Featured Speakers and Panelists

Governor Phil Scott

was born and raised in Montpelier, Vermont, and attended the University of Vermont, earning a BS in Industrial Education (1980). As a young entrepreneur, he embarking on a successful career as Co-Owner/Vice-President, of DuBois Construction Inc., and Co-Owner of Shoney’s Restaurant. Phil Scott served in the Vermont State Senate (2000-2010) where he chaired the Institutions Committee and Vice Chaired the Transportation Committee; then as Lieutenant Governor (2010-2017). Governor Scott’s civic involvement has included founding Wheels for Warmth, presenting at Central Vermont Girls First/Boys First Mentoring Program, a member of Vermont Safe Kids, and President of the Associated General Contractors (1997-1998). He enjoys hiking and climbing, and is a professional stock car racer at Barre’s Thunder Road International Speedbowl. Phil lives in Berlin with his wife Diana McTeague Scott and has two grown daughters, Erica and Rachael.



Kiki McShane

is the President/Managing Director of CFA/FarVision. She effectively works with entrepreneurs who make things happen, enhances partner relationships, plans with family owned companies for transition and growth opportunities, implements creative conflict know- how to achieve strategic initiatives, diagnoses where an organization is on its life cycle, assesses the where- with- all of the organization’s members and crafts well aligned mission tasks to produce a robust bottom line, every time.


Kiki began her career as a Marriage, Family and Child Therapist and transitioned into working with family members in businesses and partnerships in transition when she joined the Adizes Institute in Santa Monica CA, opened their office in Miami FL and eventually co-founded the international business consulting company, Corporate Transitions, Inc. in Miami, FL. She has worked with companies such as the Bank of America, San Francisco, Woods Co., Carmel, Indiana, Williamson Auto Group, Miami, FL, Isla Oil Refinery, Curacao, N.A., The Picotte Companies, Albany NY, Reliance Steel and the O’Brien Brothers Agency, Burlington, VT.



Yvonne Daley

is a writer and educator who has published more than 5,000 news, feature and magazine articles, essays, short stories and poems in such publications as The Rutland Herald, The Boston Globe, Vermont Life, the Washington Post, People, Time, Life, Yankee, Dark Horse, Tendril and others. She has won more than 40 national and regional awards for her writing, which has focused on ordinary people who do extraordinary things; the environment, social issues, crime, rehabilitation and reconciliation; artists, writers and writing.


Yvonne was a John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University and a Freedom Forum Fellow at Indiana University. After retiring in 2015 as a professor of journalism and creative nonfiction at San Francisco State University, she returned fulltime to Vermont, She is the founder and director of the Green Mountain Writer's Conference, which celebrates its 20th year this summer, and founder and editor of Verdant Books, a small publishing company. She is co-author of An Independent Man, the biography of Vermont Senator James M. Jeffords; Vermont Writers: A State of Mind, an anthology and biography of 21 Vermont authors; Octavia Boulevard, a San Francisco memoir; A Mighty Storm, about how Vermonters rebuilt their state after tropical storm Irene; and The Bend in the Road, the story of how a family and community responded to one young man’s head injury and the resulting discoveries about the brain’s ability to heal. She is currently writing a book about the counterculture’s impact on the state of Vermont.



John W. Davis, CPA, CFP, PFS, CVA

is a partner in Davis & Hodgdon Associates CPAs and has over 35 years of public accounting experience. His professional designations earned include Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) from the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA), the Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) awarded by the American Institute of CPAs and Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) from the IAFP. John focuses in the areas of strategic planning for family businesses, business sales and acquisitions, alternative sources of financing, and business valuations.  He is also involved with the financial and estate planning for individuals.


John spends most of his time working with small businesses and owners on the many issues that they face. As a part of his financial planning and business planning analysis, a great deal of time is spent in reviewing and recommending the structure for various types of entities. In addition, John spends a fair amount of time addressing business management issues, often dealing with succession planning issues. Related to this is an expertise in reviewing retirement plan options to maximize their benefits.


John currently serves as a member of the Vermont Economic Progress Council (VEPC),  Opportunities Credit Union’s supervisory committee, executive committee of Aging Well (formerly Champlain Valley Agency on Aging –CVAA) and member of the South Burlington Rotary. He is a member of the Vermont Society of CPAs (VTCPA) and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).



Ken Lesser

is a Director and Banking Solutions Consultant at UBS Wealth Management. Ken has over 30 years of experience in financial and related services. In addition to his role with UBS, Ken has past experience at Webster Bank. Prior to joining UBS, Ken was a Market Area Manager at UBS.


Ken has a Master's Degree from Central Connecticut State University in Organizational Management. He holds several designations and licenses including the Series 7, 24, and 66  securities licenses.


Ken lives in Wethersfield with his wife and three daughters.



Robert Buzzell, Jr., CPA, CVA

is a partner in Davis & Hodgdon Associates CPAs  and possesses over 35 years of public accounting experience. He is the former managing partner of Siliski & Buzzell, P.C. which merged with Davis & Hodgdon Associates in 2015. Bob is currently a Partner located in the Rutland office. Throughout Bob’s career, he has advised small and family owned businesses with tax planning, business sales, acquisitions and valuations. He is also involved with financial and estate planning for individuals, and advises non-profit organizations on issues relating to contributions, endowments and unrelated business income.


Bob has successfully completed the certification process with the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA) and earned the designation of Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA). He is a member of the Vermont Society of CPAs (VSCPA) and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).  Bob has been involved with various business, civic and community organizations over the years and is currently a member of the Regional Advisory Board of the Stafford Technical Center.



William Kelly, Ph.D.

 is the founder of the Pyramid Holistic Wellness Center and has worked in the wellness industry since 1995, offering services in mental health counseling, hypnosis, Reiki, music, fitness, meditation, yoga, and more. A big part of his education (including a Masters and doctorate in psychology) was focused on the mind-body connection, where he learned specifically how to use meditation and yoga techniques to manage stress and its related disorders. He currently works in private practice in the Rutland area.



Cary Brown

is the Executive Director of the Vermont Commission on Women. She served two terms as a VCW commissioner before joining the staff in 2012.  She has worked as the Director of Girls’ Programs for Vermont Works for Women, a non-profit organization supporting education, training and careers in non-traditional fields for women and girls, and directed the Women in Technology Project, a national award–winning summer technology camp for girls at Vermont Technical College.  She has served on the boards of Northern New England Tradeswomen, Turtle Island Children's Center, the New England Association for Cooperative Education and Field Experience, and the Norwich University Alumni Association.  Cary received her bachelor’s degree from Haverford College, and a Masters of Public Administration degree from Norwich University. She lives in Montpelier with her family, where she is a Justice of the Peace.




Hal E. Dursema

is the Assistant Complex Director, Northern New England Complex for UBS. Hal moved his family back to the Portland Maine area with Smith Barney in 2000 and came to work for UBS as the Assistant Branch Manager in 2005. In 2008 he was promoted to Executive Director and Assistant Complex Director for the business that includes Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. In this his current role he is instrumental in the running of the day-to-day activities and driving both the client and employee experiences.


Hal earned his BA from Rowan College and his MS from the University of New Haven.


Hal is a 33 year veteran of the financial services industry and began his career in 1983 as a financial advisor for Dean Witter Reynolds. He joined the management training program at Shearson Lehman Brothers in 1986. Hal spent the next 19 years at the firm which later became Smith Barney. As a Sales Manager and Branch Manager in Denver Colorado, Portland Maine and Syracuse New York  Hal devoted his time to helping his people deliver the best employee and client experiences possible. He prides himself on his ability to coach those around him. He has been called both forward-looking and inspiring, helping clients and Financial Advisors in achieving their goals.



Patrick Kane

is Regional Vice President, USIS – Life Brokerage, Principal Financial Group. Patrick joined The Principal® in 2004 as the Regional Vice President for the New England territory and has over 20 years of experience both as a financial advisor  and regional wholesaler. Patrick focuses on working with financial advisors and partners with them to ensure  their individual and business owner clients are addressing and meeting their needs and goals as it relates to individual life insurance, Business Transition, Key Person and Business Succession planning.


Prior to joining Principal, Patrick served as Regional Life Wholesaler with Pacific Life and Hartford Life. He has his Series 7 and 63 licenses.



Jacki Becker RN, MSN, FNP

is a Nurse Practitioner, currently managing the Wellness Center at Rutland Regional Medical Center. She is a graduate of the Integrative Medicine Fellowship at the University of Arizona and a trained health coach through the Wellcoaches program. Jacki has over 25 years of experience in the ICU, ED, and office setting. This experience has strengthened her passion for supporting clients as they work towards prevention of chronic disease and their best health. Jacki's goal is to partner with clients to optimize their health choices in the areas of nutrition, activity, stress reduction, and stress management.



Jeff Couture

is the executive director of the Vermont Technology Alliance. The vtTA is a non-profit business association with a mission to support, promote, and grow technology businesses and technology jobs in Vermont. The Alliance has nearly 200 members from across Vermont’s technology business sector, ranging from large companies to individual entrepreneurs. Jeff believes that tech businesses and jobs represent an economic growth opportunity for Vermont.


Previously, Jeff held several management and professional positions with IBM, including communications and analyst relations for IBM’s Microelectronics Division, and internal and external communications for IBM manufacturing and development locations, including chief spokesperson for IBM in Vermont.



Cairn Cross

is a co-founder of FreshTracks Capital and serves as a Managing Director of the Fund. Cairn presently serves on the boards of FreshTracks portfolio companies Vermont Teddy Bear, NativeEnergy, Faraday, Budnitz Bicycles and Mamava.


In 2014 he created Road Pitch which has grown into a five day motorcycle tour around Vermont bringing investors and entrepreneurs to 10 towns to listen to entrepreneurs pitch their ideas.


In 2011, the United States Small Business Administration named Cairn its Vermont, New England and National Financial Services Champion.



Stuart Arnett

is Managing Partner of the ADG, LLC. Stuart leads ADG in providing planning, development services, and project implementation to communities, nonprofits, higher education centers and business. The Group utilizes a team of subject matter experts in land use planning, landscape and building architecture, branding, finance, and community outreach. Stuart is a founding member and Manager of the Better Future Alliance L3C, created to help communities redevelop key municipal properties. The Alliance believes that “…every community can have a better future”.


Prior to the establishment of these two businesses, Stuart served for two terms, under three Governors, as the Director of Economic Development for the State of New Hampshire, the state’s lead person for economic development policy, business advocacy and outreach services.


Stuart has served on the Board of the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, and chaired the state Broadband-Telecommunications Board. Before serving the State, Stuart was the Director of Development and Planning for the City of Claremont. During his tenure, the city’s Development Authority’s net worth grew by more than 400%, while the city’s tax rate dropped for seven consecutive years.



James Anderson

is an attorney with Ryan Smith and Carbine. Mr. Anderson’s primary areas of concentration are in commercial litigation/ bankruptcy/ trusts and estates. A substantial portion of Mr. Anderson’s practice consists of representing banks, businesses and creditors in litigation matters. His commercial litigation practice includes the representation of institutional lenders and other clients in the workout of troubled debt and asset recovery and the representation of parties in intra-and inter-corporate litigation. Mr. Anderson is certified by the American Board of Certification in Business and Bankruptcy Law. He represents parties in all aspects of chapter 7, 11, 12, and 13 bankruptcy proceedings. Additionally, he is an active trusts and estates lawyer in both the preparation of estate planning and in litigation involving trust and estate matters.



Jeff Lewis

retired in 2013 after eight years as executive director of BDCC, the regional development corporation in Windham County. For the last year he has been, with his partner Jennifer Stromsten, working for the Vermont Chamber Foundation on the Vermont Futures Project with a goal of invigorating the Vermont economy through research and policy innovation.


Prior to retiring to Vermont thirteen years ago he was, in reverse order, Chief Customer Officer of Monster.com, senior consultant with Patricia Seybold Group in Boston, technology manager and strategist at Phoenix Life Insurance, and a practicing parish minister.


From all those emerged a passionate interest in economic development as a community undertaking requiring a wide variety of skills from research to diplomacy, including real estate management, finance, politics, and survival.