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Radically Rural, as a summit, started in 2018 as a partnership between the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship and The Keene Sentinel.

The two organizations had come together in 2016 and 2017 to stage CONNECT, an event initiated by Hannah Grimes in 2008 to connect graduates of one of its business programs and grew to include graduates and participants in HG programming, funders, board members, and the local business and community.

The new approach and concept of CONNECT, to showcase the innovation and entrepreneurship in the Monadnock Region, drew crowds of 400 to network in a fusion of art, food and music. This success suggested something bigger was possible: A small town summit at which experts in the arts, downtowns, entrepreneurship, land use, clean energy, healthcare and journalism could gather and share thoughts on sustainable, thriving rural communities. Radically Rural was born with an emphasis, as its name suggests, on inventive, contemporary approaches that attendees could absorb and take home.

The 2018 summit drew more than 500 registrants from 24 states. The 2019 gathering expanded to more than 600 attendees. And the summit in 2020, held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, still attracted 500, but this time from 43 states.

Today, Radically Rural has moved beyond a summit, to year-round programming offered in the track areas showcased at the summit. And now it has its own full-time director. The mission, a simple one, is the same: Radically Rural builds sustainability and success for rural life and places by building a network that connects people to each other and to new ideas.

 

Radically Rural Director

Julianna moved to New Hampshire four years ago and resides in Spofford with her husband and three young children.

She has been primarily in the financial services industry (which according to her is a lot more vibrant and dynamic than one might imagine!) but has also taught English overseas, and runs her own small business on the side. Both from her own work as a business owner and through helping hundreds of individuals and small businesses through her work in accounting, she has gained a wide array of knowledge in some of the struggles that exist in rural communities as well as many of the intricacies that make rural life amazing.

Currently, she is the president-elect of the Montessori Schoolhouse of Cheshire County and serves on their Executive, Finance, and Building & Grounds committees. She is also the vice chair of the Economic Development Committee (EDC) for the town of Chesterfield, NH. It was her work with the EDC over the past few years that really piqued her interest in helping to cultivate thriving rural communities. For fun she enjoys dancing (currently at MoCo Arts), reading to her kids, going on adventures with her family, and nerding out on all things humanities.

Conveniently, her favorite color is red!

Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship Key Partners

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