NH Veteran-Friendly Business Network's 2022 Annual Symposium

The Department of Military Affairs and Veterans Services and NH Employment Security invite you to be our guest at this catered event designed to recognize veteran-friendly businesses in New Hampshire, highlight achievements of the network and its business members, and provide opportunities to network and learn about best practices to recruit, hire, retain Veteran employees and support wellness in the workplace.

NH Veteran-Friendly Business logo

DMAVS logo    NHES logo

Date: Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Time: 9:30am - 2:30pm

Location: Puritan Backroom Restaurant, Manchester, NH

Registration required and is currently limited to 2-3 people from each business. 



To register for the event, please visit the following link. 


Registrations will be accepted until November 4th. At this time, due to our event capacity, we need to limit registrations to no more than 4-5 people per business.  Each person attending needs to complete the registration process separately so we can track accurately for the food count. Towards the end of the registration timeframe, if there are spaces still available a notice will be sent out to businesses so the invitation can be extended to additional employees. Thank you for understanding!



9:30AM      Networking, announcements and resource sharing

9:45AM      Welcome

                    Opening Remarks by Major General David J. Mikolaities, The Adjutant General, New Hampshire

                    Recognition of Businesses & Highlights from Network and NH Veteran-Friendly Businesses

10:30AM    Morning Presentation: Supporting Veteran Wellness in the Workplace

Hear from a panel of expert professionals in the field of mental health and wellness. Learn about how you can incorporate simple, creative and/or innovative strategies in your workplace that will help to support and retain Veteran employees as well as fortify military/Veteran families. 

Paula Booth, Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and former Director of Employee Assistance Program, State of New Hampshire

Liz Hodgkins, Director of Adult Programs, NAMI NH

Karen Morton-Clark, CRSW; Recovery Friendly Advisor, NH Governor’s Recovery Friendly Workplace | Administered by Granite United Way in partnership with the State of NH

Jennifer Schirmer, LCMHC NCC CCTP; Disaster Behavioral Health Coordinator, Bureau of Emergency Preparedness, Response, & Recovery, NH Division of Public Health Services, Department of Health & Human Services

(Bios for each presenter are under Presenter Bios)

12:00PM    Lunch catered by Puritan Backroom Restaurant, Networking & Holiday Card Collection*

The following selections will be available for lunch. 

Toasted garlic bread, caesar salad, caprese salad, fried chicken tender parmigiana, broccoli & ziti alfredo, meat lasagna, green beans, assorted cookies.

Please notify Kim Hillson, Kimberly.J.Hillson@DMAVS.nh.gov, if you have dietary restrictions that require a different selection.

1:00PM      Afternoon Presentation: Understanding, Recruiting & Hiring Military/Veterans

Leo J. Deon Jr., Veterans’ Program Manager, Maine Department of Labor (Bio under Presenter Bios)

Leo J. Deon, Jr. works with the Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign and helps businesses understand how to develop Veteran hiring strategies and find military talent to fill their workforce needs. We are excited to have his support here in New Hampshire and to benefit from his extensive knowledge about how to connect military skills and talents to civilian jobs.

Check out this Maine Hire-A-Vet promo video to get a sense of what will be touched upon in his presentation!

2:00PM       Closing Remarks & Announcements


CARD COLLECTION CHALLENGE!  Holiday Cards 4 Our Military NH     #cards2connect

We challenge you all to a friendly competition of who can write or collect and bring the most cards that can be sent to military service members and their families during the holidays!  Dr. Laura Landerman-Garber, co-founder and President of the Holiday Cards 4 Our Military NH and #cards2connect Challenges (and a NH Veteran-Friendly Business!) will be in attendance to collect the cards. Since she founded the Challenge 19 years ago, over a half million cards have been sent showing support to our military members. Let's help her add to that number this year. November 18th is the deadline for this year's card collection, so the timing of our event is perfect!

Challenge your staff and their families to write and donate cards that you can deliver to Dr. Landerman-Garber on the 15th! 

See the link below for guidelines to follow when writing a card.

Guidelines for donating cards



Paula Booth is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker currently consulting in the healthcare industry in the state's North Country region. She is also the former Director of the State of New Hampshire Employee Assistance Program where she worked for 32 years. She is an experienced Director with a demonstrated history of working in the government administration industry. She shares her skills in nonprofit organizations, coaching, government, program evaluation, and public speaking to benefit those she is supporting and educating. Paula has completed a Master's Degree focused in Clinical Social Work and minor in Group Work from Boston University. Clinical MSW, Boston University. BA Psychology, UNH.

Liz Hodgkins is the Director of Adult Programs at NAMI New Hampshire (National Alliance for Mental Illness). For almost a decade, Liz has connected individuals and families impacted by a mental health condition to evidence-based NAMI programs that provide support, education, and advocacy. One of the most rewarding parts of her work is to connect individuals and families who benefited from those programs into a meaningful volunteer role that gives help and hope to others impacted by mental illness and suicide. Empowering volunteers to share their lived experience and unique perspective to help change the conversation around mental illness is one of Liz’s passions. Liz believes that mental health care is for everyone and is dedicated to dispelling the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness.  Her personal wellness activities include a challenging yoga routine and spending time outdoors in all seasons. 

Karen Morton-Clark is a Certified Recovery Support Worker (CRSW) with over 30 years of experience working with vulnerable and high-risk populations impacted by substance use disorder and related challenges. In her current role as a Recovery Friendly Advisor for the NH Governor’s Recovery Friendly Workplace (RFW) Initiative, she serves as a sounding board and “concierge to businesses and communities” by helping them to implement a recovery friendly culture. This includes connecting them to a vast array of tools, resources, and trainings to support employees and their loved ones in health, wellness, and recovery. She also serves on the Steering Committee for the Dover Mental Health Alliance, an emerging grassroots pilot program that supports NH’s 10 Year Mental Health Plan. She has provided caller support and crisis navigation through the former NH Statewide Addiction Crisis Line (RAPS) and has held various leadership positions with the Dover Police Coalition for Youth, Seacoast Public Health Network, National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, and the NH Air National Guard. In her role with the NHANG, she developed, managed, and executed Yellow Ribbon support events for Airmen and Families during all phases of deployment and reintegration. 

Jennifer Schirmer is a New Hampshire Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC), a National Certified Counselor (NCC), and a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP). She is also certified in Critical Incident Stress Management (CCISM). She began specializing in Disaster Behavioral Health in 2004 while working for the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a Crisis Counseling Program Manager. She currently serves as the NH Disaster Behavioral Health Coordinator and maintains a private practice in Dover, NH. She has traveled throughout the country and throughout the state of New Hampshire providing counseling and consultation services to federal, state, and local organizations, as well as individuals, families, and communities. Her professional experience is a unique integration of mental health counseling and emergency management, which has resulted in a specialization within the fields of crisis management and trauma – informed care. She also specializes in working with public service and government personnel, first responders, and the military.

Leo J. Deon, Jr. has extensive experience in workforce development, Veteran advocacy, and employment services as well as business engagement. As the Veterans’ Program Manager for the Maine Department Labor, he oversees administration of the Jobs for Veterans State Grant which funds employment support and services for eligible Veterans. Prior to this position, he served as a Local Veterans’ Employment Representative in the same department for over four years.  Leo is actively involved with numerous  Maine Military & Community Network Regional Groups and serves as the Chair of the Franklin County Group. Leo devoted 21 years to our nation in the U.S. Coast Guard, retiring as a Chief Warrant Officer. He has a myriad of military accolades and holds a bachelor’s degree in management from the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Leo and his wife Chris are avid “happy campers” and enjoy road trip adventures to take in the various seasonal offerings of New England.