VHFA's Seth Leonard receives Rising Star award

By: Caroline Rubin

Burlington, VT – Vermont Housing Finance Agency’s Seth Leonard of Winooski was named one of Vermont Business Magazine’s (VBM) Rising Stars. These awards honor 40 individuals under the age of 40, chosen for their commitment to business growth, professional excellence, and their overall contributions to the Vermont economy and their communities.  

Seth is VHFA’s Managing Director of Community Development, overseeing rental housing development, asset management and compliance, as well as research, policy and communication. 

“Seth is a dynamic young leader who uses innovation and partnerships to create and preserve much-needed affordable, safe homes across the state,” commented Maura Collins, VHFA’s Executive Director. 

Seth said, “I am so lucky to work with a team at VHFA that makes our impact on Vermont communities possible. It is really fun to love what you do and the team you do it with, isn’t it?” 

Prior to his work with VHFA, Seth was Housing Program Director for Vermont and New Hampshire for the USDA’s Office of Rural Development. He served as Mayor of Winooski until 2018. Elected in 2013 at age 32, he beat a former 4-term mayor 30 years his senior. Mayor Leonard led Winooski through many reforms to encourage community and economic vibrancy while preserving residential diversity and pride. He has volunteered for organizations such as the United Way, Boys and Girls Club of Burlington, Burlington Young Professionals and Winooski Community Partnership. Today, Seth serves on the Leadership Champlain Board for the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce (a program he previously completed) and the Designated Downtown Winooski Board.  

The 2020 Rising Star honorees consist of 24 women and 16 men. 15 recipients are from Chittenden County, two from Windham County, five from Rutland County, four from Bennington County, five from Washington County, three from Caledonia County, one from Lamoille County, one from Franklin County, one from Orleans County, and three from Orange County. The average age of the honorees is 34 years old. The oldest is 39 and the youngest is 27 years old. 

VBM will host a Rising Stars virtual event in November to honor this year’s award recipients. The honorees will also be featured in the November issue of Vermont Business Magazine. 

The Vermont COVID Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program re-opened May 3, 2021. Click here to apply and read more. For emergency rental assistance, please contact Vermont State Housing Authority.