New format for annual Future of Business conference

Sustainable Connections is splitting its popular daylong Future of Business conference into three separate speaker events between May and October.

Michelle Grandy, the nonprofit’s communications director, said the change was made to be more accommodating to Sustainable Connections members in the small-business community. Grandy said that while many small-business owners have found the annual conference useful and engaging, having to break away from their businesses for an entire day to attend has been difficult.

This year, Sustainable Connections will host speaker events on May 22, July 31 and October 16.

Toby Barazzuol, owner of Eclipse Awards in Vancouver, British Columbia, will be the keynote speaker in May. Barazzuol was recognized in the Small Business B.C. Awards in 2012, as B.C.’s Best Employer, and in 2014, as B.C.’s Best Green Business.

The May event will also include a panel discussion featuring Sheryl Hersey of Bellingham Cold Storage, Ben Scholtz of Mallard Ice Cream, Micke Hammes of RAM Construction and Colleen Unema of Q Laundry.

The discussion will be moderated by Mike Cook of Vitalwork. Cook is also a frequent contributing columnist to The Bellingham Business Journal.

Future speakers include Aaron Fairchild, chairman and CEO of Green Canopy Inc., who will talk on July 31, and Vincent Stanley of Patagonia, who will speak Oct. 16.

Each speaker event will be held from 4-7 p.m. at Broadway Hall, located at 1300 Broadway St. in Bellingham. Tickets vary in cost depending on membership status in Sustainable Connections. More information is available online.

Evan Marczynski, associate editor of The Bellingham Business Journal, can be reached at 360-647-8805, Ext. 5052, or

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