Statewide leadership program visits North Country

Concluding a yearlong program focused on building a community of informed and engaged leaders, Leadership New Hampshire Class of 2017 wrapped up its sessions with a two-day visit to the North Country. With most participants hailing from south of the notches, this program day served to give Leadership New Hampshire associates a better understanding of the people, places and opportunities in northern New Hampshire.

Breaking into smaller groups, participants engaged in two experiential learning experiences. A couple of groups visited the Jericho Mountain State Park and through arrangements with Chris Gamache, chief of N.H. Bureau of Trails, and the generosity of Jericho Outdoors, they toured the park on UTVs and learned about the expanding role the trail system in tourism.

Two groups toured the operations at White Mountain Lumber. This tour included an overview of Berlin’s milling history by co-owner Barry Kelly and a site tour with Forester Ross Caron. Other groups learned about Berlin’s emerging role as an energy leader in the state and another learned about the advancements in STEM education in North Country schools.

Liz and Steve Jackson, owners of Libby’s Bistro in Gorham hosted the group for dinner the evening before their reopening day for the summer season. The group dined on fare inspired by Liz’s recent month long trip to Umbria, Italy. For most, it was their first visit to the establishment and certainly an unforgettable treat.

Lori Langlois, the North Country’s only participant in this year’s Leadership NH class, shared that it was heartening to see how much her classmates enjoyed their time in the region. For many, it was the furthest north they had been in the state and they were truly struck by the beauty of our mountain and landscape, says Langlois. The other common reaction was how impressed they were by the sense of optimism they gathered from the people they interacted with during their visit.

Leadership NH began in 1993 to increase civic engagement and strengthen communities through connecting and educating a diverse pool of engaged or emerging leaders about the state of New Hampshire. Since then, the program has brought together a group of emerging and established leaders from across the state and engaged them in a comprehensive study of the communities, issues, challenges of the state, introduced them to and had them interact with policy makers, non-profit organizations, business leaders and citizens — from homeowners to prison inmates.

LNH with Barry KelleyGroups from Leadership New Hampshire Class of 2017 toured various sites in the North Country in May including the sawmill at White Mountain Lumber. From left, are: Kelli D’Amore, principal at Nathan Wechsler & Co.; Jennifer Higgins Pitre, vice president of philanthropy at Granite United Way; Angela Martin, shareholder at Devine Millimet; Charles Head, CEO of Sanborn, Head and Associates; Sarah Jacobs, director of strategic initiatives at University of New Hampshire, Manchester; Barry Kelley, general manager of White Mountain Lumber; Sarah Galligan, library director at N.H. Historical Society; Lori Langlois, executive director of North Country Education Services; Margaret Donnelly, marketing strategy, content and social marketing consultant; Ross Caron, forester/procurement and scaler at White Mountain Lumber; and Dr. Kevin Desrosiers, critical care physician at Elliot Health System.