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.

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.
Breaking Down Gender Bias: A Toolkit for Construction Business Owners

Breaking Down Gender Bias: A Toolkit for Construction Business Owners

By: Helm Construction Solutions (

This toolkit was developed by Kate Stephenson and Mel Baiser of HELM Construction Solutions with help and feedback from many of our colleagues in the building trades and social justice movements. It includes topics like:

  • Defining the Challenge
  • Changing Company Culture
  • Hiring and Retaining a Diverse Team
  • What is Privilege?
  • Becoming an Ally
  • Additional Resources

“We recognize this is just a first step towards raising awareness of these issues in our industry and our workplaces, but we felt the need to start somewhere.”

“Our goal is to increase the number of women, trans and gender non-conforming folks in the building trades, and to offer some specific help to progressive business owners who want to help but don’t know how to approach the problem.” – Kate Stephenson

If you have feedback on the Toolkit, ideas to share, or suggestions for additions, please email

About HELM:

HELM Construction Solutions works with owners, designers and builders to create high performance and sustainable buildings and businesses. HELM provides a range of innovative services to help your business and your projects run smoothly and efficiently. We are committed to high performance and sustainable building practices that are not only right for the environment, but result in more durable buildings, better indoor air quality, comfort and a significant reduction in the operating costs of your home or business. HELM is a collaborative team with over thirty years of combined construction, management, leadership and education expertise.

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2016 Status Report: Women’s Business Ownership and the Vermont Economy

2016 Status Report: Women’s Business Ownership and the Vermont Economy

This is the third in a series of briefs published by Change The Story on topics related to women’s economic status. This report focuses specifically on business ownership by women and its potential to bolster and invigorate Vermont’s economy. Like the majority of national and regional reports on businesses, this report relies heavily on data from the 2012 U.S. Census Survey of Business Owners. Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are specific to Vermont. To date, we have had to rely on national reports to define the health of Vermont’s women-owned businesses. But their conclusions paint conflicting pictures: one analysis of 2014 data ranked Vermont first among states for entrepreneurs, while another ranked Vermont 50th. The difference between these rankings begs the question: What is the real story for Vermont women and business ownership?

Download the full report.

Download the companion slide deck.

Among the findings:

  • Women-owned businesses are vital to Vermont’s economy.
    • Women own 23,417 businesses in Vermont, which employ 36,326 people, and generate annual revenues of approximately $2.2 billion.
  • Although growing at a faster rate than businesses owned by men, women-owned firms in Vermont are fewer in number, smaller in size, and lower in annual revenues.
    • Between 2007-2011, the number of female-owned businesses grew 15%; during the same period male-owned businesses grew by only 6%.
    • Women-owned businesses generate 9% of gross revenues and employ 12% of workers in privately-held Vermont firms.
    • Women business owners are significantly underrepresented in 9 of the 10 highest grossing sectors. This limits financial opportunities for individual women and their potential contributions to Vermont’s economy.
  • Women-owned businesses have the potential to play a much bigger role in Vermont’s economic development.
    • If the percent of women-owned businesses that are employers matched that of male-owned businesses, and those firms had the same average receipts, it would add $3.8 billion to Vermont’s economy.
    • If Vermont women chose business ownership at the same rate as men, it would result in more than 10,500 new businesses.
    • If just 1 in 4 of the existing 20,786 women-owned businesses without employees hired just one worker, it would result in an additional 5,200 new jobs.
  • Maximizing the potential of women-owned businesses – and indeed all of VT businesses – requires new and better data.
    • While existing business-related data sources can provide reliable top-line statistics, they are less useful in revealing nuanced information about the motivations, challenges or opportunities experienced by Vermont business owners. Focusing on the finer points of what makes a business successful is critical to Vermont’s economic future.
Diverse Teams Feel Less Comfortable — and That’s Why They Perform Better

Diverse Teams Feel Less Comfortable — and That’s Why They Perform Better

Source: Harvard Business Review

Authors: David RockHeidi Grant HalvorsonJacqui Grey


“In numerous studies, diversity — both inherent (e.g., race, gender) and acquired (experience, cultural background) — is associated with business success. For example, a 2009 analysis of 506 companies found that firms with more racial or gender diversity had more sales revenue, more customers, and greater profits. A 2016 analysis of more than 20,000 firms in 91 countries found that companies with more female executives were more profitable. In a2011 study management teams exhibiting a wider range of educational and work backgrounds produced more-innovative products. These are mere correlations, but laboratory experiments have also shown the direct effect of diversity on team performance. In a 2006 study of mock juries, for example, when black people were added to the jury, white jurors processed the case facts more carefully and deliberated more effectively.

Under increasing scrutiny, and mindful of the benefits of diversity on the bottom line, many companies are trying to recruit and retain a more diverse workforce. Success has so far been marginal. With so much at stake, why aren’t these companies making more headway? One reason could be that, despite the evidence about their results, homogenous teams just feel more effective. In addition, people believe that diverse teams breed greater conflict than they actually do. Bringing these biases to light may enable ways to combat them.”

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Why Your Diversity Program May Be Helping Women but Not Minorities (or Vice Versa)

Why Your Diversity Program May Be Helping Women but Not Minorities (or Vice Versa)

“When it comes to issues of race, gender, and diversity in organizations, researchers have revealed the problems in ever more detail. We have found a lot less to say about what does work — what organizations can do to create the conditions in which stigmatized groups can reach their potential and succeed. That’s why my collaborators — Nicole Stephens at the Kellogg School of Management and Ray Reagans at MIT Sloan — and I decided to study what organizations can do to increase traditionally stigmatized groups’ performance and persistence, and curb the disproportionately high rates at which they leave jobs.One tool at any organization’s disposal is the way its leaders choose to talk (or not to talk) about diversity and differences — what we refer to as their diversity approach. Diversity approaches are important because they provide employees with a framework for thinking about group differences in the workplace and how they should respond to them. We first studied the public diversity statements of 151 big law firms in the U.S. to understand the relationship between how organizations talk about diversity and the rates of attrition of associate-level women and racial minority attorneys at these firms. We assumed that how firms talked about diversity in their statements was a rough proxy for their firm’s approach to diversity more generally.

Two findings were particularly intriguing. First, there are two fundamentally different ways that diversity statements seek to appeal to the stigmatized groups they target. One appeal is to differences and how differences are important.  We call this the “value in difference” approach. For example, a value in difference approach advocates for increasing awareness of differences and bias, and signals the organization’s belief that these differences not only improve employees’ experiences in the workplace, but also advance the firm’s bottom-line goals. The other approach is an appeal to equality and fairness irrespective of differences. We call this the “value in equality” approach.  For example, a value in equality approach affirms that differences will not be an obstacle to career opportunities and advancement, and that all employees are judged equally and fairly based on their skills, qualifications, and effort.”

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