Cary Brown, Executive Director, Vermont Commission on Women, keynote speaker of 2014 Vermont Women in Higher Education Womenʼs Leadership Conference

News Release — Vermont Women in Higher Education
Contact:Christina Fabrey, VWHE Board Chair / 802-287-8234

The 2014 Womenʼs Leadership Conference from Vermont Women in Higher Education will be held March 20 and 21 at Killington Grand Resort. With a theme of “Creating Opportunity for Women,” higher education professionals from across the state, as well as business leaders and women working in non-profit and related fields, are expected to attend.

Cary Brown, executive director of the Vermont Commission on Women, is this yearʼs keynote speaker. In 2014, the VCW celebrates 50 years of advancing the rights of women in Vermont. As an independent state agency, VCW has been active on a number of legislative issues. In 2013, the organization partnered with other groups to help pass an Act Relating to Equal Pay, which makes Vermont the first state to guarantee an employeeʼs right to request flexible work arrangements. It also protects new mothers who must express breast milk for their babies at work, and sets up a study committee to research a paid family leave law in Vermont. In addition, VCW presents Womenʼs History Month events in collaboration with the Vermont Historical Society, and has hosted forums across the state on gender identity, racial equity and other issues. Brown, who became executive director in October of 2012, brings a wealth of experience to the role. She has served as the Director of Girlsʼ 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 program for girls at Vermont Technical College.

The 2014 pre-conference keynote speaker is Jen Hetzel Silbert, a Vermont native and founder of Learning401, an organization dedicated to fostering meaningful conversation around education reform. She was featured in a TEDx Providence talk in 2012. The 2014 VWHE conference features dozens of workshops on topics including financial management, leadership development, building connections across academic disciplines, and more. This year, VWHE is also partnering with Dress for Success Burlington to sponsor a clothes swap to benefit the organization. The non-profit provides professional attire, career development tools, and a network of support to disadvantaged women to help promote their economic independence.

VWHE is sponsored by the American Council on Educationʼs Office of Women in Higher Education, based in Washington, D.C., and has been active in the state of Vermont for over 20 years. VWHE works to foster connections among women in various sectors of higher education, promote women’s leadership and encourage and support women leaders of diverse backgrounds. The organization maintains an open membership policy and welcomes the participation of women from all levels of administration, staff and faculty. For information and to register for the conference, visit

(Issued Feb. 19, 2014)