By Pat Hammond

Here's one for New Hampshire artists, musicians, actors, and writers: E-Ops, the best-kept secret from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts

Looking for a grant to pay the bills while you work on the great American novel? The NH State Council on the Arts publishes the monthly E-Ops newsletter with links to grants, fellowships, jobs, and other opportunities for writers, actors, and artists.

Published the first Tuesday of every month, the monthly newsletter provides Granite State artists with a listing of auditions, competitions, fellowships, jobs, grants, internships, and conferences in New Hampshire, New England, and beyond.

Sources represent private companies, non-profits, and government agencies and include a diverse list of opportunities in categories from 

  • Auditions
  • Calls for Entries & Competitions
  • Grants & Funding
  • Jobs, Fellowships, Residencies, Internships & Volunteer opportunities
  • Professional Development: Conferences, Webinars, Workshops, etc.
  • Requests for Proposals & More!



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By Pat Hammond

It's a sunny Wednesday when I sit down with Manchester Ink Link publisher Carol Robidoux at WBC's Elm Street co-working space. We're in the same networking group and I've been after her for a few weeks to do an interview so we sneak out of our bi-weekly networking meeting to make it happen.

I know Robidoux in the way people in a small community are aware of each other.  She shares my content on her website, but we've never had a conversation beyond a quick smile and hello and I am curious. I want to know why a talented, experienced reporter with no business background would don an entrepreneur's hat to start an online news service in an unlikely market.

It turns out her motivation had as much to do with serendipity as inspiration.

After being downsized out of her job as an editor for Patch - Nashua in 2014, Robidoux says she knew firsthand how fast the traditional news media's footprint was shrinking. It was her second industry layoff since coming to New Hampshire as a reporter for the Union Leader in 2001 and given the choice of changing careers or chasing after dwindling jobs in a dying industry, she took a leap of faith and chose door number three.

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By Pat Hammond

¿Habla usted español?

Are you looking for a fun way to meet some people and pick up a new skill?  Think about dropping by one of the Speak Spanish group's weekly meetings. 

Whether you took two years of high school Spanish or are a native speaker, Manchester's Speak Spanish Meetup is a great way to practice your language skills and have some fun while meeting a variety of people in a laid back, unintimidating environment. 

Meetups are every Wednesday from 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM at Panera Bread, 52 March Ave (TJ Maxx Plaza) in Manchester.  

Member's language skills run everywhere from people trying to teach themselves Spanish to people who took a couple years of high school Spanish, all the way up to language teachers and native speakers.  Typical meetings include open networking, games, and conversation in Spanish with enough English to make a new learner comfortable.  

I am a member of the group and I can attest to how much support the group provides for anyone trying to learn Spanish.  

Networking doesn't have to be business cards and cocktails.  Groups like this a great way to meet a broad cross-section of people while building your confidence.  If you can sneak out of the office an hour early once a week or even once a month, the Speak Spanish Meetup is definitely worth your time. 

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By Pat Hammond

Be a medical superhero! Learn how to improve the quality of life and save lives for people in rural or remote areas with a 3-D printer and a little ingenuity. No medical background required.

Their website says a "Medical Maker is anyone who wants to use their heart, hands, and mind to make healthcare better,"  and they want you to supply your creativity, skills, and ingenuity to collaborate with other people to come up with simple, cost-effective solutions to real-world, and off-world, medical problems using a 3-D printer.

Medical Makers are hosting Manchester's Inaugural Medical Make-A-Thon Saturday, January 6th - Sunday, January 7th at Manchester Makerspace, 36 Old Granite Street, Manchester, NH

This two-day event includes workshops on

  • 3-D printing
  • Design Skills 
  • Use of free and open source software
  • Prototyping

The event is open to people and teams of all ages, no design, 3-D printing, or medical skills required.  All proceeds support Medical Makers humanitarian projects.

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By Pat Hammond

Limited networking events next week. 

It's to be expected, next week is the week before Christmas and the events calendar is a little light.  

The good news is there are a few events like Strategies & Skills for Successful Negotiations, 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM on Wednesday, and two Toastmasters meetings, Thursday morning and evening for anyone looking to dust off or learn a new skill for the new year. 

If you're like me an still have a little shopping to do, the Craftworkers' Guild is hosting their annual Holiday Fair now through Saturday, December 22nd at the Oliver Kendall House, 5 Meetinghouse Road, Bedford.  Doors are open 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily. It's a great opportunity to check work from local artists and find a unique gift for that hard-to-shop-for relative.

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By Pat Hammond

Put some jingle in your mingle with a couple holiday networking events

We are at the point in the year when the short days and early nights can make it a struggle to motivate to an after hours business event.  Why not take advantage of the holiday season to do something a little different? 

Many businesses offer holiday open houses and events designed to thank their customers, spread good cheer, and promote their business.  

The Whole Foods Market in Bedford is hosting Holiday Arts 'n Eats from 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM in their store at 21 South River Road.  This free event will showcase tasty treats from local suppliers as well as a selection of work from local Etsy artists.  It's a great opportunity to do some casual networking and shopping before you head home.  

Also next week, Marketplace Home Mortgage is hosting a free Holiday Open House Soiree including drinks, food, and fun for clients, industry partners, and the community.  The event will be held at the Marketplace Home Mortgage office, 116 South River Road in Bedford, on on Thursday, December 13th from 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM.  

Marketplace Home Mortgage is an official Toys for Tots donation site, for anyone who would like to bring a donation.  

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By Pat Hammond

TechWomen Power Breakfast - "How to Thrive in a Hyper-Connected World" with Cisco chief security officer, Edna Conway

How much thought do you give to the information shared by the apps on your phone?  

Angry Birds, Pinterest, and Facebook all rub elbows with email, Google Maps, and Instagram.

I bet you even do banking from your phone.  It's a convenience, right? 

But what about security?  

Every time you download an app you get a pop-up screen detailing which files and processes the app "needs" access to.  

You might feel confident in your banking app's ability to protect your data, but what about all those other fun little games and tools you download on a whim?  Are they really safe?  And how much access do they really need to your personal data?

Cisco's chief security officer Edna Conway will be presenting "How to Thrive in a Hyper-connected World" at this month's TechWomen Power Breakfast 7:30 AM - 9:00 AM Wednesday, December 12th at the Manchester Country Club in Bedford.  

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By Pat Hammond

Queen City Buzz is back on the events calendar, and I'm doing it big.

I'm joining 603 Networking and WBC Office Suites for a FREE networking event on Wednesday, December 5th from 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM at WBC Office Suites, 1087 Elm Street, Manchester.   

This is a great opportunity to:

  • Network with other local business people & techs 
  • Check out the new co-working space
  • Meet the people behind 603 Networking & Queen City Buzz

And if you can't make Wednesday's event in Manchester, 603 Networking will be in the Enterprise Conference Room at Gateway Hills in Nashua on Monday, December 3rd.  

Diversity is the key to a strong network and the best way to accomplish that is by attending joint events like these because they draw from a cross-section of people from different industries. 

If you feel like you're seeing the same people at your regular meetups and networking groups, try one of next week's 603 Networking events.   

Remember to check out this week's webinars at the bottom of the page.

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By Pat Hammond

You don't have to be a STEAM professional to go to STEAM events.  

You know how I'm always saying that networking happens everywhere?  That's not just for business.  STEAM covers a lot of areas including gaming, writing, art, photography, robotics, and all those data nerds. (Yes, that's really a thing.)

Whether you're interested in trying a new hobby or making new business connections, don't be afraid to mingle with the STEAM crowd. Science and tech businesses have the same needs as regular businesses (accountants, sales, marketing, call centers, admins, etc...). And given the region's emphasis on technology, your next client, job, or sales lead may be hidden in the STEAM.

Remember, every time you make a connection you are opening the door to connecting with everyone that person knows. 

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By Pat Hammond

Join NH Business Directory and small business benefits expert Tim Hirsch from Planstin for a Brown Bag Lunch & Learn: How to Compare Insurance to Find the Best Price & Coverage

Warning! Blatant self-promotion ahead!

I meet a lot of small business owners and people who work for small businesses and the one thing they all have in common is the need to find their own health insurance.  

Obamacare did a great job protecting people with critical health problems, but it put the pinch on the rest of us by effectively reducing coverage with increased costs and deductibles.  

With the open enrollment deadline rapidly approaching I decided to put together a lunch & learn to help people overcome open enrollment overwhelm.

  • Review insurance alternatives - not all plans are on the exchange
  • Get answers about the real cost of coverage (premiums vs. out of pocket, deductibles, & co-pays)
  • Learn how to compare coverage to find the best plan for you

This is not a sales event.

I'm a writer.  I don't sell insurance and I'm not an insurance expert, so I invited my good friend Tim Hirsch, from human resource solutions provider Planstin to present an outline of insurance options and answer questions.

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