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New Hampshire community leaders are shining brilliantly, from groundbreaking victories to outstanding awards of the highest honor.

Community leaders play an important role in shaping and improving New Hampshire. Their selflessness and passion are paramount as they work relentlessly to give back and generate good change on a local and global scale.

We are fortunate to have some extraordinary people whose contributions have had an indelible impact on the lives of others around them. Here are five New Hampshire community leaders who are making a difference.

Laura Maynard from Concord

The New Hampshire Bar Association awarded veteran paralegal Laura Maynard of the New Hampshire Department of Justice the 2022 Paralegal Professionalism Award. She began her career as a receptionist in the Attorney General’s office in 1988 and quickly moved to become a Legal Assistant in the Civil Bureau, where she worked for almost 24 years. She earned her paralegal studies certificate during this time.

Maynard moved to the Environmental Protection Bureau in 2012, where she was recognized for her thorough work evaluating pleadings, discovery, court rules, and orders, as well as her proactive problem-solving and tech-savvy approach. Maynard’s dedication to upholding environmental regulations won her colleagues’ respect, and she was nominated for the honor. (Department of Justice, New Hampshire)

Paul J. LeBlanc from Manchester

Dr. Paul J. LeBlanc, president and CEO of Southern New Hampshire University, was awarded the Greater Manchester Chamber’s 2022 Citizen of the Year for his visionary leadership in education, beneficial influence on the region, and global devotion. Recognized for anticipating and prioritizing students’ needs, LeBlanc’s dedication left an unforgettable effect on the wider Manchester area.

Because of his concentration on worldwide outreach, LeBlanc’s inventive mentality, humility, and generosity have made him a role model and driving force for positive change locally and internationally. The award honored LeBlanc as a role model who inspires many others through education and civic pride. (Chamber of Greater Manchester)

Roger Wood from Barrington

The New Hampshire Press Association has honored Roger Wood, a distinguished journalist with five decades of service in broadcast radio news and public affairs, with the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award – the fifth Lifetime Achievement award for

Wood’s career began in a Pennsylvania radio station while studying at Temple University, and he is now the associate publisher and podcast producer at He has received awards for his work in news podcasts and broadcast radio news, having produced reports for, NH Public Radio, NPR, and CBS Radio, among others. In addition, Wood has moderated high-level political forums, guided public policy conversations, and published three books. (

Brán Nguyen from Derry

Brán Nguyen made history by becoming the first transgender winner of the Miss America Organization’s “Miss Greater Derry 2023” pageant. The 19-year-old’s victory, the first in the organization’s 100-year existence, is a watershed moment in transgender representation and has sparked global interest, with Nguyen using the platform to fight for the transgender community.

Nguyen’s victory came with a scholarship and an official title, giving her the opportunity to complete her studies while serving as a role model for her community. Her triumph also qualifies her for the Miss New Hampshire Pageant and, maybe, the Miss America Pageant. (ABC 15)

Emily Knight from Dover

Emily Knight, a dedicated Registered Nurse (RN), received the Excellence in Nursing Award 2023 for her outstanding performance in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) and Medical Surgical Nursing at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in New Hampshire. Knight, who has 27 years of experience in PACU nursing, has proven great leadership qualities by wearing several hats, including teaching physicians, working with state legislators, and acting as chair on numerous committees.

She is well-known for her leadership and patient advocacy, but she has also made significant contributions to pediatrics and the several committees she chairs. In addition to her clinical responsibilities, she manages WDH’s American Heart Association training facility and participates in a variety of health projects. (From the New Hampshire Magazine)

New Hampshire is filled with a great deal of human talent. Amazing leaders leave footprints for the next generation to follow.

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