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Upper Valley fete to honor women leaders at third annual Heroes and Leaders Celebration

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Vt. — For its third annual Heroes and Leaders Celebration, Vital Communities is honoring local women who have shaped the region through their leadership.

“Each year we celebrate local leaders who help make the Upper Valley the strong and vibrant community we all love,” said Vital Communities Executive Director Mary Margaret Sloan, in a statement. “The women leaders we’re honoring this year have helped shape the Upper Valley landscape and truly live the mission of our Leadership Upper Valley program: educating, inspiring and engaging citizens to better serve their communities. They also represent the many other women in the region who are heroes and leaders.”

Plymouth State University President Sara Jayne Steen is the keynote speaker for the sold-out event planned for May 29 at the Quechee Club in Quechee, Vt. One of the women to be honored at is Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin.

“It’s such an honor to be included. When I looked at the list of the women they are honoring, I was so honored,” Griffin said Friday. “What a treat for me. I’m looking forward to it.”

With the support of Hanover town officials, Griffin chairs several boards that do important regional work, she said.

These include the New Hampshire FastRoads project — a broadband project that has worked to construct a broadband Internet backbone from Orford to Keene — and Friends of Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth — which raises $2 million to $3 million a year for ChaD in Lebanon, Griffin said.

“From my perspective, you can’t help but want to get involved with regional projects because that’s how we get things done in the Upper Valley,” Griffin said. With the FastRoads project, there has been a great deal of collaboration with the Keene area, which is also a community that’s works regionally for the benefit its residents, she said.

The Upper Valley also includes Vermont communities, she said. “We tend to forget there’s a state line running across the river. We’re back and forth across that state line multiple times per week.”

The other honorees are:

• Listen Community Services Executive Director Merilynn Bourne.

• Hypertherm Vice President as well as President of the HOPE Foundation Barbara Couch.• Dartmouth-Hitchcock Vice President of Facilities Management Gail Dahlstrom.

• SAU 75 Superintendent of Schools in Grantham Jacqueline Guillette.

• Upper Valley Haven Executive Director Sara Kobylenski.

• Upper Valley Land Trust President Jeanie McIntyre.

• Jane Kitchel McLaughlin of the Kitchel-McLaughlin Family Fund.

• Suzanne Long of Luna Bleu Farm.

• CEO and President of Alice Peck Day Health Systems Sue Mooney.

• Vital Communities founder Betty Porter.• Montshire Museum of Science founder Allie Quinn.

• Executive Director of the AVA Gallery and Art Center Bente Torjusen.

• President and CEO of Ledyard National Bank Kathy Underwood.


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