The Carsey School Presents: Coffee & Conversations

About the Series

Coffee & Conversations is a discussion series jointly organized by the Carsey School of Public Policy, the State of NH Bureau of Education and Training, and the NH Association of Certified Public Managers to engage public service professionals in learning, problem solving, and collaboration. We’ll provide the coffee, you provide the conversation!

Upcoming Talks


April 8: Community Engagement and Public Policy

Sarah Wrightsman, executive director of the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast

Sarah Wrightsman, Executive Director of the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast

Wednesday, April 8, 8:15 – 9:30 a.m.

This event will be presented entirely online using Zoom software. Please register to receive a link to webinar.


Sarah Wrightsman '19G serves as executive director of the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast, a non-profit whose mission is to ensure that local and statewide policies are favorable to the development of financially feasible workforce housing in the Seacoast region of New Hampshire and southern Maine. Wrightsman also serves as the housing planner for the Regional Economic Development Center.

Wrightsman was recently included on the New Hampshire Union Leader's 40 Under Forty list. She has been named to New Hampshire Magazine’s 2019 “It List” and been recognized as a 2019 “10 to Watch” winner by Seacoast Media Group and Catapult Seacoast. In 2018, she was named Civic Leader of the Year by Stay Work Play NH and NH Public Radio.

Wrightsman is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and has a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Carsey School of Public Policy. During her graduate studies, Wrightsman served as a fellow for New Hampshire Listens, a civic engagement initiative out of UNH. Wrightsman is also the co-host of Creative Guts, a podcast focused on the pursuit of creativity. Wrightsman lives in Durham, NH with her husband, Aaron, and her rabbit, Luna.

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May 13: Making New Hampshire More Desirable to Young People

Photo of Will Stewart of Stay Work Play New Hampshire

Will Stewart, Executive Director of Stay Work Play

Wednesday, May 13, 8:15 – 9:30 a.m.

This event will be presented entirely online using Zoom software. Please register to receive a link to webinar.


Why do young people stay in the Monadnock region and Greater Concord? Why might they leave the Seacoast and the Mt. Washington Valley? What similarities exist between the state's regions when it comes to why young people stay and go? What are the differences?

In our May Coffee & Conversations, Stay Work Play Executive Director Will Stewart will share what the organization learned during its recent Policy & Pints series, in which he and his team spoke with young people across nine NH regions this past fall and winter to discuss issues that most impact their lives and where they live. Will will also discuss how Stay Work Play is addressing these issues and how other organizations, companies, municipalities, and individuals can help make New Hampshire a more attractive place for young people.

Will was named the Executive Director of Stay Work Play New Hampshire in September 2017. He is responsible for the overall management of Stay Work Play and oversees the development, growth, and implementation of the organization’s mission, programs, and budget. Stewart also serves as the organization’s key spokesperson and as an advocate for the attraction and retention of younger workers in New Hampshire. Actively involved in community efforts, Will also serves as the Ward 2 Alderman on the City of Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

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Past Coffee & Conversations

March 11: Rick Perrin

Rick Perrin of the U.S. Census Bureau

Rick Perrin, a supervisory partnership specialist with the United States Census Bureau, spoke about the history of the Census, the goals of the 2020 Census, and how it will operate in New Hampshire. The 2020 Decennial Census will mark his third tenure with the Census Bureau with similar duties in 2010 and as a Field Supervisor for The American Housing Survey in 2017.

Did you miss March's talk? You can watch the entire talk with Rick Perrin online.

Feb. 12: Moira O’Neill

Dr. Moira O'Neill, small photo, coffee and conversations

Moira O’Neill, Ph.D., heads one of New Hampshire’s newest state agencies, the Office of the Child Advocate, which focuses on reforming the state’s child welfare system. During her talk, she’ll talk about the mission and role of this agency and the importance of independent oversight of government agencies as a means towards more transparency and accountability in the delivery of quality state services.

The Office of the Child Advocate was established in 2018 as part of an aggressive commitment to reform New Hampshire’s child welfare system. The agency is an independent and impartial state office established to oversee the NH Division for Children, Youth and Families.

Did you miss February's talk? You can watch the entire talk and Q&A with Dr. Moira O'Neill online.

Jan. 7, 2020: Chuck Bagley

Chuck Bagley speaking at Carsey's Coffee & Conversations in January.

Chuck Bagley, Director of Staff Engagement at New Hampshire Hospital, joined us to discuss different methods of teaching and learning within today's workplaces. Bagley has taught a variety of topics to a wide range of learners, from college undergraduate and graduate learners to incarcerated and refugee learners, and he’s created numerous faculty and trainer development programs. During his talk, he will discuss trends in formal workplace learning in the U.S. and strategies that aim to enhance formal learning with social, experiential, and informal learning.

Dec. 11, 2019: James Dean, Jr.

Photo of UNH President James Dean, Jr.

James W. (“Jim”) Dean Jr. discussed how the nation’s public universities must rethink their efforts to better serve the public through teaching, research, and engagement, and how the University of New Hampshire was doing exactly that to better serve the state and the region.

Dean became the 20th president of the University of New Hampshire in June 2018. Since joining UNH, he has met with hundreds of members of the university community, alumni and donors, New Hampshire business leaders, state lawmakers, and state residents to discuss UNH’s challenges and opportunities.

Did you miss December's talk? You can watch the entire talk and Q&A with President James Dean online.

Nov. 13, 2019: Kirsten Howard

Kirsten Howard of the NH Department of Environmental Science

Kirsten Howard, a Resilience Coordinator for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services' Coastal Program, presented some of the latest local scientific projections for sea-level rise and changes in storms and precipitation due to climate change and examined how a changing seacoast impacts policy decisions and change.

Did you miss November's talk? You can watch the entire talk and Q&A with Kirsten Howard online.

Oct. 9, 2019: Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith, director of the UNH Survey Center, will speak at the Coffee & Conversations event on Oct. 9.

Dr. Andrew Smith, Director of the UNH Survey Center, discussed some of the issues facing election polling today and provided a brief history of how new technology and polling practices shaped the election process. He also delved into the New Hampshire primary and who generally votes during the first-in-the-nation primary.

Did you miss October's talk? You can watch the entire talk and Q&A with Dr. Smith online.

About Our Partners

NH Bureau of Education and Training

coffee and conversations, bureau of education

The State of New Hampshire provides a unique program of continuing professional development through the Bureau of Education and Training (BET). The Bureau offers a variety of training programs – including in LEAN process improvement and management and Certified Public Supervisor/Manager credentialing – to all public employees of New Hampshire.

NH Certified Public Managers

nh cpm, certified public manager, coffee, carsey

The Certified Public Manager® program is a nationally accredited comprehensive management development program specifically for managers in federal, state, and local government. The program’s primary goal is to improve the performance of public sector managers and the organizational performance of state, local, and federal government. In New Hampshire, the program is divided into two levels: Level I (called the Certified Public Supervisor program) and Level II, which results in CPM status being awarded.