An ongoing concern for the state and this corner of it has been the challenge of retaining and attracting younger workers. The explanations have ranged from demographic trends to the arguably greater opportunity, higher wages and more appealing social opportunities that might be found in other, typically more urban places. Yet over most of the last decade the annual Trendsetters celebration pokes a hole to let air out of any belief we’re experiencing in these parts a dearth of talented and contributing younger professionals.

Trendsetters is a combined event and publication, hosted each year by our publication The Business Journal of Greater Keene, Brattleboro and Peterborough, in partnership with the Keene Young Professionals Network. Each year it recognizes a group of under-40 professionals who are making their mark on the area. Selected following public nominations by a group of independent judges, each year’s Trendsetters have invariably impressed for the breadth of their accomplishments, their passion for community and the promise they hold for making the region a better place for all.

This year’s 10 honorees join the impressive ranks of the now eight “classes” of Trendsetters. They include public servants and business executives, teachers and entrepreneurs, recent entrants into the professional world and working moms and dads. Despite their differences, they share a commitment that goes well beyond their professions to embrace collaborative engagement in myriad ways to improve life and community. And over the past year, they’ve shown remarkable resilience in taking on the pandemic’s challenges.

The 2021 Trendsetters will be honored during a live event Thursday evening staged at The Colonial Theatre’s new Showroom arts space and also are featured in this quarter’s Business Journal magazine that will be distributed in Friday’s Sentinel. Because of necessary social-distancing precautions, attendance at the Thursday event will be limited to the Trendsetters, but we will be streaming it live and for free beginning at 6:30 p.m. on SentinelSource.com and our Facebook page. The livestream will include videos introducing the honorees and showcasing just some of their many accomplishments. We hope you’ll tune in to the event and then learn more about them in the Business Journal’s expanded focus.

When you do, you’ll learn why the annual Trendsetters recognition gives such confidence in the foundation on which the region’s future must rest. This year’s Trendsetters, whether they’ve grown up here or are transplants, share a single-minded commitment to community. Through work, service on boards or volunteer involvement, they show they’re invested here. Their collective can-do and must-do spirit is summed up by one Trendsetter, who says “I always feel slightly guilty because I don’t feel my resumé is as long as it should be.” As you learn about them, you’ll be certain none of them has any reason to feel guilty at all. But that spirit and their energy certainly bode well as the region strives to emerge from the pandemic and position itself for the future.