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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By Pat Hammond

Oh yeah, tech is back on the STEAM calendar :)

Heads up fellow techs, I know the STEAM calendar has been a little thin on tech events the last couple months, but this week's post-holiday STEAM calendar is proof that New Hampshire is serious about becoming a regional, dare I say national tech hub.  

Starting with NH Sector Partnerships Initiative (SPI) November Stakeholder Meeting on Monday, next week is all about starting tech businesses and creating the local workforce to support them. 

And if you're looking for something more hands-on, there is a weekly bitcoin meetup at Murphy's Taproom on Sunday and the monthly NH Python Group meeting on Thursday.  

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By Pat Hammond

Next week's events calendar may be limited by the holiday, but there are still a lot of options for learning a new skill, networking, and connecting with the community.  

  • Learn TIG Welding
  • Brush up on CPR
  • Polish your presentation skills
  • You can even meet the mayor!

And if your holiday plans include shopping, don't forget Small Business Saturday, November 24th.  

Manchester's downtown has grown a lot this year and there are tons of restaurants, events, shops, and destinations downtown and the Millyard.

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By Pat Hammond

Celebrate the First Amendment with the 16th Annual Nackey S. Loeb First Amendment Awards!

Can you imagine having to get permission from the police department every time you wanted to hold a networking event?

How about your business website or blog?  Without the First Amendment, there would be no privately owned blogs, no newspapers, and no dissenting opinions.  There would also be no exchange of ideas or innovation.  

Much of today's web technology was developed through the collaboration of people across the globe.  Following that line of logic, there would be no internet.  

  • Free Speech
  • Free Press
  • Free Assembly
  • The ability to choose and practice religion, or choose not to
  • The ability to petition the government

These rights were so important to our nation's founding fathers that they were listed first when they drafted the Bill of Rights.  

The Nackey S. Loeb First Amendment Awards were created to "honor First Amendment freedoms and those in New Hampshire who go above and beyond to uphold them."  

In its sixteenth year, the annual First Amendment Award illustrates the importance of flexing the rights guaranteed to all citizens in the Constitution.  

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By Pat Hammond

It's TechWomen Ambassadors Week!

It's no surprise to anyone working in tech that there aren't a lot of women.  In fact, a report from the National Center for Women & Information Technology cites a 2016 Bureau of Labor statistic that women only account for 25% of all tech workers in the United States.  That's abysmal.  

Women make up 47% of the workforce, but only one in every four works in the one field that is guaranteed to continue growing. 

All of the research suggests that girls are interested in studying technology when they reach 11 years old, then it drops off between 13 and 15 years old. 

The data is all over the place when it comes to why, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the main reasons for this are:

  • Lack of tech women mentors and role models
  • Girls are actively discouraged in school from pursuing male-dominated fields 
  • There aren't a lot of opportunities to participate in hands-on activities

The NH Tech Alliance and TechWomen are actively working to change that.  

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By Pat Hammond

If you can only go to one business event this month, then you might want to look at She Built This - An evening of thought, leadership, and discussion from some of New Hampshire's top female entrepreneurs.  

She Built This will be a panel discussion featuring three local women entrepreneurs "sharing their stories, what daily habits help them to continuously serve and help others every day, and their tricks for maximum productivity.

The event is 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM Tuesday, November 27 at LaBelle Winery, 345 New Hampshire 101 in Amherst. 

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By Pat Hammond

A little bit of everything to keep a hopeful networker busy :)


I should probably be embarrassed to admit this, but it took me a few minutes to figure out why there is only one event on Tuesday.  It's not that I didn't know Election Day is Tuesday the 6th, I just didn't realize that next Tuesday is the 6th.

Go figure. 

If you're like me and your calendar is on overwhelm or you just need a break from regular networking events, take a look at the "Sip 'n Read" event with author Paula Moore on Sunday. 

She has an interesting tale about how her life changed after winning $42 million dollars in the lottery.  I haven't had the chance to read it, but I'm pretty sure she has some useful advice for when you find your golden ticket.  In the meantime, keep networking. And maybe buy a couple lottery tickets.

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By Pat Hammond

It's a bird, it's a plane...wait a minute, it's a drone

I'm going to start by saying yes, I realize Durham is nowhere near Manchester, but sometimes there are events that generate enough interest that I include them in STEAM or the Weekly Roundup.  

This week's non-Manchester event is the New England Drone Conference at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. 

Drones, formally known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), are one of those things that straddle so many uses that there are very few industries that are unaffected by changes in drone legislation and technology.

  • Military & Public Safety
  • Construction & Engineering
  • Farming
  • Photography
  • Retail & Restaurant Delivery

With so many people and industries with an interest in the use, design, and legislation of UAV technology it seemed like it was worth a mention.

The 2018 New England Drone conference will be held on Thursday, November 8th from 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM at the University of New Hampshire Durham Campus.  

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By Pat Hammond

It's hard to believe, but it's been a year since I've hosted a networking event and now I've got two.  

Just in time for open enrollment, the first event is a Brown Bag Lunch and Learn from 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM on Tuesday, November 27th at Gateway Hils in Nashua.

The event is hosted by the NH Business Directory and will feature guest speaker Tim Hirsch from Planstin.

Tim's going to talk about alternative insurance - there are a lot more choices than what you see on the exchange.  

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By Pat Hammond

The temps may be getting colder but the networking calendar is heating up...

Tired of the usual weekly and monthly meetups? Next week's business and networking calendar has a lot of new events designed to help you network, reconnect, and pick up some timely business skills.

I know it's a busy time of year for small business owners, but weeks like this don't happen that often.

If you're behind on this year's networking goal or you're simply trying to expand your network, this is the week to think about adding an extra event to your schedule. 

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