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 2006 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. The 2021 summit was hybrid, both in person and online, a format we plan to continue to use moving forward because of it’s helpful impact of accessibility.
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 powerful networks of passionate, engaged, innovative people willing to share ideas and resources and take action to strengthen their small communities across the country.
Summit Program Tracks
Program tracks feature topics that offer strategic opportunities for
transformation in rural communities
Radically Rural Director
Julianna moved to New Hampshire in 2017 and resides in Spofford with her spouse 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.
Julianna has also recently entered a new role at the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship as Deputy Executive Director, where she oversees human resources, operations and programming, as well as continuing to fulfill her current duties as Radically Rural Director.
Currently, she serves on the Montessori Schoolhouse of Cheshire County board. 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. She also volunteers with local organizations including Project Home and Out in the Open. 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!