By Jessie Forand/ECHO  Four new members joined ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain's board of directors on April 1. Some are retu...

ECHO Welcomes New Board Members

By Jessie Forand/ECHO 

Four new members joined ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain's board of directors on April 1. Some are returning after previous board terms and others are brand new. 

Take a minute to get to know them: 

Sarah Muyskens

Former ECHO board chair Sarah Muyskens returns after taking some time off. Muyskens has served on a myriad of local boards and has been intimately involved with ECHO since its inception. In fact, she was heard telling a staff recently “I love this place.”

As a mother with three young children when ECHO was developed, Muyskens felt it was a “very good addition to the waterfront on all counts.”

Her kids are now in their 20s, but they continue visiting ECHO, particularly its AfterDark events and one dedicating time to volunteer.

This time around Muyskens said she wants to understand organizational changes that have taken place and continue working to build a community resource, part of ECHO’s base mission.

“It’s all about understanding the place where you’re living,” she said, adding that ECHO visitors leave the science center having gained a better sense of place.

Muyskens is also passionate about the health of Lake Champlain – she wants ECHO to be the go-to place for lake cleanup work. This long-term goal calls for a collective effort, in line with the organization’s “One Drop” message.
Paul Sisson

Another longtime board member, Paul Sisson is back on the board.

A CPA by trade, Sisson’s work on the board so far has involved serving as chair for the planning and finance committee. “The still-young ECHO has become stronger and is in a great financial position,” he said.

Sisson had a lifelong connection with the one of the founding board members and fundraiser for ECHO, George Little, who was his father’s best friend. Sisson’s father also contributed to the organization.

Though raised in Pennsylvania, Sisson has spent much of his life on Lake Champlain and is glad the lake is now in the forefront of important conversations in the state. Lake quality is of great interest to him.

Sisson’s goals on the board this time include working to broaden ECHO’s audience and target age groups (he used the AfterDark events and fresh exhibits as examples of how this can be done), helping to fill personnel changes, working on sustainability park, and offering himself to any project where he is needed.
Tom Leavitt

Tom Leavitt joins the board for the first time, but has worked with ECHO professionally in the past, particularly in his role as senior management with Merchant’s Bank, which supported ECHO from its beginning.

Now acting as president and CEO at Northfield Savings Bank, Leavitt said he has followed the organization’s growth and when he was approached late last year decided to join the board.

In addition to serving as a science center, Leavitt was excited to see ECHO pushing its ecology mission and working closely with the UVM Rubenstein Lab to dedicate itself to high-caliber work.

He has served on a number of other boards: the Boys and Girls Club, the Burlington Business Association, Vermont Bankers Association, and the Vermont Council on Rural Development. He continues to act on the board for Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy and the Flynn Center.

Leavitt will start his term learning from more senior board members and staff.

Scott Rossborough

New to the ECHO board and to the area, Scott Rossborough moved to Fayston from Massachusetts in recent years (after keeping a second home and 30 acres of land in the Mad River Valley since the 1990s). He works as a new product development and innovation consultant and was looking to get closely involved with a community organization in his new state.
After looking into many of the area’s nonprofit organizations, Rossborough said ECHO was a good fit. There is opportunity here, he said, a project with a vision and mission.

It is those elements Rossborough is most excited to explore. In fact, he said the former title of ECHO as lake aquarium and science center isn’t enough. Yes, Lake Champlain is great, he said, but he wants to see ECHO become the epicenter of water quality far beyond the lake’s reaches.

“It can become a steward of water in all its forms,” he said.

Rossborough also wants ECHO as a place, a symbol for the community, to be leveraged more. He said, “It’s so beautiful, it can be an emblem.” This also includes heightened efforts to reach new groups of people and make ECHO as a building stand out even more on the waterfront.

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