Carol McQuillen: Founder, Program Director
In 2008, Carol McQuillen and a team of community members founded Common Roots. Carol’s belief that nutrition education is at the core of health goes very deep, and Common Roots brings her passion for food education and access into action. Carol began her career in special education at the University of Buffalo and continued with a Masters of Education at The University of Vermont. She is a kindergarten/first-grade teacher at Orchard School in South Burlington and is actively involved in the community. Carol served as a founding board member of Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity. She enjoys time with her family and friends, cooking, gardening, and the outdoors.
Deborah Parente has been in Information Technology for her entire career and recently a Project Manager for over 10 years in industries such as banking, entertainment and now healthcare at the UVM Medical Center. Before moving to Vermont three years ago, Deborah lived in Colorado where she enjoyed acting as an event and volunteer coordinator to charities such as the American Heart Association and Habitat for Humanity. She believes in the importance of leading an active and nutritious lifestyle which is why she is drawn to the mission of Common Roots. Deborah loves to spend her free time participating in outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing with her husband and friends, and also pursuing her interests in music and photography.
Emily Pendergraft leads New Program development at 1% for the Planet, a global nonprofit organization inspiring businesses and individuals to support the environment and accelerate environmental philanthropy. After completing her Master of Public Affairs at Indiana University, Emily moved to Vermont and was immediately inspired by the commitment the local community offers to organizations working to create a better word for people and the planet. Emily also serves on the Board for Leadership Champlain, a program of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Green Up Vermont. She lives in Burlington with her dog, Brodie.
Justin is a Director of Education at Google. In his role he leads a team that helps people use Google’s business products more effectively. Justin lives in South Burlington with his two children who, for many years, have come home with Common Roots recipes. He especially loves the kale pesto! He’s seen first-hand the impact that common roots can have on kids and is excited to help as a board member. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his kids, skiing, backpacking, cooking and reading.
Eric Ayers: Treasurer
Eric Ayers is a father of three children in our community and works for a small accounting and tax firm in Williston, Vermont. He is committed both as a father and as a contributing member of his community. He and his family especially treasure their long-time tradition of vacationing on the Cape each summer.
Joyce Hendley: Advisor
Joyce Hendley specializes in food writing and recipe development for people with healthy appetites. A contributor to Eating Well magazine and former Food Editor of Weight Watchers Magazine, she also develops products, recipes and flavors for several Vermont-based food companies and blogs regularly at glutenfreely.com. She and her husband Henrik live in South Burlington, where they are both actively involved in school and community issues. They are parents of two occasionally picky eaters and keeping track of two very dog-like cats.
Stephanie O’Brien: Advisor
Stephanie is a lifelong resident of South Burlington, grew up on the family’s dairy farm, and is a graduate of Plymouth State College in Plymouth, New Hampshire. She brings over 20 years of her business, land use and board experience to Common Roots. In addition to her work with Common Roots, Stephanie was appointed by Governor Jim Douglas to the State of Vermont’s Liquor Control Board — the first female in the history of the board to serve as a member. In 2011, Governor Peter Shumlin appointed Stephanie as Chairman of the board. Stephanie also serves as a board member of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, on Congressman Peter Welch’s Business Advisory Council, and is an ambassador to the annual fund raising effort of the United Way Campaign. Additionally, Stephanie is a real estate Broker and holds several certifications through the National Center for Housing Management. She is the former President & CEO of O’Brien Brothers Agency and her prior board experience includes service on the executive committee of the Vermont Housing Managers Association and to the Vermont Housing Council, the latter being an appointment by former Governor Howard Dean. On the weekends you will find Stephanie out on the slopes skiing, hiking or out on an adventure with her daughter Grace and husband Roger.