Celebrate outstanding community leaders

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Chris Emond, 2020 Business Leader of the YearOur community is built on the shoulders of businesses, organizations and outstanding leaders who actively work to make the Capital Region a safe, inclusive and wonderful place to live. It’s rare for these heroic leaders to receive recognition for their impact on our community, but when applauded for their efforts, we create an opportunity to learn from their success, and take a close look at the values that define our community’s champions.

Each year, the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce recognizes a business, small business, nonprofit and business leader who has demonstrated professional excellence and commitment to serving the Capital Region within the past year. These Pinnacle Awards serve as an important way to thank those who go above and beyond to build our region into a healthy community. The Chamber is currently accepting nominations for the 2022 Pinnacle Awards.

After nearly two years of life disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to thank those who have supported individuals and families in Greater Concord has only grown. That’s what Business Leader of the Year, Christopher Emond wrote when reflecting on receiving his award in 2020. “The Pinnacle Award meant a lot to our team and it served as a morale booster, as we were still in the midst of the pandemic.” As Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central New Hampshire, Emond has worked tirelessly and with enormous success to improve the accessibility of safe and affordable child care, particularly during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. After only two weeks of lockdown, the organization was able to bring back its entire staff and serve children of essential workers during a time of crisis. Emond’s work is ongoing; two years after receiving his Pinnacle Award, this innovative leader has continued to grow the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central New Hampshire—most recently by merging with the Penacook Community Center. This merger will ensure the longevity of quality childcare in Penacook.

Duprey Hospitality, LLC has also ensured the long-term success of our community. This company provides management services for the Concord Comfort Inn, Marriott Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, Residence Inn, Tru by Hilton Concord, the Grappone Conference Center and 43 Degrees North Athletic Club. Duprey Hospitality measures its success by the quality of its work and the lives that are impacted along the way. One of the ways these values are demonstrated is through the company’s efforts to encourage new Americans to apply for positions and build careers in the hospitality business. This work was instrumental in allowing Ascentria Care Alliance—a nonprofit that helps immigrants achieve independence and stability—to create the only job training program in central New Hampshire with a half million-dollar grant. “Too often the people who make a business really run never get the shout outs they deserve,” wrote owner and president Steve Duprey. “A Pinnacle Award lets the Greater Concord area know what great work your team does.” When reflecting on Duprey Hospitality’s Business of the Year Award in 2018, Duprey emphasized that this achievement was an honor for all associates at the company—a diverse team of individuals who often receive little recognition.

Michael Herrmann, owner of Gibson’s Bookstore, had similar feelings when asked about his experience receiving the Small Business of the Year Award in 2019. “My fondest memory of the Pinnacle Award ceremony was being given the opportunity to thank in public everyone who brought me to that stage—not only our team at the bookstore and our customers, but also our landlord, developer, design consultant, bank, accountant, legal, etc. These folks don’t get thanked often enough and they are the ones who always make success possible,” said Herrmann. “It takes a village to make it happen.” The hardworking team at Gibson’s Bookstore has built an inclusive space for booklovers in the heart of Concord. This small business is actually the largest independent bookstore in northern New England and has an ambitious schedule of author events, hosting more than one hundred events each year featuring national superstars like Erik Larson, Jodi Picoult and Jonathan Franzen, along with beloved local authors like Glenn Currie. These events have expanded to a virtual setting since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and continue to headline outstanding authors. Gibson’s Bookstore’s upcoming events feature Margaret Atwood, James Patterson and more.

The 2021 Nonprofit Business of the Year also invested time during the COVID-19 pandemic to create online accessibility to its programs. Best Buddies’ mission is to foster inclusion for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and the New Hampshire chapter’s innovative work to shift social events to an online format allowed the organization to reach more people than ever before. At a time when many people experienced isolation, these fun virtual social nights were a lifeline for individuals of all ages. “The Pinnacle Award provided an outstanding opportunity for our organization to create greater recognition and awareness of our mission of inclusion, and our impact on the Greater Concord community,” wrote Best Buddies New Hampshire’s Program Manager of Community Engagement, Jeannie Dallahi. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Best Buddies New Hampshire rapidly expanded their services to the community, but receiving a Pinnacle Award helped the nonprofit also expand its network of volunteers, donors and advocates that help the organization continue to thrive.

Pinnacle Award recipients have received their awards with moving expressions of gratitude, standing ovations from the audience, and tears of joy. Recognizing these businesses, organizations and individuals is an important way to give thanks to the many heroes who work behind the scenes in our community. We hope you’ll get involved in this process and help us select the 2022 Pinnacle Award recipients.

The Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce is currently accepting nominations for Small Business of the Year, Business of the Year, Business Leader of the Year and Nonprofit Business of the Year. The nomination deadline is Friday, April 1. For more information, a list of past award recipients and an online nomination form, visit concordnhchamber.com/pinnacle-awards. A committee of past honorees will select this year’s Pinnacle Award recipients, who will be recognized at a luncheon on Wednesday, May 18 at the Barn at Bull Meadow. We hope you’ll join us in selecting and celebrating some outstanding businesses in the Greater Concord region.

Incorporated in 1919, New Hampshire's state capital chamber of commerce—the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce—develops economic opportunities, strengthens the business climate and enhances quality of life in the Capital region.

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