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MEMBER FEATURE: a conversation with Kristen Lamb, Executive Director of the Center for Wildlife, and Emma Balina, Development Director of the Center for Wildlife

The Center for Wildlife provides a thriving hub for environmental stewardship, education, and advocacy in New England.

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The Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick, Maine started out in 1986 as a shelter for injured and orphaned wild animals. The center received about 100 wild animals a week in its first year and provided clinical care for many of these animals with successful rehabilitation back into their natural habitats. In 1991 the Center for Wildlife started to take preventative measures and launched a public education program as staff recognized that the majority of animals they received were arriving to them with diseases and injuries caused by humans.

Now the center treats 190 species of local birds, small mammals, and reptiles, approximately 2,200 wild animals a year, coming from Maine to Massachusetts and spanning a 100-mile radius out from Cape Neddick, Maine. It offers 350 education programs serving learners aged 2 to 92 with the hopes that greater environmental education and knowledge about what people can do and why they should care will inspire greater stewardship of our natural world. The center also offers numerous community volunteer and internship opportunities for those wishing to learn more and be more involved.

release2.jpg"And for interns and staff at the Center for Wildlife," says Kristen Lamb, Executive Director of the Center for Wildlife, "we are very committed to wellness. Burnout and compassion fatigue is common in our line of work, so it's important for us to really take care of our employees with competitive benefits packages and by fostering a positive work culture." The center also regularly brings in guest speakers on interesting topics like local herbalism and offers employees membership to a local museum or park of their choosing.

Operating out of just a 1,200 square foot house, the Center for Wildlife provides an impressive array of programs, services, and learning opportunities to visitors and employees alike. But with the pressure of rapid growth and development in the region, the center is investing in a capital campaign so that it will be able respond to the exponentially increasing need for its services and programs due to habitat loss and fragmentation. Slated to be completed in 2019, their new campus will link up 16,000 acres of conservation land and include a facility that runs completely on solar power. The layout will take into consideration 

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the natural slope of the land and include pollinator gardens, vernal pools, and rain water collection landscaping. Everything from the downward facing LED lights to decrease light pollution and its effects on wildlife will be built keeping the natural world in mind.

"We joined NHBSR," remarks Kristen, "Because we want to be a part of the conversation in leading the charge in environmental sustainability. We're a nonprofit, boots on the ground organization, and we want to find ways to collaborate and share resources and knowledge to be able to have a greater overall community impact." There are a number of projects that the center has been able to undertake because of partnerships with like-minded businesses, including the capital campaign, which is a partnership with NHBSR member company Jewett Construction.

"We want people to know that we're here," says Emma Balina, Development Director of the Center for Wildlife, "We love that people visit us and bring their families. There are so many ways for people to get involved, from individuals to businesses, and we really want to foster and promote those meaningful partnerships."

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Concept art for the Center for Wildlife's new campus coming in 2019

You can reach out to Emma at emma@thecenterforwildlife.org or (207) 361-1400 x107 to find out more about the Center for Wildlife and their capital campaign, sustainability efforts, and education programs.

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Throughout the year New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility collects "Just One Thing" stories of sustainability initiatives from across the state, in the areas of community, environment and workplace. These leading efforts are then showcased as part of NHBSR's Sustainability Slam in the fall. Last year the Hanover Co-op Food Stores' Pennies for Change program won NHBSR's 2017 Sustainability Slam for its incredible contributions to New Hampshire communities.


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Pennies for Change is a round-up program where members and shoppers at the Hanover Co-op Food Stores (Hanover and Lebanon, and White River Junction, Vermont) can add to the total amount of their purchases up to the next whole dollar. The Co-op then donates 100% of the extra money collected each month to local nonprofits. On average, Pennies for Change raises around a quarter million dollars each year (approximately $20,000 a month) towards helping feed the hungry and support other vital community needs.**

Because of Pennies for Change, local nonprofits which generally work under very tight budgets to meet ever-increasing demands are able to actually grow their programs and services. For example: 

  • Willing Hands collects and redistributes surplus food from the Hanover Co-op, farms, bakeries, and other stores to people in need. Pennies for Change donations financed both a new truck and increased staffing for Willing Hands to expand its services, allowing it to serve more hungry neighbors.
  • Upper Valley Haven offers another example of the Co-op's high community impact. This nonprofit, which provides housing, food and counseling services to families and individuals experiencing poverty, used Pennies for Change donations to redesign their Food Shelf so that their clients had more freedom and choice in food options.
  • Furthermore, LISTEN out of Lebanon, New Hampshire added Saturday meals to their weekly community dinner calendar, serving and additional 5,000 meals per year. A host of 25 other rotating nonprofits were similarly able to increase the impact and reach of their work because of Pennies for Change.

You can learn more about Pennies for Change and other great sustainability initiatives throughout the state by attending NHBSR's Sustainability Slam in the fall. Allan Reetz, Director of Public Relations at the Hanover Co-op Food Stores said, "NHBSR's Sustainability Slam was well-worth the nearly four-hour roundtrip it took me to attend. I got to see firsthand the range of work being done by sharp New Hampshire business people. Learning from and collaborating with socially responsible leaders is good for our cooperative. Plus, attending the Slam is another easy way I commit to being an active member of the NHBSR network."

Connect with Allan at our Sustainability Slam on Nov 1 in Amherst or reach out to him by email at AReetz@coopfoodstore.com!!

**By encouraging rounding up on electronic payment transactions, the Hanover Co-op Food Stores is able to dramatically increase the amount of funds they can donate to community projects.

By Pamela Gordon, Senior Consultant and TFI Antea Group Collaboration Leader

From attracting new investors and meeting evolving consumer expectations to gaining a competitive advantage through innovation, there’s little doubt that embedding sustainability within your company’s overall strategy offers a wealth of business benefits—all while making the world a better place. In fact, in its “The Business Case for Eco-Innovation” publication, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reported that companies with a focus on eco-innovation are growing at an average rate of 15% annually. 

But despite your best intentions to design, implement, and track sustainability programs that are highly effective, the question is: Are your sustainability initiatives really living up to their full business potential? 

Since adding sustainability consulting to our breadth of services, Antea Group has partnered with executives and sustainability leaders at companies across an array of industries to help them uncover sustainability risks and opportunities—all with the goal of helping them achieve maximum sustainability ROI.   

As a result of our work, some common opportunities for improvement have emerged. In this piece, we talk with Pamela Gordon, Senior Consultant and TFI-Antea Group Collaboration Leader, about three of those opportunities. With two decades of coaching and sustainability consulting under her belt, Gordon offers interesting insight and examples that your organization can leverage to drive business performance and sustainability success. 

OPPORTUNITY 1: RECOGNIZING INTERNAL BLIND SPOTS 
Even if your company has made its commitment to sustainability known by baking it into the overall business strategy and company culture, you aren’t immune to internal blind spots. To illustrate this point, Gordon shares a real-life example: 

Years ago, I visited the headquarters of a large electronics company. I was already impressed with their operation when we visited the cafeteria. The cafeteria deeply reflected their sustainability model—there were no one-use implements and food waste was being composted. It was impressive. 

But about a year later, I visited that company again and that was no longer the case. There were plastic utensils, one-use plates, plastic packaging, and the trash was overflowing. Of course, I asked the sustainability champion at the company: “What happened?” 

While they thought their sustainability initiatives were comprehensive, when an opportunity came to change vendors, someone in procurement made what they thought was a sensible, cost-effective change. The problem? Sustainability principles were not part of the selection criteria—not to mention the fact that the company was already saving money with greener practices.

As you can see, internal blind spots can disrupt your sustainability initiatives. As a result, you need to make sure you’re drawing the internal circle wide enough to help ensure success. 

OPPORTUNITY 2: LOOKING BEYOND COMPANY WALLS 
While there are many forward-thinking companies that are pushing beyond their organizational boundaries to optimize value chains and enhance product stewardship, this is still an unrealized opportunity for most businesses. Why? Because many are narrowly focused on the sustainability aspects within their facilities alone, according to Gordon. 

“From raw materials to distribution to what happens after use, in order to get the most ROI out of your sustainability initiatives, you have to look at the bigger picture—and that means enabling your suppliers and your customers to contribute and share in the benefits,” she says. 

While it may be tempting to say that you can’t control your suppliers or your customers, from our perspective that’s far from the truth. You hold power and influence over your suppliers with the contracts you hold. As for your customers, you can offer them a benefit they didn’t have before by designing products with the entire lifecycle in mind. 

OPPORTUNITY 3: CREATING A COMPREHENSIVE SUSTAINABILITY ROADMAP 
Sustainability programs certainly require an investment of time, resources, and budget. But like any investment, the strategy needs to include measurable short-term and long-term goals, as well as the right key performance indicators (KPIs) and tactics that will guide your path. 

Of course, the common question for many is: “Where do I start?” Here’s what Gordon had to say on the subject: 

Through our sustainability leadership consulting work, we coach executives to develop long-term high-sustainability roadmaps that include both monetary elements (i.e. cost savings and new revenues) as well as environmental metrics (i.e., reducing unnecessary use of materials, energy, water, and transportation).  

This begins with conducting a materiality assessment to uncover what has the best immediate and future potential for environmental and business gains. From there, these opportunities are vetted and plotted across the roadmap, which then serves as a measurement and benchmarking tool and as a guide. 

While developing your roadmap will absolutely require time, effort, and resources—it’s a necessary investment to help ensure your business goals and sustainability initiatives are working together in harmony to drive shared value.  

If you don’t have the internal resources or expertise, consider partnering with a sustainability consulting firm. A firm’s team of consultants offer broad-based knowledge and expertise, as well as objectivity that can help uncover opportunities or risks that you may have missed. 

DRIVE SUSTAINABILITY ROI 
As the realities of climate change reveal themselves more and more each day, it’s time to dig deep to determine whether your sustainability initiatives are making a difference for the world and your bottom line.

Read the original article here

Owner Priscilla Lane-Rondeau came up with the idea for 900 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria when she realized that there was no place in New Hampshire that she could have a nice glass of wine and a homemade slice of pizza made from fresh, good quality ingredients.

 

MEMBER FEATURE: a conversation with Priscilla Lane-Rondeau, Owner of 900 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria

 

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The Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean extends a mile deeper than Earth's highest point, Mt. Everest. As the deepest part of the ocean, you'd expect any images of this vast underwater world to inspire awe and wonder. In April, however, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a picture of the Mariana Trench and people were horrified by the image that took front and center, a single use plastic bag.

 

"People don't realize," says Priscilla Lane-Rondeau, owner of 900 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria, "The straw you use for 20 minutes will last forever in the environment." In an effort to decrease the amount of plastic waste that ends up in our environment, however, Priscilla and other sustainability conscious restaurant owners are launching a campaign to completely eliminate the use of plastic straws. This campaign, informally referred to as "Skip the Straw" or "Stop Sucking," is one very achievable and practical way that we may all help offset our plastic use wastage.

 

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900 Degrees used to go through 10,000 plastic straws a month. In the restaurant industry, including a straw with every beverage is such a pervasive practice that servers and bartenders often do so without a second thought. To help employees transition over to going strawless, Priscilla cleverly selected shorter glasses to serve drinks in. For customers who insist on a straw, 900 Degrees offers a compostable corn alternative. The cost of providing this alternative carries about a tenfold increase in price and is much more expensive to the restaurant. Ideally, with the educational component of "Skip the Straw," posters and table tents to encourage customers to rethink their resource usage, customers will stop requesting straws altogether.

 

"Restaurants are some of the biggest waste contributors when you account for everything from napkins to single use to-go containers," Priscilla explains, "so it is important for restaurants to be aware and to take responsibility for this." From using shades and rugs made from recycled materials, to LED lights, composting, and even the type of glue that is used for the floor tiles, Priscilla is always looking for ways to be more environmentally responsible in her restaurants.

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The biggest challenge, Priscilla believes, is that restaurant owners do not have the awareness or time to research better, sustainable practices. But she hopes to use her involvement in the NH Lodging & Restaurant Association as a platform to help inspire others in the hospitality industry to be more sustainable. "It is possible to have an amazing product and be concerned about the environment," Priscilla empathically advocates. Employing 130 full and part time workers and having just opened its third location in Portsmouth, 900 Degrees exemplifies just that.

 

You can reach out to Priscilla at plane@900degrees.com to find out more about "Skip the Straw" and her sustainability efforts in the restaurant industry. And, if you're craving a nice glass of wine, paired with your favorite slice of pizza, be sure to stop by either the Manchester, Epping, or Portsmouth 900 Degrees location.

There’s potential for greater security, efficiency, fuel diversity and infrastructure resiliency

By Michael Behrmann, Director of the New Hampshire Clean Tech Council

michaelbehrmann-a0820636-02250359.jpegOur modern age of connectivity provides limitless opportunities for us to easily connect with one another for purposes of communication, commerce and just about anything you can imagine. While the benefits of this connectivity have fundamentally changed the global economy, it also brings with it a number of new challenges.

In the energy sector, internet-based connectivity requires us to address the challenge of protecting our electric power infrastructure from cyberattacks that could shut down the electricity system that powers our society. Could microgrids be part of the solution to this challenge?   

In late March of this year, the American public discovered our electric power grid had been the target of a major Russian-based hacking event over the course of two years. Fortunately, the hackers were unable to infiltrate and topple the grid. The attack did, however, open our eyes to the reality of how vulnerable our grid is to hacking and the potential severe impacts of those breaches on our society. 

Utilities work very hard to secure the grid but still experience frequent hacking events, to the tune of hundreds to potentially thousands of attempted hacks a day. What is currently being done is just not enough. In reality, if nothing changes it is likely only a matter of time before a catastrophic event occurs in the Northeast. What does it cost to have our businesses go down? How much is the cost to that lost business revenue, let alone the human toll? As recently discussed by Utility Dive in a related article, Llyod’s of London issued an analysis in 2015 noting an “economic loss of a widespread attack on the U.S. power grid at anywhere from $243 billion up to $1 trillion.” With such staggering losses it is difficult to comprehend the true economic damage to our country. That leads to the enormously important question of how we can protect ourselves and avoid such a devastating attack. 

This current reality requires immediate action to protect your business, your home, and the overall electric grid. Many cybersecurity experts, the federal Department of Energy, public officials and industry experts view the development and use of microgrids as a possible solution. 

A microgrid is created as a small(er) grid that can disconnect from the centralized grid infrastructure and create an islanding effect for a specific service area. These areas are largely powered by distributed energy resources like solar, wind, biomass, combined heat and power (CHP), and appropriately paired with sufficient storage to handle enough resource to manage the service area and silo the cyber threat. This ability to isolate and operate independently allows those residents and businesses to continue receiving power while their area operates autonomously. The ability to create a software barrier to the cyber threat provides an additional layer of protection that a large centralized software system can have difficulty with. 

With billions of planned grid investment occurring around the country in the coming years, we will see more microgrids considered and built. Last year, the first utility-scale microgrid project in the United States came online in Illinois, which can provide power to roughly 200 local residents. With more and more communities looking at these systems for both security and resiliency benefits there are sure to be more utility-scale projects to come.  

Closer to New Hampshire, the Town of Sterling Massachusetts installed a 2 megawatt and 3.9 megawatt-hour battery storage system at the Sterling Municipal Light Department to provide resiliency and 12 days worth of power for emergency services in the town. According to the Clean Energy States Alliance, Sterling has saved over $400,000 dollars of tax payer money since turning it on one year ago. 

The development of microgrids underscores the potential for greater security, efficiency, fuel diversity, and more resilient energy infrastructure to keep homes and businesses safely receiving power. Microgrids, powered by renewable energy and supported by storage, is rapidly growing as a cost-effective method of protection for our infrastructure. As we prepare for the future and work to protect New Hampshire from the impacts of cybersecurity threats against the electric grid, these technologies will be crucial to that success. Keep microgrids in your mind and in the minds of our policymakers, not just for our utilities, but for our homes, businesses and our state.   

Until next month…keep it clean New Hampshire! 

Read the original article here

MEMBER FEATURE: a conversation with Duncan Ross, Operational Excellence Project Manager at Lonza

 

picture1.pngWhen you're in the business of saving lives, how you do business and engage your community matters. Lonza Group with over 14,000 employees and 100 sites and offices, is one of the most-trusted and respected life science companies in the world. Lonza's Portsmouth, NH site, Lonza Biologics was acquired in 1996 and employs approximately 1,000 New Hampshire and central New England residents in the kind of advanced medical manufacturing that proves life-saving; from cutting-edge oncology treatments to addressing auto immune disorders. For Lonza, having a solid and sustainable business model is important not only to the vitality of the company, but also to that of the thousands of patients and their families that depend on Lonza's leading role in the healthcare industry.

 

 

Lonza employees putting together baskets to give to new mothers at the community baby shower (Photo credit: Lonza)

Increasingly, Lonza is realizing that it is just as imperative that the company plays a direct and engaged role in the communities it resides in. "I'm from New Hampshire. I went to UNH" Duncan Ross, Lonza's Operational Excellence Project Manager, explains, "I was growing up in the north country when the mills were shutting down and now I understand how important it is for a community to thrive. We are a large employer with a lot of complex infrastructure in the places we operate in. It's important and necessary for us that our communities thrive alongside our production facilities themselves." At the beginning of this year, Lonza corporate headquarters in Basel, Switzerland launched a pilot program for some of its sites to develop ways though which they could more deeply engage its local communities.

 

Lonza Biologics is already on its way to having a meaningful impact on the greater Portsmouth area. At the grassroots level, Lonza hosts careers days and school tours to encourage student interest in science and technology. Lonza also offers a benefit for all of its employees to volunteer for a day through avenues such as United Way's Day of Caring, Baby Basics drive or local beach clean ups. Food, clothing & toy drives, blood drives, and events that celebrate veterans frequent Lonza's Portsmouth facility. The company itself also actively recruits veterans to its workforce. Its annual golf tournament, the Harvest Open, has raised almost 1 million dollars for 36 local charities since 2001.  Lastly, the Lonza safety team and Environmental Action Forum (LEAF) team organizes initiatives such as the Environmental Health and Safety fair, which invites local businesses to share sustainability resources and initiatives.

 

“By joining NH Businesses for Social Responsibility we're really hoping to tie into the NHBSR network and develop the strategic partnerships that will allow us to do more,” Duncan states. “We want to connect with the resources and frameworks that other members have developed to guide our own community impact program. We have a very passionate and dedicated workforce with great ideas. It's just a matter of finding the right outlets and connections."

 

Connect with Duncan at our Spring Conference on May 2 in Concord or reach out to him by email at duncan.ross@lonza.com!!

 

By Trinnie Houghton, Executive and Organizational Coach of Sojourn Partners

Trinnie will be presenting at our Spring Conference on May 2 in Concord.
Sign up for her session "Lessons form Concious Leadership: Developing your Zone of Genius"
 

trinnie_pr.jpgFor those readers that might find themselves in an eye roll of “I am so tired of always checking in about people’s feelings.  Is there a place for the hard-charging, here’s-what-we’re-going-to-do-and-there’s-no-crying-in-baseball-type of command and control leader?” 

Absolutely.  In fact, we find that those truly successful command and control leaders have learned how to bring out the best in their team through empathy – caring about what their employees care about -- their family, their career, their team’s success, for example. The real question is how to use your empathy skills to create the ground work for the real tough conversations that need to happen.
 

Empathy is one of the most overlooked leadership skills – often relegated to being lumped in with “those emotions,” “the soft stuff” and “taking too much time.”  Research has shown, however, that empathy – or really feeling what someone else is feeling – is critical to employee engagement, retention, and attracting great talent.  In other words, the organization thrives when people care.
 

How to do bring in more empathy skills?  Here are some things that we use in our everyday practice to show we care:

1. Check your intent.See how you’re approaching the conversation.If you think they’ve got it all wrong, then “you’re wrong” is what gets communicated.See instead if you are open to taking another perspective.

2. See if you can first validate their perspective -- without rattling off what’s really wrong with it.Communicate that you hear how they’re feeling about things. Reflect what’s not being said.

3. See if you can find something you have in common: “We both have kids.We both love football.” You’re communicating that you’re on their side.

4. Ask open-ended questions and use “we” as much as possible: “How are you thinking it through?” “What are we missing?”

 

Bottom line:  Having tough conversations is not easy.  They do take time.  They can be uncomfortable.  But if it leads to alignment and connection and efficiency around where you’re headed, then aren’t these the conversations that you’re most willing to have?  Empathy is your doorway in.

Connect with Trinnie at our Spring Conference on May 2 in Concord or reach out to her by email at trinnie@sojournpartners.com!!

 

 

Social Venture Innovation Challenge Winners are Changing the Landscape of What's Possible in New Hampshire

Our next generation of business leaders and innovators are jumpstarting their careers through the University of New Hampshire's Social Venture Innovation Challenge (SVIC), which asks participants to imagine creative new business solutions to the most pressing environmental and social challenges in our communities. As a collaboration between the Carsey School for Public Policy and the Paul College of Business and Economics, SVIC equips students with a wealth of knowledge, resources, and mentorship to make their business ideas a reality.

UNH and NHBSR have partnered to support these young business professionals in their endeavors, as we realize how important it is for us to train the next generation of sustainabiliy leaders. Juliana Good of Crescendo Inclusive Curriculums and Andrew DeMeo of Half-Acre Beekeeping will be attending NHBSR's Spring Conference on May 2, where they will develop relationships within the larger NHBSR community and explore ways to help make their social innovation ventures successful!

 

Crescendo Inclusive Curriculums

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Juliana Good created Crescendo Inclusive Curriculums as a way to address the lack of representation of specials needs students in the performing arts communities. Very few youth with special needs are involved in music, theater, and arts because teachers do not have the resources, experience, or training to include all students in the classroom. By encouraging participation from all students and especially among a community that would greatly benefit from being involved in the arts, Crescendo Inclusive Curriculums seeks to sustain the arts in our public schools and for generations of young artists. Currently Juliana is building the 

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cross-sector partnerships and programmatic foundation to be able to launch a pilot for Crescendo Inclusive Curriculums in NH within the next year.

"I believe that being engaged in business is not just a question of profit. It's a questions of what your mission is and what you want to do to leave a mark on this world," Juliana earnestly and enthusiastically articulates, " I think that if you have the skills and resources to sustain a mission through a business, then that's a wonderful opportunity and one that I certainly am excited to be able to pursue."                                                                                                                                                      

 

Half-Acre Beekeeping 

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Bees are dying off at alarming rates and collapses in their population will have catastrophic consequences on our agriculture and food supply. "Bees affect all of us," Andy DeMeo, Co-founder of  Half-Acre Beekeeping stresses, "Pollinators play a very important role in our society, so it's important to not just appreciate and understand them, but to actively support them."

Half-Acre Beekeeping, which launched just this month, aims to make supporting local beekeeping accessible to anyone, while promoting a better, more ethical and environmentally friendly alternative to large-scale commercial honey production.

Half-Acre Beekeeping customers purchase hive shares or honey sourced from Half-Acre hives placed on local farms. The

unnamed.jpgbees themselves are bred from local populations and pollinate local crops in New Hampshire. By not transporting large colonies of bees from location to location (the predominant model of most commercial beekeepers), Half-Acre lessens the stress on the insects, minimizes the spread of diseases, and decreases their own carbon footprint.

"I feel that NHBSR is a natural fit for a business like Half-Acre," states Andrew, "While we of course want to run a commercially sustainable business, environmentalism is core to our mission.  My partner and I want to be connected with similarly minded businesses and individuals. Sustainability is such a multifaceted issue and the more ways we can tackle it, from different business areas and places in society, the better. I'm excited to meet as many people as I can at the Spring Conference."                                                                

 

You can reach out to Julianna at (480) 335-8767 and Andy at (603) 845-9816. Be sure to introduce yourself at our Spring Conference on May 2 and give these young entrepreneurs a warm welcome to the NHBSR community.

 

Photo credit 1: Perry Smith     Photo credit 2: Alexandra Allen     Photo credit 3 & 4: Perry Smith Photography, Half-Acre Beekeeping

 

By Andrew Winston, Author and Founder of Winston Eco-Strategies & NHBSR's 2017 Spring Conference Keynote

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Day 2 of the Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins, Feb. 2, 1960 (Picture: Jack Moebes / Corbis)

After surviving yet another mass murder at a school — a problem that only America seems to struggle with — many students have had enough. Led by impressive, articulate, passionate teenagers from Parkland, Florida, a national movement to tackle guns is finally building.

The vicious attacks on these kids started immediately. The most vile accusations — that the survivors appearing on TV aren’t even students at the school — are not even worth the time spent writing this sentence. But another common complaint, and the most laughable, is that teens are too young to run a movement (and thus must be pawns of some liberal conspiracy).

Former GOP Congressman Jack Kingston — a man who has lost his way somewhere — tweeted, and repeated on CNN, his skepticism: “Do we really think that 17-year-olds on their own are going to plan a nationwide rally?”

Um, yes. Yes we do.

The history of young people sparking revolutions is long and illustrious. The lunch counter sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina were a pivotal moment in shifting the national discourse on segregation. The four young men — really kids at the time — that organized and led the protests were students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. And they were all teens.

Look at the resolve on the faces of David Richmond, Franklin McCain, Jabreel Khazan, and Joseph McNeill as they walk into the Walgreens… (the more famous picture above was actually day two, and included two new protestors, William Smith and Clarence Henderson).

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Image from Wikipedia

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A few years after the sit-ins, the March on Washington, made most famous by Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream Speech”, was led by students, including Representative John Lewis, just 23 at the time.

Five years before Greensboro, Rosa Parks would not move to the back of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, sparking the most famous protest of the era. But Parks wasn’t actually the first to refuse to leave her seat. Nine months earlier, that honor went to Claudette Colvin, a 15-year-old girl.

And of course, the modern equivalent of these pioneers is the young woman with a will of steel, the Pakistani hero Malala Yousafzai, known as just Malala (How many people have one-name fame in their teens?). Malala started blogging about living under the thumb of the Taliban when she was 11 years old. By 15, she was so threatening, the Taliban shot her in the head.

1neztzl5xelhianqvagyiuw.pngMy point is not a subtle one. Don’t dismiss these Parkland teens because they’re young. Watching how well they handle themselves and how they speak to power is thrilling.

Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Delaney Tarr, Cameron Kassky and others are using all forms of media expertly to create impact. And they’re effectively railing against a system that has allowed kids to be massacred at school. They act fearless and speak truth to power.

Kassky stood calmly in front of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio on CNN. He asked Rubio repeatedly to stop taking money from the NRA. When the Senator said he would accept support from anyone who supported his agenda, Kassky shot back, “Your agenda’s protecting us, right?”

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Cameron Kassky and Senator Marco Rubio                                            Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg on CNN

I have two boys, 14 and 11. I honestly fear for their safety. I’ve felt powerless at times to change their reality of “active shooter drills” and living scared. So I’ve watched in awe as these teens, just a few years older than my son, have done so much so fast. They’ve gathered massive numbers of supporters online: Gonzalez collected 1.1 million Twitter followers in just a couple of weeks — that’s half a million more than the NRA has. These kids have created a national movement, all in the face of vicious attacks.

They are challenging what the adults in the room have allowed to become reality. They don’t want to accept that people should have such easy access to an AR-15. Or, to bring in other problems that affect the youth even more than us, they’re not happy that we’re not fighting climate change and building a clean economy (see a beauty of a tweet from David Hogg).

One of the big differences between this gun safety movement and what’s come before is the reaction from companies. Business is now expanding it’s “social responsibility” and sustainability agenda to include a long list of issues, from immigration and DACA, to LGBT and lobbying for climate action. They’re finally moving on guns. A growing list of big organizations, mainly in the travel sector (like United and Hertz), are ending co-marketing arrangements with the NRA and discounts for members. And on February 28th, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced it would no longer sell “assault-style firearms” or high-capacity magazines, or sell guns to people under 21.

These are brave kids. And I know that that they’re not really fearless. Instead, they have that sense of invulnerability that only teens have which allows them to power through any fear.

These teens are blissfully unaware of what’s “impossible”

But they also have a blessed ignorance — not of facts, which they seem to command pretty well. No, they’re blissfully unaware of what’s “impossible.” They choose to ignore that they’re not supposed to ask for a ban on weapons of war in civilian hands. They don’t know that some politicians are “unbeatable” in their districts, so they just plan to vote them out.

These kids, like their predecessors from Alabama to Pakistan, can change what’s possible.

And millions of them will be voting in 2018 and 2020.

Read the original article here

 

 

MEMBER FEATURE: a conversation with Jessica Kinsey, Career Development Manager at Cirtronics and NHBSR Board Member

screen_shot_2018-02-22_at_4.08.33_pm.pngThe customer is always right is an age-old adage central to prominent business models, where focus on corporations, their suppliers, and increasing demand are the factors driving a company’s decision making. Cirtronics, a 40% employee-owned advanced manufacturing technology company in Milford, NH, offers a more expansive model, upholding a central commitment to also serving its employees, local community, and the environment.

Cirtronics has become a leader not only in advanced manufacturing, but also in championing a philosophy of service.

 

Employees                                                                                                          
Cirtronics make a special effort to have its employees always feel connected. Everything from the company’s communications to the layout of its facilities is designed to promote interaction, responsiveness, and transparency. Cirtronics' offices and manufacturing spaces are wide open and efficient with wheels on everything from the chairs to the supply carts.

Cirtronics has a similar approach to cultivating the growth of its employees.

“We respond to our employees’ interests by giving them the support, training, and freedom they need to branch out into different departments,” explains Jessica Kinsey, Career Development Manager at Cirtronics. “They are then able to contribute in ways that speak to their own skills and interests and are, consequently, stronger and more invested employees.”

Community
The Cirtronics Community Out-Reach Program (CCORP) aims to donate 10% of company profits to local charities. Last year this amounted to around $100,000 in donations. Cirtronics also supports local nonprofits by providing fundraising teams, space for meetings and events, and volunteer opportunities. CCORP actively connects employees to local volunteer opportunities and pays them for 36 hours of their volunteer time.

Just as the company is employee driven, committees like CCORP are comprised of rotating employee-owners who aim to address community needs with the skills and resources Cirtronics has to offer.

Environment
Another rotating employee-owner committee, the Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) seeks to reduce Cirtronics’s carbon footprint. One of ESP’s initiatives, the Conservation Station, was highlighted in NHBSR’s 2016 Sustainability Slams and resulted in a 90% reduction in non-biodegradable plasticware usage.

One of the ESP’s most successful campaigns is the twice-yearly highway cleanup program where employee-owners collect nearly 100 bags of roadside trash. Going out, having employees strap up their boots, and get dirty is just one very visceral way that Cirtronics exemplifies leading by its principals.

 

Kinsey stresses, “When we’re able to align the work we do with our core values, we’re truly able to thrive, grow, and contribute our best each and every day. This philosophy and our commitment to service is woven into the DNA of Cirtronics. We see our investments in our employees and their wellbeing, our local community, and the environment as key factors driving our success.”

Connect with Jessica at our Spring Conference on May 2 in Concord or reach out to her by email at JKinsey@cirtronics.com!!

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