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Community and Business News in Brief

Jennille Smith. Courtesy photo.
CVFiber Hires Telecom Veteran as Executive Director 

CVFiber has hired Jennille Smith as its first-ever executive director as well as its first full-time employee. Smith has deep experience in building communications infrastructure in rural areas, which make her a great fit for construction of the 1,200-mile, $50-million CVFiber Community Network set to begin later this year. 

The CVFiber governing board chose Smith unanimously from what CVFiber chair Jerry Diamantides called an “impressive list” of candidates.

“We are fortunate to have her on board,” Diamantides added. 

Smith is a practicing Vermont lawyer who has spent much of her career, she said, “building infrastructure in rural and urban areas, primarily telecommunications.” She has first-hand experience with living in rural Vermont, having grown up, she said, “off-grid in a two-room house that my family built in Starksboro.” 

Smith attended law school in California and spent 13 years working on infrastructure there before moving back to Vermont to be closer to her family. Since 2018, Smith has worked on FirstNet, the federal initiative to build cell towers in underserved communities. FirstNet was a response to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, which showed the need for universal emergency communication. 

“Tragedy has a way of revealing things to us,” she said. “As the 9/11 attacks showed the need for robust communications infrastructure, the COVID pandemic revealed that connecting with the world is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.” 

Smith will be coming aboard just as CVFiber moves from an all-volunteer planning operation to a real-world builder and operator of a high-speed broadband network. “In my first few months, I’ll be getting to know all the communities served by CVFiber,” Smith said. At the same time, in preparation for actual construction, she will be focused on “communicating with our vendors and construction teams, identifying challenges and priorities, making sure materials arrive and plans are implemented.” 

Board Chair Diamantides concluded, “We found the right person at the right time.” 

—press release

Sylvester Joins Gifford’s Midwifery Team

Gifford Medical Center is pleased to welcome Hillary Sylvester, MSN, RN, CNM. Sylvester is a recent graduate of the Frontier Nursing University midwifery program and has extensive nursing career experience. With Sylvester’s arrival, Gifford’s midwifery team is operating at full capacity.

A Swanton native, Sylvester received her Bachelor of Science from SUNY Plattsburgh’s nursing program in 2015. She most recently worked at the Northwestern Medical Center Family Birthing Center. Sylvester’s passion for midwifery came from her love of women’s health and advocacy for sexual assault programs. She fell in love with the birthing process after experiencing an emergency room delivery while working as a nurse.

“I didn’t find midwifery. It found me,” Sylvester said. “Being a midwife is about teaching women how to be the healthiest version of themselves in an environment in which they feel comfortable.”

Sylvester enjoyed studying and learning about postmenopause and would like to pass on that knowledge to patients at Gifford.

“It’s a topic people forget about sometimes. I like helping women discover themselves again,” Sylvester said.

Sylvester is also a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.

In her spare time, she enjoys snowboarding and plays field hockey. She can be reached through our Birthing Center at (802) 728-2557.

Gifford Medical Center is a community hospital in Randolph, with family health centers in Berlin, Bethel, Chelsea, Randolph, and Rochester, and specialty services throughout central Vermont. A federally qualified health center and a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital in the country, Gifford is a full-service hospital with a 24-hour emergency department and inpatient unit; many surgical services; an adult day program; a 49-unit independent living facility, and nursing home. Its mission is to improve individuals’ and community health by providing and ensuring access to affordable, high-quality health care in Gifford’s service area.

—press release

Beaudin Named to Dean’s List at Washington University

Rachael Beaudin of Middlesex was named to the dean’s list for the fall 2021 semester at Washington University in St. Louis. Beaudin is currently enrolled in the university’s College of Arts and Sciences.

To qualify for the dean’s list in the College of Arts and Sciences, students must earn a semester grade point average of 3.6 or above and be enrolled in at least 14 graded units.

—press release