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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. 

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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.

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NHBSR 2018 Conference