Resiliency in Practice in our NH Businesses and Communities


Molly Donovan

We have been teaching about community economic resilience as a response to the disruption of the pandemic. This includes resources for small business resilience since we know that our businesses are key to community stability and vitality. But resilience is one of those words that is a little hard to get your head around. Sure, it is about bouncing back after a disturbance, and we have explored that it can be a deliberate push forward to something improved. Important topics we have highlighted for resiliency include strong networks, innovation and including everyone in the process and planning. We have said it is a concept to be practiced and that communities and businesses need a resiliency plan. I still always want to understand the practical applications of teaching resiliency and I am happy to share what is happening following last spring’s Resiliency Academy.

Downtown Rochester has been home to Studley’s Flower Garden for close to one hundred years. Molly Meulenbroek is part of the family ownership of this local business that is preparing for the future having learned about resiliency. Molly worked on a business resiliency plan including assessing their cybersecurity, updating credit card processing, and recognizing the importance of their local network at city hall, chamber of commerce and with other businesses. Molly shares that in running a business you get caught up in the short term and resiliency work allows you to consider the necessary long-term planning.

Meals on Wheels of Hillsborough County has made changes to its operation as designed in its recent resiliency plan. Kristen Kostecki started in her new role as Vice President with Meals on Wheels and took on resiliency planning to “strengthen the organization’s ability to deliver in the long term.” She shares that in a nonprofit, resiliency is a bedrock as “we do more with less.”  They needed to continue to feed people through the pandemic. They planned for supply and vendor issues, added a refrigerated van and freezers, evaluated communications, cyber security, their evacuation plan and more. The Resiliency Academy helped them build capacity to deal with change and plan for the future.

On the community level, North Country Council Regional Planning Commission is working on North Country Rising: A Plan for Recovery and Resilience with their communities and region. Using a strong engagement process focused on conversations and listening, they are preparing to withstand disruption and adapt going forward. This quote helps to sum up their outlook: “We come together and figure things out – we have ingenuity and innovation in the north country mindset.”

These are just a few examples of real application of concepts we present when teaching – join us for our 2022 Resiliency Academy and learn more. For details and to register visit: https://www.nhsbdc.org/resiliency-academy and for more information Resiliency Academy | Extension (unh.edu)

Author(s)

Molly Donovan
Community Economic Development State Specialist
Assoc State Specialist
Phone: (603) 862-5046
Office: Cooperative Extension, Nesmith Hall Rm 204C, Durham, NH 03824