PLEASE NOTE: As of March 2020, VSJF staff are all working remotely to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The best way to reach a staff person directly will be via email.

Ellen Kahler

Ellen Kahler

Executive Director

Bio +
Ellen Kahler became the Executive Director of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) in late 2005. Prior to joining the VSJF, Ellen was the Executive Director of the Peace & Justice Center in Burlington (1990 to 2002) where her work focused on peace, human right, racial equity, and economic justice (basic family needs, livable wages, and under-employment).

She is a graduate of Bucknell University with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University with a Master of Public Administration.

Ellen has received numerous leadership awards including: The Con Hogan Award for Creative, Entrepreneurial & Community Leadership from the VT Community Foundation (2015), the Arthur Gibb Award for Individual Leadership from the VT Natural Resources Council (2015) and the Jan Eastman Excellence in Leadership Award from the Snelling Center for Government (2010). Ellen was also a recipient of a three year leadership development fellowship through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (1994-1997) and was a member of the Snelling Center for Government’s Vermont Leadership Institute class of 1997.

Ellen currently serves on the Boards of the Working Lands Enterprise Fund, the Vermont Workforce Development Board, and Energy Action Network. She served on the Board of Directors for Red Tomato (2011-2016), Sustainable Forest Futures (2008-2012), the Clean Energy Development Fund (2009-2011), Vermont Works for Women (2007-2011), the Vermont Community Foundation (2001-2009), the Advisory Board of the VT-Small Business Development Center (2008-2009), on the Vermont Council on Rural Development’s Rural Vermont Energy Council (2006-2007) and Climate Economy Council (2016-2017) and as a Commissioner on the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (1998-2002).

Janice St. Onge Flexible Capital Fund

Janice St. Onge

Deputy Director

Bio +
Janice St. Onge is Deputy Director of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund and President of the Flexible Capital Fund, L3C (“Flex Fund”). Janice brings economic and business development as well as financial expertise to the organization, having served in the technology, financial services, higher education and state government sectors during her 25+ year career. Early in her career, Janice served ten years at Peoples United Bank in Connecticut in retail management, commercial real estate lending (managing a $21 million portfolio) and organizational development roles.

Prior to joining the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund in 2007, Janice was the Director of the  Vermont Business Center (now the Center for Innovation & Leadership) at the University of Vermont and Technology Business Development Director for the Vermont Department of Economic Development. She received the 2001 National Tibbetts Award in recognition for her outreach work with the Small Business Innovation Research program in Vermont. Additionally, Janice was the Director of Human Resources and Senior Manager of Customer Service for Kea Technologies, an e-commerce fulfillment business in Williston.

Janice is a graduate of the University of Utah with a B.A. in Marketing and is an alumnus of the Snelling Center for Government’s Vermont Leadership Institute.

Janice is a 2018-19 Fellow of the RSF Social Finance’s Integrated Capital Institute. She recently helped launch the Vermont Women’s Investors Network, and serves on the Vermont Small Business Development Center Advisory Board and the Clean Energy Development Fund Board. She is a founding member of Slow Money Vermont’s Organizing Committee. A Stowe, Vermont resident, Janice was co-founder of the Stowe Energy and Climate Action Network and is a former International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup Freestyle Skiing Judge.

Geoff Robertson

Geoff Robertson

Business Assistance Director

Bio +
Geoff Robertson joined the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund in 2017 as Director of Business Assistance. In this role he manages a suite of business assistance services to help Vermont business owners and management teams advance profitability, job creation, and sustainable business development. Most recently Geoff held the position of CEO at Empower Mobility, a mobile platform and software company, where he was responsible for managing business development, human resources, and finances. As the CFO at School Spring, LLC, Geoff negotiated the successful sale of the cloud based recruitment and applicant tracking system for K – 12 schools. He previously served as the Entrepreneurial Advisor at Davis & Hodgdon CPAs serving School Spring, the Vermont Food Venture Center, and many other small businesses in Vermont.

Geoff earned a Bachelor of Science degree in community development and applied economics and Master of Business Administration and from the University of Vermont. As an MBA candidate, he focused on finance and sustainable business practices and earned professional certificates in sustainable business and collaborative management (public/private partnerships). Geoff serves on the board of the Owl Research Institute and was an early member of the Stowe Climate Action Network. He lives in Stowe with his two boys and their dog and enjoys an active outdoor lifestyle.

Christine McGowan

Christine McGowan

Forest Products Program Director

Bio +
Christine McGowan came on board as the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund’s new Forest Products Program Director in 2016. The program is a collaboration between the Jobs Fund, the Northern Forest Center and the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Board with a goal of improving value chain investment opportunities for Vermont’s forest products industry and increasing the value of sustainable forestry in the state.

Christine previously served in strategic communication roles for the National Wildlife Refuge Association, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Wildlife Federation, where her efforts around the 2010 Gulf oil spill disaster and the 2013 Green Inaugural Ball helped elevate the issue of climate change’s effect on wildlife through the media. Before working in conservation, Christine was a regional reporter on Capitol Hill and a local reporter in Texas. She’s a graduate of the Ithaca College Roy H. Park School of Communication.

Originally from Albany, New York, Christine grew up working in her family’s business, Dorsey Millwork, Inc., a distributor for Andersen Corporation, a major manufacturer of wood window and door products. Dorsey Millwork sold to lumber yards, building supply stores and other home construction retailers throughout New England. Christine and her husband, Dan, reside in Stowe with two dogs, a cat, and an abundance of wildlife. Together they own Lamoille Valley Painters, a custom interior/exterior painting company that serves builders, architects and homeowners in the Stowe area. In her spare time, Christine enjoys gardening, hiking, biking and skiing.

Jake Claro Vermont Farm to Plate

Jake Claro

Farm to Plate Director

Bio +
Jake joined the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund in 2012 to support the Farm to Plate website and Farm to Plate Network groups as well as contribute to the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan. In 2017 he was promoted to Farm to Plate Director and is responsible for providing facilitative leadership and strategic coordination for the Farm to Plate Network’s work to implement Vermont’s food system plan. He manages the Farm to Plate team at VSJF and works to align activity among 350 stakeholders and increase collaboration between private sector, nonprofits, and government to strengthen Vermont’s farm and food economy for the benefit of all Vermonters.

Previously he served as an AmeriCorps member with the Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC) and the Vermont Energy & Climate Action Network (VECAN) as a community energy and climate action organizer. At VNRC, Jake worked closely with town energy committees across the state on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy planning issues.

Jake has an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Fordham University and still enjoys, time permitting, waxing philosophical. He received a Master of Science in environmental policy from Bard College and his thesis focused on the value of ecosystem services from farmland in Vermont. Jake serves on the Hunger Mountain Coop Community Fund Committee, the Sodexo Vermont First Advisory Board, Vermont Fresh Network Board of Directors, Community Harvest of Central Vermont Board of Directors, and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Advisory Committee. Originally from Sunderland, he lives in Barre with his wife Reed, daughter and two orange cats.

Anthony Mennona

Anthony Mennona

Finance Director

Bio +
Anthony Mennona joined the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund in 2012 and is the Director of Finance & Administration. He is responsible for all financial management and human resources administration and holds a proven track record for clean audits at the organization. Anthony has handled the financial management, grant administration and human resources for several Vermont nonprofit organizations over the past 11 years. From 2009 through 2012 he was the Director of Finance & Administration at the Biomass Energy Resource Center (BERC). Prior to his work at BERC, Anthony was the Controller at Downstreet Housing & Community Development. In addition to his nonprofit experience, Anthony has worked in finance at various private businesses including PricewaterhouseCoopers and Bolton Valley Ski Resort.

Anthony currently serves on Downstreet’s Fiduciary Committee, as Board Treasurer for the New England Randonneurs and is also a member of the Montpelier Transportation Infrastructure Committee. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Stockton University and lives with his family in Montpelier. 

Kelly Nottermann

Communications Director

Bio +
Kelly joined the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund in 2018. As the Communications Director, she is responsible for marketing communications, public relations, and social media for VSJF programs. She previously worked as the Senior Copywriter and then Senior Social Content Strategist at Gelia, a global marketing communications agency.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a concentration in journalism from the University of New York at Buffalo (UB). She started her writing career as the full-time reporter and photographer for the Hardwick Gazette. She has held various marketing, writing and social media positions in New York and Vermont for companies including the Williston Observer, JapanLink Translations, Data Innovations, Quinlan & Company and most recently Gelia. At Gelia, she developed and executed a suite of social media offerings for the agency’s clients.

She currently serves on the board of the Northeast Kingdom Arts Council (NEKarts), which manages the programming and preservation of the historic Hardwick Town House, and also serves on the board of Four Seasons of Early Learning, a non-profit early education organization offering nature-based preschool, infant and toddler care in Greensboro Bend.

Kelly grew up surrounded by farms in Western New York so she fits right in on her husband’s family farm, Snug Valley Farm, in East Hardwick. The Nottermanns produce grass-fed beef, pasture raised heritage pork, grass-fed lamb and five acres of pumpkins. She lives with her husband Ben, son, two dogs, one cat, an undisclosed amount of chickens and an accidental flock of sheep in Hardwick.

Sarah Danly Vermont Farm to Plate

Sarah Danly

Farm to Plate Network Manager

Bio +
Sarah joined the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund as the Farm to Plate Network Manager in 2017. She provides support to several Farm to Plate Network groups and other projects including tracking of goals and indicators for the Farm to Plate food system plan. She previously worked at the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School as a program officer, a role that combined project management with research and creation of legal resources.

Prior to moving to Vermont, Sarah lived in Boston, where she held positions at farmers’ markets and in environmental outreach. She holds a Master of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in community health and architectural studies from Tufts University. Sarah also received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where she took practical courses in design but developed a passion for ceramics and jewelry. She lives on a sheep farm in South Royalton and spends her free time gardening, hiking with her dog, and watching the sheep. 

Shane Rogers Rooted in Vermont

Shane Rogers

Farm to Plate Communications Manager

Bio +
Shane joined the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund in 2017 and is responsible for managing the Rooted in Vermont grassroots movement—a core project of the Vermont Farm to Plate Network to increase consumer demand for local food. He previously handled communication and development for Green Mountain Farm-to-School, a nonprofit in Newport, Vermont, where he was active in the Farm to Plate Network and served on the marketing strategy committee responsible for developing the Rooted in Vermont campaign.

Shane holds a Bachelor’s Degree in political science and communications with a concentration in journalism from the University of Dayton in Ohio. He came to Vermont from Washington, D.C. where he worked as a legislative researcher and writer for CQ Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper publication. He has also worked as a reporter for The Press newspaper in Avon Lake, Ohio and as an assistant director for Grassroots Campaigns Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio. Shane lives with his partner in Williston.

Lydia Pitkin

Lydia Pitkin

Office Manager & Program Coordinator

Bio +
Lydia joined the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund in 2016. She is responsible for administrative coordination across programs and services as well as office management. She also provides logistical support and holds a project management role within the Farm to Plate Network.

Lydia graduated from the University of Vermont with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in anthropology and minoring in plant and soil science. She holds a Master of Archaeology from the University of Nottingham, England, with a focus on archaeobotany and foodways in archaeology. Before joining the staff at VSJF, Lydia worked at Zutano, Inc., where she held positions in sales, finance and retail management, and spent two years prior at the University of Vermont, working on the Vermont EPSCoR Streams Project. Lydia grew up on a dairy farm in Cabot, where she now lives with her husband and children.

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