Blog

by Amanda Grappone Osmer, Grappone Automotive

At Grappone Automotive, my family’s 92-year-old business, our mission is the thing that tells us who to hire.  It’s the thing that guides our coaching and mentoring.  Grappone’s mission is the silent partner who either nods in approval or shakes a concerned head when we hold our decisions up to it.  Our mission is, we truly and deeply believe, what leads to happy, engaged, creative team members who wake up wanting to serve not their own interests, but something greater.  So let’s get to the mission:

The mission of Grappone Automotive is dedication to building lifelong relationships by serving our team members, guests, and community with integrity, kindness, and respect.

This mission statement, you might guess, goes back to the good old days when there were Ford Galaxies on the lot (pictured here), but the truth is that it is less than fivegrappone_59_galaxie.jpg years old.  The truth is, we were so focused on sales, service, parts, and collision repair for so long that quite frankly we weren’t doing as well as we could have by the team.

Yes, we were good.  And I am very proud of the work done by the generations who came before.  But, as Jim Collins tells us in Good to Great, good is the enemy of great, and our team knows in its bones that if there is a better way to do business, a way that is more honoring of the team, and more effective in supporting families and the communities in which we live, we must do whatever it takes to carry out the better way. 

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And so we came up with a mission statement that silently prods us ever onward, through service to others.  Service to our team members (they are most intentionally listed first in the mission statement): this is where wellness programs, family friendly policies, company-wide team building events, our volunteer program and other activities come into play.  Service to our guests: by continuously seeking out better ways to meet their needs while providing superior service by truly happy people.  Service to our community: by partnering with sports teams, non-profits, vendor partners, and serving on boards and advisory groups to offer whatever resources we can to make NH a better place to work, live, and raise a family.

grappone_walkamile.pngSo does it work, all this mission stuff?  I think it does.  No, I feel that it does. 
I feel it when I give a tour of our LEED certified Toyota/HQ building and outsiders say “Everyone here is so nice!”  I feel it when new team members, during their onboarding, meet with me and say things like, “I can’t believe how helpful everyone is.  I have never worked in a place like this!  It’s like Lake Wobegon.”  I feel it when a team member who has served my family for three decades asks if he can talk to me, then says “I just needed to tell you how much this place has meant to my family and me over the years.  You have always been there for us.”  I feel it when I read the statistic that the national average for turnover in car sales is almost three times what it is at Grappone, and that the number of women working in car sales is just 10%, compared to Grappone’s 40%.  And I feel it when I read the online reviews and take random phone calls from people who heard me on the radio and just wanted to call and say what a great thing we’re doing down there at Grappone.

What do you feel when you go to work?  Do you feel that the service you provide is making a positive difference in someone’s life, no matter how minor it might be?  Do you feel you are part of something much larger than yourself?  Do you feel inspired to be creative in the name of problem solving?  Do you feel valued?  If you are reading this, and you work at Grappone Automotive, I passionately hope that you can answer yes to all of those questions.  If not, please call or email me (305-1478/amanda@grappone.com) so I can hear your story. 

And if you are reading this and you don’t work at Grappone, we’re hiring. smiley   

Photos: 1) Ford Galaxy, 2) Boat to work event, 3) Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event team

 

 

 

MEMBER FEATURE: A conversation with Jessica Catino, President of Digital Prospectors

Please help us welcome Digital Prospectors to the NHBSR community. We hope that you will introduce yourself when you have the opportunity. We sat down with Jessica recently to learn more about how the company, what inspires their work and to get a sense of their unique culture in the recruiting world.

Walking into the Digital Prospectors office one immediately feels welcomed and is struck by the bright space and the artwork that adorns the walls. We understand that Don, Jessica’s husband and co-owner of the company, loves design almost as much as his regular job and enjoyed the process of selecting the artwork and other creative items that you find in the space.

The company’s start is the story of two friends—Don and his best friend from kindergarten, Chris Roos—who decided to embark on their own endeavorDon and Chris at the first Digital Prospectors office back in 1999. Don had worked for a recruiting company and was inspired to do it differently and better. He recruited Chris as his partner and they set forth to create a company built on their experience and their vision to create a company known for quality work, its people and excellent customer service.  In 1999 we all know that the world was anticipating Y2K and hoping to make the transition without a hitch. Don and Chris were well-positioned to help companies with their conversion, along with providing general IT support.  Jessica herself was working in finance at the time and having finished business school had been recruited by a financial institution in NYC. She was on the verge of accepting, when Don and Chris invited her to join their team as their business strategist and to oversee the company’s operations, which allowed them to focus on what they did best which was sales. Not everyone might be able to work with their spouse, but having now worked together for thirteen years it’s clear they have found the formula for success.

For many years the company was a staff of 10 and was based in a small, house-like office in Exeter.  As the company started to grow it was clear that they needed more space. This was a happy reason to look for a new location, which is what brought them to their current, larger office also in Exeter two years ago. Their team now consists of 34 employees, split between their NH and Boston offices, along with over 200 consultants under contract working for their clients. As a technical staffing firm known for building teams of highly qualified IT and engineering professionals for their clients, they have a passion for making meaningful connections between the two.

In speaking with Jessica it’s clear that one of the important things as one of the people who runs the business is that they have the ability to create a company that they want to work for, and in turn work hard to make it a place that their employees want to work for as well. Their business is about people and making meaningful connections with the goal of helping people find the right job. Their tagline—Love Your Job—speaks not only to their desire to create a workplace where their own employees love their jobs, but also to their mission of helping others find work that they too love.  Finding a new job can be a very unsettling time and so a top priority for Digital Prospectors’ team is to find not just any job, but the right job for people and to provide support all along the way. A great motivation for their work is not just the idea but the reality of making a difference in someone’s life.The Digital Prospectors at a company ropes course outing

Jessica is the first to say that recruiting is not easy work. It can be very demanding, competitive and stressful. With that said, they work hard to create an environment where there is an equal amount of fun and celebration with the goal of bringing balance to the day. Because they are a small company they have the ability to be nimble and to make adjustments and enhancements to work flow and work life that will help improve the day to day environment for employees. Open communication is an integral part of their success. Weekly wrap up meetings take place (with the Boston office connecting virtually), where employees learn what is happening with the company and they have the ability to share what is happening on their end. 

The burger van visits the Digital Prospectors office

Monthly block parties are held, giving everyone a chance to celebrate and connect outside of the office itself.The company recently created a mentor role which gives those who are mentoring an opportunity to share their expertise and improve their management skills and the mentee an opportunity to improve their performance. They have also recently started a virtual anonymous suggestion box, which allows employees to make suggestions that they may not have felt comfortable sharing in a wrap-up meeting for whatever reason. Volunteering is also an important part of the company culture. 

Digital Prospectors team gives back with company wide volunteer days

Every employee is given 8 hours a year to spend volunteering at an organization of importance to them, in addition to two company-wide volunteer days where they volunteer as a group with their colleagues. They’ve recently created a committee that identifies philanthropic priorities and opportunities for the company to focus on for the year ahead. Jessica explains that they are excited to give employees an opportunity to engage and lead these efforts as it gives them an opportunity to help drive efforts that are important to them.

Jessica and her team at Digital Prospectors have a great many wonderful efforts underway, but acknowledge that there is always more to learn and do. Jessica shares that she is happy to have joined NHBSR and is excited to learn from fellow organizations on ways to make they are making a difference in the workplace and to bring ideas back to the team.

Jessica welcomes the opportunity to connect with fellow members and can be reached at jcatino@digitalprospectors.com or 603.637.4085.

Please join us in welcoming Jessica and the Digital Prospectors team.

[Photos from top to bottom]
- Don and Chris at their first office
- A company-wide team building outing to a ropes course
- The burger van arrives for one of the companies monthly block parties
- Giving back is an important part of the company culture

 

By Lisa Landry and Chelsea Blackstone, Savvy Workshop   

One of the hardest things to do is to get a cause you are passionate about to be noticed by others. It takes a lot of time and effort to build a following and even more time to cultivate a message that spreads. At NHBSR our cause is Sustainability. We focus on informing and encouraging businesses to be more sustainable into the future. One of the methods NHBSR uses is events. This gets the message to spread locally, but does not reach a national audience. However, reaching national audiences used to require a large investment which made it out of reach for many nonprofits. Social Media has made this so much easier than it once was and much more cost effective. A charity can send out a tweet and it can spread to millions of people and inspire real action for very little cost and effort. The goal is to bring awareness and raise money. The ALS Ice Bucket challenge is the best example in recent memory, but there are new actionable causes beginning every day on social media.  Here are some tips to help you spread your mission to others and to hopefully become the next Ice Bucket Challenge.

Choose A Cause That Matters To You

For NHBSR this is Sustainability and we have taken many actions to further that cause. However, there are many other worthy causes that are deserving of our attention. You will see new ones on your social media news feeds every day. You need to make sure the one you target is one you are passionate about to get attention. People want to feel like they can make a difference and you need to give them a reason to want to. If the cause isn’t at the core of your beliefs, people will know this and unfortunately turn their limited attention elsewhere. Show pride in your involvement and others will begin to start to see the need to get involved themselves. Make sure you explain what the problem is and how to make a difference, then call your audience to action!

Know Your Audience

One of the biggest factors in making the cause you are passionate about go viral is to know where your audience is. Many take to twitter as it is easy to share and spread quickly. Others choose YouTube for its quick video sharing. This really depends on who you want to reach. For instance, David Duchovny’s “Lick My Face” initiative features a challenge for dog owners to have their dogs lick peanut butter off of their faces with the pledge to donate a dollar per lick to Target Zero, an organization that establishes no-kill policies in animal shelters. Using YouTube holds those who take up the call accountable. People can help them count the number of times the dog likes their face and hold them to the promise to donate. Another charity who knows it’s audience is YearUp.

YearUp has partnered with LinkedIn to help get low income young adults to enter the professional world. The campaign requires professionals to help mentor and create yearlong internships to get these individuals trained to enter the work force. Unlike “Lick My Face”, YearUp would have very little success on YouTube. They need the aid of professionals and most businesspeople do not reside on the video streaming service. So where you post your message will make a difference as to whether it catches on. Do your research and post only where it is appropriate!

Make It Actionable

One of the most important things in any campaign is to make it easy to participate. This was the biggest selling point of the ASL Ice Bucket Challenge. The objective was simple, a participant filmed themselves getting doused with a bucket of ice water as a comparison to what it feels like living with ASL. This was easy to do and made the challenge accessible to anyone who wanted to participate. Those who couldn’t donate, could film themselves completing the challenge and spread it so maybe the people they spread it to could give. There was so much awareness that many people who did not frequent social media knew what the challenge was or participated. David Duchovney’s new “Lick My Face” Challenge is much the same. There is an easy call to action which raises awareness for his cause. Anyone with a dog can easily participate, and each person who does spreads awareness of the campaign. The farther the campaign goes the more likely it is to draw in donors.

Make It Trend

Now this is the hardest part. This is the part where many struggle. Getting people to sit up and take notice is where many causes don’t make the final step. You need to remember the steps, be passionate, know your audience, and make it actionable. If you ask too much people won’t be inclined to do the challenge, if you ask too little the message may get lost. It needs to be fun, so people want to do it, but also informative so people remember why they are doing the activity. It can be very hard to reach that perfect storm of relevance and a perfect call to action, but if you do the results speak for themselves. The ASL Ice Bucket Challenge raised $220 million worldwide for ASL research. So much good can be done if you follow these steps and you get trending. We wish you luck as you spread your good messages across the world. Keep fighting the good fight and work hard to make your mark!

By Jess Baum, Marketing Project Coordinator, W.S. Badger

Since the first time I read this quote as a teenager, these beautiful words by Gandhi have been a connective thread throughout my life, helping to guide me in my pursuit to be of service to the change that I believe is so necessary to fix a broken system that exploits the people and the planet on which it depends. I spent my 20’s searching for significance: I taught environmental education, traveled, and worked on farms. I studied permaculture and lived as a member of an intentional community. Eventually, my path as an environmentalist seeking social change led me to pursue an M.S. in Environmental Education at Antioch University New England in Keene, New Hampshire. The program, which has an environmental and social justice mission, Antioch Graduationsynthesized so much of what I’d been seeking.

One night, I had a few of my new classmates over for dinner and one of them noticed my Seventh Generation dish soap. A lively discussion ensued about consumer power, the growing tide of businesses engaging in corporate social responsibility, and how mindfully purchasing from these companies (rather than their conventional counterparts) is an act of rebellion against the status quo, activism that can elicit great change. That day, I had a light bulb moment. I had always thought I would pursue a career in higher education, but I began to see an alternate career path working for a value- and mission-driven company in the realm of sustainability, employee engagement, and consumer empowerment. That was then.

Today, I work for one of those companies: Badger, the family-owned, family-friendly maker of 100% natural and certified organic personal care products.

20150721_135249.jpgHere’s how it happened: Badger has always been an environmentally and socially conscious business, the sort my friends and I had excitedly discussed while washing dishes. In 2011, Badger became a certified B Corp to codify and measure their commitment to positive environmental and social practices in a transparent way that incorporates continual improvement. In early 2015, the company completed its third impact assessment, earning a total score of 138, 58 points above the minimum needed for recertification. For an environmental score of 57, Badger was honored on B Corp’s “Best for the Environment” list, which recognizes businesses that score in the top 10% of B Corps for environmental performance. While this accomplishment was thrilling, the results of the impact assessment highlighted some clear and definitive ways that the company could markedly improve its impact. Namely, while they have always engaged in positive environmental action and sought to do good in with world with every choice they made, they didn’t have a comprehensive and quantifiable way to measure their environmental impact, compare it to previous years, and then set goals for future improvements. Though positive actions were coming from an authentic place of mission alignment, Badger began to see the benefit of creating a clear system and measurable processes through which such actions could flow. It became clear to Badger’s leadership that the company needed a tailor-made Environmental Management System (EMS) to accomplish these goals.

Antioch’s Environmental Studies department offers students several capstone opportunities, from the research-based thesis option to the opportunity to work on a semester-long group collaborative project with an external client. Badger’s proposal to create an EMS that was in step with B Corp standards was one of the few proposals selected from the more than thirty received by Antioch. Five of us excitedly committed to the project and prepared to dig in! We toured the Badger facility multiple times and interviewed each department to understand how things worked. We conducted a waste audit and a greenhouse gas assessment, created tools for monitoring Badger’s environmental impact in future years, and made suggestions for improvement. In the end, we spent six months, and countless hours, learning valuable lessons about sustainability and how to work collaboratively, as well as what it means to be a mission-driven business seeking continual improvement.

After graduating from Antioch, I began working at Badger, full of hope, inspiration, and excitement. I now work in Marketing and have continued the 20160407_134157.jpgsustainability work started by my team’s project.  As a member of the Sustainability Committee, I collaborate with colleagues to engage employees as stakeholders through initiatives that connect them to overarching issues and themes. Recently, we conducted our second-ever waste audit with awesome results (check out our blog to learn more! http://www.badgerbalm.com/blog/talking-trash-waste-audits-badger/2016/). We also launched a yearlong campaign to engage and educate employees on sustainable sourcing, starting with a week of activities leading up to Earth Day to promote awareness. 

trash_audit_7.jpgAs a grad student, I had a meaningful conversation with a colleague that really stuck with me.  She said that sometimes, being a part of a work culture that is aligned with your values is more important than the actual day-to-day work you’re doing. I took that advice to heart, and am so glad I did! I am now part of a company that sees the world as it could be, not how it is, and strives to get closer to a communal vision for a healthier world. I have been working for this remarkable company for just over a year now, and I am both impressed and inspired by all that I have seen. It’s amazing what’s possible when a mission-driven company brings like-minded people together and empowers them to dream big and take action. 

I’ve come a long way since that day in my kitchen talking with friends over dish soap about making meaningful purchases. Likewise, Badger continues to look for ways to improve as a company, doing what I most wanted to be a part of, being the change we want to see in the world.

Photos: 1) Graduation from Antioch with my parents; 2) gardens at Badger; 3) Sustainability Committee at Badger; 4) Waste audit in action

 

 

 

MEMBER FEATURE: A conversation with Ryan Hvizda, The Hvizda Team / Keller Williams Realty

Matchingmaking: People & Homes

We recently met Ryan and her husband Michael, who are The Hvizda Team at Keller Williams Realty, and are delighted to welcome them as new members of NHBSR. Some of you may have met Ryan and Michael at the conference a couple of weeks ago, but if not we hope that you’ll have a chance to meet them at another point this year.  Please join us in giving them a warm welcome. We recently had a conversation with Ryan to learn a little more about her and The Hvizda Team, their business and interest in NHBSR.  

I think that for most of us our homes are our sanctuaries and is the place that we return to at the end of the day, where we gather with family and friends, and where we invest an amazing amount of time in working to make it reflect who were are and how we like to live. Do you remember your first house and what it was about the house that spoke to you and made you know it was “one”? I was completely smitten with the window latches of my first house and the big red barn, which was an 1870’s in-town farm house in midcoast Maine. I remember my mom suggesting that I look beyond the latches to make the decision, which I did, but all to say these little details are sometimes what hook us. And when it comes selling one’s house we hope that we will be passing on the house to someone who will love and appreciate some of the same things we did. This isn’t always the case, but personally speaking, it makes it easier to let go when we feel there’s a good match with the next owners.

Ryan has been studying and practicing permaculture since 2010 when she and her husband Michael lived on a permaculture farm for a year. Their personal experience in searching for their own permaculture homestead was their catalyst for getting into the real estate business. While all real estate is about finding the right fit for both seller and buyer, they realized that there are types of properties, particularly agricultural ones, where stewardship plays a key role in the transfer of such a property.

[photo credit: Aliza Eliazarov, http://alizaeliazarov.com/]

Ryan received her PDC in 2011 at Colby Sawyer College and then went on to take numerous permaculture courses ranging from urban permaculture design to regenerative wasteland ecosystems in Haiti. Throughout this process of continuing education she and Michael realized that real estate affects all of us and there was an enormous opportunity to found a real estate practice on the ethics of permaculture. The Hvizda Team has been practicing real estate for three years, getting their start deeply rooted in community and ethics grounded in permaculture.

There are three main principals in permaculture: fair share, people care, earth care. There is a lot of information about permaculture available- in fact, too much to share here. However, we will share a few key elements that are important to Ryan and The Hvizda Team.

 

[photo credit: Aliza Eliazarov, http://alizaeliazarov.com/]

Their top priority is the wellbeing of their team and the people they work for. In terms of their business this means they meet people where they are at—by assisting them in identifying and articulating their goals. Buying or selling a home is a significant decision and so this clarity helps the team know how to best support their clients as they make this transition.

The Hvizda Team believes that real estate starts with community and so education is a core element their practice. They offer a series of free, consumer-based educational workshops throughout the year, including a Home Stewardship Series and Land Access & Transfer Series. These workshops bring together a wide range of professionals in that realm who are available to as a resource to individuals considering either purchasing or selling a property. The more informed they are, the better decisions they are able to make. Between 2012-2015, The Hvizda Team has had 15 such educational workshops which have brought together service providers that have included: NOFA-NH, Land For Good, New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, Farm Service Agency, Farm Credit East, ACA, New Hampshire Agricultural Mediation Program, UNH Cooperative Extension, The Russell Foundation, South East Land Trust, Five Rivers Land Trust, NRCS, and BCM Environmental & Land Law PLLC.

hvizda_1.pngAs the title of this message suggests—fitting a person with a home or a home with a person is a bit like matchmaking, the essence of which is about relationships. While many real estate transactions are straightforward, there are just as many that require a greater understanding of both the place and the person. For The Hvizda Team, getting clear about a client’s goals and motivations is essential. Clients need to paint the picture of what they want and have a vision of who they would like to take over their property. From there Ryan and the team can put their energy into finding the right fit.  Ryan and Michael have had the opportunity to help a number of people with unique properties, that include one that has been homesteaded for 40 years, a nature-based pre-school, and a biodynamic farm. In the small world of NH, we learned that Ryan and Michael represented the sellers of Third Stone Farm, which was bought by a NHBSR board member and her husband. Ryan shared with us that the sellers continue to serve as mentors to both she and Michael along with the new owners of Third Stone Farm.  While they are uniquely equipped to help with these special properties, their team of 5 specializes in all residential real estate.

We asked Ryan what inspired her to join NHBSR and her answer—why wouldn’t they? She and Michael learned about NHBSR from a fellow NHBSR member, Warrenstreet Architects, and in learning more realized that NHBSR was an organization of like-minded people that they both want to be a part of and support. The conversations that are happening in the NHBSR community are the conversations that fuel their whole passion about why they are in the business.  Ryan feels they have a social responsibility to their community and being part of NHBSR is an opportunity to connect with and learn from others who feel the same.

We asked Ryan what they are looking forward to as a member of NHBSR. She shared that they are looking forward to hearing about different organizations successes around their sustainability and social responsibility initiatives. They find themselves connecting with a lot of entrepreneurial groups, but having participated in the NHBSR conference they were excited to be injected into conversations with people from different levels of companies in NH.

The Hvizda Team has offices in Bedford and Concord—and will soon be in the seacoast as well, and offers services for all aspects of Residential Real Estate. Ryan welcomes the opportunity to connect with fellow NHBSR members. You can reach Ryan by email at rhvizda@kw.com, or via phone at 603-557- 6661 or 603-232- 8282. You can also find them on Facebook and their new website will be live any day at www.hvizdateam.com

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MEMBER FEATURE:  a conversation with Kevin Johnson, Gale River Motel

Recently we sat down for a phone conversation with Kevin Johnson who owns and runs the Gale River Motel in Franconia. As a new member ofNHBSR we wanted to learn more about Kevin, his business and where he finds his sustainability inspiration.

Kevin’s story contains a number of “when the stars align” moments.  He came into the business after starting down the path of a profession in the mental health field, having received a master’s in counseling and psychology.  As he thought about work / life balance Kevin references Harry Chapin’s 1974 song, “Cats in the Cradle,” which tells the story of a father who is too busy with work to spend time with his son and who in turn becomes like his father. Kevin made a promise to himself long before he had a family that when he did he would put his family first, with career coming second. And in 1997 when his daughter was born the song really began to resonate and served as his incentive to be very intentional about choosing a new career path that would allow for this balance. While being a innkeeper may not have seemed like the logical first choice, there were many aspects that were a good fit. Fortunately, in college Kevin worked in student personal and managed a dormitory, so he thought that inn keeping wasn’t that much of a stretch—and certainly guests were likely to be better behaved that rambunctious college students.

He and his wife set out on what would turn into a 3 year search for a lodging property that would be the right fit for their family. They looked in Vermont,galeriver2003_041.jpg Maine and New Hampshire and were clear about finding a property that would be financially viable, that was well located and had a good school system. On their return from one of their many searches, with two tired kids in the backseat, they pulled off the road in Franconia and ended up at the Gale River Motel for the night. They loved the motel right away- and after a tour with the innkeepers it was just what they were looking for – but it wasn’t for sale. It wouldn’t be until two years later that they would receive a call from their realtor who said “I have just the motel for you—it’s just the one you are looking for.” As luck would have it the property was called the Gale River Motel.  And in under 24 hours they became motel owners. See what we mean about stars aligning? Kevin hasn’t looked back since that momentous day and has been happy to uphold the promise he made to himself to put family first and to have been able to meet his kids after school each day.

We asked Kevin about where he found his inspiration around being green.  What we learned is that it harkens back to the 1970’s and his father who was an early adopter of not just the idea of being green, but someone who lived it. As an artisan, carpenter and electrician among his many talents, his father built several houses and one of the things he embraced was the desire to be green in ways beyond just recycling. These were the days of the oil embargo and there were programs being promoted to move people towards sustainability. One of the first things that Kevin’s father did was build a passive solar greenhouse on the back of the house that essentially heated the entire house.  He was one of the first in the county to put up a solar hot water system that allowed him to unplug the electric hot water heater for the rest of the time he owned the house.

So, with this as his introduction, Kevin was thinking green, sustainability and thriftiness from an early age. Having pursued an undergraduate degree in biology he learned even more about the intricacies and web of life we have on this planet and just how sensitive it is. He takes his job of being a good steward and keeping his impact minimal very seriously.

almostdone_1.jpgKevin sees the application of sustainable properties in the hotel/motel/restaurant industry as an evolving process, one which is driven by cost benefit right now. For Kevin he started with the things that were simple and didn’t require significant financial investment—changing out incandescent lights and recycling as much as possible—from there he prioritized his next steps. The first big project he undertook at the motel was replacing all of the bathroom windows to tighten up the buildings, followed by replacing his outdated boiler which was heating his domestic hot water.  The next big project was installing a solar hot water system.The latest project, and by far the most significant, was putting in a PV system – PV stands for photovoltaic – which is a 52 panel system installed on the roof, which is designed to be a net zero generator. The system was installed last December and was up and running in early January. With this system in place Kevin’s electric bill should be zero. Incentives and tax credits made an otherwise financially prohibitive project possible. Having paid $2000-2500 a year in electricity in the past, Kevin is anticipating that with this new system the payback will be about 4 years.  Check out his solar log to see what is being generated and used. 

As the saying goes, “slow and steady wins the race.”  Kevin knew that he couldn’t change everything at once which is why over the last ten years he’s tackled one project at a time as he can afford to do them. He has seen the benefits compound quickly. He recognizes that he may have hit a sweet spot, given business size, to have been able to make this latest project work, but encourages others to explore incentives if considering similar projects. Kevin recognizes that not every business or organization may be able to live their philosophy as there are significant financial considerations. Lots of businesses will struggle with that tension in making decisions about how and where they practice their sustainability.

Kevin left us with a message to share. As one of the smallest lodging properties in NH, he feels that if he can make these changesdscn0060.jpg in support of a more sustainable business, then anyone can. It’s a matter of embracing the desire to do something and taking little steps towards that goal. Start by choosing just one thing- the thing that will have the biggest affordable impact.

The Gale River Motel has been recognized by the New Hampshire Sustainable Lodging & Restaurant Program as an Environmental Champion and has earned the 2015 Certificate of Excellence and a Platinum Green Leader status from TripAdvisor.com. With these feathers in his cap, Kevin certainly serves as an inspiration for us all and we hope that you will keep his efforts in mind as you consider your own moving forward.

Kevin will be at the Spring Conference so we hope that you have a chance to meet and talk with him then. You can also find him at the Gale River Motel in Franconia--- which looks like an amazing place to start an adventure of the area.

Kevin welcomes the opportunity to talk with you about his projects and the Franconia area. You can reach Kevin at info@galerivermotel.com or 603-823-5655.

By JOE KEEFE, President and CEO of Pax World Management LLC

istock_000068065975_medium.jpg

I imagine that most people are as frustrated as I am by the current state of world affairs.

Climate change, terrorism, war, poverty, growing inequality, refugee crises, debt crises, horrific human rights abuses…the list goes on and on. The world has always had its share of problems, of course, but today there seems to be a growing sense that things are getting worse and that perhaps we have lost some degree of control over the march of events.

Another defining characteristic of our age is that many people have lost faith in the ability of public institutions to address the challenges confronting us.  The public sector simply isn’t what it used to be, for various reasons in different parts of the globe – just look at the partisan gridlock that has brought our own government to a standstill. 

We live in a time when people are less optimistic, more cynical and have lower expectations, in part because they see government and other institutions as ineffective and unresponsive. 

Of course, the challenges we face today are as solvable as any problems we have confronted in the past – think of slavery, civil war, Apartheid, women’s suffrage, the Great Depression, two world wars, the struggle for civil rights.  We can do this.  We as individuals still can make a difference.

How?

Well, one way is through our investments.

We don’t have to wait for governments to take action. We can actually increase our influence over world events, and potentially have a greater impact (and feel a little less powerless) not just through civic participation, or voting, or supporting non-profits – all of which remain vitally important – but through our role as investors.

Investors can promote positive social change.

All of us have the opportunity to invest in ways that seek to ensure that corporations, and markets, produce better outcomes on key social issues. 

How can investors do that? Let’s take a look at gender inequality as an example.

If you believe women should be better represented in the business world, you can put your money to work by investing in funds that in turn invest in companies that promote gender equality and women’s leadership. You can send a message to companies, through your investments, that women’s leadership is valuable and that gender equality is critical to business success.

You can also stop rubber-stamping all-male corporate boards. At my company, we won’t support any board slate unless it includes at least two women.

You can engage the companies you own to improve their gender diversity policies. For example, over the past few years Pax World has filed or co-filed board diversity proposals at eight companies asking them to adopt gender diversity policies for their boards. In 2015, three of those companies announced female director appointments.

Take another example - climate change - where investors have similar opportunities to make a difference.

Rather than investing in fossil fuel companies, you can invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy; clean water and pollution control; sustainable food and agriculture. You can avoid investing in companies involved in the most carbon intensive fuels, as we do at Pax World, and instead invest in high-impact companies whose products, services or business strategies directly address climate change and other global sustainability challenges.

You can also participate as active shareholders and engage companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change. Again, at Pax World we have filed numerous shareholder resolutions calling on energy companies to publish annual sustainability reports and set quantitative, time-bound goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The bottom line: As investors, we have more power than we realize.  We can prod and pressure and cajole companies into doing the right thing.  Unfortunately, too many of us fail to leverage this power.  

Right now, when it comes to vital issues like climate change and gender equality, most investors are still on the sidelines. In my mind, this is the equivalent of a voter who doesn’t show up at the polls to vote. It is shirking responsibility.  It is forfeiting the opportunity to make an impact. 

Investors are not powerless.  We can move the needle. 

And when it comes to the state of our world today, it seems to me that it is both a moral imperative and an economic imperative that the needle be moved.   

jk_headshot_primary_casual.jpg
Joe Keefe is President and CEO of Pax World Management LLC and Pax Ellevate Management LLC. Under Joe’s leadership, Pax World has become one of the leading innovators in the rapidly growing field of sustainable investing. He is Co-Chair of the Leadership Group for the Women’s Empowerment Principles, a joint program of the United Nations Global Compact and UN Women, and was honored at the United Nations with the Women’s Empowerment Principles Leadership Award in 2014. In 2015, Joe was recognized by Ethisphere Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics” and the Financial Times named him one of its 10 “top feminist men,” for helping “women succeed in business and beyond.”      

 

 

MEMBER FEATUREA conversation with Lisa Landry, Savvy Workshop

For anyone who has met Lisa you know about her genuine enthusiasm for her work, her clients and for connecting people. Her energy is infectious, which makes it no surprise that she loves to sing—and we know music makes the world go ‘round. We sat down with Lisa recently to learn what brought her to start her own business and what inspires her about the work she does so that we can come away with a little extra skip in our step.  Lisa singing the blues

Lisa has been involved with NHBSR since 2005—first as an attendee at conferences, meetings and socials and later as an NHBSR ambassador. It was as an ambassador that she learned more about the breadth and scope of the NHBSR mission, which ultimately led to her getting more deeply involved. Today we call her a close friend and are grateful to have her as a major collaborator and supporter of our outreach and communications.  But let’s step back and look at how she came to be where she is today.

As with many people, the decision to make a change in work often has a lot to do with the desire for a lifestyle change. In Lisa’s case she had worked for a major firm for almost 10 years, working with major corporations on their branding and managing their collateral materials on press. This involved lots of travel and time on airplanes, which was fun until her first son was born in 1997. Wanting to be present for her young son she tried working at home part time, while still trying to balance the traveling required for her job.  She found it really hard to not be home at the end of the day when work called her away. One time in particular stands out in her mind—she was in Cincinnati for a press check which went late, resulting in her missing her plane by 5 minutes. And as luck would have it that was the last flight for the night. We know that life’s difficult moments often give us clarity as was the case for Lisa. She was determined to make a change and a very international one that would support a lifestyle that supported better work/life balance. 

landryfamily2016.jpgLisa didn’t want to give up on her career, but she wanted to figure out how she could do it differently and on her own terms. She wanted to continue to work, contribute to her clients and community, and stay relevant while also being present for her family. She had a great line—“If you don’t stay in it, you don’t grow with it.” So she set off….

In 1998 Lisa started her first business, which focused on print and brand management, which was where the focus was at that time. She recognized that in order to be home more she needed to find clients that were in her own backyard. There weren’t many Fortune 500 companies in her neighborhood so she really had to think about how her services could be relevant to small and medium size businesses. She shifted her focus in how she talked about her core competencies so that they could translate to what smaller companies needed.  It’s hard to imagine Lisa ever being a wallflower, but she describes herself as one when she went to her first Greater Manchester Chamber event since she knew hardly anyone at that point. She had a big network in her industry, but not in her backyard. Like with most networks, it all starts with making one new acquaintance and then a second…and from there the community grows. From wallflower to social butterfly!

Lisa discovered that she really enjoyed working with business owners, entrepreneurs and smaller marketing teams. While these businesses couldn’t afford to hire her full time she found there was an opportunity to add value to their work as an outside consultant, as a marketing or strategy person. This meant she had the chance to work with a wide array of industries – from health care to financial services and everything in between. The research aspect of her work is clearly the fascinating part. Like donning a costume to get into character, Lisa puts herself in her clients’ shoes whenever she writes or designs for them. Having a thorough understanding of who they are, what they do, who they serve, why their product / service is important, how they are different, and why their product matters to those they serve is essential. Only then can she really start digging in.

While printing was a core competency early on, the digital world took off which motivated Lisa to a shift her business model to respond to these new emerging tools in the marketplace—websites, social media and content creation. While larger companies had whole departments that focused on marketing and communications, smaller companies didn’t. Lisa found that there was a real need for helping smaller companies in this rapidly changing world. And thus, Savvy Workshop, a multi-channel marketing company, was born.

It is clear from speaking with Lisa and seeing her in action that she loves connecting people and businesses. She has a lot of tools in her tool belt and gets excited about helping businesses solve challenges, however big or small. She brings an objective eye to situations that need a fresh perspective madwomen_event_savvy_workshop.jpgwith the goal of bringing out the best in her clients. Savvy Workshop is very B2B focused—with LinkedIn being a significant tool. Lisa has helped NHBSR a great deal on LinkedIn, so we have seen her magic first hand.  Last October, Savvy Workshop became a Hubspot partner.  This has been a great addition to their toolbox, now having a platform that takes advantage of all social media avenues and allows for efficient and effective InBound Marketing Campaign Management. 

When asked what she would like NHBSR members to know about her and Savvy Workshop, Lisa shares—she is a teacher at heart and loves opportunities to share what she knows. You can see this through conversation or workshops that she holds.  She also loves event-based marketing. These type of events involve the whole tool kit—starting with a vision and from there creating all of the components that lead to the event itself. NHBSR certainly saw this when we worked together on the Just One Thing / Sustainability Slam last fall (don’t forget to mark your calendar for the 2nd annual Sustainability Slam on October 20th).  Creating relationships is paramount to who she is—those where there is a true partnership. She is creative, a true partner, loyal, and committed to clients’ success. Networking face to face is where these relationships start, but where Lisa wields her wand is helping these conversations stay alive after this and staying top of mind.

We hope that you’ll stop by the Savvy Workshop exhibitor table at the Spring Conference and meet her colleague Chelsea. Unfortunately, Lisa won't be there for you to ask about how the recent Barry Manilow concert was. Some of us are just a little bit envious that she saw this late ‘70s/early ‘80s icon. After all, he “writes the songs that make the whole world sing” and we can bet that Lisa was singing along! We read about Bob Dylan stopping Barry at a party back in 1988, hugging him and saying, "Don't stop what you're doing, man. We're all inspired by you.” We hope that Lisa won’t stop doing what she’s doing, because we at NHBSR are inspired by what she does!

Lisa would love to hear from you--- you can reach her at:  lisa@savvyworkshop.com,  phone: 603-792-0080,  www.savvyworkshop.com

by Roger Stephenson, Stephenson Strategic Communications

Late in 2014 more than 100 leaders from across the New Hampshire business community met to discuss the impacts on their companies due to changes www.nhweatheringchange.com/files/2015/09/wcnh-report.pdfin the state’s historic weather patterns.

Members of the host committee for the NH Weathering Change forum came from all ten counties.  Participants were on hand from seven New Hampshire banks and a dozen local chambers of commerce, along with officials from business associations including travel & tourism, grocery, and the ski industry. Individual businesses included manufacturing, transportation, farming, forestry, tourism and finance.

The diverse group of business leaders found agreement that weather events are a business risk and they are becoming increasingly significant, and that one of the most accessible ways to adapt to it is by implementing clean and diverse energy technologies that contribute to increased resiliency.

The issues surrounding the trends of a shifting climate are complex, but when the report was released last fall host committee member Steve Duprey said, “If you assume that climate change is not man-made, that it’s natural, and we do nothing but take steps to improve our technology, 20 to 30 years from now, our children will be left with a better environment. If we do nothing, and find out 20 to 30 years from now that we were wrong, how do we look at our children and grandchildren and explain why we let this opportunity pass.”

www.nhweatheringchange.com/files/2015/09/wcnh-report.pdfThings move forward in New Hampshire when all sectors of the political spectrum engage together to find balanced, effective, locally-driven answers to the complex situations we face in the modern world. This is particularly true with environment energy, and similarly large and complex issues. The Nature Conservancy and The Environmental Defense Fund are working together in New Hampshire to encourage a more open and balanced discussion of the merits of different policy alternatives that will increase use of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies.

Acknowledging that many of the discussions on resilience have been among state and local governments and scientists, leaders at the NH Weathering Change forum said in response that without the private sector at the table, important opportunities (both for the communities and the bottom line) may be lost.  Businesses need to make sure that they have a voice to ensure government understands the issues that the private sector has to deal with, and understands the things businesses have to worry about in order to remain profitable.

www.nhweatheringchange.com/files/2015/09/wcnh-report.pdf

Member businesses of NHBSR lean towards the triple bottom line, and understand that environmental impacts can mean impacts to profits.   Take the time to read New Hampshire Weathering Change; the value of this report is that it illustrates broad concerns, and invites a range of ways in which business leaders, chamber boards, Rotaries and others might contribute to the dialogue.   You can help raise awareness and build upon what the participants began by sharing copies of the report with your friends and colleagues.     

Hard copies of the report are available by contacting Roger Stephenson:  rs@stephensonstrategic.com.

If this has been helpful please let us know along with other topics that you would like to hear more about. Thank you.

 

 

MEMBER FEATURE: 
A conversation with Kevin Stickney, Founder of Calypso Communications

Everyone has a story to tell, and here at NHBSR we jump at the chance to get to know our members through a different lens while they tell us their tales.

What we found most intriguing about Kevin Stickney’s story were the experiences and events that inspired him to start Calypso Communications. If you look at his profile on the Calypso website, you’ll see he’s earned a 99.9 percent rating on his “mastery of the written word,” along with a 90 for “leaving rogue coffee cups around the office.”  During this conversation we focused on the words, and we hope this feature meets his standards.

At NHBSR, we are lucky to have Kevin as a new board member, where he serves on the governance committee. We are also extremely fortunate to have Calypso as NHBSR’s social media sponsor—helping us engage audiences in conversation about corporate social responsibility and sustainability, upcoming NHBSR events, and the great things our members are doing here in New Hampshire. (We’d like to make a special callout to Calypso’s Devan Meserve, who has been an amazing help in keeping NHBSR’s social media life vibrant.)

We sat down with Kevin recently to learn more about his work, where he finds inspiration, and his connection to NHBSR. Growing up, Kevin loved the written word and was an avid writer and reader. In juxtaposition was his fascination with mechanical engineering, technology, and understanding how things work. He majored in English literature at Union College. After school, he joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to a village in Korea where he taught English. Given the rural location, there was time to explore other endeavors beyond the classroom. As luck would have it, Kevin discovered a farmers cooperative building irrigation systems nearby, and he was welcomed to get involved and support their efforts, allowing him to pursue his love of engineering.

After his return to the U.S. in 1980, Kevin joined environmental pioneer Wheelabrator-Frye Inc., where he eventually became VP of public affairs. He spent 16 years there and loved the challenge of translating complex projects and environmental science into understandable language for a wide range of audiences. In this job, he had a hard time finding outside agencies that understood the technologies and issues he worked with. This challenge is what prompted him to start thinking about starting a strategic communications firm poised to serve complicated industries.

When the moment was right, that’s exactly what Kevin did. Since founding Calypso (with business partner Paul Young) in 2000, Kevin has seen a rapid shift in how companies communicate technology, especially those shrouded in intricate issues that make the communication process multifaceted, yet critical. He’s also seen an increased need for accuracy, speed, and proper channel alignment. Largely based on his interests, Calypso has gravitated toward working with clients in the energy, environment, and technology arenas, but now has a strong reputation in healthcare and private equity as well.

Calypso has purposely stayed small and focused. The company has been a member of NHBSR since 2013. When asked what attracted Calypso to a NHBSR membership, Kevin said the fact that many major NH companies have memberships signaled to him the importance of the organization and motivated him to get involved. He believes that sustainability is an integral part of Calypso’s day-to-day work in striving to help businesses remain sustainable and viable for the long-term. His team enjoys working to keep businesses healthy, which helps encourage smart and talented people to stay in the state. Kevin believes businesses and organizations need to create environments where employees feel supported and enjoy contributing.

Certainly, what we found in talking with Kevin is that Calypso is a small, but mighty firm, committed to their clients as well as to their team members. One  of the benefits of being small is that they work very collaboratively, so they can each offer insight and ideas to bolster other individual or team projects. We also know that they are a team that has fun together. cal-2015-teamphoto-web.jpg

Calypso had a big year in 2015 with a couple of noteworthy events. Early in the year, Houssam Aboukhater joined the team as Kevin’s business partner and managing director. Kevin and Houssam have known each other for a long time, stemming back to Wheelabrator days, so this is a reunion of sorts. Houssam brings extensive business management and operations experience to Calypso. He has held executive positions in the manufacturing and private equity industries, and most recently was managing director of a European holding company that owned and operated numerous major hotels. His broad experience in hospitality, as well as with international business development, will serve to expand Calypso’s partnerships in many industries.

The second exciting event, which coincides with Calypso’s 15th anniversary last June, is the office’s move from Bow Street to Ladd Street (still in the heart of downtown Portsmouth). The team has embraced the new space and loves being part of the vibrant downtown community.

Calypso works with all industries, but the team most enjoys working with companies that are creative, progressive, and that value employees and want to grow. For anyone interested in learning more about Calypso Communications, Kevin welcomes a conversation. You can reach him at 603-431-0816 or via email at kstickney@calypsocom.com

We hope you’ll have a chance to meet Kevin and some of his team at the Spring Conference, where Calypso is the presenting sponsor, or at another upcoming event.

 

 

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