Co-Founder and Managing Director, FreshTracks Capital
Cairn Cross is a co-founder of FreshTracks Capital in Shelburne, Vermont, and serves as a managing director of the Fund. He serves on the boards of FreshTracks portfolio companies Vermont Teddy Bear, NativeEnergy, Faraday, Budnitz Bicyles and Mamava. Prior to starting FreshTracks Cairn was a strategic and financial adviser to Vermont banks and growth businesses, the assistant general manager of Green Mountain Capital, L.P. from 1996 to 1998, and spent a decade working as a commercial banker.
In 2014 he created Road Pitch — a four day motorcycle tour around Vermont bringing investors and entrepreneurs to seven towns to listen to entrepreneurs pitch their ideas. He is a former member of the Vermont Board of Public Accountancy and was formerly a director and vice chairman of Opportunities Credit Union and formerly a director of the Vermont Community Loan Fund.
In 2011, the United States Small Business Administration named Cairn its Vermont, New England and National Financial Services Champion. He earned a B.S. (1981) from Montana State University and an MBA (1987) from New Hampshire College (now Southern New Hampshire University). He received a graduate certificate from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking in 1995.
Podcaster at Permaculture Voices
Podcaster at Permaculture Voices who has spent years swimming upstream against the status quo trying to find his true calling and his life’s work.
While on his journey Diego started a podcast with the goal of inspiring others to join him in the quest to live the life that they want to live by doing work that matters to them regardless of what other people might think.
As a connector and storyteller he shares the inspirational stories of people doing amazing work and people struggling in the battle that is life. Through these stories, people learn tools and techniques to make their work easier while being inspired knowing that none of us are alone on our own epic journeys.
As a permaculture designer, he geeks out on soil, bio-intensive growing, and systems thinking. His favorite permaculture principles include stacking functions and arriving at solutions, not imposing solutions.
Shanta Lee Gander
Slow Living Coordinator & Mistress of Ceremonies
Shanta Lee Gander is an artist and multi-faceted professional in areas of marketing, management, event planning, and other areas. Shanta currently coordinates the Slow Living Summit with the Strolling of the Heifers and teaches Social Justice at Oak Meadow.
She has an MBA and an undergraduate degree in Women, Gender and Sexuality. Shanta serves on the Brattleboro Community Television (BCTV) board and is the President of the Arts Council of Windham County Board.
Shanta and her many weekly ponderings can be heard in her weekly radio segment, PonderThis, featured on Chris Lenois’s Green Mountain Mornings on 100.3 FM/1490 AM WKVT. In her spare time, Shanta pursues her artistic endeavors through her writing, photography, and dance. Her writing has been featured in Rebelle Society, the Ms. Magazine Blog, and in her regular column in Vermont Views.
Shanta is also the co-founder of WildlyCreative.World, a site dedicated to helping individuals seek and find their creativity through various paths.
Founder & Executive Director, Strolling of the Heifers
Orly is the founder and executive director of Strolling of the Heifers. Previously, she served as a learning specialist with the Windham Central Supervisory Union for 24 years. She has a BA in Psychology and Education from Boston University, and Master of Education degree in Psychology and Special Education from Keene State College. She also built a profitable private consulting business, training teachers in cutting-edge educational techniques.
Drawing on this background, she gathered a group of volunteers in 2001 to help focus attention on the difficulties of small family farms in the Brattleboro region. Building an organization with no startup funding, under Orly’s leadership they organized the first annual Strolling of the Heifers in 2002. Orly attracted corporate sponsorships ranging from national brands to local businesses, and with the growth in the local foods movement since then, “the Stroll” has expanded to a full weekend which is annually rated one of Vermont’s Top Ten Summer Events (and was rated one of America’s Top 10 Summer Festivals in 2013, and one of North America’s Top 100 Events in 2014).
Over the years, Strolling of the Heifers also launched educational programs, a microloan fund, and farm internship program for youth, which are now all carried on by other organizations; the farm/food business planning competition; the Locavore Index; and now the Farm/Food Innovation Center at the River Garden.
Orly was named the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year in 2010, and in 2013 she received the Vermont Community Leadership Award from the Vermont Council on Rural Development. Under Orly’s leadership, in 2006 Strolling of the Heifers received the Harvest Wave of the Future Award from Glynwood.
Mark L Shepard
Founder and CEO of Restoration Agriculture Development LLC and Forest Agriculture Enterprises LLC, Designer and Operator of New Forest Farms LLC
Mark Shepard is the CEO of Restoration Agriculture Development, Forest Agriculture Enterprises and runs New Forest Farms, a 110 acre perennial agricultural savanna, one of the first of its kind in the USA.
New Forest Farm is a planned conversion of a typical row-crops grain farm into a commercial-scale, perennial agricultural ecosystem using oak savanna, successional brushland and eastern woodlands as the ecological models.
Trees, shrubs, vines, canes, perennial plants, and fungi are planted in association with one another to produce food (for humans and animals) fuel, medicines, and beauty. Hazelnuts, chestnuts, pine nuts and various fruits are the primary woody crops. The farm is solar and wind powered. Farm equipment has been converted to be powered with locally produced biofuels (straight vegetable oil and biodiesel) from oils that are not taken from the human food chain.
Trained in both mechanical engineering and ecology, Mark has developed and patented equipment and processes for the cultivation, harvesting, and processing of forest-derived agricultural products for human foods and bio fuels production. Mark was certified as a Permaculture designer in 1993 and received his Diploma of Permaculture design from Bill Mollison, the founder of the international Permaculture movement.
FW Olin Distinguished Professor and Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Conscious Capitalism Inc.
Raj Sisodia is FW Olin Distinguished Professor of Global Business and Whole Foods Market Research Scholar in Conscious Capitalism at Babson College, and Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Conscious Capitalism Inc. He has a Ph. D. in Marketing from Columbia University. Raj is co-author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business (2013), Wall Street Journal bestseller Everybody Matters (2015) and the seminal Firms of Endearment (2014). He was named one of “Ten Outstanding Trailblazers of 2010” by Good Business International, and one of the “Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior” by Trust Across America for 2010 and 2011. Raj received an honorary doctorate from Johnson & Wales University in 2016. He has published ten books and over 100 academic articles. He is on the Board of Directors at The Container Store and a trustee of Conscious Capitalism Inc.
Author, teacher, entrepreneur
Dr. Tamara Stenn is a professor of social entrepreneurship and owner of KUSIKUY, a Fair Trade eco-fashion brand that specializes in Andean alpaca knits. She is an Adjunct Professor of Sustainable Development at the SIT Graduate Institute, and is a Fulbright scholar/researcher working on women’s leadership and sustainable development amongst Bolivian quinoa farmers. Her latest book, Social Entrepreneurship as Sustainable Development, just came out in January 2017 and introduces the Sustainability Lens, an easily accessible tool that enables anyone to grow a sustainable social enterprise. In 2013, Tamara published The Cultural and Political Intersection of Fair Trade and Justice. More information about her is on Tamara’s website.