Thursday, November 10, 8:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Montpelier City Hall, 39 Main Street, Montpelier


This was the inaugural gathering of the Network Steering Team and Zone Leadership Teams. A day for collective learning, connecting, and sharing.


8  registration opens
8:45 – 9:15  welcome | opening plenary
9:30 – 10:45  workshops 1: Results-Based Accountability; Collective Impact
11 – 11:50  workshops 2: Existing Vermont Networks – from the ground up; Unearthing the Creative Economy

noon – 12:30  lunch
12:30  plenary  Marguerite Dibble, CEO, GameTheory (slides from GameTheory presentation)
1:15 – 2:30  workshops 3: Collective Impact; Results-Based Accountability
2:45 – 4  network gathers
4 – 4:30  closing


Collective Impact

The Collective Impact (CI) framework is being widely used for systems-level social change efforts around the U.S. Here in Vermont, CI is being used to advance the Farm to Plate Network. We’ll explore Farm to Plate as a case study and look at ways the framework is being used to advance the development of Vermont’s food system. We’ll also make inquiries into when the CI model is not a good choice, what it takes to implement the framework effectively, and the difference between a complicated problem vs. a complex problem.

slides from Collective Impact presentation

Existing Vermont Networks: From the Ground Up

The Vermont Creative Network draws upon the prior experience and developing wisdom of other networks. Vermont is home to three collective impact networks: the Energy Action Network, Vermont Farm to Plate, and the Caledonia s. Essex Accountable Health Community. In this workshop, we will hear from and talk with leaders from all three networks, with a focus on how these networks strive toward sustainability.

slides from Existing Networks presentation

Results-Based Accountability

An in-demand planning and evaluation tool, Results-Based Accountability (RBA) asks three questions: What are we doing? How well are we doing it? Is anyone better off? This framing turns goals into opportunities for real change using data that measures real impacts. After this session, participants will be able to connect RBA to the Vermont Creative Network and Collective Impact models, to differentiate between population-level and performance-level accountability; and to define results, indicators, and performance measures.

slides from Results-Based Accountability presentation

Unearthing the Creative Economy with CreativeGround and NEFA

There are many resources that can help to connect artists, cultural nonprofits, creative businesses, and other players in New England’s creative economy. Join Dee Schneidman of the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) to learn how to access these resources and ensure that your voice is counted in critical research (Creatives Count) and creative community development (Creative Communities Exchange). This session will include a brief demonstration of CreativeGround, NEFA’s free directory that spotlights the rich range of creative people and places at work in the six New England states.



Andrea Colnes is executive director of the Energy Action Network (EAN). Prior to joining EAN, Andrea worked in natural resource public policy and coalition building. Her background in climate and energy issues began with her work on Vermont’s first Comprehensive Energy Plan under Governor Madeleine Kunin. Andrea was founding executive director of the Northern Forest Alliance, policy director of the Northern Forest Center, and deputy director of the Vermont Natural Resources Council. She co-founded Americans for Our Heritage and Recreation and the Eastern Forest Partnership and helped launch the National Rural Assembly.

Marguerite Dibble is the CEO of GameTheory, a Burlington-based company developing mobile apps and games and providing consulting services to a variety of companies, helping them use game design thinking to approach motivational, organizational, and engagement challenges. A Vermont native, she attended Champlain College to study game art. Marguerite continues to focus on building the creative and technology economies of Vermont with an emphasis on collaboration and making the possibilities for the state’s future a reality.

Ellen Kahler has been the executive director of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) since 2005. Starting in 2009, the VSJF has served as the Network Coordinator for Vermont Farm to Plate, a legislatively enabled collective impact initiative to strengthen Vermont’s food system. As the backbone organization for the Farm to Plate Network, the VSJF supports over 25 groups through a decentralized governance model that is accelerating the developing of Vermont food system and has led to the creation of over 6,000 jobs. VSJF has become nationally recognized, and they are active in supporting the development of similar food system change efforts in the other New England states. Ellen has more than five years of experience working with Collective Impact combined with Results-Based Accountability.

Hilary Orsini is assistant director for the Center for New Leadership at Marlboro College Graduate and Professional Studies. Hillary is a sought-after trainer for all things Results-Based Accountability. “I am committed to RBA because it can quickly re-inspire people about their work and the change they can make.” In her free time, she is a stand-up comedian.

John Sayles joined Vermont Foodbank as the CEO after serving ten years in senior appointed positions with the State of Vermont — at both the Agency of Natural Resources and the Department of Public Service. Prior to coming to Vermont, John practiced law in Maryland, both in private and government practice. John is a member of the Feeding America Policy Engagement and Advocacy Committee which develops national policy direction for more than 200 food banks nationwide. John chairs the Government Reorganization and Operations Review Commission, is a member of the Vermont Governor’s Pathways from Poverty Council, and is on the boards of One Care Vermont and Home Share Now.

Dee Schneidman is the program director for research and creative economy at the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA). She oversees data collection, documentation, and creative economy activities at NEFA. These include the New England Creative Economy Reports on the creative sector and its nonprofit subset; CreativeGround: New England’s online directory of creative assets; regional events such as the Creative Communities Exchange; knowledge-sharing projects and NEFA program evaluation.