Thank You

Thank You

Really, you rock!

Change The Story is flying high on the response to Senator Leahy’s Women’s Economic Opportunity Conference and we are so honored to have been asked to partner with Senator Leahy to organize the event in its 21st year. 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. And, by our estimates, over half of you that attended were newcomers. Woohoo!

This Conference would not have happened without the energy and ideas of Senator Leahy, his staff, the WEOC Planning Committee, the amazing people that stepped up to facilitate workshops and tell stories, and of course, the attendees that came despite a SUNNY Image result for sunshine Vermont Saturday in September. We are ever so grateful!

Change The Story partnered with Senator Leahy to organize the 2017 WEOC event. 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.”

Here’s the recap:

First of all, we were thrilled to have Senator Leahy and his wife, Marcelle Leahy, in attendance. The Senator gave an incredible welcome address, with Pat Moulton –the FIRST woman President of Vermont Technical College–taking the mic to welcome us to the campus. (We’re big fans, Pat!)


Time for the waterworks… as we played this video featuring girls from Boys & Girls Club of Burlington sharing what it’s like to be a girl, their dreams, and what they want adults to know. The video was produced by CTS and CCTV Center for Media and Democracy, (BIG kudos to Meghan O’Rourke at CCTV!!)


And, our ears were delighted by a powerhouse speech by Mary Alice McKenzie, former Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Burlington. Her main message to us: education is essential and a job is transformative. You’re amazing, Mary Alice! More waterworks.

And then…to workshops! We had everything from navigating the gig life and negotiating your salary, to investing in women and starting your own business. Pro tip: If you’re looking for ideas on workshop topics for your next event – be sure to check out this round up.

In the afternoon, Muslim Girls Making Change (MGMC) kicked off our Moth-inspired storytelling event with one of their beautiful slam poems. Cary Brown, Director of the Vermont Commission on Women gave us context as to why we’re still talking about gender inequality, while sharing some of CTS’ research (there it is again!)

Tiffany Bluemle, Director of CTS, hosted the rest of the day, introducing WHY we are using stories. The bottom line: we were asked for the data. We couldn’t find it so we did our own research. (Did you know we published 4 status reports on VT women and the economy?) And now we’re being asked for STORIES to back up the data!

We (almost) always do what we are asked, so: Prudence Pease, Lisa Ryan, Judy Pransky, Colin Ryan, and Melody Walker Brook (see their bios here) took the stage to share their stories (backing up a lot of the data that we found). And, here’s where we’ll take a beat to say…THEY.WERE.AMAZING.  We have so much gratitude for the five of them.

You can watch their stories here.

(Viewing guide)


MGMC wowed us with one last poem to wrap us up. And when we say ‘wowed’, we really mean WOWed!


One more thing happened.

We asked What is ONE thing YOU can do?

That’s when the audience wrote down commitments to action.

And, we’re using an app to share them (AND TO COLLECT EVEN MORE!)

So, if you’re still with us, you can add to it!

What will YOU do to advance women and girls in Vermont? We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Add it below or by going to:

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Did you really think we’d leaving you hanging without a list of awesome resources? No way.

  1. 15 Things You Can Do
  2. The link to ‘What Will YOU Do’ with an encouragement to add a commitment:
  3. CTS Status Reports
  4. WEOC Workshop Slide Decks (presenters are uploading their slides)

p.s. Be a pal and share these links with anyone that may find it useful.

And, continue the FUN…

…with these two upcoming events:

1 – Wednesday, Oct. 4th – Vermont Women’s Fund Annual Benefit Celebration | 5:30-7:30pm at UVM Davis Center [More details.]

Featuring guest speaker Komal Minhas, producer of the film Dream, Girl. Plus Vermont Public Radio’s Jane Lindholm and Change The Story director Tiffany Bluemle. Tickets $50/person, $10/students.All proceeds from the event go to support the work of the Vermont Women’s Fund

2- Thursday, Oct. 12th – Vermont Works for Women’s 19th Annual Women Can Do STEM and Trades Conference | ALL-DAY at Vermont Technical College in Randolph. [More details.]

Hands-on workshops are led mostly by women professionals in the skilled trades or science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. At Women Can Do, girls may operate an excavator, weld, climb a fire ladder, build a robot, design a 3D model, create an online game, wield a chainsaw, extract DNA from cells, or change a tire.

You can get a personal invite to Women Can Do by contacting Amy Caldwell at OR you can register  girls from your local high school by getting in touch with Jen Roberts at Be sure to do it TODAY!


The CTS Team




What will YOU do?

What will YOU do? Identify one thing you will do now to advance women’s progress. 

This is a question we asked you at the end of #LeahyWEOC and WOW!  you responded with some GREAT ideas.
In fact, they are all in this nifty Padlet. We encourage you to scroll through. If you weren’t able to make #LeahyWEOC or have more to add, feel free. We just ask your contributions are respectful and productive.

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And don’t forget to download 15 Things You Can Do and our status reports to pass along to your friends, colleagues, and family!



VT Storytellers Take the Stage at WEOC on September 16

VT Storytellers Take the Stage at WEOC on September 16

Do you love stories? Have you ever heard one told live?

Join us on the afternoon of Saturday, September 16th from 1:15-2:45pm for a one-of-a-kind “Moth-inspired” event, part of Senator Leahy’s 21st Annual Women’s Economic Opportunity Conference. It will be held at Judd Hall at Vermont Technical College in Randolph, VT.

In this full group session, the work of Change The Story comes alive through story-telling.

Five Vermonters (Prudence Pease, Judy Pransky, Lisa Ryan, Melody Walker Brook and Colin Ryan) will share their stories about overcoming the economic hurdles Vermont women face, the opportunities and challenges of business ownership, different styles and paradigms of leadership, and engaging as a man in the conversation.

Cary Brown, Executive Director of the Vermont Commission on Women will kick us off and Tiffany Bluemle, Director of Change The Story will moderate.

And, a special performance by two members of Muslim Girls Making Change – Lena Ginawi, Hawa Adam, and Balkisa Abdikadir.

Read their bios here! 

You will have the opportunity to interact with each storyteller and working with CTS findings, you will emerge with a better understanding of how you can tell your own story – and participate in changing the economic story for all Vermont women.

Tiffany Bluemle to be Honored at Champlain College Convocation as 2017’s Distinguished Citizen

We’re thrilled to share that Tiffany Bluemle, Director of Change the Story VT, will receive the 2017 Champlain College Distinguished Citizen award. This is the 56th year of the award and is the College’s way of honoring community leaders in Vermont. Bluemle will join Dr. Cyndi Brandenburg to address the incoming Class of 2021 on August 25th for the Annual Convocation.

At Change The Story, we know to foster a diverse and inclusive culture, it has to be prioritized.  Diversity and Inclusion is one of Champlain College’s five Strategic Goals outlined in their 2020 Strategic Plan.  It reads as follows: “Fostering an Inclusive & Diverse Community: Recognizing that diversity is both a reflection of our world and a source of rich education, Champlain will be diverse in ways that reflect the world in which we live and work. All members of the Champlain community will have a sense of being a valued member of the College community.”

To support this 2020 goal, in 2013, the College’s Diversity Council began developing an institutional scorecard, a mechanism designed to track and share key performance indicators.

A few additional highlights supporting this goal include:

  • Opening the Women’s and Gender Center on November 2, 2016.
  • Student Life staff distributed gender pronoun buttons at Orientation, generating a flurry of regional and national media attention.
  • A series of professional development sessions for staff and faculty increased awareness regarding gender identity across campus.
  • A faculty member serving as Special Assistant to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusion in Academics, interviewed 100+ faculty regarding D & I practices in the classroom; setting the stage for future professional development opportunities and more inclusive classroom practices.



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Senator Leahy’s 21st Annual Women’s Economic Opportunity Conference

 You are invited to Senator Leahy’s 21st Annual Women’s Economic Opportunity Conference! It’s free and open to men and women!

The 2017 conference includes a keynote address by Mary Alice McKenzie and workshops hosted by Vermont presenters. This year’s conference will also highlight the work of Change The Story VT through workshops and group discussions.

Visit Senator Leahy’s website for more info.

Conference Agenda
Detailed Workshop Information 
Speakers Bios


Registration is free. Please register by Friday, September 8th at noon to reserve your spot!

Free continental breakfast and lunch will be provided to all registered attendees. Child care must be pre-arranged; please indicate when you register if you will require child care services. Child care availabilty is limited, so please email Heather at for availability.

Information for attendees with disabilities: Arrangements for persons with disabilities will be made in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and associated amendments. Arrangements for accommodation should be requested two weeks in advance by calling Senator Leahy’s office at (802) 229-0569 or emailing

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2017 Status Report: Vermont Women and Leadership

2017 Status Report: Vermont Women and Leadership

This is the fourth in a series of reports published by Change The Story on topics related to women’s economic status. This report focuses specifically on women’s leadership in political, civic, and professional spheres, and the way in which leadership is related to economic security. We focused on leadership roles that can be identified and counted, including elected or appointed public servants at the state and municipal levels, leaders of critical community institutions, and leaders of organizations in the private and non-profit sectors. That said, it is important that we acknowledge the myriad other ways in which Vermont women and men serve as leaders, many of them unrecognized by traditional measures but nonetheless critically important. Most of the data in this report is either new or not regularly collected or published. All of it is specific to Vermont and is vitally important – not just in terms of what it reflects about women, but because of its implications for the state as a whole.

Download the full report.

Download the companion slide deck.

Among our findings:

  • By some measures Vermont is a national pacesetter in its share of women in public leadership.
    • Women are 39.4% of those serving in Vermont’s General Assembly, 60% of the state’s Supreme Court Justices, 43% of Executive Cabinet members and 50% of its public university and college presidents.
  • However, Vermont’s progress in achieving gender parity in leadership arenas has been uneven, slow-going or in some cases nonexistent.
    • Just one of Vermont’s six statewide officials is a woman, trailing the national average by 7 percentage points. Indeed, of the 296 individuals ever elected to statewide office, only 11 have been women.
    • Vermont and Mississippi are the only two states that have never sent a woman to Congress.
    • While women’s participation in Vermont’s General Assembly is the second highest in the country, the pace of change has essentially leveled off since 1993; in 24 years, women’s share of legislative seats has increased by just four percentage points.
  • When only 8% of Vermont’s highest grossing companies and 3 of its 15 hospitals are led by women, we can be certain that we are not making full use of all our state’s talent.