AIGA Vermont to Host Obama Administration
Creative Director and Digital Specialist
Burlington, Vermont – April 24, 2019: AIGA Vermont culminates its nine-month WTF!? speaker series with a talk by Ashleigh Axios, former Creative Director and Digital Strategist for the Obama Administration. She will offer a behind-the-scenes look into the extremely high-profile in-house design job of leading digital design at the Obama-era White House.

Ashleigh will speak at ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain on Wednesday, May 29 at 6:00 pm to talk about her role in building the first-ever Office of Digital Strategy, and what it was like to work in what now seems like a distant political era.

Ashleigh is an international speaker, strategic creative, and an advocate for design’s ability to break barriers and create positive social change. She leads The Studio for Automattic, a company with the mission to democratize publishing and commerce. She is a board member for AIGA, the professional association of design, of which AIGA Vermont is a chapter organization.

“Today is arguably one of the most exciting times to be a designer. From problem-solving in healthcare to bringing about social change in society, design is exploding and constantly changing,” says Michelle Hobbs, Communications Director for AIGA Vermont. “AIGA Vermont is proud to have hosted the WTF!? speaker series, which focused on these issues and discussions around emerging trends and the future of design.”

WTF?! talks have featured national design champions who inspire and educate in the areas of social design, healthcare design, game design, exhibit design, government design, UX, and AR/VR. This series has been generously supported by the Masters’ in Emergent Media at Champlain College, Maglianero Cafe/Karma Birdhouse and ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain.


Vermont Community Foundation and LaunchVT
Partner to Boost Local economies
The Vermont Community Foundation’s newest partnership is with LaunchVT, a recognized leader for its multi-dimensional support of many of the state’s promising start-up businesses. LaunchVT will receive a three-year $120,000 grant to expand its services to entrepreneurs across Vermont.

For seven years, LaunchVT has been helping Vermonters bring their ideas and products to the marketplace through mentorship, formal training, financial resources, direct services and peer-to-peer assistance. Founded in 2012 by the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, LaunchVT’s accelerator program has supported 43 businesses which have created 200 jobs across ten counties. In short, LaunchVT has become an important staging point for someone trying to get an innovative business off the ground.

This partnership is a central piece of the Vermont Community Foundation’s commitment to closing the opportunity gap by fostering economic development and vitality across communities. “Entrepreneurship doesn’t stop at the border of one town,” says Community Foundation Vice President for Grants and Community Investments Sarah Waring. “LaunchVT will be a valuable partner that will encourage innovators to share essential business know how and resources.”

As a result of this grant, LaunchVT’s programs and resources will reach new regions of the state—increasing the opportunities for start-ups to succeed and for growth companies to find the resources to stay local and contribute to the economy. As a key element, LaunchVT is creating a network for Vermont’s entrepreneurs to share trouble-shooting tactics and connect each other with opportunities. LaunchVT will also work with new partners like maker spaces and co-working locations to provide business support programs in their communities.

“We are constantly refining our approach to meet the needs of Vermont’s growing entrepreneurial community,” said LaunchVT Executive Director John Antonucci. “Our strategy of investing human and financial resources in these innovators has contributed to the success of many promising Vermont startups that are creating jobs and making financial investments back into their communities. This partnership will enable us to expand our reach and provide support to an even broader group of entrepreneurs.”

The Community Foundation’s Cornerstone Partnerships are designed to help launch growth-phase statewide organizations whose work is critical to closing the opportunity gap to their next stage of development. The invitation-only partnerships include multi-year grant funding and an opportunity to inform the Foundation’s local grantmaking and community investment strategies.
To learn more about all of the Vermont Community Foundation’s initiatives, visit or call Sarah Waring, Vice President of Grants and Community Investments, at 802-388-3355 x283.


Vermont’s First Short-Term
Rental Summit for Hosts
The Short-Term Rental Summit organizers have announced the two Keynote Speakers for the Summit. Robin Chase will be delivering the Sunday, May 20th afternoon keynote virtually with a live feed Q & A. Arun Sundararajan will be speaking on Monday, May 20th at 9:00 at the Latchis Theatre. Both are internationally acclaimed and lauded in the world of the shared economy.

Robin Chase is a transportation entrepreneur. She is co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar, the world’s leading carsharing network; as well as co-founder of Veniam, a network company that moves terabytes of data between vehicles and the cloud. She has recently co-founded her first nonprofit, NUMO, a global alliance to channel the opportunities presented by new urban mobility technologies to build cities that are sustainable and just. Her recent book is Peers Inc: How People and Platforms are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism.

Arun Sundararajan
NYU Professor and author of The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowdbased Capitalism Arun Sundararajan is Professor of Business and the Robert L. and Dale Atkins Rosen Faculty Fellow at New York University’s (NYU) Stern School of Business, and an affiliated faculty member at NYU’s Center for Data Science and Center for Urban Science and Progress. His best-selling and award-winning book, “The Sharing Economy,” published by the MIT Press, has been translated into Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and Portuguese. His scholarship has been recognized by numerous Best Paper awards, two Google Faculty awards, an Axiom Best Business Books Award and a Thinkers50 Radar Thinker Award. He has authored over 50 peer-reviewed scientific papers, written over 35 op-eds in leading outlets, and has given hundreds of talks globally.

When: May 19 & 20, 2019
Where: The Stone Church & Latchis Theatre, Brattleboro Vermont
More information:
Press contact:
Stephanie Bonin, Executive Director DBA 802-257-4886
Lisa Ford, Conference Organizer 802-579-7433