NH Businesses for Social Responsibility

New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility
 is a membership-based organization focused on fostering socially and environmentally responsible business in New Hampshire recognizing that people, principles and profits must be linked. We strive to provide programming, education and networks to help businesses understand the important role they play in addressing challenges and opportunities in our communities, workplaces and in advancing the greater good.

Our membership is not limited to businesses. We actually have many nonprofit and government agency members because we encourage the development of relationships and partnerships to collaboratively work for positive change. NHPHA is one of the partnerships that we firmly believe is important in creating a stronger New Hampshire community. The health and wellbeing of all our citizens is a critical component of healthy communities, which contributes to a healthy business environment.

Sustainable business principles consider the impact of operations, environmental and social, on all stakeholders – community members, customers, suppliers, supply chain and employees. They strive to minimize waste, maximize resource efficiency, minimize toxins, provide healthy and engaging workplace cultures, and a commitment to strong communities.

In partnership with Business NH Magazine, we encourage companies to share best practices in their workplace through the Best Companies to Work For competition. Strong health and wellness benefits are central to all winning companies. Leading companies like Hypertherm encourage wellness through active lifestyle programs and program support for healthy habits. Companies like Wirebelt, C&S Wholesale Grocers and Timberland provide employee and community gardens for healthier eating. We hope that by sharing these stories, other companies will be encouraged to offer similar benefits to employees based on the bottom line benefits demonstrated.

Sustainable business is a journey – we are all in different places. Our Just One Thing campaign strives to inspire more businesses to get involved in any aspect of sustainability by sharing stories of simple sustainability initiatives and the impact they’ve had on businesses and communities. (Stories will be published this summer on www.nhbsr.org/jot and featured in the New Hampshire Business Review.)

NHBSR hopes to assist, encourage and inspire more sustainable business and thus stronger, healthier communities in New Hampshire Partnerships with organizations like NHPHA are key to achieving our mission.
With the birth of a new website, the NHPHA has devoted a section for our valued members to tell their public health stories. Every month, we’ll be highlighting one of our members and tell their story.

NHPHA Public Health Stories: What does public health mean to you?

February 2012 Member Spotlight - Jeanie Holt, NHPHA President

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How long have you been doing public health work?

Sometimes it is hard to decide when I started doing “public health work”. I can remember cleaning up trash, building and repairing hiking trails, and taking around flyers for polio vaccination days as a child! Public health and health promotion has been a part of my life ever since. But more formally, I really began working in public health in 2000 when the NH Minority Health Coalition hired me to direct a CDC grant to plan and test community interventions to prevent diabetes and hypertension in Latino and African-descendent communities in Hillsboro County.

How did you first get involved with NHPHA?

I attended NHPHA annual meetings for the first time in 2005 when Kathy Mandeville was Association President. Now, Kathy and I are the same age but I remember seeing her as so knowledgeable and capable and feeling pretty young and inexperienced! Five years later I am President of the Association?! When I look at the list of people who have served NHPHA as presidents or as Board members, I still like a public health novice. But I am so lucky that so many of these folks are still very involved and always so available to me!

What do you do as a public health “champion” or worker?

What I most want to do as a public health champion is to inspire and mentor younger folks and create an environment in which they can thrive. In my work as Association President, I have opportunities to interact with people working in public health across the state and beyond. I look for opportunities to reach out to students, to meet with people who are new to public health, and to create a broader understanding of and respect for public health. In addition to my Association work, I teach public health. Two years ago, I teamed up with my sister, a professor of finance, to create and teach a course on Microfinance and Public Health. We are preparing to teach this the 4th time. This year will be the 3rd time we have taught it to semester abroad students in the Dominican Republic—you can follow our experiences on our blog http://microfinancepublichealth.wordpress.com

Tell me about yourself?

Many of you know my husband, Dennis, who works at NH DHHS and is finishing his MPH after a long career as an engineer. We are ridiculously proud of our 5 sons and 5 grandchildren. John is married to a hydrogeologist and works as a database programmer. They have 2 school-aged children. Ben works for Apple computers as a software engineer. He and Abbie have a 5-year-old son. Jeff does lighting research for Sylvania. He and his wife, Alyson, are adopting a baby born in Ohio on January 6, 2012. Greg is a professional dancer—which means he basically supports himself by writing grants, fellowships, and the like. Maybe I should beg for some services for NHPHA from him! Steve teaches Spanish in a private middle school. He and spouse, Stevie, have adopted a beautiful baby girl, born May 30, 2011, in New Jersey.

And I am a rock climber. Most of the time, Dennis and I climb in a gym—Vertical Dreams in Manchester. Grandkids, work, NHPHA, and school have stolen a lot of our climbing time this past year. In prior years we climbed 4 to 7 times a week; this year I was lucky to get in one evening a week. Once Dennis graduates we sure hope to get back to the gym more regularly.

When you open a new building, you have a ribbon cutting ceremony.  I could not find much about the origins of this tradition but sources say it has been around for “more than a century.”

When you launch a new ship, you break champagne over the bow apparently an ancient custom that migrated from Europe to the United States.

But the launch of a new website?  A quick Google search revealed that “launch lunches” were popular in the 1990s—I don’t remember getting invited to any!  And they became “lavishly competitive affairs” (I don’t remember any lavish affairs!) with logo strewn giveaways (I don’t have the tee-shirt to prove it so I guess I haven’t “been there” or “done that”).

Well, ours is not a lavish affair though we are very excited about our new website and about sharing it with you all.  Our launch will not feature giveaways, unless you choose to “giveaway” a donation to NHPHA to help cover the costs of the website.  But we will have lots of fun!  

We will launch our new website during our Annual Open House on December 9, 2011 from 5 – 7 PM at our Park Street office (Suite 403B). You will see our new website, and, at the same time, reconnect with colleagues, meet other public health activists, and enjoy yummy appetizers!  You won’t want to miss it!

Jeanie Holt, NHPHA President

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