Chamber Review

Each month, the Chamber Review newsletter lets our members know what's happening in Greater Concord: where and when our upcoming networking and committee events will be...what forums are slated for discussion...and which educational topics we think are beneficial to you. Business Focus articles are written and sponsored by members of the Greater Concord Chamber. Read on and benefit from your fellow Chamber members' expertise on a range of topics of interest to the business community: 

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May edition

April edition

March edition

February edition

January edition


December edition

November edition

October edition

September edition

August edition

July edition

June edition

May edition


Recent Business Focus Columns:

The New Hampshire trust advantage

By Valerie J. Nevel, Esq., Ledyard Financial Advisors

Planning for your legacy is important, but more than half of Americans don’t have a will. Many are focused on growing their wealth and minimizing taxes today, with little thought of how the structure of their assets or taxes might impact them or their loved ones at their death or disability. Trusts are an essential part of planning for the protection of your assets. Over the last 15 years, New Hampshire has modernized its laws making it one of the best states in the country to create a trust—more in the  April edition.

How to shake off winter inactivity, injuries and staying home

By Sara Christian, PA-C, Concord Orthopaedics

The definition of moving is very different for every individual. An 85-year-old grandmother may define it as someone who wants to play on the floor with her grandchildren, while a professional athlete may want to compete at the highest level he or she can achieve. Most of us fall somewhere in-between. Movement comes with challenges as we age and experience unexpected setbacks in the form of injuries. While many people deal with lingering pain, others suffer from acute injuries that need immediate attention from a medical professional—more in the  April edition.

How to support a colleague dealing with an illness

By Angela Bergen, PhD,  Age at Home

Amid a global pandemic, the topic of illness is ever present and has impacted all of us one way or another. We all know how challenging it is to be faced with an illness of any kind. Since many people spend the majority of their week at their workplace, relationships with colleagues naturally have depth to them. When a close colleague is suffering in some way, it can be difficult to know what to say and how to help. Whether it’s a chronic disease, an acute illness or infection/virus, or a mental health challenge, here are some ways you can support a colleague dealing with an illness either remotely or in the office—more in the   March edition.

The importance of Cash Management

By Tori Wainwright,  Ledyard National Bank

When you hear the term Cash Management one may think it is the general idea of managing money coming in and money going out. While that is partially correct, Cash Management encompasses strategic processes for many components of one’s business to support financial stability and operational efficiencies. The concept behind Cash Management is to save time while increasing convenience, saving money and mitigating risk both short term and long term. The goal of business owners is typically to grow the business’ financial well-being while innovatively adapting to market trends—more in the   February edition.

New year, new opportunity to review remote worker policies and practices

By Beth A. Deragon, Esq.,  Pastori | Krans PLLC

With the start of 2021, employers have an opportunity to confirm that potential employment law issues regarding their remote workers are addressed and resolved. Those potential issues include compliance with state and federal anti-discrimination laws, wage and hour compliance, worker’s compensation issues, and business privacy and confidentiality concerns—more in the January edition.

Preparing a decedent’s final income tax return

By Rodger O. Howells, CPA, MST,  Rodger O. Howells, LLC

Dealing with taxes for a deceased loved one may be confusing. A final income tax return is required if the gross income of a decedent exceeds the standard deduction amount in the year of death. The death of a taxpayer does not affect the standard deduction amount. Regardless of a taxpayer’s date of death, the due date for filing a decedent’s final income tax return is April 15 of the following year. It is possible to file a joint tax return with the decedent and the decedent’s surviving spouse so long as the spouse did not remarry before the end of the tax year. A taxpayer’s tax year ends upon death. Income accrued but not received before a decedent’s death is not included on a decedent’s final income tax return. Medical expenses unpaid at a decedent’s death but paid within one year of death are deductible on the decedent’s final income tax return—more in the January edition.

Preventing remote workers from creating cybersecurity risks

By Cameron G. Shilling,  McLane Middleton, Professional Association

Many businesses transitioned to remote workforces to combat the coronavirus. For businesses that already support remote work, that transition occurred fluidly. For businesses that did not, the cybersecurity risks are more frightening. Those companies need to have implemented appropriate safeguards. So what should businesses do to prevent remote workers from creating cybersecurity risks?—more in the December edition.

Retirement accounts: recent changes and the best ways to adjust your strategies

By Valerie J. Nevel, Esq., Ledyard National Bank/Ledyard Financial Advisors

Normally people who have Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) must take a required minimum distribution (RMD) beginning when they are age 70 ½. The SECURE and CARES Acts adopted by Congress this year changed that requirement in a couple of significant ways. First, account owners of IRAs now have until the age of 72 to start required distributions. Second, the Act eliminated the requirement of taking a minimum distribution for the year 2020 regardless of your age. Moreover, the waiver of your 2020 minimum distributions covers both IRA account owners and the beneficiaries of inherited IRAs—more in the November edition.

Identifying knee arthritis and treatments paths to feel better

By Dr. Jason Desmarais, Concord Orthopaedics

This can happen in any joint in the body, but the knee is a particularly common place to develop arthritis. There are many types of arthritis but osteoarthritis (routine wear and tear) is the most common. This occurs when the cartilage is worn away. This can be caused by old traumatic injuries to the knee, or with typical wear and tear. The cartilage becomes thin (or completely gone), frayed and rough. Normal cartilage is a protective layer that prevents the ends of the bones from rubbing together. Without the cartilage, the bone ends grind and cause pain. The arthritis can cause bone spurs, swelling and pain. The pain and discomfort can limit people’s ability to exercise, do daily activities and enjoy life...but we do have ways to treat arthritis—more in the November edition.

Helping those with opioid addiction and recovery during COVID-19

By Gerri Vaughan, Tufts Health Freedom Plan

The opioid epidemic is a complex problem that tragically affects far too many people. Some progress has been made: Awareness, funding and treatment options for opioid abuse disorders have increased dramatically, and between 2017 and 2018, the number of deaths due to opioid overdose in the US actually declined for the first time in nearly twenty years. Unfortunately, many experts fear there will be a spike in drug overdose deaths due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Social isolation, coupled with the stress and uncertainty of the current situation, can exacerbate substance abuse problems. Meanwhile, many of the typical approaches people use to stay on track in recovery—talk therapy, group meetings, medication assistance and exercise—may be unavailable due to recommended stay-at-home precautions for those at higher risk and current social distancing orders. Fortunately, the entire recovery community is doing everything it can to help people keep up with their recovery programs and get the resources they need—more in the  October edition.

The impact of isolation and how to cope

By Caitlin Cawley,  Home Instead Senior Care

Though there have been several issues and concerns associated with COVID-19, one of the largest issues has been social isolation and the impact that it has on mental and physical wellbeing, especially for older adults. According to the CDC, the impacts of isolation among older adults can increase the risk for dementia, depression, anxiety and heart disease. In “normal times,” about one fourth of older adults report feeling socially isolated and lonely; that number certainly rises in the midst of a pandemic when family cannot visit, activities are cancelled and there’s an increase in anxiety due to the state of the world—more in the September edition.

Instructors are the key to learning—not the setting

By Julie Moser, EdD,   Granite State College

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed our professional lives in ways we couldn’t have imagined, but one thing remains true: a healthy workforce and learning workplace still thrives on training and education that creates personal, effective, and meaningful impact. As many organizations have moved traditional training to online environments, it’s not uncommon to hear criticisms of online education that seem to mistake the vehicle for the journey, as though every book tells the same story and face-to-face educational experiences automatically ignite passion and mastery over subjects. We know that’s not true. We live in the real world where we have slept through some face-to-face trainings and classes while other instructors have opened worlds to us. We can tell the qualitative difference between the two experiences. The walls of a campus or training center, the names on the buildings and rooms, are vastly less important than the instructors who connect learners to subject matter in ways that help them engage their passions and develop real-world applications in virtual classroom environments—more in the September edition.

With rates at historic lows, do I want a 30-year mortgage?

By Mike Urnezis, Ledyard National Bank

Everywhere you turn today, there’s commentary on low mortgage rates, high refinance volume and increasing home buying power due to our current COVID-19 economy. The “go-to” loan is 30-year fixed, fully amortized, because it’s the most affordable and provides stability in a monthly principal and interest payment that will not change over the life of the loan (unlike an adjustable rate mortgage that comes with interest rate risk). Additionally, it’s an important path to ownership for first-time homebuyers and low- to moderate- income borrowers that might otherwise remain renters. With homeownership being the average American’s largest asset and respective debt, understanding the impact of debt/loan expense and amortization is important to financial goals. Many are surprised by the material interest savings a shorter term/amortization delivers, albeit the payment is higher—more in the August edition.

Business owners: More help is on the way

Contributed by Karen Ward,  Edward Jones, Member SIPC

If you’re a business owner, you’ve probably gone through a range of emotions recently. As part of the $2 trillion CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was launched to provide $349 billion to help small businesses keep their workers and stay afloat. Your expectations may have risen. But that money ran out more quickly than anticipated—a letdown for many business owners. A proposed second round of funding got approved and lending resumed. Time for higher hopes again? The replenished PPP program may not be the last chance for government help to small businesses—more in the  August edition.

Investing and financial planning in a post-COVID world

By Fred Wainwright, Ledyard National Bank/Ledyard Financial Advisors

A crucible moment is one which changes you forever. The coronavirus has made it clear how life is precious and fleeting. A few mornings ago I woke up my young daughter and told her that she could have the puppy she had been eagerly wanting and I had been resisting. She hugged me tightly and did not let go for what seemed like a very long time. Her hug will be with me for the rest of my life. I have since asked my wife and daughters to consider how we can emerge from this crisis having accomplished something truly meaningful for ourselves, our loved ones and our community—more in the  July edition.

The importance of leadership

By Allison L. Mollica,  NHTI-Concord’s Community College

Leadership effectiveness is a #1 concern for organizations and the global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has created significant challenges for leaders at all levels in industries across the world. As we adjust the way we work, the products we make, and the business we conduct, the right leadership skills are more essential than ever before. In these uncertain times, it is difficult for many to figure out what is their best business strategy, but one thing is for certain. Organizations will have the best chance to overcome and thrive in our new normal with strong, effective, and capable leaders—more in the July edition. 

The future of travel — what’s next?

By Kathi Russ, Epic Travel LLC, An American Express Travel Partner

According to The World Trade and Tourism Council, travel and tourism is one of the world’s largest economic sectors, supporting 1 in 10 jobs, (330 million) worldwide and generating 10.3% of global GDP. Regrettably, this was the reality before the 2020 crisis. One can certainly concede that the impact of the situation on this industry is significant, if not momentous. The current stop in travel is on an incomparable scale. All components of the travel industry will be establishing new standards for health and safety to be acceptable to both government agencies and consumers—more in the June edition.

When a degree is not enough — how to expand your career options and build a winning team

By Allison L. Mollica, NHTI-Concord’s Community College

Many individuals in our dynamic workforce today have grown in jobs and advanced in their role without additional formal education or training, relying heavily on experience. Yet others in early entry positions are finding it difficult to advance to the next level and mature workers are forced out of jobs or are unable to meet their job requirements because of a lack of 21st century skills. More than ever before, we are evaluating and predicting jobs and skills of the future. Our workforce is continually seeking training to obtain skills. More and more employers are looking to hire based on skills that they know that the employee has rather than simply a framed credential. Microcredentials, badging and even testing are ways to ensure new hires can contribute—more in the June edition.  

It’s not easy, but look past the market selloff

Contributed by Karen Ward,  Edward Jones, Member SIPC

These are challenging times. Like everyone, you are concerned about keeping your family safe and healthy, and you’re doing your part to help protect your community from the effects of the coronavirus. And if you’re an investor, you must also address your financial situation. How should you respond to the current market volatility and recent declines in investment prices? The market selloff may feel unsettling, but it appears to be driven as much, or more, by fear and panic than by economic or financial reality—more in the May edition.

Cybersecurity WARNING: coronavirus-related phishing

Contributed by Schyler Jones, MiradorIT

As much of the world grapples with the new coronavirus (COVID-19), and how to handle it, attackers are taking advantage of the widespread discussion of COVID-19 in emails and across the web. Researchers observed a recent spike in COVID-19-related spear-phishing attacks, up 667-percent since the end of February. Moreover, phishing attacks using COVID-19 as a hook are becoming more sophisticated, especially with blackmail attacks and conversation hijacking. Threat actors are using social media and news reports to identify potential victims for targeted blackmail attempts—more in the May edition.


Interested in contributing a Business Focus article?

Contact Kathy Bacon for more information.