Membership

CJ Charlebois-Melendy

CJ Charlebois-Melendy is the owner of Guided Wealth Advisors, an Ameriprise Private Wealth Advisory Practice. Her firm has offices in Williston and Middlebury and specializes in long-term financial planning and asset management. CJ started her career in 1996 after graduating from the University of Vermont with a bachelor’s degree. She was recognized by Forbes magazine as a Best in State Wealth Advisor for 2018. CJ is a lifelong Vermont resident and lives in Ferrisburgh with her husband, Chris, and sons Logan and Evan. When not working, she enjoys travel, biking, hiking, reading, good food and wine, and spending time with family and friends.


Jan Demers
Secretary

Jan Demers had a varied career in education, domestic violence prevention and intervention, hospice and palliative care, and economic development across Vermont and northern New York, most recently leading the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity prior to her retirement. Jan previously served as executive director of High Peaks Hospice and Palliative Care and brings with her extensive public relations, customer service, marketing, public speaking, grant writing and funding experience.

Ms. Demers was invited to become a community intern at The University of Vermont Health Network – UVM Medical Center, with a focus on addressing the effects of poverty upon health and wellness. She received 2016’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award from the Greater Burlington Multicultural Resource Center, and with partners UVM Medical Center and Champlain College, was awarded 2015’s United Way of Northwest Vermont’s Community Impact Award. She received the Con Hogan Award in 2019.

Ms. Demers board leadership experience includes with the Vermont Council on Homelessness, Pathways from Poverty Council, the Regional Plan for Sustainable Development, Continuum of Care – Chittenden County (Housing and Homeless Prevention) and Adirondack Medical Center. She is a resident of Burlington, Vermont.


Jill Kaplan

Jill Kaplan enjoyed a corporate career focused on technology sales and marketing. She began her career as an engineer for IBM in Essex Junction, but moved to the business side of the organization, where she developed strategy and scalable processes for generating revenue. She held several executive positions at Cisco Systems before retiring in 2017.

Jill now focuses her efforts on developing and investing in the next generation of entrepreneurs. She is on the executive committee of xElle Ventures, an early stage fund for women founders. On behalf of xElle Ventures, she is a member of Triangle Angel Syndicate, which includes fund and network leaders shaping early stage investing in the Carolinas.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Tufts University and a master’s in material science from The University of Vermont. She divides her time between Burlington, Vermont and Pittsboro, North Carolina.


Elizabeth (Lisa) McGee, MD

Dr. McGee grew up in Asheville, North Carolina and in middle Tennessee in a large rural county with five doctors and no specialists serving a population of 35,000. Access to care generally meant long drives to cities or emergency visits to the county hospital, where Lisa later worked while on vacations from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. She attended medical school in Memphis on a scholarship and later completed her residency and fellowship training at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas. After her clinical training, Lisa had a research fellowship a Stanford University in women’s health and ovarian physiology. She went on to faculty appointments in Pittsburgh, Richmond Virginia, and finally at UVM in 2013. She is currently vice chair of gynecology and director of reproductive endocrinology and infertility.

She received her master’s in business administration in health care policy and management in 2021 from Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management. She lives in Hinesburg with her husband on a small farm. They are both active supporters of the Hinesburg Resource Center and Food Shelf. Her hobbies are vegetable gardening, dabbling in blacksmithing and reading.


Pam MacKenzie
Vice Chair

Pam Mackenzie is the vice president of strategic planning and implementation for C2 Competitive Computing. She has enjoyed a lengthy career in communications and chose to remain in Vermont after being recruited to build 300 miles of fiber in 2008. She has served as interim chief executive officer at the Greater Burlington YMCA, chair of the South Burlington City Council, and on the boards of Vermont PBS and the Vermont Telecommunications Authority.

Born in Grand Junction, Colorado, Ms. Mackenzie was raised in an Air Force family, which offered multiple travel opportunities. She has enjoyed traveling, exploring, and living in northern California, Arizona, Connecticut, Ohio, Virginia and Washington, D.C., until finding her forever home in Vermont. She regularly welcomes family to her South Burlington home.


Thomas C. Peterson, MD

A family medicine physician at Colchester Family Practice since 1990, Dr. Peterson is the current family medicine chair at the College of Medicine and a health care service leader at the UVM Medical Center.

Specializing in family medicine with sub-interests in geriatrics, children’s care, and sports medicine, Dr. Peterson manages general health conditions for all ages. Some of these conditions include diabetes , COPD , asthma , arthritis , acute respiratory illnesses and musculoskeletal injuries and conditions. Dr. Peterson also performs many common procedures including joint and soft tissue injections and skin lesion biopsies.

Dr. Peterson is Professor of Family Medicine at the UVM Larner College of Medicine. He has received the Family Physician of the Year Award from the Vermont Academy of Family Practice.

Previous national appointments include president of the Vermont Academy of Family Physicians, delegate/alternate delegate to the American Academy of Family Physicians, chair of the AAFP Bylaws Committee and family medicine residency director.


Heather Rider Hammond
Chair

Heather Rider Hammond has been an attorney with Gravel & Shea since 2001 following graduation from Vermont Law School. While she has substantial experience litigating across a broad spectrum of practice areas, she frequently represents the firm’s corporate clients. Her services range from the defense of employment-related claims in legal and administrative proceedings to counseling management on compliance issues and best practices. Additionally, Heather speaks frequently on a wide variety of employment topics to various employer groups, including on-site management and supervisory training for the firm’s clients. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College.


Annette Macias-Hoag, DNP, MHA, BSN, RN

Dr. Macias-Hoag is senior vice president and chief nursing officer for the UVM Health Network (UVMHN). Established in 2021, this is a new position for UVMHN, the goals of which are overseeing the integration and alignment of nursing care across the system. Prior to joining UVMHN, Dr. Macias-Hoag assisted in the development, implementation and oversight of centers dedicated to providing medical services to the unaccompanied minors crossing the border in Texas. She also served as the vice president, health system and service line operations at The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB). Before joining UTMB, Dr. Macias-Hoag was the director of patient care at the Heart Vascular Institute at Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center. There, she was responsible for the direction and leadership of operational and clinical activities for the cardiothoracic surgery units, nursing services as well as neuroscience clinical areas and house-wide telemetry.

In 2008, Dr. Macias-Hoag was invited to join a team to build a new hospital for the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. During this time, she served as director of clinical services where she oversaw operational, financial, programmatic and personnel activities for the Baylor clinics and Hospital pulmonary care services, emergency care programs, endoscopy services and nursing services.

Dr. Macias-Hoag began her nursing career as a staff nurse at Meriter Hospital, a community hospital serving the Madison, Wisconsin area. She also served as a nurse leader at the University of Wisconsin, an academic medical center located in Madison, where she developed and implemented a 27-bed acuity adaptable unit for the cardiothoracic surgery and transplant program.

She grew up in Puerto Rico and came to the United States to pursue her education. She is one of three children and proud of being a first generation high school and college graduate. Dr. Macias-Hoag received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in healthcare administration from the University of Phoenix. In 2018, she graduated from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing with a doctorate of nursing practice, executive leadership in nursing specialization. She is certified as a Nurse Executive Advanced – Board Certified (NEA-BC) by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, and she is certified in executive nursing practice (CENP) by the American Organization of Nurse Executives.


Catherine Simonson, LICSW

Catherine Simonson has dedicated her career to the wellbeing of Vermonters. As Howard Center’s chief client services officer, her daily responsibilities include oversight and management of more than 50 clinical programs including residential programs, outpatient counseling, therapeutic schools, crisis programs, and a range of other supports for mental health, substance use, and developmental disabilities. The agency serves 19,000 people each year.

Catherine joined Howard Center in 1994 and spent more than 22 years as a social worker leading and expanding child and family programming, beginning with a program delivering school social work services that has expanded into a team of more than 60 clinicians working in every school in Chittenden County. Community partnerships have been a critical focus of her work, including leading interagency teams designed to improve the community response to unmet mental health and substance use disorder needs. Another focus area has been leadership development, with a goal of developing and retaining highly ethical inclusive leaders prepared to navigate change. Catherine most recently led an initiative to embed cultural liaisons into the agency’s access and intake process to ensure readily available, accessible care for our refugee and immigrant communities.

Catherine is a resident of Colchester, where she has lived with her husband, Joe, since 1990.


Alexander A. Watson

Alexander is a native Vermonter, born and raised in Essex. He received his undergraduate degree in business from the University of Vermont. After working in Burlington for several years, he moved to St. Louis with his fiancée to follow a career opportunity, where they stayed for six years. During that time, Alexander became a CFA® Charterholder and completed his master’s in business administration at St. Louis University. After getting married and having two children, Alexander’s family returned to Vermont in 2018.

Alexander has since become a CFP® Certificant and finally learned to downhill ski. He has spent his entire career in the financial services industry, the vast majority of which has been in investment management. Alexander lives in South Burlington with their Missouri-born dog, where he enjoys spending time with family and friends, exercising, watching movies and reading.