Our Team

We have the background, vision, and proven record to succeed

Cheryl Diersch, MA

Executive Director and LIFE Co-Facilitator at Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility

Something you can say of all entrepreneurs is that they see opportunities and they take action. At age 29, this is exactly what Cheryl did when she started Pack & Ship, a company which she founded and grew to nearly a million dollars in annual sales. It was the beginning of the consumer shipping industry; UPS, FedEx, and others made shipping possible, but they didn’t give you boxes, nor tell you how to ship fragile items. With Cheryl’s leadership, Pack & Ship outgrew their space three times, serving the community for over 17 years.

Ready for a change, Cheryl sold 2 of the 3 company divisions and went on to pursue degrees from University of Vermont and Goddard College, focusing on both international development and pedagogy. These merging interests led her to the Andes, where she supported women in a micro-enterprise program, where she saw first-hand how the right skills and support around starting a business could transform the lives of the women and their families.

Cheryl has maintained a long-time interest in social justice issues. She knew that if given similar opportunities to learn the business tools that she had learned—and the women in the Andes—incarcerated women in Vermont would also be able to take action to gain economic stability and transform their lives.

When she discovered the original LIFE program in Oregon and the dramatic reduction in recidivism rates as a result of completing this course, she knew a replicated version would be an empowering program to bring to Vermont communities.

Judy Yarnall Ph.D.

Board of Directors, Secretary

Judy has taught Writing and Literature at UVM and Johnson State College, where she also worked as a Mentor in the External Degree Program for nontraditional students completing their Bachelor's degrees. Her Ph.D. (English) is from McGill University. She has published poems and essays in literary journals, travel articles in the New York Times, and also a book, Transformations of Circe (Univ. of Illinois Press). Her concern for Social Justice has motivated her work as a Board member for the Peace and Justice Center, Sundog Poetry Center, and now Step Out.

Anju Krivov, Ph.D.

Board of Directors, Treasurer

President & CEO, GSR Solutions

Anju Krivov is a thought leader, entrepreneur, and educator with over 24 years of experience in innovative environmental biotechnology development, environmental pollution mitigation, bioenergy, waste nutrient recovery, supply chain, networking, and strategic business partnerships. At GSR Solutions – a clean technology company on a mission to provide solutions to convert waste into value, she has been leading one of the three Farm to Fly F2F2 national level initiatives supported by the US Department of Agriculture and supply chain partners. She led several waste to energy and nutrient recovery project teams supported by the US Department of Energy, US Department of Agriculture, US Environmental Protection Agency, EPSCoR, National Science Foundation, NASA, and several state initiatives and stakeholders.

Her unwavering efforts led the company to be selected by two global challenges, the Nutrient Recycling Challenge and the Terraton Challenge. She also serves as an adjunct faculty at the University of Vermont, where she has been teaching courses on ‘Bioenergy, Biomass to Biofuels’, ‘Waste to Energy’, ‘Food Waste to Value’, and ‘Nutrient Recovery Solutions’ and bringing together experts from both the public and private sectors to provide real-world hands-on education. She has recently edited/authored the second edition of her globally distributed textbook, Bioenergy – Biomass to Biofuels and Waste to Energy published by Elsevier Inc./Academic Press. She has published over 40 industry articles, scientific papers, book chapters, & sections in peer reviewed journals & books. She has also served as an advisor to the Buckminster Fuller Institute’s Fuller Challenge and continues to explore novel ways to realize triple bottom line solutions for a circular economy.

Elyse Cromwell

Board of Directors

As an advocate for the underserved and disenfranchised, Elyse leans into her 15-year experience within education and hospitality to help rebuild a sense of purpose and hope within the community. Knowing firsthand how one bad choice will forever alter the trajectory of one’s life, she is committed to easing the difficulties and struggles for those reintegrating post incarceration.

Lucas “Luke” Keene

Board of Directors

Luke, born and raised in Burlington, Vermont grew up in a very loving household with a lot of great friends. He was consistently on honor roll and played several sports including Soccer, Track and Field as well as Baseball. If he wasn’t out riding bikes or swimming with friends he was hiking or just hanging out with his family back home.

At the age of 14 Luke started hanging out with the wrong crowd. He began smoking pot and drinking on weekends. Over the next 2 years, on a steady decline, he found himself no longer playing sports and his grades had dropped dramatically. It was at this time he decided to move to Boston Massachusetts to live with his Father.

He continued on this path until he hit rock bottom at age 26 and decided to turn his life around. He began working at his Father’s landscape business for 6 years where he then bought the business and hit the ground running. He began getting educated and certified in several different fields.

Today, the business has tripled and he is 10 years clean living a very healthy and happy life. Along his journey he had several people who helped him see the light and get to where he is. His goal is to help others who have made the commitment to better themselves get a new focus and passion so they can notice the daily improvements, set new goals in their lives and see that same light at the end of the tunnel.

Becky Laird

Administrative Assistant

Becky heard about this project on a personal level from Cheryl and her more radical and feminist leaning philosophies could really get behind a program like Step Out. Becky has a flair for language and a knack for organizing and has helped the project out at various points. She believes in the power of Step Out to not only bring business plan development skills to participants but also transformative self-actualization that moves lives toward realizing dreams and believing in the sustainability of their individual strengths and efforts.

Andrea Grayson, EdD, MA

LIFE Lead Facilitator at Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility


A long-time student of social change, Andrea works as a behavior change-marketing consultant in the field of Public Health, and teaches in the Masters of Public Health program at the Larner College of Medicine at UVM. She writes and speaks on topics related to optimizing the health of mind, body and spirit, and creates programs for people ready to take action, including Breaking Free from Sugar.

Charlotte Dennett

Founding Consultant

Charlotte is an author and an attorney with a focus on family law, personal injury, medical malpractice and consumer fraud litigation. In the 1980’s Charlotte was a task force chair with the Vermont National Organization for Women. In the 1990’s she served on the board and as president of the Franklin County Family Center. From 2002-2012 she served on the executive committee of the Vermont AFL-CIO in a position responsible for advancing women’s leadership in the labor movement. Charlotte has taught economic development and politics at Johnson State College. She recently completed her third term on the Vermont Commission on Women.