Virtual Workshop Series: Inclusive Workplace Practices: A Focus on Economic Stability

October 14, 2021 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Join us for a two-part virtual workshop series exploring inclusive workplace practices, from recruitment to retention, presented in partnership by VBSR and the United Way of Northwest Vermont. This workshop series is a great fit for mid-size employers, HR professionals, and supervisors/managers.

Part 1: Open Hiring: Expand Your Workforce Through Inclusive Employment

October 14th, 2021 | 1 – 2:30 PM


According to Greyston’s Center for Open Hiring annual report, it takes an average of 36 days and $4100 to fill the typical job opening across the U.S. and yet there are millions of open jobs waiting to be filled. Open Hiring is a transformative practice for employers, employees, and community. It offers opportunities to those hardest to employ and allows companies to access a broader pool of talent while creating positive change and promoting equity.  Employers find inclusive hiring decreases employer’s time and cost-to hire, increasing revenue and productivity, and unlocks the power of human potential through inclusive employment.

This workshop will focus on communicating best practices around recruiting and retaining employees that commonly struggle to find and keep work because of justice involvement, language barriers, housing instability, recovery from substance use disorder, limited education or qualifications, lack of work experience, and/or low or no job skills. Experts will discuss the framework of Open Hiring, share specific examples and lessons taken from the Open Hiring pilot with Rhino Foods, and introduce key community-based supports essential to employee retention, success, and community partnership.

Workshop Presenters:

  • Abigail Saunders, Director of Human Resources, Greyston Bakery
  • Caitlin Goss, Director of Human Resources, Rhino Foods
  • Heather Newcomb, Program Manager, VT Works for Women
  • Lisa Lord, Director of Workforce Development, Recovery Vermont
  • Maia Hanron, Working Bridges Resource Coordinator, Rhino Foods
  • Connie Beal, Working Bridges Initiative Director, United Way of Northwest Vermont

Part 2: Concepts from Working Bridges: Navigating Economic Diversity in the Workplace

November 18th, 2021 | 1 – 2:30 PM


United Way’s Working Bridges is an innovative program designed to improve job retention, productivity, and advancement by supporting employees with available community resources. Using the workplace as a platform for services and support, Working Bridges helps working Vermonters achieve stability and thrive while supporting human resource departments and reducing employee turnover.

When individuals experience scarcity of essential life resources, over time or in the short-term, it is hard to maintain stability, at work and in life. This training is designed for employers who wish to better support staff across economic diversity and resource stability. Many of the concepts can help participants examine how processes, systems, and supports are either disrupting poverty or exacerbating resource instability. Join us to:

  • Develop familiarity with Working Bridges, specifically Resource Coordination as well as community-based information & referral resources such as Vermont 2-1-1.
  • Define poverty, tyranny of the moment, scarcity, bandwidth tax, slack, tunneling, & abundance.
  • Learn about how mental models and hidden rules can interrupt or facilitate dialogue and trusted relationships at work and in community.
  • Discuss essential resource categories, issues of equity, and how scarcity of resources plays out at work and in community.
  • Experience and learn about the impact of scarcity through a virtual activity

Workshop Presenters:

  • Sarah Allerton, Senior Working Bridges Resource Coordinator, United Way of Northwest Vermont
  • Connie Beal, Working Bridges Initiative Director, United Way of Northwest Vermont

Register Here

About the Trainers

Abigail SaundersAbigail Saunders – Director of Human Resources, Greyston Bakery / Center for Open Hiring

Abigail Saunders Director of Human Resources for Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, NY. Greyston Bakery is a world-class commercial operation, producing 40,000 plus of award-winning brownies daily for customers such as Ben & Jerry’s and Whole Foods Market. As the Director of HR, Mrs. Saunders is responsible for the Open Hiring program. The Open Hiring program is no questions asked, no resumes, no interviews, no background checks regardless of people’s past, educational background, or experience. Abigail has been with Greyston since 2015. She is responsible for providing leadership for all aspects of the Human Resource function at Greyston Bakery.

Caitlin Goss

Caitlin Goss – Director of Human Resources, Rhino Foods

Caitlin Goss is the Director of People & Culture at Rhino Foods where she works to support employees, grow a culture of mutual trust and champion workplace practices that create a positive impact at Rhino and beyond. She joined Rhino in 2017 after graduating from the Sustainable Innovation MBA at the University of Vermont. Caitlin started her career in Boston working at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government focused on social entrepreneurship and innovation in government. She then moved into the private sector and worked at Bain & Company, a management consulting firm, in both Boston and Shanghai. While at Bain, Caitlin worked on internal human capital strategy, focused on people analytics, employee engagement and leadership development. Caitlin studied political science and East Asian studies at Dickinson College and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.

Connie Beal

Connie Beal  – Working Bridges Initiative Director, United Way of Northwest Vermont

Connie Beal (she/her) is United Way’s Working Bridges Initiative Director and leads a team of skilled and caring Resource Coordinators. Her work includes innovation, training development, and community partnerships. Connie convenes the Working Bridges employer network to design and test strategies to elevate resources and identify gaps in supporting the ever-changing needs of Vermont’s diverse workforce. She provides resource coordination and helps employees navigate various community resources related to housing, childcare, transportation, health care, and more. She believes it is a great privilege to develop trusted relationships with employees as they find stability, thrive, and reach their goals. Prior to Working Bridges, Connie was the Senior Resource Coordinator at Vermont 2-1-1, a 24/7 health and human service helpline. She has experience in both nonprofit and public sectors, anti-violence, substance use prevention, and community public health. She holds a Bachelor of Psychology from Colby College (2003) and Master of Public Administration from the University of Vermont (2008), and is a graduate of Leadership Champlain, class of 2019.

Heather Newcomb

Heather Newcomb – Women’s Program Manager, Vermont Works for Women

Heather jointly coordinates employment and career services at VWW with other program staff. She passionately serves women experiencing barriers to succeeding in the workforce. Heather plays a leading role with VWW programs for incarcerated women both during incarceration and their re-entry transition. Heather has overcome many of the same barriers our clients face and brings that lived experience to her clients to ignite motivation and manifests hope. She’s an advocate for strong communities where all members thrive, and advocates for those who lack a voice of their own. Heather recently joined the Board of the Women’s Justice and Freedom Initiative, a new non-profit that serves incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women.

Lisa Lord

Lisa Lord – Director of Workforce Development, Recovery Vermont

Lisa Lord (she, her, hers) is the Director of Workforce Development at Recovery Vermont.  Her work focuses on creating a state-wide network of Recovery Friendly Workplaces and supporting the professional development of Vermont’s Recovery Coaches and the life-changing work they do as they gain and maintain their nationally and internationally reciprocal Recovery Coach Certification.  She is inspired daily by the transformative nature of recovery and how transferable the skills learned through a recovery journey are to the workplace.  She dreams of the day that there is no longer SUD-related stigma.

Maia Hanron

Maia Hanron – Working Bridges Resource Coordinator, United Way of Northwest Vermont

Maia Hanron (she/her) is a Resource Coordinator at United Way of Northwest Vermont and works with Rhino Foods as their Resource Coordinator, through their Open Hiring pilot program. Maia has experience working for the State of Vermont as a Reach Up Case Manager where she helped low-income families address barriers such as housing, transportation, substance use, physical and mental health, childcare, and transportation, in order to obtain and maintain employment. In addition to her State work, she also worked in higher education at both the University of Vermont and Green Mountain College. She holds a BA in English from the University of Maine at Orono and an MA in Education from Castleton University, in which she focused on career and personal development.

Sarah Allerton

Sarah Allerton – Working Bridges Senior Resource Coordinator, United Way of Northwest Vermont

Sarah is the Senior Resource Coordinator for the Working Bridges Program of the United Way of Northwest Vermont, helping to lead the team that connects people with what they need to address challenges in their personal lives so that they may be more successful in their work lives. She is a certified Community Resource Specialist and Financial Coach, using the workplace as a platform to support the stability of hardworking employees while elevating the resources of community partners and supporting employers with retention strategies. She also creates and facilitates workplace supervisor trainings related to economic diversity and is the data and evaluation manager for the program. Her extensive experience with librarianship, literacy, education, environmental science, and relationship development is a foundation she relies on to inform effective and meaningful community service.