The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) was proud to produce the 2nd Annual Vermont Community Leadership Summit and welcome 500 leaders from towns throughout Vermont to learn from each other, connect to potential partners and resources, and support each other’s progress in service to their community, and to Vermont.

2019 Lifetime Leadership Award

Gus SeeligThe 2019 Community Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award was presented on August 12, 2019 to the Executive Director of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, Gus Seelig. Under his leadership, VHCB has invested $370 million in state funding to develop or rehabilitate 13,000 affordable homes, to conserve 740 farms comprising 167,000 acres, and 267,600 acres of natural areas and recreational and forest lands, and to restore 71 historic community buildings. Gus previously served as the Executive Director of the Central Vermont Community Action Council, a low‐income advocacy and community development organization. Gus has also served on the Affordable Housing Program Advisory Board for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston. He is a past chair and current board member of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, and Vice‐Chair of the Vermont Housing Finance Agency. He is Town Moderator in Calais, Vermont. “In his careful way, Gus embodies for so many of us many of the best ideals as Vermonters—conservation of the land married to strong town centers, and housing with dignity for all members of the VT community,” said VCRD Executive Director Paul Costello.  “Gus is a collaborative engineer and peerless champion of the people, buildings and land of Vermont.”

2019 Community Leadership Award

The 2019 Community Leadership Award was presented to the owner and operator of the Craftsbury General Store, Emily Maclure. Emily (shown on left) has Emily Maclureowned the store since 2012 with Kit Basom (right). She grew up in Orleans Vermont, but spent a decade living in Los Angeles as an event organizer. The sense of community is what brought her back to the NEK and also what drives her career. Emily is vice chair of the Craftsbury Planning Commission, Co‐Chair of the Center for An Agricultural Economy Board and one of the proud hosts of the Annual Craftsbury Block Party. When VCRD produced the Craftsbury Community Visit process in 2015, Emily served as Community Visit Chair. Everywhere she goes, Emily builds community through food and fun, along with her positive energy and can do spirit. Emily’s leadership skills were on full display during our Community Visit in Craftsbury as she rallied people together to get big things done. She and her partner Evan Karp recently had a daughter, their first child Esmé, and are enjoying all the fun new adventures of parenthood.

Snapshots of VCRD’s 2019 Vermont Community Leadership Summit:

Opening Welcome, Spark Stories, and Leadership Awards

“Avoid the Pitchforks: Building Inclusion and Engagement”

“Building Narrative: Telling Your Community’s Story”

"The Future of Economic Development in Vermont Communities,” Closing Session, and Plenary Conclusions and Action

"Advancing Vermont's Creative Economy"

Whats New in Summits