Male Champions for Change

Why MALE Champions for Change?

To change the story for women and people outside the gender binary in Vermont, it takes ALL of us – including men. We are calling upon men to align with us as Champions for Change – using their personal and collective leadership to elevate gender equity as an issue of social and economic importance in our state. Champions for Change meets regularly and takes action on pay equity and with young men.

It all started when we brought together 50 male leaders on a November night to discuss how gender informed their own experiences.

Here are some ideas they had on how they could personally promote gender equality…

✅ Talk to the women in the workplace about their experience – ask what works and what doesn’t.

✅ Normalize being a male feminist.

✅ Review pay of direct reports and adjust for bias.

✅ Make intentional space for women to share their ideas.

✅ Raise strong independent daughters and push for more paid family leave.

✅ Advocate for affordable statewide childcare.

✅ Continue gender equity conversations at staff meetings and in daily conversations.

✅ When organizing conferences, reach out to female speakers to ensure more diverse panels of presenters.

One startling statistic from Change the Story was that on our current trajectory, with all the advancements we have made toward gender equality, the gender gap is projected to disappear in Vermont in the year 2048 – that’s 32 years people!

Rich Smith

President, Vermont Captive Insurance Association

The group decided to take bold action, and in February 2019 we hosted Breakfast of Champions – for nearly 500 attendees.

Following the November meeting, the group formed a Host Committee of male leaders to bring Ted Bunch, co-founder of A CALL TO MEN, to Vermont. We worked closely with the Vermont Women’s Fund to get great press, recruit, manage logistics, and bring in sponsorships from the community.

We completely sold out 10 days in advance, showing that there is a deep desire in our community for reflection and action around masculinity and gender equity. 

An audience of over 450 people (70% men!) learned how men can use their influence and platform to develop and model healthy, respectful masculinity in service of gender equity. We continue to hear from the community how impactful Ted’s speech and the discussion was on their lives, and we want YOU to join us to plan future action!

Champions for Change

Kyle Dodson

President & CEO, Greater Burlington YMCA

Scott Rowland

Associate, Gravel & Shea PC | Attorneys at Law

Bram Kleppner

CEO, Danforth Pewter

Duane Peterson

Co-President, Suncommon

Neale Lunderville

Professional Volunteer, Statewide

Henri Sparks

Director of Equity, Burlington School District

JP Ishaq

Product Development Manager, Logic Supply

Colin Ryan

Comedic Financial Speaker, Colin Ryan Speaks

Chris Lyon

Manager of Community and Environmental Impact, Seventh Generation

Aden Haji

Outreach Worker, Spectrum Youth & Family Services

Joey Bergstein

CEO, Seventh Generation

Mark Redmond

Mark Redmond

Executive Director, Spectrum Youth & Family Services

Additional Resources

CTS’ Business Peer Exchange

Practical, Everyday Habits for Men to Support Women

Ready Responses to Sexism

Gender Diversity Checklist

Event Slide Deck  (slides from Nov. 30’s event)

Blog post by Barney Matthews of

Blog post by Richard Smith of VT Captive Insurance Association.

HBR: The Men Who Mentor Women (Dec. 7, 2016)

16 Things You Can Do (Easy, every day things you can do to support women and girls)

Male Champions of Change Progress Report 2015  (Australia)

Jackson Katz’ TED Talk  Violence Against Women – It’s a Men’s Issue (Jackson Katz asks a very important question that gets at the root of why sexual abuse, rape and domestic abuse remain a problem: What’s going on with men?)

Michael Kimmel’s TED Talk – Why Gender Equality is Good for Everyone (The author of “Angry White Men,” Michael Kimmel is a pre-eminent scholar of men and masculinity.)

Change The Story Resources (a searchable database of articles and tools)