Rebecca Perkins, 34, Portsmouth
Rebecca Perkins, 34, of Portsmouth is associate general counsel at Enel Green Power North America.
What is the best career advice you ever received?
“Fake it ‘til you make it.” So many of us go through life thinking we need to know everything about a subject before we can make an impact. I spent many years of my life worried that someone wouldn’t value my opinion or would tell me I didn’t belong somewhere because of my inexperience. Problem is, no one has all the answers! I cared, and I couldn’t help but get myself involved, and sometimes a fresh pair of eyes is just what a problem needs. Turns out passion can carry you everywhere; it will lead you to ask questions, to learn, to experience, to fail, to succeed — and eventually, you know as much as everyone else around the table. In the meantime, your energy and enthusiasm infects others, bringing them into these important policy issues, and you bring your unique perspective. Believing that you can make an impact, even starting from square one, is so much of the battle in our volunteer — and even professional — lives.
What would make New Hampshire more attractive to young professionals?
Housing is the key. What does everybody want these days? They want to live somewhere with a walkable downtown, a farmers’ market, local food in their restaurants, to be near their friends, and a place they can call home — all without going broke! Zoning is an unglamorous part of keeping young professionals in New Hampshire, but is critical to all of these amenities. I have pursued this issue in a variety of ways over the past 10 years, first as a law student, my masters thesis was on deregulating zoning to allow for greater housing supply to create affordable and workforce housing; then when I moved back to New Hampshire, I was on the board of the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast and a Commissioner for the Portsmouth Housing Authority, and finally on the Portsmouth City Council where I chaired the Housing Committee I proposed to the mayor.