Lisa Falcone, executive director of Mercy Connections in Burlington, will be the next speaker at an online meeting of Vermont Catholic Professionals.

It will take place is Oct. 20 from 8 to 9 a.m.

Mercy Connections exists as a direct result of the 75-year history of Trinity College and the Sisters of Mercy, when they closed the college in 2000. Based on their vision and values, Mercy Connections began in 2001 to provide access to educational and justice resources for the most underserved populations of Vermont.

Mercy Connections, a multi-cultural community, runs evidence-based, adult education and restorative social-justice programs including small business development for women aiming to operate businesses; a mentoring program that matches trained women volunteers with women involved in the criminal justice system; and a diverse portfolio of adult education classes, academic tutoring and support programs to assist in higher education pursuits, jobs, US citizenship exam preparation, community and leadership positions, recovery and wellbeing.

The organization plays a significant role to increase educational and economic opportunities for people who are marginalized and disenfranchised, including immigrants, refugees, women and men involved in the criminal justice system. “We adhere to the premise that every person, regardless of life circumstances, deserves dignity, compassion and the opportunity to pursue personal aspirations within a supportive community,” Falcone said. “Mercy Connections’ mission empowers people to make significant life changes through education, mentoring, entrepreneurship and community. Everything we do and how we do it lives the legacy of the Sisters of Mercy and their critical concerns, specifically to advance women, ensure opportunity and resources for immigrants, refugees and asylees and building community with those who are disenfranchised.”

She has worked across sectors in higher education, government and business. A founder of WorkLab Innovations, she continues to consult with communities from across the country about sustainable workforce policies and practices. “I am an advocate for thriving communities where all people are seen, valued and engaged,” said the former director of Working Bridges at United Way.

Mercy Connections turned 20 on July 1 and is nearly 90 percent privately funded. “My role is to ensure impact and sustainability of this critical organization and mission for the next 20 years and beyond,” she said.

Mercy Connections engages 200 volunteers through mentoring, tutoring and board service and is open to new volunteers. “We also host events (non-pandemic time) and would love for people to join us,” Falcone said.

The purpose of Vermont Catholic Professionals — founded in 2018 — is to join Catholic men and women and others with shared values from the business and professional communities to encourage intellectual discussions, to foster professional and faith-based relationships and to inspire service and charity to the community in Vermont. Events take place quarterly with a professional development speaker that is relevant to the business and professional communities in Vermont.

For more information about Vermont Catholic Professionals, go to

—Originally published in the Fall 2021 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.