Entrepreneurship Faculty Bios

Laurel Butler is the Program Director for the Entrepreneurship Institute

A native Vermonter, Laurel has traveled extensively, as well as lived in several states/cities, Europe, the West Indies/Caribbean and Saudi Arabia, however, as she says, “Vermont is really at my heart –it’s home!”

She taught for several years in secondary and post-secondary education – business, entrepreneurship, personal finance, hospitality/tourism and assisted students in service learning, co-operative education and internship programs.  In addition she spent many years in the hotel/hospitality industry (is a CHA – Certified Hotel Administrator) in key operational, general management, marketing, training and franchise development positions as well as served on several local, state and national hospitality, convention and tourism boards.  Laurel has also owned and operated her own small hospitality and consulting businesses.  Currently, she works full time for the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) as a Business Advisor/Start-up Specialist, teaches part-time in the Women’s Small Business Program and enjoys painting in watercolors and mixed media.


Tamie-Jo Dickinson, MBA
Business Teacher, Champlain Valley Union High School
tdickinson@cvuhs.org | South Burlington,, Vermont


Tamie-Jo is a Nationally Board Certified Business Teacher. She has been teaching at CVU High School for the past 21 years. During her time at CVU she has redesigned the business course offerings; traveled to England, Ireland and Wales with students four times; traveled with students to Turkey to participate in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fair twice; advised remarkable business students in the school’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club; and worked strongly with the community providing valuable internship opportunities for students. She is a certified Jazzercise instructor and loves to make “guest appearances” in wellness classes and do school-wide fundraisers for organizations like the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Her passion is teaching entrepreneurship and business social responsibility. She provides training opportunities for teachers around the state on how to implement entrepreneurship into their curriculum, and her students have been winners of many state-wide business plan competitions.


Dianne Gross Percy
Education and Learning Specialist at VT Tech/Williston, VT
DPercy@vtc.vsc.edu | Hometown, Vermont


Dianne Gross Percy is an education and training specialist with the Continuing Education and Workforce Development division of Vermont Tech. She provides organizational training and development classes for businesses, hospitals, schools, professional groups, and organizations throughout Vermont. Dianne’s areas of expertise include leadership development, team work, and conflict management. Dianne has served as an educator and coach for over thirty years. Her education includes a B.S. and M.Ed. from the University of Vermont. This summer, you can find Dianne camping with her family as the lead maker of s’mores!


Gwen Pokalo
Director, Women’s Small Business Program
gapokalo@gmail.com | Burlington, Vermont


Gwen has a passion for working with artists and first-time entrepreneurs to build their business. She developed and managed one of the first student run retail incubators in the country which helped emerging entrepreneurs test their products and ideas. It was there she found her passion for uniting creative passions and commerce. Gwen has taken different roles in nurturing the process of self-actualization that is the result of entrepreneurship. Currently, Gwen is the Director of the Women’s Small Business Program. She owns a small business management firm that helps entrepreneurs navigate the business world. Gwen has experience developing entrepreneurship and business curricula for college- age and non-traditional students as well as establishing business support services programs. She holds a Master’s in Applied Economics and Community Development from the University of Vermont.


John Antonucci Jr.
CEO, Srise
john@srise.com | Williston, Vermont


John has taught High School Social Studies in Vermont for eight years and started Srise, a sustainable business consulting firm, in 2012. He has a degree in Economics and Sociology from the University of Vermont where as an undergrad he founded an organization to improve the lives of Haitians living in the Dominican Republic using the sport of soccer. John’s current educational passion is in experiential real world problem solving based education, and his current consulting work focuses on sustainable food systems.