Friday, August 27, 2010

UI&U Grad Lisa Lorimer to Present Talk in Brattleboro September 12

Lorimer will discuss her new book about the challenges and rewards of running a business

BRATTLEBORO, VT – Union Institute & University, a private, non-profit university with locations in both Brattleboro and Montpelier, will host a talk with UI&U alumna Lisa Lorimer, founder and former CEO of the Vermont Bread Company, at 1 p.m. Sunday, September 12, at its Brattleboro Academic Center. The talk is free and open to the public.

Lorimer will be discussing leadership and her new book co-authored with Birkenstock founder Margot Fraser entitled: Dealing with the Tough Stuff: Practical Wisdom for Running a Values-Driven Business. The book features true stories about the real pitfalls of running a business and outlines struggles faced by business leaders.

“Anyone who runs their own business will tell you: it isn't easy. There's always more work than time to do it, and for every time things seem under control, unforeseen complications await. The good news is, it is possible,” says Lorimer, who graduated from UI&U in 1993.

A Vermont native, Lorimer is often credited with helping fuel the boom in organic food sales over the past two decades. She sold her controlling interest in 2004 but continues as a significant investor and board member of the company she helped found in 1978 in a country barn in Brattleboro. With nearly $20 million in sales per year, the Vermont Bread Company was the largest producer of all-natural, premium, and certified organic breads and muffins in the Northeast United States. Under her leadership, it was the largest woman-owned manufacturing firm in Vermont and has been featured in magazines such as Inc., Baking Management, and Family Circle.

Lorimer was already a successful entrepreneur when she began her degree program at UI&U, and she is passionate about the education she received. “My experience (as a U&IU learner) was transformational,” said Lorimer. “My advisors helped me find my voice as a writer.”

In addition to her B.A. from Union Institute and University, Lorimer completed the three-year Owner President Management Program at Harvard Business School. She is also an alumna of the Vermont Leadership Institute’s inaugural class of 1996, and now serves as a faculty member.

Lorimer serves on the Board of Directors of the Vermont Community Foundation and the Snelling Center for Government at the University of Vermont. A fundraising volunteer for the Women’s Crisis Center, she is also a member of the Education Committee for Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. She served as a delegate to the 1995 White House Conference on Small Business, where she served on the Research Advisory Committee for the Peace & Justice Center’s Vermont Job Gap Study Basic Needs and Livable Wage report in 1998.

The talk will begin at 1 p.m. and will take place Sunday, September 12, at the UI&U Brattleboro Academic Center, 3 University Way on Old Guilford Road at VABEC. The event will also feature door prizes and a chance to win an Amazon Kindle. For more information and to RSVP contact the Brattleboro Center: or 802-257-9411.

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