Condotti, the Tavern, Walker’s Restaurant, and settling in at the Marina in 1988, when she and Dennis Smith took over its operation. Over the years, she has been involved with many organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce, Youth Services, Sunrise Rotary, the Boys and Girls club, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Every year, the Marina donates to local nonprofits and hosts the Plunge for charity. The Marina considers everyone who works there to be family, and likes to hire young people who stay on and move up through the ranks. Some of the employees have been there as long as Katherine has. The best part of her job is talking to people who come in for a drink or dinner, to use the docks or just looking for information about the area. Every day is different, with different faces and different needs. She totally enjoys the interaction with customers. In her spare time, she likes to take long walks in the woods with her dogs. Conversations with them are fairly simple, yet still mostly revolve around food. In a final note, although COVID-19 has put a damper on everyone’s activities this year, The Marina has tried to be vigilant with our social distancing and mask usage. They will continue to put the safety of their staff and patrons above all else.

Business Leader Award Nominees Joy Boyd Carol Lolatte

Melanie Crosby

The Brattleboro Reformer |

Gretchen Hardy

Remarkable Women 2020 | Saturday, November 7, 2020



Saturday, November 7, 2020 | Remarkable Women 2020 The Brattleboro Reformer | 6


Stephanie Bonin

Jennifer Jacobs

Ali West

Stephanie is a successful entrepreneur, owning three restaurants on similar neighborhood main streets but in Denver, Colo. For the past five and a half years, she has owned duo Restaurant in Brattleboro, Vt. Stephanie is a graduate of the Women’s Leadership Circle of Windham County, Green Corps — a field school for environmental organizing — and a former advocate and lobbyist for COPIRG (Colorado Public Interest Research Group), Environment Colorado and NARAL Colorado, advocating for change and supporting small businesses is in her past, her present, and her future. Stephanie’s childhood was supported by The Book Cellar, which operated for 52 years on Main St. in Brattleboro.

Jennifer Jacobs owns and leads Adaptiva HR, providing support to small and medium-sized businesses with a team of Employee Counseling, Human Resource, and Training & Development professionals.Until becoming a business owner, her career journey was in the nonprofit sector and included roles as a clinical mental health counselor, an administrator, a program developer and an experiential educator. Jennifer believes that healthy workplaces are vital for individuals and communities to also be healthy. The team at Adaptiva HR brings a holistic approach to helping businesses take care of the ‘people needs’ at work. Leading a small business has been an immersion into the necessity, and power, of resilience. These lessons and skills are inextricably woven into how Jennifer and the whole team support their clients. When the company rebranded, Adaptiva was intentionally chosen. This spin on the word ‘adaptive’ represents the creativity, flexibility, and resilience of Jennifer and everyone at Adaptiva HR. Jennifer has a deep connection to her community and has volunteered for key roles with Tiny House Fest Vermont, Brattleboro Area Human Resources Network, Brattleboro Area Mutual Aid and coordinating meal deliveries for Everyone Eats. Daily, she is grateful to be raising a family in the Brattleboro area, with all of its gifts and beauty.

Ali West is a Brattleboro native with a passion for food, gardening, nutrition, and children’s health. Ali joined the USAF right out of high school; after leaving the military, she went to Johnson & Wales University and received degrees in Pastry Art & Design and Food Service Management. Ali worked for 25 years as a professional chef across the country before joining the Fresh Picks Cafe as the Food Service Director for the Brattleboro Area School District. She was recently honored as a food service hero by Food Management Inc. She has been featured on the national Farm to School platform and was scheduled to do a copresentation on Trauma Informed Cafeterias in April, which was canceled due to COVID-19. Ali is considered a leader and champion of Farm to School in her district.

Entrepreneurial Leader Award Nominee Sarah Vangel

About the Awards: Nominees were nominated by one or more community members via online submission. Finalists were determined by an online, public vote. Winners will be chosen by the panel of judges, listed on page 3, and awards will be presented November 12, 2020, at a special event at the American Legion in Brattleboro. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s awards ceremony will be invitation-only.


Congratulate THE 2020 NOMINEES!

Kristen won the Entrepreneurial award in 2018 and is proud to be a Sponsor of this years event.

Remarkable Women 2020 | Saturday, November 7, 2020


Kristen Ziter Taylor 2018 Entrepreneurial Leader Owner/Broker

Angela Sherman, Office Manager/Realtor VT

Christine Lewis, Broker VT & NH

Rebecca Seymour, Realtor VT & NH

Kerry Mulverhill, Realtor VT & NH

Randi Ziter, Realtor VT & NH

Emily Mousel, Realtor VT & NH

Marcia Jansen, Realtor VT & ME

Kristen Ziter Taylor, Broker VT & NH

We welcome our new agent Emily Webb 802-246-7110 Realtor VT Stephanie Wilde, Realtor VT & NH

Vicki Woods, Realtor VT & NH



The Brattleboro Reformer |

Tim Berg, Realtor VT

Selling Real Estate in Vermont & New Hampshire since 1973



The Brattleboro Reformer |

Saturday, November 7, 2020 | Remarkable Women 2020