Robyn’s life-long commitment to social change has driven her career toward issue-based campaigns. Currently, as the chief of strategy and communications, she oversees the Permanent Fund’s strategic marketing, communications and advocacy efforts. Prior to this, she dedicated 10 years to the marriage equality movement, beginning her career as education director for MassEquality in Massachusetts, where the landmark Goodridge decision made MA the first state in the nation to recognize marriage equality. Leading up to and following the decision, Robyn worked throughout the state to organize and mobilize MA Commonwealth citizens to advocate in support of marriage equality. Following this success in Massachusetts, Robyn relocated to Vermont in 2005 where she worked as the field director for the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force. She led the statewide communications and advocacy campaign that ultimately convinced the Vermont Legislature in 2009 to become the first state in the nation to pass legislation legalizing marriage for same-sex couples. After the Freedom to Marry victory, Robyn worked as the political organizer for the Vermont State Employees Association, supporting its membership in advocacy and electoral engagement. But after fostering several children in state custody and adopting her first child, Neko, Robyn’s heart was in early childhood advocacy. She joined the Vermont Early Childhood Alliance as the coordinator and quickly recognized the potential for change in Vermont with our Let’s Grow Kids (LGK) initiative. As LGK campaign director since 2013, Robyn has led the growth of the supporter base to more than 23,000 Vermonters, boosting investment in high-quality child care annually. LGK and the Permanent Fund continue to increase public demand—and investment in excellent child care—with a goal of statewide affordable access by 2025. Robyn and her wife of 13 years, Naomi, are parents through adoption to three amazing children, Neko (9) and twins, Luka and Aldin (6).
Contact Robyn: (802) 310-6683 | Email
Sarah grew up in a log home in the woods of Essex, Vermont. She went to St. Michael's College and then earned an MA from the University of Hawaii. On her return to Vermont she worked for then-Congressman Bernie Sanders before joining the movement to end domestic and sexual violence, working first at the Women’s Rape Crisis Center in Burlington and then doing statewide public policy regarding violence against women. She is a 2002 graduate of the Vermont Leadership Institute at the Snelling Center for Government. Sarah has served on a number of nonprofit boards and is active in local political campaigns, and just completed ten years of service on the Burlington Police Commission, the last two as chair. She lives in the Old North End of Burlington with her partner David and tries to keep up with their nine-year-old son.
Contact Sarah: (802) 735-2205 | Email
Jessica grew up in New Jersey, the daughter of an in-home child care provider. She earned a BA in psychology from Bard College at Simon’s Rock in 2007 and then graduated with an MA in clinical psychology from Columbia University in 2010. Her graduate work focused on child development and school psychology. After graduating, Jessica relocated from New York City to Vermont with her husband, Evan, and worked with children in various mental health settings. Jessica joined Let's Grow Kids in 2015 to advocate for all children to have the best start in life. She lives in Colchester with her husband, her dog and her three children, Ethan, Madeline and Isabella.
Contact Jessica: (802) 559-0084 | Email
Anna moved to Vermont in 1997 to pursue a degree in early childhood education at Champlain College. After graduating she worked at several child care centers throughout Vermont and eventually opened a small preschool in her home in Burlington’s Old North End. Her family made the tough decision to move out of the state in 2007 and she became the director of a small Montessori preschool in Arizona. Their love of Vermont quickly brought them back to Burlington at which point Anna knew she had to get involved in making a bigger difference in the lives of children. Her experience working in a variety of child care settings made her passionate about the problems facing Vermont’s families. She has been working to bring more attention to the challenges facing parents with young children for the last 8 years, so joining the Let’s Grow Kids team was a natural fit. Anna is often found enjoying the beauty of Vermont with her son (17), daughter (10) and amazing husband.
Contact Anna: (802) 242-1373 | Email
A native Vermonter, Natalie graduated from the University of Vermont in 2001 with a BA in English. Before joining the team at Let’s Grow Kids, she worked as a production coordinator, studio manager, and event photographer in New York City. She also volunteered as an ESL tutor with Literacy Volunteers of America, and spent time abroad as a documentary photographer for Citta in their partner schools across western Nepal. She returned to Vermont in 2015, excited to start a family among the same green mountains and farmlands of her childhood. She now lives in Williston with her husband Patrick, daughter Scarlett, and dog Tank. She is grateful for the opportunity to advocate on behalf of all Vermont kids, ensuring them the strong start that they deserve.
Contact Natalie: (802) 391-4018 | Email
Stephanie was born and raised in Chicago and enjoyed many great things about the city. As a child, she attended a sleep-away camp in Wisconsin where she realized how much she loved to be outdoors and to play with other kids. Stephanie loved the camp so much she stayed there to be a counselor, even while attending college at UVM. After taking education classes in hopes of becoming a better camp counselor, Stephanie earned her degree in early childhood education from UVM and has since taught preschool in Vermont and San Francisco. She is thrilled to be back in Vermont and to share her passion of how powerful and meaningful early education can be to an individual, family and community. Outside of LGK, Stephanie loves to travel, listen to music, watch cooking TV shows and try to make what she sees on those cooking TV shows.
Contact Stephanie: (802) 391-4057 | Email
Maroni was born and grew up in Gabon, a small francophone country on the west coast of Africa. He moved to Vermont in 2004 and graduated from Johnson State College in 2012 with a BA in political science. Maroni’s career in politics was launched that same year with an internship for Senator Bill Doyle during the Vermont legislative session. After graduating from college, Maroni worked as an organizer and canvasser for Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG). He met with extraordinary success as a canvasser, raising the most money for VPIRG in the organization’s history, and ranking among the nation’s top canvassers. VPIRG subsequently invited Maroni to work in their Montpelier office on major donor activities. Maroni’s position with Let’s Grow Kids as a field manager is a perfect fit for his love of meeting new people and learning from them. He also enjoys snowboarding, being outdoors in the summer and, most of all, spending time with his family.
Contact Maroni: (802) 798-2162 | Email
Shayla grew up in Saranac Lake, New York in the Adirondack Mountains. She graduated from St. Lawrence University with a BS in psychology in 2004, and then moved to Vermont to start working in the field of autism. Prior to working with Let’s Grow Kids, she served as the volunteer and community outreach manager for the Humane Society of Chittenden County, where she managed a highly-active volunteer program of more than 200 people. She has also worked as a health service administrator for an outpatient drug treatment facility. Shayla lives in Colchester with her husband, their super adorable new baby, Nolan, and Ludo the Loveable Wonder Dog. She enjoys any outdoor activity spent with her family and loves spending time with her horse.
Contact Shayla: (802) 448-4409 | Email
Megan manages the communications team for Let’s Grow Kids, the Permanent Fund and Vermont Birth to Five, developing and managing the organizations' owned, earned and paid media strategies in collaboration with her stellar team. In her day to day work, Megan creates advertising campaigns, produces TV ads and videos, manages the organizations’ websites and works with a national vendor to conduct annual market research. Megan holds a BA from the University of Virginia and completed a two-year conservatory program in film and television acting at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. Megan moved to Vermont in 2010 and landed at the Humane Society of Chittenden County, ultimately serving as their director of development & communications. She joined the Perament Fund Family in 2014 as communications director for Let's Grow Kids, helping to launch the initiative and build the organization's brand and communications structure. Outside of the office, Megan freelances as a fine artist, dancer, actor and graphic designer, and is a graduate of the Women's Small Business Program (2015) and Leadership Champlain (2013).
Contact Megan: (802) 448-2135 | Email
While studying journalism at Northeastern University in Boston, Nicole wrote feature obituaries for the Boston Globe and interviewed celebrities like John Malkovich and Tori Amos for feature stories in the university paper. Nicole worked as a newspaper reporter for weekly and daily papers before translating her love of storytelling into the world of nonprofit communications at Perkins School for the Blind, Helen Keller’s alma mater. After moving to Vermont in 2012, Nicole worked as an editor at the Burlington Free Press where she oversaw the Arts and Weekend sections of the paper before returning to nonprofit work at the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties. Through her fundraising and communications work at the VNA, Nicole worked closely with the VNA Family Room Parent Child Center and developed a passion for the importance of quality early experiences for all children. Joining the LGK team in April of 2016 allowed Nicole to combine her interests in communications, storytelling and early childhood issues. Outside of LGK, Nicole loves to experiment with combining textures and colors through collage art and fashion. She also enjoys hula hoop dancing.
Nicole is currently on maternity leave. For press inquires, please contact Taylor VanDyke:
Contact Taylor: (857) 284-4825 | Email
When Seth was in 4th grade, he impressed his Voorheesville, New York elementary school classmates by writing a short story that spanned eight sheets of paper. From that moment on, it was clear his life and career would revolve around the written word. He graduated with a BA in English and an emphasis on creative writing from the University of Hartford in 1999 and was thereafter firmly entrenched in the Vermont publishing world as an editor for Dartmouth Journal Services and Ashgate Publishing. With his young son serving as his inspiration, and feeling the pull to put his writing skills to good use, he answered the call from Let’s Grow Kids and Vermont Birth to Five in 2015. When he’s not in the office, you’ll find Seth exploring antique and salvage shops with his wife, in the yard with his two brown dogs, losing graciously on the volleyball and dodgeball courts or giving his son a raspberry.
Contact Seth: (802) 858-5459 | Email
Hannah is a seventh-generation Vermonter and a graduate of Middlebury College. After school Hannah spent several years teaching and traveling in Sub-Saharan Africa before landing in San Francisco where she worked for the Bridgespan Group, a non-profit consulting firm. After moving home to Vermont in 2011, Hannah honed her communications and design skills at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, and at her family’s specialty food company, Fat Toad Farm. In her spare time Hannah enjoys gardening, running, skiing, reading, eating sushi, and playing wiffle ball with her sons. Hannah lives in Montpelier with her husband, two sons (both in child care) and an extra-friendly chocolate lab.
Contact Hannah: (802) 391-0955 | Email
Maerwydd McFarland coordinates the Speakers Bureau for The Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children. A recent émigré to Vermont, Maerwydd worked in theater, was an Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist, newspaper magazine editor and feature writer, speechwriter to a governor and a US senator, IABC award-winning deputy communications director for a global advertising company, communications director for the NYC comptroller, press secretary and speechwriter for several high-profile political campaigns, national PR director for the League of Women Voters, and proprietor of her own communications consulting firm for corporations, major arts organizations and national nonprofits. She is a certified Montessori teacher with a lifelong interest in early childhood development and a serious jones for sailing. In her spare time, Maerwydd is a voracious reader, and mom to a brilliant UVM student and an extremely fluffy alpha bunny who lives in a dollhouse.
Contact Maerwydd: 802 TBD | Email
Gail was born and raised in central California, where she completed a BA in political science at UCLA and a PhD in political science at UC Davis. After 7 years of teaching at the university level, Gail transitioned to the world of government affairs and advocacy, where she has honed her skills in social media marketing since 2014—most notably for Leonine Public Affairs (then KSE Partners) and the Vermont Coalition for Universal Reform. Gail moved to Vermont in 2012 and currently lives here with her husband, their son Wyatt and their dog Scout.
Contact Gail: 802-489-6096 | Email
POLICY & RESEARCH TEAM
Jen has lived and worked in Vermont off and on throughout her life. Prior to joining Let’s Grow Kids, Jen worked in the public policy and advocacy field, most recently serving as director of public policy & advocacy with WOMEN’S WAY in Philadelphia. Jen has also worked with organizations including Amnesty International USA, The ALS Association of Western Pennsylvania and the American Cancer Society. Jen received her MS in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University and her BA in government and legal studies from Bowdoin College. Jen lives in Essex Junction with her husband, Chris, and dog, Princess Muffin, and enjoys skiing, mountain biking, going on adventures and curling up with a good book.
Contact Jen: (802) 448-4163 | Email
Anna grew up in Essex, Vermont and has lived in the state for most of her life. In 2017, she graduated from St. Lawrence University with a BA in government. During college she engaged with various political and education oriented initiatives including internships with Democracy for America, the National Association for Federally Impacted Schools and Let’s Grow Kids. Anna has also held various leadership roles including president of her university’s political science honor society and student delegate to the St. Lawrence Alumni Executive Council. She lives in Burlington and her favorite pastimes include cooking, waterskiing and taking her little sister to brunch.
Contact Anna: (802) 448-0755 | Email
Let's Grow Kids Addresses
Physical and mailing address:
19 Marble Avenue, Suite 4
Burlington, VT 05401
Vermont Community Foundation
c/o The Permanent Fund, dba Let's Grow Kids
3 Court Street
Middlebury, VT 05753
Regional Field Manager - Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle and Orleans:
Regional Field Manager - Addison, Orange and Rutland:
Speakers Bureau Coordinator:
POLICY & RESEARCH TEAM