Emilie's Story

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Emilie grew up in suburban New York. She arrived at Marlboro College at age 17, determined to find ways to address the isolation and injustice she witnessed in the suburban environment. In southern Vermont, Emilie found a community where people talked to each other, supported each other, and worked together to make things happen. Except for short stints working in her early twenties, and a brief move to Burlington for graduate school at the University of Vermont, Emilie has spent her entire adult life in the Brattleboro area.

When she was 25, Emilie and her then-fiancé put down roots in Brattleboro, starting a business and a family together. Their business, the Weathervane Gallery and Performing Arts Cafe, was a welcoming space where people could meet their neighbors and build community. With the business just getting off the ground, and Emilie nearly ready to deliver their son, her fiancé experienced a devastating mental health crisis that left him unable to support his business or his family. Suddenly on her own with a newborn child and a fledgling business, Emilie made the difficult choice to sell the business and declare bankruptcy. During this challenging time, the Brattleboro community rallied around Emilie and her son. With formal support from programs like TANF (“welfare”) and 3SquaresVT (“food stamps”), and informal support from friends and neighbors, Emilie was able to move through this crisis and eventually enroll in graduate school, studying Public Policy, Community Development and Economics.

During graduate school she began consulting with an International Development firm and spent the next five years working internationally supporting government accountability and community development via partnerships between corporations and the US government’s development efforts, in countries ranging from Afghanistan to South Africa. One day she found herself bringing “last mile connectivity” to farmers in Tanzania, while remembering that many of her neighbors in Vermont still didn’t have high-speed internet access—she came home from that trip ready for a reset. Since then, she has focused on improving the functioning and accountability of community development and support systems in Vermont. Emilie lives on Goodenough Road with her partner, John, her son, Solomon, and their sweet—but crotchety—old dog, Kai.

More information on Emilie's professional background is available on her LinkedIn page.