WEOC 2022 Workshop Descriptions


Advanced Manufacturing – Opportunities for Everyone
Barry Hulce
Are you a creator? Take a tour of VTC’s Advanced Manufacturing Center and learn about new roles, technologies, and training opportunities in 21st century manufacturing. Advanced Manufacturing uses next-generation technology to imagine, design and make new products. The Advanced Manufacturing Center at VTC readies Vermonters for careers in the manufacturing sector in Vermont and across the country.

Are You Ready for A Show?
Heidi Krantz
Food and trade shows can boost sales and open up new markets, but they can also present a challenge to new businesses. This workshop will introduce the tools found in the Vermont Small Business Development Center’s guide, “Are You Ready for a Show?” Tips and tools will help participants evaluate the pros and cons of participating in food and trade shows, assess their readiness and learn how to measure the impact of participating.

BIPOC Professional and Business Owners Listening Session
Krystal Sanchez-Williams and Weiwei Wang
The Vermont Professionals of Color Network (VT PoC) will host a BIPOC listening and networking session. VT PoC is currently conducting statewide listening sessions to better understand the business environment for potential and current business owners. We would like to invite all the women of color attending the conference to participate in a listening session specifically to better understand what is working for you and what is not. The discussion will last approximately 90 minutes with a quick networking round for the remaining time. Please note that this is an affinity space for BIPOC individuals only.

The Color of Green: Creating a Financial Picture
Laurie Anne Kozar
Are you excited about green technology and looking for ways to save? Dive into how to look at energy use, calculate energy burden, and create personal financial goals. This workshop will explore strategies for maximizing the return on investing in energy saving upgrades.

Creating A Mindset for Professional Growth
Paige Ruffner
Are you in a job or career that you love but you want to advance? Are you ready to expand your skills and/or knowledge? Through this workshop, you will learn how to have the mindset for continued professional growth by practicing giving and receiving.

Financial Wellness: A Foundation for Your Future
Liz Scharf and Laurie Wood
Inflation? Child care? A job transition? Experiencing financial stress in our daily lives is all too common which is why it is essential to have practical tools to build, sustain and protect financial wellness. Learn the building blocks of financial wellness and hear about practical ways to build your financial foundation in any economic environment. Participants will have the opportunity to have their credit report and score sent to them following the workshop. Bring your questions; this workshop will have plenty of time for discussion and learning from real world examples.

Gig Life as Your Best Life: An Interactive Workshop for Freelancers
Gwen Pokalo and Claire Wheeler
This workshop will help you to feel confident and enthusiastic about a multiple-income stream lifestyle. Topics will include: how to build the network you need, securing and managing clients, legal considerations, and operations tools.

The Good, the Bad, and the Hopeful – A Community Conversation and Listening Session for Women-Identified Business Owners in Vermont
Morgan Nichols
Main Street Alliance, on behalf of the Community Navigator Pilot Program, will host a listening session with women-identified small business owners - this space is a non-affinity space. In this session, we will create a safe space to listen deeply to small business owners as they share what is going well, what challenges they face and what they need to sustain and thrive here in Vermont. We know that there are many resources for small businesses here in Vermont, but that for some, they are out of reach. This session will help us to identify those gaps so that we can work toward leveling the playing field for all small businesses here in Vermont.

How to Be A Certified Woman-Owned Business and Selling to the Federal Government
Darcy Carter, Brenda Plastridge and Lori Valburn
Thousands of people want to support woman-owned companies. This workshop will show you the variety of certifications available, and ways to take advantage of being certified as woman-owned.

Improvisation and Comedy
Julia DiFerdinando and Natalie Miller
One of the most effective and fun ways to develop professional skills is by learning improv comedy. We practice saying “Yes,” listening, and being creative! The Vermont Comedy Club has been teaching and producing events in the greater Vermont area since 2010. VCC uses the tools of improvisation to inspire mindfulness and respect to build interpersonal skills that apply in every aspect of life.

Negotiate Your Fees with Confidence
Kathleen Burns Kingsbury
Are you tired of feeling anxious when setting your prices, asking for money, or negotiating your salary? In this workshop, discover how your money mindset impacts your financial success and business earnings. Walk away with practical strategies to manage difficult emotions, clearly communicate your value, and be more confident when asking for money.

Non-Traditional STEM Careers for Women – Hands-On Activities!
Heather Desrosiers, Debra Geraw, Missy Mackin, Gail McCarthy, and Colleen Montague
Come learn about careers in highway construction, weatherization, and transportation from the hard-hatted women working in these fields. Workshop participants will get to experience firsthand the joys of operating heavy equipment and hear about what is like working outside the office doing work that all Vermonters rely on.

Thinking of Starting Your Own Business?
Laurel Butler and Tamie-Jo Dickinson
Starting your own business can be both exciting and challenging at the same time, especially for first time business owners. By joining this workshop you’ll gain some practical tips/steps in starting your own business. Plus, you’ll have a chance to have some of your questions answered and learn about some additional resources to help you in the process.

Your Equal Pay Rights and Protections
Jill Ashton
Presented by the Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor, this workshop will provide information on gender and racial wage gaps, including the many factors that contribute to wage discrimination. Over the course of a lifetime women will lose between $400 thousand to more than one million dollars. These lost wages have significant impact on women’s economic stability and opportunity during wage-earning years and into retirement. Attendees will gain knowledge of protections currently in place and strategies to advocate for their rights in the workplace.


Mind, Body, and Economic Empowerment with The Safety Team
Christine DiBlasio, Nancy Keller, Genevieve Henry, and Peg Rieley
Martial arts trainers from The Safety Team will present an experiential workshop demonstrating physical, emotional and intellectual tools that support women's safety and success in the workplace and beyond. The Safety Team is an organization dedicated to the safety, empowerment, resiliency, healing, and well-being of women. Founded by a group of women who are passionate about making a difference, our core team members share a background in martial arts yet have diverse professional expertise related to violence against women. The Safety Team’s programs help women find their voice, learn practical skills, reclaim a sense of power and control, develop resiliency, and as a result, reduce their risk of assault.

Panel Discussion on Leadership and Mentorship
Sarah Carpenter, Maura Collins, Ellen Kahler, Leslie McCrorey Wells, Patricia Moulton, and Chiuho Sampson
Moderated by Mikaela Lefrak
Women play a key role in supporting each other professionally through mentorship. Hear from a panel of women leaders in the fields of business, government and non-profits as they discuss how building and maintaining supportive relationships with colleagues has helped them find success in their careers. In this forward looking panel, conference participants will learn how they can professionally support female colleagues and how they can ask for support as they seek to advance in their careers.