Vermont Woman – The Business Peer Exchange Changes the Story

Vermont Woman – The Business Peer Exchange Changes the Story

by Susan Z. Ritz

“For almost three year, some of Vermont’s most progressive, socially responsible employers have been putting their heads together to root out gender bias and make our state of the best places for women (and men) to work. As members of Change the Story’s Business Peer Exchange, they gather monthly for workshops to learn how to recruit, fairly compensate, and retain a workforce that represents full gender equity, essential elements to attracting skilled employees in a tight labor market. With unemployment hovering around 2.8 percent, gender equity becomes not just a progressive ideal but a way to improve productivity and the bottom line.”

Join us for An Evening with Jodi Kantor on Feb. 6th!

Join us for An Evening with Jodi Kantor on Feb. 6th!

Tickets are going fast! Buy them here! $20 general admission | $10 students
All proceeds go to the Vermont Women’s Fund to support women and girls in Vermont.

Jodi Kantor is one of the New York Times investigative journalists who broke the Harvey Weinstein story last October, sparking a national conversation about gender and sexual harassment – and she’s coming back to Vermont! The Vermont Women’s Fund (VWF) – Change The Story’s partner and funder – is hosting A Conversation with Jodi Kantor on February 6 at the Davis Center at UVM.

Download the invite PDF.

About Jodi Kantor:

Jodi Kantor is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author who writes about gender, politics, and workplace issues among other topics.

Ms. Kantor’s story on the class gap in breastfeeding in 2006 inspired the launch of Burlington’s Mamava, a company that designs and manufactures freestanding lactation suites. More recently, she has reported on the treatment of women at Harvard Business School, on Wall Street, and in the Mormon Church. She was lead reporter on the August 2015 article, “Inside Amazon,” which received national attention.

She covered the world of Barack and Michelle Obama starting in 2007, also writing about Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Sarah Palin, Elizabeth Warren, Mitt Romney, and Sonia Sotomayor among many others. She is the author of The Obamas, which centers on the First Couple’s time in the White House. It was published by Little, Brown in January 2012.

On October 5, 2017, Kantor and fellow New York Times reporter, Megan Twohey published an article describing film producer mogul Harvey Weinstein’s three decades of sexual harassment and paying settlements to several women. The story sent shock waves throughout the entertainment industry as more women began coming forward with additional accusations of sexual harassment and assault by Weinstein. Weinstein was subsequently fired by the board of his production company, and his membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was revoked.

The discussion quickly spread beyond the entertainment world with women using the social media hashtag #metoo to describe their common experiences of sexual harassment in and out of the workplace. Her reporting has opened up a national debate on the subject of sexual harassment as wave after wave of reported violations of sexual harassment have resulted in the firings and resignations of many high profile men in politics, journalism, and Silicon Valley.

Kantor and Twohey are co-authoring a book on the Weinstein scandal that will be published in the spring of 2019.

Jodi Kantor was the keynote speaker at the Vermont Women’s Fund in May of 2016, speaking on the impact that journalism has on culture and workplace issues.

JOIN US for Coffee and Confidence 2017

JOIN US for Coffee and Confidence 2017

As part of the Vermont Tech Jam, Change The Story VT is hosting a special (free) event for women and nonbinary individuals of all ages on Friday, October 20, 2017 from 10-11:30am at Champlain Valley Expo.

Participants will get tools and takeaways to help them pursue the tech field, interview for that next job, find a career that fits and negotiate salaries.

Following a brief panel discussion, attendees may choose two mini sessions.

Panel Moderator:
Lindsey Lathrop, FromWithin Coaching and Change The Story VT


– Sara Mellinger: Marketing Manager, Logic Supply
– Rachel Kauppila: Job Developer, VT Works for Women
– Jessica Nordhaus: Strategy & Partnerships, Change The Story VT and
Co-Founder of the Greater Burlington Women’s Forum
– Amy Kakalec: Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition, Cox Enterprises (

Mini Sessions
(20 minutes long, attendees may attend two):
1. The Art of Salary Negotiation with Lindsey Lathrop
2. Prepping for An Interview with Amy Kakalec
3. Pursuing the Tech Field with Olivia Bartelheim, Inbound/Technical Sales and Gaby Ransom, Account Manager, Logic Supply
4. Finding A Career That Fits with Rachel Kauppila

Preregistration is required and space is limited.

A Call To Action

A Call To Action

These remarks were given by Tiffany Bluemle, Director, Change The Story at The Vermont Women’s Fund Annual Benefit on October 4, 2017.

Two and a half years ago, in honor of its 20 anniversary, the Women’s Fund threw caution to the wind, linked arms with Vermont Works for Women and The Commission on Women, and declared that 32 years was too long to wait to close the gender wage gap. With the support and advice of community partners, Change The Story has since then produced four reports that paint a picture of what women earn, what they do for a living, and where they are and aren’t leaders. They can be downloaded from our website, there are some hard copies available at the back of the room.

Suffice to say, what we found paints a picture that makes our point undeniably, absolutely, crystalline clear: we are not done with this work.

And it is so important – not just because so many women struggle to make ends meet, and not just because Vermont faces a huge labor shortage. I think of the talent that we will never enjoy.

I’ve often wondered what the world would look like if women headed half the world’s Universities, were half the world’s entrepreneurs, or half of its lawmakers. Or how differently we might define and address issues like affordable housing, incarceration, and climate change.

And we cannot simply wait for the change. A month ago, I was preparing a talk for Champlain College’s incoming freshman class and was curious to learn how much had changed since they’d come into the world.

  • In 1999, 3 states were governed by women. Today – it’s how many? 4.
  • In 1999, the poverty rate for young women was 12% — it’s now 5 points higher.
  • In 1999, the wage gap weighed in at 16%. Today, it’s … still 16%.

Data is useful but it won’t change the story. We will. You and I, educators and parents and employers who are struggling to find workers – if we are deliberate, if we are aligned, and if we persist even when our efforts fail to produce immediate results – we can move the needle so much faster together.


There are so many ways. Because tonight is focused on women entrepreneurs, here are a few things we can do to support their growth, visibility, and vitality.

  • Use your purchasing power as an individual or a business – make a point of buying from firms owned by women.
  • If you have the means to invest – put some of your money into woman-owned startups.
  • If you organize conferences or workshops for business audiences, ensure that women are featured as speakers or panelists.
  • If you’re an established business leader, identify opportunities for you to connect women entrepreneurs to people who might be able to help – with funding or technical assistance or cheerleading.
  • If you’ve enjoyed success as an entrepreneur, share the stories of project that failed or stalled or never produced what you’d hoped it would. It helps to know that the people we admire are human and may have stumbled, too.
  • Offer financial or technical support to organizations that support women business owners – local resources like Mercy Connections or the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship.

One of the most arresting moments in Dream, Girl is a clip in which a young girl says: “I hope this is the generation (for which things) change Because I think that it’s time for change.”

Yes, it is time. And it will happen because of you and because of young, inspiring women like Komal Minhas. THANK YOU.

WEOC Stories

WEOC Stories

Change The Story partnered with Senator Leahy to organize the 2017 WEOC event on September 16 2017.

Together, we built greater awareness of our research on Vermont women and the economy, offered skill-building workshops, and ended the day with heartfelt stories told by 5 Vermonters of lived experiences of gender inequality. Below is the recording of the afternoon, generously provided by CCTV Center for Media and Democracy.

Bios can be found here.

Viewing guide:

00: 01:18 | Muslim Girls Making Change opening poem (with intro by Rebecca EunMi Haslam)
00:05:28 | Cary Brown introducing CTS:
00:20:17 | Tiffany Bluemle introducing the storytellers and the reason behind the event
00:23:15 | Prudence Pease:
00:33:33 | Lisa Ryan
00:41:15 | Judy Pransky
00:49:46 | Colin Ryan
1:02:00 | Melody Walker Brook
1:22:00 | Muslim Girls Making Change closing poem

Missed the event?

Here’s the recap.