Blog

By Robin Eichert

It’s the small things in life that matter the most.robin_grace2.jpg

That’s an axiom I believe in, yet doing the small things when it comes to being a socially responsible company has always left me feeling inadequate. I’ve been haunted for years with the desire to do more than just the simple, basic, and ordinary things, like recycling and reusing. There must be more that a sole proprietor can do but whatever “that thing” is has eluded me.

Since starting my consulting practice in 2001 and then my association with NHBSR in 2009, my sustainability efforts have been consistent and respectable, though seemingly inconsequential. At my home-based business, I do lots of things that I believe in every day.

Doing simple things but feeling like it was not enough

I drink tap water whenever I can, minimizing the need for extra packaging in purchased water bottles. I only print pages when I need to and I reuse the back sides of printed sheets. I’ve transitioned to more frequent telecommuting meetings to avoid driving a long distance when it’s a nicety but not a necessity. I take longs walks in the woods with my dog, Grace, and revel in the natural world, so I do what I can to protect it. I volunteer in countless ways and give philanthropically when I can.

But my efforts pale in comparison to the amazing stories I hear from fellow NHBSR members who are making a big difference. Hypertherm, Timberland, Wire Belt Company of America, and Grappone, are just a few of the legends. They, with many others, are leading the way with initiatives like energy conservation, solar installations, LEED certified buildings, and a ton of other impactful projects yielding impressive results for our planet and people, all the while remaining profitable.

As a sole proprietor, I glean what I can from NHBSR events and crave for ways that I could have some significance, leaving each NHBSR gathering feeling inspired and motivated, but also scratching my head, a bit perplexed about how I can do more.

peoplesense_gracebday2.jpgA simple idea of one dog’s birthday

Then I got an idea from a most unlikely source: twelve-year-olds who were modeling a very socially responsible activity. For the last several years, I’ve been a regular volunteer at the Monadnock Humane Society. Along the way, I’ve see young children come into the Shelter with boxes of dog food, cat toys, and all sorts of cool things that are needed. For their own birthday parties, these thoughtful and generous youngsters had asked party-goers to bring needed items for the animals instead of gifts for themselves. I thought, “If 12-year-old kids are doing such a selfless deed that is helping others, why can’t my sweet 12-year-old dog do the same thing?”

That seed of an idea has morphed into the #GracefulGiving party, a twist on a birthday bash that allows party-goers to give to others, specifically non-profits organizations who do so much good in our communities, and are always struggling for needed funding. Anyone who gives any amount to any 501c3 organization during the month of October is eligible to win prizes. This virtual gathering allows us all to come together and create a sense of community by celebrating and helping the lives of others.

Leveraging your interests and collective efforts

After seeing the initial activity on the very first annual #GracefulGiving party, it’s so exciting! I finally feel like I’ve landed on an effort that is scaled to my business, but has potential to have an impact—for many people (and animals, too!), along with non-profits. And the best part, it’s great fun! Spearheading this effort that celebrates my sweet and courageous pup, in a way that positively impacts untold number of people, is incredibly rewarding to me. Of course, I will keep recycling and volunteering, but now I’ve found a way to leverage my passions and connect people for mutual benefit, in a new and different way.

I’ve learned a major lesson and the irony is huge. Each piece of this party consists of lots of small things. One fearful dog who is reaching her full potential. One person who decides to make one small donation. One non-profit working hard to provide needed services, perhaps even to a small constituency! I have been undervaluing the small things, but it’s not the size of the endeavor that always matters. It’s when you pull the right things together, it has to potential to be gigantic.  

Join the #GracefulGiving Party on the PeopleSense Facebook page  or sniff out some of details at her website: PeopleSenseConsulting.com.

Note: Don't miss this great writeup on Robin and Grace in The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript.  At the time of this post four non-profit organizations have donations coming in-- Monadnock Humane Society, The River Center, Monadnock Restorative Community, and Monadnock at Home. 

Member Feature: A conversation with Lori Hanau and Jodi Clarke of Global Round Table Leadership

In this season of NHBSR storytelling, it was such a pleasure to have the opportunity to talk with Lori Hanau and her colleague, Jodi Clark, of Global Round Table Leadership (GRTL). GRTL is a coaching and training company located in Keene. They support powerful shifts in consciousness, communications, and community for leaders, groups, organizations and networks from all sectors. Their customized trainings, retreats, facilitation and coaching focuses on stewarding positive personal and group transformation, “wholistic” leadership development and collaborative, vibrant group culture.  Lori and Jodi help individuals and groups tap into their greatness.

GRTL’s definition of Shared Leadership is worth sharing as it says it best—
Shared Leadership is the practice of bringing out the greatest capacity in everyone by empowering us all to be responsible for and engaged in the vibrancy and high function of the whole. This is a fundamental shift in how we understand and apply power and leadership.

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They use strengths-based approaches and tools in their trainings, starting with what is healthy, strong and vibrant. Appreciative inquiry is interwoven with play, performance as well as meditative and wellness practices that cultivate our wholeness and strategic, systems leadership. Lori and Jodi both speak to how heartened they are by what they see transpire over the course of even a 3 hour training that elevates a group into a whole different way of relating. They know that the genius of the group is already there. Their Shared Leadership Framework informs all of their work, which includes the four pillars of Humanity, Equality, Wholeness, and Collective Wisdom. Their newest work has been creating a process for committing to, tracking, and integrating Shared Leadership practices into everyday work life. GRTL’s Compassionate accountability process imbeds continuous learning into the group culture along with co-creating soulful accountability measures—what do they want and who do they want to be—and what needs to happen to get them there. GRTL’s aim is always to just stay just long enough to teach a team new skills, and give them the tools they need to powerfully tap into their own leadership.

It was enlivening to learn about the dynamic work they are doing, along with what brought them both to this work. As we know, everyone has a story! Lori and Jodi have wonderfully rich backgrounds. While very different - think corrugated boxes and improvisational theater- not that we are putting them in a box, they share a deep commitment to inspiring individuals, teams and organizations to become the best version of themselves. Lori’s father consistently told her that life and business is always first and foremost about the quality of relationship and genuine connection in how we lead individually and together and share power and purpose. It is clear from our conversation with them that this value of what they name as shared leadership is integral to their work. But first a little background…

Lori speaks of three essential elements that ultimately inspired her to create Global Round Table Leadership in 2002, how she was influenced by her grtl_loriheadshot2016_0.jpgfather’s leadership, her relationship to the natural world and organizational (systems) wellness or illness. She was raised in an entrepreneurial family. Her father owned three corrugated cardboard manufacturing companies in New England. Lori’s father told Lori and her siblings frequently over the years that he believed the 2nd generation could run a business into the ground quicker than anyone on the planet.  It was then a bit of a surprise when he broke his own rule and invited Lori (the 3rd of 4 children) into his business, where she worked for 10 years. She wouldn’t know how rare a leader he was until she had direct experience working inside the company. She shares that her father modeled a consciousness of leadership, what Lori now calls “shared leadership”, long before we had such names for leadership styles. She saw her father as a leader with a commitment to see every individual as an equal, acknowledging their individual gifts and ideas. She says he led from humanity before roles, status and expertise, so no matter what his employees’ roles were there was a quality of feeling seen and heard for their whole selves and innate gifts, first and foremost. They were met with a level of dignity, encouragement to be responsible for the overall well being and high function of the whole ecosystem and trust that together built incredible collaboration throughout the company.  This village consciousness and “raising the barn together” mentality is something that had a huge impact on Lori and has stayed with her throughout her career.

Lori’s job at her father’s company was selling corrugated boxes. She was the first woman in outside sales within the organization and also the first woman selling corrugated boxes in NH, VT and Maine. She shares that she called on manufacturing companies large and small, publicly held and privately owned and she was struck by how many people didn’t seem to have a sense of meaning, connection to the whole, or purpose at work. This overwhelming sense that people felt disengaged and disempowered in the workplace would become another notable influence as she moved towards creating GRTL.  Another significant influence is her relationship to the natural world. Growing up Lori and her family traveled overseas once a year. She had exposure to indigenous cultures where she learned about the wisdom of wholeness and the innate, unbroken connection to all of life.  She shares her belief in the essential knowledge of seeing oneself as a part of a whole system and the natural world as an integral part of life, wherever and how ever we are showing up.

Following the sale of her father’s business, Lori worked as president and COO for a ceramics manufacturing company for two years, within a distinctly different culture and working environment. Following this she consciously took time and space to begin to think deeply about what she wanted to do next in terms of her life work. She spent a great deal of time alone in nature. She traveled  to conferences and gatherings, meeting with people across the sectors, and was introduced purpose and mission based companies, social entrepreneurs and systems thinking. She was very inspired by these endeavours to think and act more wholistically and realized that these were the people, companies and networks she could advise and co-create with. The culmination of these experiences are what led her to create Global Round Table Leadership. She started by coaching founders and CEOs but has since grown to work with teams and whole companies as well.

Other projects Lori has stewarded from what she has learned include founding the Monadnock Mindfulness Practice Center in Keene, NH as well as writing about her learning and work for Conscious Company Magazine. Lori’s further work has lead her to be co-chair of the Management Programs at Marlboro College Graduate and Professional Studies in Brattleboro,  leading the Collaborative Leadership Concentration and co-leading the Conscious Business Concentration. Lori and Jodi are both faculty at Marlboro, which is where their story together begins.

grtl_jodiheadshot2016_0.jpgJodi entered GRTL by way of Marlboro, where she did her undergraduate studies in anthropology and theater, and one of her masters degrees, (Mission Driven Organizational Management), as well as having worked there in student affairs.  Jodi shares that she has a great love for the depth of community that is practiced at the college. She first learned the power of deep community in theater and being part of an ensemble where they would co-create their shows and through improvisational theater.  She shares that in improv, everyone is there to make each other look amazing, while fully committed to creating something that wouldn’t be possible without everyone there. You are building the bridge as you are walking it, in a manner of speaking. It can be incredibly scary, but also amazingly rewarding when you step into the unknown and allow yourself to be present in the moment. Theater, ensemble and Marlboro are integral on how Jodi got to GRTL. In her degree program—mission driven organizational management—it was not long before she met Lori who, as faculty was holding community circle for the graduate school community during the monthly residency weekends. Jodi experienced the dynamic, creative vibrancy of the community that Lori stewarded as the community builder.  In order to model what was being taught in the coursework, it was Lori’s philosophy to lead with our humanity first, and to meet as equals –before roles, status and expertise—so everyone is equally responsible for stewarding the high function and the collective intelligence of the whole.

Jodi’s background is primarily in theater education, beginning with her founding and leading the Vermont Renaissance Festival, which ran for six years in Brattleboro. She was involved with a program in the Monadnock region called “Acting Out,” an improvisational interactive theater for adolescents. In her work here she brought her love of improv and deep community. It was through that work she had the opportunity  to explore collaborations across various sectors by participating in regional coalitions and committees. She was inspired by what was possible through the ensemble of these groups.  She also experienced moments where the groups would not perform as their best selves, hitting really challenging  moments that blocked the groups from moving through into a breakthrough. She felt called to be of service to those organizations and spaces—to build what she knows is possible in collaborative, ensemble, co-created spaces. Jodi knew if it was possible in improv space, it is possible in every space where people come together to create.  Having met Lori in the community circle and elsewhere at Marlboro, Jodi knew she had met a kindred spirit with Lori. When Lori invited her to join her work, there was no hesitation in jumping on board.

Lori speaks about how artistry and creativity are essential not only to entrepreneurship but to how we lead our lives every day. We are leading in every moment, regardless of our position or roles. Leading is a creative and courageous act. Lori shares that it is surprising how people are so conditioned to not see themselves as artists in business. And yet it takes so much creativity, at so many developmental levels to create a business with an empowering culture that supports excellence.  GRTL offers trainings and coaching that are capacity and skill building, with a commitment to weave these strands back into business. Lori and Jodi believe so strongly in the artistry that we all have—sometimes we just need a little help connecting and believing.

When asked what inspired her to be part of NHBSR—Lori says it best: “to be part of the courageous folks, and while we don’t have all the answers, we care to try to figure it out, we care to try to walk our talk, we care to try to expand our consciousness, we care to try to develop in our humanity and develop our leadership and organizational development. Learning to care and figure it out—while also having a positive impact with our businesses. I’m proud to be part of the NHBSR community.”

Jodi spoke to her own reasons for being part of NHBSR---“NHBSR cultivates a learning community where there is a commitment to learning from each other. The focus on sustainability stories from the inside out of organizations is inspiring. It is a wonderful way of walking the talk of how we are social responsibility for the planet and each other. NHBSR is holding the space for each of us to come together and offer our collective wisdom on what’s working, what’s challenging and how we can help each other through that.

Lori and Jodi both welcome the chance to speak with you—they can be reached via phone at (603) 357-1969 or by email:
Lori: LHanau@grtleadership.com
Jodi: JClark@grtleadership.com

Their website is www.globalroundtableleadership.com

Lori also writes about Shared Leadership as a columnist for Conscious Company Magazine.
You can also catch up with them at the Sustainability Slam!

Member Feature: A conversation with Paul Carnevale, Jr., Carnevale Design

We sat down with Paul Carnevale Jr.  from Carnevale Design recently to discuss not only the NHBSR website, but also to learn more about the company’s background, how he first connected with NHBSR, and his own interest in nonprofit organizations.

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Let’s start by introducing Paul and Paul—Paul Sr. and Paul Jr that is- the father-son team behind Paul Carnevale Computer Help (pcchelp.com) and Carnevale Design (carnevaledesign.com). Paul Sr., a computer programmer since 1980, started his computer consultation business in 1996. As the availability of the internet increased for residential and business use in the mid 1990’s, clients started to ask Paul Sr. about building them a website. These were very early days of the web, but Paul Jr., who was in 6th grade at the time, was excited to research and learn more about this incredible new medium for communication. By the time he is was in 8th grade, at only 15 years old, the demand for websites increased significantly and Paul Jr dove in and began to create these first generation websites for local organizations. He shares that it was an awesome feeling to think about creating something the whole world could see.

Paul Sr. created Carnevale Design’s first nonprofit website for a large nonprofit organization in Sunapee, NH.  His work with the organization opened doors to conversations with other nonprofits. Paul Jr. stepped in and began working with these organizations to provide them with an online presence.  It’s clear from talking with Paul Jr. that he has a true passion for nonprofits and their work and gets excited about providing solutions for these organizations that have meaningful causes. Less you think Paul Jr. only focuses on nonprofits- please know he has a variety of organizations and businesses he works with.

When Paul Jr. finished high school the plan had been for him to join his father with the consulting side of business. At that point though, the interest and demand for web related work increased significantly and so Paul Jr dedicated his efforts entirely to web work. Not only did Paul Jr. celebrate his graduation, but a month after graduation he and his high school sweetheart celebrated again by getting married. Today they have three children, ages 13, 11, and 8.

When I asked him what it’s like working with and for his dad since 6th grade Paul Jr. answers that it’s been great. He grew up seeing his father working alongside his grandfather, who ran a garage, and says they set a good example of how working together it is done. His father, Paul Sr., has been working since age 10 with his father—and at one point was known as the fastest tire changer around! It’s clear entrepreneurship runs in the Carnevale family.  As one of nine children, half of which operate their own businesses, making the transition from working with his father to working for himself wasn’t such a stretch for Paul Sr.

Since 2005 content management systems made it possible to create websites and content easier and faster than before, allowing clients to have the ability to manage their own content.  Paul Jr. has seen demand for design for mobile devices be dominant since 2010.  Paul Jr. prefers open source software to provide flexible and affordable solutions for his clients.  Recently, he has used the October content management system to provide clients with web sites and applications they can manage themselves, without the cost of licensing fees.  

Carnevale Design has been a member of NHBSR since 2011, when Michelle came on board at the Executive Director. At the time Carnevale Design also became sponsors of the NHBSR website and helped move the site to a new platform powered by the Drupal content management framework, which allowed for more content management by NHBSR staff. We can say that it’s been terrific working with Paul Jr. during this time and are excited about what new solutions may unfold moving forward as we consider a new look ourselves.

While just a team of two, it is clear to us that Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. are a small but mighty team, offering professionalism with the benefit of a personal relationship and always knowing who you will be working with. Paul is excited to see what new technologies will develop that will work across platforms and particularly mobile solutions. They pride themselves on providing affordable solutions for clients and welcome the chance to speak with anyone who might have the technology needs they can help with.

Please say hello when you see Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. and thank them for their support of NHBSR and our website! We are immensely grateful to have their expertise keeping us visible online. 

Paul Jr. welcomes the chance to talk with anyone who may have questions. He can be reached at pauljr@carnevaledesign.com, or 603 558-3639. www.carnevaledesign.com.

 

by Stephanie Ceccherini, Director of Wellness Services, The Lawson Group

As the Director of Wellness Services for The Lawson Group, I have had hundreds of conversations with employers over the years about implementing workplace wellness programs. Some companies I speak with already have robust programs. Others are just getting started, or don’t even have plans to get started. When I meet with a group that isn’t jumping on the wellness bandwagon, I often hear the same few reasons: they don’t think their employees would engage in a wellness program, they don’t have the time or resources to coordinate it, or they don’t have the budget.

Many employers who lack resources to coordinate their wellness initiatives get stuck in a cycle of offering programs here and there when they have time, but not backing them up with environmental support. This can often lead to low engagement. There has been a shift in employee wellness strategy in recent years — many of us are moving away from just focusing on programs, and more towards impacting the environment and culture of the workplace. The overall environment and company culture should support employee wellness, and any additional programs should reinforce that.

A great way to step back and look at your wellness efforts is to conduct a wellness needs assessment. This can help get your program on track to accomplish the goals you want to achieve. When I conduct a needs assessment, I typically sit with key stakeholders and go through a series of questions about the current status of your program, policies, physical activity, nutrition, tobacco, and stress management. Information from the assessment is used to generate a report outlining some recommendations to get started.

For those that aren’t offering a wellness program (or don’t think they are!), I want to help break down some of the barriers and offer some examples of some really great — and “out of the box” — offerings The Lawson Group provides employees as a part of our wellness program.

Community Service Hours

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Each year, our employees have 16 paid community service hours to be used with a charity of their choice. Throughout the year, we offer companysponsored days to help employees use their hours. These events are a great way to build camaraderie and support the local community. We have participated in events such as The Capital Region Food Program Holiday Food Basket Project, Families in Transition Market Days Sale, Granite United Way Day of Caring, Friendly Kitchen lunch help, among others. Employees may also choose to use their hours outside of these events.



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Healthy Snack Area

We have tried to bring in a healthy vending machine, but our employees didn’t use it enough to make it worthwhile for the vending company to leave it. Since then, we have implemented a “healthy snack area” in our kitchen. This is self funded through honor system purchases, and since we buy the foods in bulk from the store, we are able to keep the prices low.We also encourage employees to make a healthy snack and share it (and the recipe!) with everyone. We reward anyone that does this through our HSA incentive program.

 

Telecommute Days

Once a month, we shut the office doors and allow our employees to work from home for the day.   
This initiative started through a statewide “Commute Green” effort, and has become a great benefit for employees that many look forward to. We had to take a few steps to make sure these days were business as usual, including making sure all employees had the right systems for working remotely, and that all our phones forwarded properly whether we were in the office or at home. We have been offering this for about 3 years now, and many employees take advantage. (Shutting the doors is a bit of an exaggeration, as anyone is welcome to work from the office that day if desired).

Wellness Bulletin Board lawsongroup_wellnessboard_0.jpg

This is very simple, but is somewhere we can put all our program information in one place. Any upcoming events, wellness information, recipes, etc. can be accessed there. It is right in our break room, and employees know they can glance at the board to get the latest wellness tips and see what events are coming up.

At The Lawson Group, we believe that employee wellness should be ingrained in the company culture. We want to create an environment and policies in our workplace that support healthy lifestyles for our employees and their families. Employee wellness is a long term investment, but small changes over time are all it takes to start shifting the culture in a positive way.

If you are interested in connecting with Stephanie you can reach her at 603.848.0264 or sceccherini@thelawsongroup.com.

MEMBER FEATURE: Amy LaBelle, winemaker and owner,  LaBelle Winery

It’s all about chemistry.

Some of us may remember experiments in middle school that involved constructing a volcano out of playdough and then creating the great eruption using vinegar and baking soda. It was pretty exciting to see the effect. The same happens when a tasty wine hits your tongue. If you have tasted any of Amy’s wine, you will know that she has found a lovely balance that leave our taste buds delighted.

We are very happy to have Amy and her team at LaBelle Winery as NHBSR members. It is really all about chemistry- whether you are talking about good wine or the connections amongst people, such as what you will find amongst the NHBSR community.labelle_aerial.jpg

We sat down with Amy recently to learn about how visiting a winery during her vacation in Nova Scotia was the moment of clarity that began what would become a wine odyssey over the next twelve years. At the time of her vacation Amy was a corporate lawyer for Fidelity Investments in Boston, which she enjoyed but knew wasn’t her life’s calling. Amy began by experimenting making wine in her brownstone in Boston, which as we understand involved climbing lots of stairs with the necessary and often heavy supplies. Her first batch was not necessarily good, but was passable, giving her the confidence to keep trying.

She learned through her mistakes and continued to perfect her process and at the same time began to create a business plan for her dream, much of which we see at the present day LaBelle Winery.  This didn’t happen overnight- in fact it took 12 years (or 4083 days) from idea to inception. During this time Amy kept her day job with Fidelity as she had enormous law school debt that she needed to take care of, while using evenings and weekends to continue her winemaking. In 2003 her job moved her to NH, which also put her closer to a potential location for her winery when the time came. In 2004 it was at Fidelity that she met her husband, Cesar, who had just started and was given a desk outside her office because his group’s space had run out of room. Dating at work was not something Amy considered, but as she shared with us, he was literally put in front of her so she saw the gift. In the wine amylabelle_cesar.jpgbusiness you’d call this a “perfect pairing.”

Amy says that she gave Cesar full disclosure on what her plans were for building a winery and he didn’t run away. Cesar is her biggest and best supporter and now oversees the production and distribution at the winery. At the beginning they were making wine at Alyson’s Orchard in Walpole, making 400 gallons in the first year. The next step led them to build a barn behind their house. Amy shares this was a wild time for them—they had their first son, Jackson- who would inevitably wake up and cry over the baby monitor (which reached the barn) when they were in the middle of making a batch of wine. As we learned, wine waits for no one, so Amy would go get Jackson and Cesar would carry on with the wine making. From their barn they were able to increase production to 18,000 gallons a year and had 200 retailers.

In 2010 they were ready to present their vision of the winery to a bank to get the necessary funding. It was the height of the recent recession and so banks were nervous about investing in the hospitality business. In this case it wasn’t third time is a charm, but fifth time is a charm. Perseverance and belief in your work pays off. Amy and Cesar began building the winery in 2011/2012 at their location on Route 101 in Amherst. Today they are producing 80,000 gallons a year and have over 300 retailers and have grown from 25 to 115 employees. They have 3 acres of vines on their property which equates to about 1999 individual vines. As we learned 1 vine = grapes for 1 bottle of wine. We also learned that the grapes are on the vine in the fall, so they live through the winter months just like us and are stronger for it.

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Sustainability was at the forefront of her mind when Amy began to design the winery. You will find these thoughtful considerations in the structure and how it’s sited to capture the best use of the sun to the making and bottling of the wine —and everything in between. This mindset and a mission that aligned with that of NHBSR is one of the reasons she joined as a member. The building is non-traditional and is made of SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) construction which are more efficient that traditional building materials. The building is sited to capture the best use of the sun and the operable windows allow them to regulate the temperature. As much as they were able to they employed US artists for the interior features such as the tables. The wine production area is sited and built in such a way that the natural temperature of the area is the required 55 degrees. Making wine obviously requires water and so Amy is very conscious of limiting the use of water through low water nozzles and the use of steam cleaners for the big drums. The grapes themselves come from their own vines, along with grapes from NH, New England and NY. No chemicals are used in the making of the wine and they bottle the wine in eco-friendly bottles, which are made of less glass than you’d find in many wine bottles. Don’t let the lighter weight fool you into thinking you are getting a lesser wine! Instead thank them for saving on glass. In addition to the grapes, they grow an acre of their own vegetables each year, sourcing the rest from organic and local farms where they can.

Amy’s vision for LaBelle Winery focuses on creating an excellent wine, but it goes beyond that. She’s working to create a gathering place for the community, where people can gather, learn and grow through programming as well as through community connections. She and Cesar have hopes of expanding LaBelle Winery’s offerings across the street from where they are now, which would be an artisan’s culinary village that includes an inn, distillery, spa and a restaurant.

If you haven’t been to the winery yet we encourage you to pay a visit – you’ll find a bistro serving lunch and dinner, yoga classes, wine tastings, as well as fun community events for families. NHBSR’s Sustainability Slam will be held at LaBelle Winery on October 20th, so please consider joining us!

Amy welcomes the chance for conversation with anyone who may have questions about LaBelle Winery. She can be reached at the winery by phone (603) 672-9898 or by email amy@labellewinerynh.com

 

MEMBER FEATURE: A conversation with Lou Beaudette, Dan Cameron and Wendy Formichelli

We are delighted to have Admix join NHBSR as a new member. We recently spoke with Lou Beaudette, founder and president of Admix, along with his colleagues Dan Cameron, Director of Business Systems, and Wendy Formichelli, Marketing Manager and a former NHBSR board member. We were excited to learn about not only their work, but their focus on creating and maintaining a workplace that balances work and family, along with their community efforts.

What they do:
To help you visualize their products, think about a basic kitchen that you use for making whipped cream, cake batter, icings or the like. Now, take that image and multiply it by thousands. Admix makes industrial stainless steel blending machines that do the same thing as our kitchen gadgets, but on a much larger scale for the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. We can’t help but think of the machines from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

So, whether it’s ketchup, salad dressings, soups, or other products, Admix mixers have been helping companies like Kraft Foods and Campbell’s Soup make products in a highly efficient, hygienic way for 27 years. And it is clear that Admix is excited to be working on the cutting edge of the food industry.  As trends change, they work closely with clients to adapt and modify equipment to meet their evolving needs.

As an example, one client wanted to transition from using high fructose corn syrup to using another healthier sweetener. Although simple in theory, it actually required the retooling of the equipment so that the process would remain highly efficient. This type of world class customer service is part of the Admix mission: they strive to gain a deep understanding of their customers’ needs then customize mixers for their specific process. 

Food safety is also a top priority and Admix specializes in creating machinery that is easy-to-clean. They use the term CIP (clean in place), which means their sanitary equipment can be efficiently cleaned with minimal interruptions in workflow.

Becoming an ESOP:
Lou Beaudette worked for a similar business for 15 years before founding Admix in 1989. He recognized a niche for more efficient food processing machinery and his vision – to provide great products, service and value to their customers while creating a work/life balance where employees truly enjoy working – has remained unchanged in 27 years. Lou wanted to create a company where employees feel valued and appreciated. Having had a contrary experience himself, he wanted to do things differently, ensuring that employees come first.

In 2001, Admix launched their Employee Stock Ownership Plan, or ESOP, which rewards every employee for working together as a team and family. The ESOP has been a great vehicle for employees to impact and drive initiatives at the company. Employee ownership encourages long-term employee engagement and gives people both a sense of responsibility and pride in their individual work, leading to success overall.

Admix employee owners also recognize that their responsibilities go beyond customers and each other, extending to their community and the environment as well. The ESOP provides the foundation to behave like owners, making decisions – big and small – that impact their triple bottom line philosophy of profits, people and community.  Lou considers the ESOP a sustainability tool: by collectively making decisions that support the company in the long run, they are ensuring a long future ahead.  

Company Culture:

admix-group2_1.jpgThe word we keep hearing during our conversation is “team” and the commitment to creating a balanced work/life environment where employees truly enjoy working. This can be seen in a variety of ways, but a balanced culture is key. Admix worked hard to find the right balance so that employees feel they have the support and flexibility they need. If something comes up at home that they need to attend to, they can, while remaining committed to the work that needs to be done. Communication is at the center of it all—through newsletters, weekly updates, an intranet, and rallies, which focus on an open access culture. Increased employee training has been a strategic goal over the last few years in an effort to give employees growth opportunities, both personal and professional.

The Admix team shows its commitment beyond the company walls. Admix has a Let’s Give team, which meets and determines its community giving objectives for the year. The team has a budget and gives financial support or creates events or competitions that support organizations such as the NH Food Bank, United Way or Special Olympics NH to name a few. Employees also receive 10 hours of paid time per year to volunteer for causes that are meaningful to them.

When asked why they joined NHBSR, the team said they are excited about the opportunity to share best practices with other members. Their dedication to their employees is palpable, but they also understand that there is always room for improvement.

Although Admix has a small company, ‘family’ feel, its 60 employees have some terrific employee benefits, including Free Breakfast Fridays, Fresh Fruit Wednesdays, a no-layoff policy, and excellent long-term financial benefits such as the ESOP. In support of their employees’ families, they look forward to learning what others are doing in support of family-friendly workplace practices.

admix_dc.jpgIt was fun to talk with Lou, Dan and Wendy. We hope that you get the chance to meet them and learn more about Admix – its mixing technologies as well as its workplace culture. We should also congratulate them on their recent award. Admix was recently selected by the ESOP Association as the winner of the 2016 Award for Communication Excellence (AACE) for its presentation video. The AACE Awards are sponsored annually to recognize the outstanding communications and educational programs of its members. It’s definitely worth taking a couple minutes to watch the video as it captures the spirit, hard work and fun of the Admix team.

Admix is hosting a networking event for ESOP companies or those interested in learning about becoming an ESOP. The event will focus on employee engagement and be held on Thursday, October 20th from 2-4 p.m. at their Londonderry office. You can attend and then continue on to the NHBSR Sustainability Slam afterwards.  

Please help us in welcoming Admix to the NHBSR community. If you would like to learn more about Admix, the team welcomes you to get in touch with Dan Cameron at dcameron@admix.com or 603-627-2340.

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

grappone_boattowork.png

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

 

 

 

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