Nonprofit Director and Consultant, Old Sol Alliance, Inc.
Birthplace: Brookfield, Wis.
Family: Wife, Jody; son, Ben (6); daughter, Rosie (3)
High school: Bishop Guertin High School, Nashua
College/post grad degrees: B.A., Plymouth State University; M.P.A., University of New Hampshire
What is the best career advice you ever received?
If you’re not failing, then you’re not trying hard enough.
Why did you choose your profession?
I moved to Manchester in 2005 to lead a team of AmeriCorps members with City Year New Hampshire, helping students stay in school and on track to graduate. I fell in love with the “big idea” of voluntary civilian national service and became passionate about working toward a day when a full-time service year is a common experience and societal expectation of young Americans.
What motivates you to give back to your community?
My late Grandpa Benjamin stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II. Today, less than one-half of 1 percent of Americans serve in the military, compared to 12 percent of the Greatest Generation. Some pretty amazing veterans and active duty service members in my life have convinced me that one of the best ways we can honor veterans for their sacrifice is for the rest of us to actively commit to strengthening our communities through volunteerism and service.
What advice would you give your 22-year-old self?
Go easy on yourself.
What would make New Hampshire more attractive to young professionals?
We need to bring young professionals to the table when the most important decisions are being made. The median age of our state’s 400-seat House of Representatives is now 61 years old, making us the largest-yet-oldest state legislative chamber in the country. There’s a lot of wisdom and experience there, to be sure. However, at a time when we’re struggling to attract and retain young people in our state, we need more young professionals – including working parents – to run and serve in our state’s citizen legislature. Whether in elected office or on nonprofit boards, young professionals should be at the table to help develop solutions to our state’s most pressing challenges. Millennials are eager and ready to serve.
What would you like to be doing when you’re 40?
In the nonprofit sector, we often say that our goal is to put ourselves out of a job. One of the un-sexy, but critical issues on which I’m excited to focus at the State House is centered on removing unnecessary barriers that systematically hold back “ordinary” Granite Staters from serving as extraordinary citizen legislators. Success means passing reforms that lead to a more equitable and representative democracy, which may include providing childcare, holding some meetings in the evenings or on weekends, and/or leveraging technology to convene virtually. If successful, we’ll inspire and make it possible for younger and more diverse voices to emerge, run, and serve, effectively putting me out of a (part-time, unpaid) job by the time I turn 40. Let’s make it happen!
Volunteer activities: Board Member, Girls at Work; Board Member, Volunteer New Hampshire; Overnight Volunteer, Family Promise of Greater Concord.
Last major achievement: Elected State Representative.