Lisa Ventriss


Lisa Ventriss is President of the Vermont Business Roundtable, which seeks to inform and engage the public on the State’s most complex policy issues. She summers on Lake Dunmore where she enjoys the varied activities that surround her husband, three sons, and her delightful canine companion, Miss Savannah.

Mizina / iStock

This winter, college-bound students applied for scholarships administered by Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, including the Nordic Educational Scholarship of the Vermont Business Roundtable. This year, one hundred and thirty nine applications were received with forty five finalists making it to our selection committee. These scholarships support students seeking a certificate or two-year technical degree.

It’s well accepted that a picture is worth a thousand words, as any visual learner or marketer will attest. But, how does one visualize something as enormous as the U.S. economy - the largest in the world at $19 trillion – and how do we view Vermont’s economy in comparison?

A few times a year I take the plunge and buy a handful of lottery tickets, especially when the prize money catches my attention.

Since the Great Recession ended in June, 2009, changes in technology, disruption of traditional industries, and innovation in the workplace have occurred at a faster pace than ever before. After an unprecedented loss of nearly nine million jobs, the U.S. economy is fully recovered and continues to add jobs, and consumer confidence has reached its highest level since two thousand.

A recent review of public retirement and healthcare plans by Pew Charitable Trusts shows that many U.S. jurisdictions are on an unsustainable path.

On the Friday before Election Day I came home to find my copy of Hillary Clinton’s memoir of her time as Secretary of State, Hard Choices, lying on the floor with half of its cover chewed to shreds. Because the only thing my dogs regularly destroy are squeaky tennis balls, I took this as a bad omen and said so to my dogs.

Once a year, I gather with my fellow state business roundtable executives to network, commiserate, and share best practices. This year we met in Detroit, where I happened to stay at the same hotel as the LA Rams football team, who were in town to play the Lions.

Everybody has a vice and handbags are mine. In fact, I can easily justify a new purchase at the expense of other priorities, including my retirement fund. And recently, as I was admiring the latest addition to my collection, I thought about the parallels with state spending priorities and their impacts on business outlook.

One recent, cold winter morning, I was gingerly maneuvering the car out of the driveway when – wham - I backed into and knocked over the too-full recycling container, which I had placed there myself, sending the second half of Christmas all over the street.

Last month I attended the annual meeting of State Business Roundtable Executives, hosted by the Washington Business Roundtable in Seattle. It offered a welcome opportunity to network, learn, and engage in policy discussions mainly around education and economic development. Most memorably, the ways in which businesses were mobilizing to address educational achievement gaps and improve post-secondary aspirations were front and center during site visits to both Microsoft and Boeing.

Ventriss: DCF

Sep 10, 2015

When I first heard the news of Lara Sobel’s murder, my mind flashed to that particular parking lot. In addition to Department for Children and Families – or DCF - the building also houses the Agency of Education where I sometimes have meetings, so I know that parking lot. Next I thought of my sister, the Director of a different DCF office. She spent that Friday night repeating the news of Lara’s murder to each of her 20-plus colleagues.