Joint Leadership Breakfast

Friday, April 12th  |  Hotel Vermont

Annual Joint Leadership Breakfast
Hosted by the Vermont Business Roundtable and the New England Council

with Special Guest, U.S. Senator Peter Welch

Today’s Agenda and List of Attendees


U.S. Senator Peter Welch

Senator Peter Welch has spent his life working to improve the lives of folks who too often get left behind.

Peter was born in Springfield, Massachusetts to Edward and Mary Welch, a dentist and a homemaker. Peter observed from a young age that his father treated folks in the nearby jail the same way he treated the priests and nuns. His mother raised Peter and his siblings while helping keep the books of his father’s business.

Peter attended College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. Before he finished his degree, Peter left school to hitchhike to Chicago and organize against housing discrimination in 1969. After returning to school and completing his degree, he attended and received his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1973.

After law school, Peter settled in White River Junction, Vermont, becoming one of the county’s first public defenders for low-income folks. He then founded a small law practice, winning high- profile cases to restore retirement benefits for workers, protect property rights for the elderly, and more.

He was first elected to the Vermont State Senate in 1980. Within five years, he was unanimously elected by his colleagues to lead the chamber, becoming the first Democrat in Vermont history to hold the position of President Pro Tempore.

In 2006, Peter ran and won Vermont’s sole seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in a race that received national attention as the only contested congressional race in the country where both candidates refused to air negative ads.

Peter has worked throughout his career both to defend progressive values and also to find bipartisan compromises. He approaches his work in the Capitol the same way Vermonters do back home, focusing on getting the job done and not on getting the credit.

In the House, Peter worked across the aisle to lower costs for working families. He’s led on legislation to advance green technologies, bring down the cost of prescription drugs, expand broadband and telemedicine in rural America, and more.

After Senator Patrick Leahy decided to retire after more than four decades of service in 2022, Peter ran in and won the election to become Vermont’s next Senator. In this new role, he’s continued his work to lower costs for working families, combat the impacts of climate change, and invest in rural America.

When he’s not working, Peter (as he’s known by his constituents) can be found hiking and skiing around Vermont with his wife Margaret and enjoying the Green Mountain State’s uniquely beautiful nature.

More Info:
Fauna Hurley, Business Liaison
Ena Backus, Outreach Representative






Executive Committee

John T. Hailer, Chair
Chairman, Diffractive Managers Group

John W. Stadtler, Treasurer
Senior Partner – PWC Financial Services Industry Leader, PWC

James T. Brett, Secretary
President & CEO, The New England Council
Full List of Board of Directors

James T. Brett, President and CEO
Larry Zabar, Executive Vice President
Griffin Doherty, Director of Federal Affairs
Julie Fazio, Executive Assistant to the CEO and Office Manager
Mariah Healy, Director of Federal Affairs
Emily Heisig, Senior Vice President, Communications & Federal Affairs
Ashley Rose Lokken, Digital Communications Manager
Sean Malone, Director of Federal Affairs
Margery O’Donnell, Executive Coordinator
Peter Phipps, Vice President of Federal Affairs
Pauline Spheekas, Vice President of Programs & Member Services





Executive Committee

Sara Byers, Chair
Co-Owner and President, Leonardo’s Pizza

Rebecca Towne, Vice Chair
CEO, Vermont Electric Cooperative
Neale Lunderville, Treasurer
President & CEO, Vermont Gas Systems (VGS)
John Sayles, Secretary
CEO, Vermont Foodbank

Full List of Board of Directors

Seth Bowden, President
Sherra Bourget, Operations & Communication Director
Mary Anne Sheahan, Chief Talent Officer, Vermont Talent Pipeline
Abby Stevens, Program Manager, Vermont Talent Pipeline