2020 Spring Conference Banner

We’ve all been shaken by COVID-19. Even businesses that can still function must shift how they operate. Instead of waiting for the “new normal” to happen to you, it’s time to be proactive and create your future.

Come together with other aspiring and current business owners to nourish your roots, share your passions, capture your strengths and prepare for a bright future in your business and your life. The time is right, the time is now.

We are excited to announce that for the first time ever we will be bringing the Spring Conference online on Tuesday, May 19th from 10:00am-3:00pm!

Our day is filled with an inspiring opening session, morning and afternoon breakout workshops, lunch conversation topics, and wraps up with our endnote presentation and raffle.

WBON conference scholarships

Click the Toggles Below to Learn about the Elements of the Conference!

Kimberly Dubrul Headshot
Kimberly DuBrul, PCC, is a veteran (18 years) business, life and mindset coach, speaker and trainer. She coaches clients one on one, in groups and works with companies large and small to build strength cultures and positive work environments. Kim has been in business for herself since the age of 20 and is a former WBON board member. She’s a born and raised Vermonter who loves being in nature and lives in Shelburne with her family. Kimberly is owner of Kimberly DuBrul Coaching.

Mary Cohen, an ex officio member of the board of the Rutland Economic Development Corp (REDC) and Executive Director of the Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce, will kick off the day with stories of resilience and inspiration from the area that was the birthplace of WBON.

The Killington-Rutland area and its small tourism businesses and manufacturers has been through rough times before. Hear highlights of how the community worked together to rebuild.

How to Adapt Your Marketing Now for Beyond the Current Crisis

Marketing Partners Headshots

Pat Heffernan (left) and Karen Wilkinson (right)
Marketing Partners |

Amid unrelenting uncertainty, effective strategy and messaging are more important than ever, but past patterns are obsolete. We will explore how to adapt your marketing for the future beyond the crisis.

Key Takeaways:

  • What’s different (latest trends)
  • Why knowing your values and your customers are your most important source of insight
  • The key to aligning your messaging and media
  • How to engage every potential customer with inclusive language and design

Pat Heffernan is a change strategist, writer, and collaborative thinker-doer who leads the team at Marketing Partners, Inc., a creative firm she established in 1992 to create change through communication for mission-driven businesses, nonprofit organizations, and public agencies. Pat believes in the power of aligned community, was founding president of WBON, and founding president of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility.

Karen Wilkinson hails from Australia and has over 20 years’ experience in the design, marketing and advertising industry. She draws on her broad international experience in various agencies, along with running her own business, to bring Marketing Partners’ clients graphic design for effective, creative solutions. Karen is passionate about making a tangible difference in the lives of others.

Attendees will take away a toolkit of specific guidelines and checklists for inclusive language and design for their communication in interpersonal, website, print, and digital contexts.

Government Contracting and Woman-Owned Certifications

Elizabeth Adams and Bonnie Sanders

Elizabeth Adams (left) and Bonnie Sanders (right)
Vermont Procurement Technical Assistance Center | http://ptac.vermont.gov

Elizabeth has been counseling businesses in Southwestern Vermont on government contracting since 2015. Elizabeth is well versed in all aspects of government procurement but excels with DoD NIST cybersecurity compliance, HUBZone certification and capability statements. She has been in public service for 16 years and graduated from the University of Rochester with a double major in Economics and History.

Bonnie has been working with businesses in Central Vermont since 2018. She spent 12 years in state procurement positions, notably with VTrans and Buildings and General Services. Bonnie previously owned two small businesses and worked in the construction/industrial supplier fields. Bonnie takes a rounded interest in her clients and guides their focus towards steady growth through government contracting.

Interested in Learning How to Sell to the Government? Businesses will learn the basics to compete for contracts with federal, state and local government entities while also learning about socio-economic small business programs, including woman-owned certifications, that may provide  an advantage when competing for federal contracts.

Discussion topics include:

  • Marketing your small business to the government
  • How to locate bid opportunities
  • Socio-economic small business programs
  • State and federal woman-owned certifications

How to Use your Story to Drive Connection (and Revenue)

Heather Frechette-Crowley Headshot

Heather Frechette-Crowley
Root Marketing | Rootmktg.com

Heather is Principal and Founder of Root Marketing, a firm that specializes in connecting businesses with their target audience. She uses her 20+ years of online and product marketing experience to create engaging content that helps small and micro businesses make a greater impact. When she’s not negotiating with her feisty tween or rescue pup, Heather enjoys a good cup of coffee, glass of wine and spending time outdoors (not necessarily in that order).

While “story” might be a recent addition to the business buzzword lexicon, storytelling is anything but new. If you struggle with how to incorporate story into your marketing strategy or still aren’t sold on the value of doing it, this session is for you. Attendees will learn how to discover their story, package it in a way that connects with their target audience and use it to drive revenue.

Attendees will leave with:

  • an understanding of how effective use of story can help grow revenue,
  • a formula for uncovering their story, and
  • tips for how to use it to connect with their target audience.

Moderated Discussion

Grab your favorite beverage and join us by video (so we can see each other just like we would in an in-person meeting)! We’ll connect, share best practices and support one another in an interactive chat format. Gwen Pokalo from the Center for Women & Enterprise will be on hand to help with questions relating to COVID-19 relief programs.

General housekeeping:

  • This is a safe space to share since the session will not
    be recorded
  • Introduce yourself as you participate on the call

This is what you can expect:
Think about sharing stories of inspiration and innovation of how you are managing during this challenging time and supporting each other.

Turning Pain into Light – Weaving a New Narrative

Rae Carter Headshot

Rae Carter
EmpowR | RaeCarterEmpowR.com

Rae Carter was active in WBON as a young public relations, social media, and grassroots marketing business owner from 2007-2012. She transitioned to statewide economic development work, suffered acute burnout, followed by a breast cancer diagnosis which turned into a full blown health crisis.

Rae is now healthy and leading into and during COVID 19 created and is weaving EmpowR—a social enterprise with the mission to raise the impact of our voices for change. EmpowR is as a culmination of her healing journey, 20 year career in communications, the diversity of her expertise and knowledge, and her vision for change.

In this workshop, Rae shares her vulnerability with a heart-centered story of how she learned to reclaim her narrative and feminine power by facing her shadows and embracing compassion. Rae offers participants perspective relevant to women navigating the balance of career and health in rapidly changing social and business cultures.

Connect & Communicate: A Roadmap for Healthy Relationships and Interactions

Beth Martell Headshot

Beth Martell
Martell Coaching |

Formerly a classroom teacher and youth counselor and currently a certified Relationship Coach, Beth has studied human behavior for 33 years. She works in her private practice, Beth Martell Life Coaching, an alternative to counseling for teens, couples and individuals. She is also a parent educator at UVM Extension a child behavior expert at Vermont Afterschool.

Relationships are challenging. We want to have enjoyable and effective relationships, yet too often even simple interactions go off track. Communication seems to be the problem yet the root is actually deeper. Relationships are hard because we’re experiencing the complex challenge of staying separate while connecting. Beth offers a roadmap for healthy relationships with specific Do’s and Don’ts that you can start using to today.

Meaningful Connections: Networking at a Higher Level

Carolyn Weaver Headshot

Carolyn Weaver
The Weaver Team at KW | BestRealEstateLife.com

Carolyn Weaver runs her own real estate team, “The Weaver Team” and “Best Real Estate Life: Real Estate and Business Coaching.” As an active agent herself she also helps other real estate agents and business owners meet their goals while living their best lives. A fun, energetic and personable style makes her a sought after speaker. She combines her many years of real estate and business experience to help and mentor agents and business owners. She is a highly rated instructor for Real Estate classes and is certified to teach Continuing Education classes. She has a M.A. and B.A. from UVM and has taught at the college level.

Participants will learn tips, tricks and methods to connect on a meaningful level with potential business partners, vendors and customers at networking events, trade shows and as part of daily interactions.

Sarah Degray Headshot

Sarah Degray

Founder of Cycling & REV-X Coach

A lifelong Vermonter, athlete and sports fanatic, Sarah decided to leave her desk job in 2012 to create REV Indoor Cycling. She is a certified fitness professional and classically trained musician and vocalist. She has performed in several musicals around Vermont and loves that she can combine her passions for musical performance and athletics at REV. Sarah is meticulous about music and loves crafting heart pumping, challenging rides set to several genres of music. Sarah’s personal fitness regimen includes a varied dose of indoor cycling, resistance training and yoga. She has completed several full and half-marathons as well as two New England Tough Mudder events. Sarah has lived through her own body transformation as a result of indoor cycling and she strives to expose as many people as possible to the health benefits of a great ride. Sarah firmly believes that anyone can and everyone should make indoor cycling part of his or her fitness plan.

WBON Member $50 / Non-Member $75

Your ticket gives you access to all the events of the conference throughout the day.

A Warm Thank You to Our Sponsors

Conference Underwriter

Vermont Federal Credit Union

Vermont Federal Credit Union is a full service, not-for-profit financial institution serving over 40,000 Vermonters since 1953. Our members are part of a cooperative, meaning they share ownership in the credit union. At Vermont Federal, we build lasting relationships with our members, and we offer products and services that help local businesses to thrive. For more information please visit www.vermontfederal.org.

Lunch Think Tank Sponsor


Reconciled is an online bookkeeping and CEO advisory firm headquartered in Burlington, VT with team members in multiple states and customers all over the country. Entrepreneurs and startups outsource all of their accounting needs to Reconciled so they can focus on running their business with peace of mind.

Business Sponsors

Annual WBON Sponsors