Jan Demers to Receive the 2019 Con Hogan Award
The Vermont Community Foundation and the organizing committee for the Con Hogan Award for Creative, Entrepreneurial Community Leadership are pleased to announce that Jan Demers will be honored with this year’s award. Demers is the Executive Director of Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO), serving Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle counties.
The $15,000 award, to be used however the recipient chooses, will be presented at a public reception on Wednesday, October 2 from 4:30 to 6:30 PM at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier.
Established by a group of Con’s colleagues in 2015, the annual award recognizes his life work by rewarding each year a community leader who shares his vision of a better Vermont and who seizes the responsibility for making that vision a reality. The award is given to a leader who shows deep community involvement, generosity, enthusiasm, a collaborative approach, and a focus on data and measurable outcomes in his or her work.
Demers oversees ten programs at CVOEO—which provides services and advocacy, from fuel assistance to Head Start to tenant organizing. Its tagline “Bridging gaps, building futures,” is a good description of the vision that guides Demers. For instance, in 2014-15, she established the first low-barrier winter shelter in Burlington, offering safety and dignity for the area’s most vulnerable residents. Low-barrier shelters accept homeless people as they are, with no requirements that they be drug free, sober, or have personal identification documents.
Demers has also worked with other organizations in Chittenden County to adopt the data-driven assessment process that triages those in need to the most appropriate services and tracks the outcomes. Many of those who receive temporary shelter are helped to find permanent housing.
Demers grew up in Burlington and graduated from Rice Memorial High School and the University of Vermont; a varied job history informs her work and relationships at CVOEO. During the 20 years after college she was a milk tester in Groton, substitute teacher at Morristown Elementary and educator at the Lamoille Area Vocational Center, assistant to the Morristown Selectboard, and executive director of the Lamoille Valley Chamber of Commerce. Prior to taking the helm at CVOEO in 2010, she also worked in sales for the American Management Association, directed domestic violence intervention services for a community action agency, and was executive director of a five-county hospice and palliative care agency in upstate New York.
The Con Hogan Award selection committee noted that they chose Demers for her effectiveness in making a difference by working in coalitions, being transparent and willing to have tough conversations, and understanding and applying data to achieve targeted results. Committee chair Scott Johnson added, “Demers has a vision and the compassion and character as a leader to inspire others to work together to achieve it.”
Members of the Con Hogan Award organizing committee are Will Belongia, Paul Cillo, Steve Dale, Scott Johnson, Libby Johnson, Ellen Kahler, Cheryl Mitchell, Holly Morehouse, Felipe Rivera, Diana Wahle, and Linda Wheatley. For more information about the Con Hogan Award visit: vermontcf.org/conhoganaward