As seen in the Caledonian Record:

“A leader doesn’t want to be the best in the world, but the best for the world,” said Paul Costello, executive director of Vermont Council on Rural Development, while speaking to a crowd of over 500 leaders, politicians, CEO’s, directors and Vermonters who packed the halls of Vermont Technical College on Aug. 12.

Topics discussed at the leadership summit were based around community and economic development, leadership, and collaborative enterprises.

Senator Leahy spoke to the audience, and among the cheers and applause, told a story about his granddaughters, leaping into the pool at his home, shrieking with laughter, soaking up the Vermont Summer sun. He reminisced with such gratitude about his life and family. He spoke about how he has worked, with the love and support of his wife, for Vermonters, and agriculture and livable wages, and that he has done so because “leadership is not about power, but action, common benefit, and collective unity.”

Lila Bennett, director of Marketing, Development and Community Relations at Northeast Kingdom Human Services attended the event. NKHS is the third largest employer in the NEK, and serves almost 4,000 people per year in Orleans, Essex and Caledonia counties.

Bennett impressed upon Senator Leahy and Gov. Phil Scott a need for greater funding and more staff for the organization. “We must dedicate our energy to our children services, and to recognizing that we are undergoing a mental health crisis in the nation and if we can focus our attention and resources on attending to this, society can and will improve,” she said.

In his closing remarks to the summit, Gov. Scott said, “We bring ourselves together so we can hold each other up.”

There were many leaders at the summit on Monday. Bennett said a common theme among those gathered is that humble collaboration creates success.

Monique Priestly shared her story of starting The Space on Main in Bradford. She called the endeavor a collective of every bit of networking and relationship building she had done over the last decade.

The day ended with Costello explaining the strength of connection and positive support.