VBSR Welcomes New Board Members

“We are honored to have Kelly, Chad, Mel and Ruchi join VBSR’s Board,” said VBSR Executive Director Roxanne Vought. “They each bring such unique perspectives to our work of building a just, thriving, and transformative economy, while expanding the already rich tapestry of industries, geographies, business types, and identities that make for a strong and effective Board of Directors.”

Kelly Clements is the second-generation president of Gordon’s Window Decor, founded by her father, Gordon, in 1986. As the exclusive manufacturer of EcoSmart Insulating Window Shades, handcrafted in Williston, Vermont, Gordon’s manufactures pioneering window treatments that benefit both the client and the environment. In 2015, Gordon's was awarded the Vermont Family Owned Business of the Year Award by The U.S. SBA.

Clements graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communication with a degree in film, started her own film company, and traveled the world. Through that experience, she discovered how much her Vermont roots mattered to her, and she joined Gordon’s Window Decor in 2003, assuming the presidency in February of 2015. Clements and her team believe that it is a company’s responsibility to support the community that supports it – even as they sell products across the globe.

“At Gordon’s Window Decor we are passionate about manufacturing window shades designed for energy efficiency, our people, and the state we love, so getting the opportunity to join the board of VBSR – an organization that holds these passions center stage – is an absolute honor,” said Clements. “VBSR is the organization that will help Vermont become the example for the rest of the nation for how businesses can change the world for the better and my goal is to bring my experiences running a woman-owned manufacturing company to help drive that mission.”

Chad Farrell is the founder and co-CEO of Encore Renewable Energy, a leader in community scale renewable energy project development services. Farrell has led the team’s innovative and collaborative efforts to design, permit, finance, and construct nearly 90 different commercial scale solar PV projects throughout the State of Vermont and beyond. Many of these projects involve reclaiming undervalued real estate for clean energy generation and storage, helping to revitalize communities and create a cleaner, brighter future for all.

Farrell has over 25 years of experience in brownfield redevelopment and renewable energy project finance, development, and construction. He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Bucknell University and a master’s in Environmental Engineering from UVM. Chad served on the Board of Directors of the Vermont Natural Resources Council and Renewable Energy Vermont. Following appointment by the Vermont Senate to represent the clean energy sector, he also served on the Vermont Climate Council. He currently serves on the Leadership Council for the Northeast Clean Energy Council.

"As a Vermont-based national solar energy provider steeped in the fundamentals of socially responsible business practices and as a founder mentored by pioneers in the triple bottom line business model, I am thrilled to be joining the Board of Directors at VBSR,” said Farrell. “We at Encore Renewable Energy understand the importance of using business as a force for good in the world, and I am excited for the opportunity to serve in support of the mission of VBSR to leverage the power of business for positive social and environmental impact in Vermont and beyond.”

Mel Hall is the co-founder and CEO of Global Village Foods, which creates allergy friendly, ready-to-eat, African inspired cuisine in Quechee, Vermont, which is distributed to nearly 100 grocers across six New England states. The company vision is to build a national brand sourcing Vermont and regionally grown agricultural produce to the greatest degree possible, spurring local economic activity and creating career paths and living wage employment here at home.

Originally from Memphis, Tenn., Hall graduated from Dartmouth and soon moved to Vermont where he’s been ever since. He focuses on strategic direction for the Global Village Foods brand both in food service and in the CPG space. Prior to co-founding Global Village Foods, Hall and his wife ran a successful African restaurant in White River Junction. He is passionate about growing sustainable food systems and community-based action in the good-food-space, both locally, nationally, and abroad.

“I have always viewed successful business as an agent of change,” said Hall. “Whether a small ‘Mom & Pop’ operation or a corporate behemoth, the mindset and language of problem solving needs to deliver a usable solution, varying only in scale and subtle shades of complexity. This capacity of businesses to solve market challenges is applicable to nearly every facet of cultural, social, economic, and political endeavors. Serving on the VBSR board means working with innovative and thoughtful business leaders to meaningfully engage not just economic questions but the issues that will impact generations. I am humbled and excited to be a part of the process.”

Ruchi Nadkarni is the principal consultant at Fringe Impact where she practices social impact management primarily for underestimated stakeholders in Vermont. Fringe Impact guides stakeholders via systems frameworks and root cause inquiry to facilitate sustainable, systemic impact. The approach includes a deep commitment to racial equity using cutting edge social impact frameworks and works to amplify opportunities for BIPOC and minority communities in Vermont.

Nadkarni holds a master’s in business administration from UVM and a master's in politics from the University of Mumbai. She has experience in nonprofit management in India, philanthropy in New York, and systemic social impact across the U.S. through both large corporate foundations and Fortune 500 companies. As an immigrant, mother, and woman of color, she is dedicated to using her experience and background to support clients and connect with her community of Colchester.

"My journey to the VBSR Board is a testament to the power of diverse experiences and I vow to amplify the voices of the underestimated, ensuring Vermont's future is one of inclusivity and opportunity,” said Nadkarni. “I see my role on the VBSR Board as a chance to shape Vermont's trajectory for the better. With strategic insight and a commitment to community, I'm dedicated to creating spaces where everyone thrives. My presence is not just about the present; it's about forging a legacy that my son and future generations will inherit, in a place I proudly call my second home."

Annually, in the late summer, VBSR makes a call for Board Nominations. Members and friends of VBSR are asked to consider who might be a great addition to VBSR’s Board of Directors, including those who would benefit from the opportunity. VBSR especially seeks board members who identify as women and non-binary, people of color, veterans, individuals with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, rural businesses, and other identities and lived experiences traditionally underrepresented in dominant business culture. Learn more here.

About VBSR

VBSR is a statewide, non-profit business association with a mission to leverage the power of business for positive social and environmental impact. VBSR’s 700 member businesses and organizations strive toward a just, thriving, and transformative economy that works for all people and the planet through shared learning, community building, and collective action. Learn more or join the cause at www.vbsr.org.

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