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 served as a founding board member of Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity in the early 80’s. Carol has transitioned from working with children over 40 years including her 20-year tenure at Orchard School, to volunteer directing Common Roots. 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 retired as a Project Manager for over 10 years at the UVM Medical Center. She has also worked in industries such as banking and entertainment. Before moving to Vermont four 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.
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.
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 served as a board member of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, on Congressman Peter Welch’s Business Advisory Council. She is the former President & CEO of O’Brien Brothers Agency. 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.