Business Peer Exchange

What is it we’re doing (or not doing) to support women’s advancement in our workplaces?

The Business Peer Exchange (BPE) is a group of dedicated businesses in Vermont working together to ensure women thrive in their workplaces.

To date, there have been two year-long cohorts (2016-17 and 2017-18) in Chittenden County. The groups commit to a year of building awareness and examining their workplaces through a gender lens.

As a result, they have:

• added diversity to corporate strategic planning goals

• increased awareness of gender throughout their companies (a sign of progress: a male production manager asking specifically for female applicants to be recommended)

• taken more time to speak to women in leadership about their experiences

• seen an increase in diversity of applicants due to new recruitment practices

• provided ‘unconscious bias’ training for all staff and ‘bias in interviewing’ training for HR staff

“Participation has helped me do things differently with my team and have new conversations inside my company.”

Our third cohort began March 21, 2018!

We launched our third Chittenden Cohort of the BPE on March 21, 2018!

This year we have the following organization’s participating:

  • Vermont Energy Investment Corp.
  • Logic Supply
  • SunCommon
  • City of Burlington
  • PC Construction
  • Tetra Tech
  • Dealer.com
  • Seventh Generation
  • Rhino Foods
  • Permanent Fund for VT’s Children
  • Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer, PC
  • Vermont Gas Systems
  • Vermont National Guard
  • Champlain College
  • Paul Frank + Collins
  • Burlington Electric Dept.

Change The Story is interested in identifying and supporting organizations around Vermont to start up their own cohorts. We are looking for employers who want to learn more about gender equity, understand how their organization can benefit from a diverse talent pool, and exchange ideas with peers.

What’s included in participation?

Business Peer Exchange commitment and benefits:

  • Monthly 2-hour cohort meetings—for you and a colleague or two;
  • 2 larger networking events for you, your Senior Leadership team and colleagues;
  • 90 minutes of on-site consulting (tailored to meet your organization’s needs).

Download the BPE Description PDF

What’s the commitment?
  • be willing to share your experience, knowledge and any tools you’ve used in your company in recruiting, training, and advancing women in your workplace
  • be open to experimenting with new practices and share your experiences with us
  • be an ambassador for gender equality
What do we talk about?

Topics have included:

  • Senior leadership – the how and why: CEOs making gender equity a top priority
  • Making the gender equity conversation accessible to men
  • Building your affirmative recruitment strategy
  • Gendered language and job descriptions
  • Designing your gender equality plan
  • Gender wage gap and compensation
  • The role of unconcious bias within your organization
  • Retention and promotion – recognizing and keeping talent
  • Connecting with women at all stages of their careers – internships and returnships

Have you ever taken any of Harvard’s Implicit Bias tests? We recommend Gender-Career, Gender-Leadership, and Gender-Science. [Take them here!]

Interested in learning more? Contact us!

Jessica Nordhaus at jnordhaus@changethestoryvt.org 

Lindsey Lathrop-Ryan at llathrop@changethestoryvt.org

Business Participants (Current and Past)