Julie Eades

Honoring all the people

By Julie Eades

Andrea Johnstone's advice helped make us more observant, more kind, and more gracious in the ways we interact with borrowers.

"I pledge to honor all the people."

What a great promise. On October 2, I had the privilege of attending the swearing-in ceremony for Andrea K. Johnstone as United States Magistrate Judge for the district of New Hampshire.

In her remarks, Andrea committed herself to "honor all the people" as a federal judge. This echoed the very-moving praise from those who spoke previously about Andrea's fairness, kindness, toughness and ability to hear the whole story from all sides.

Andrea gave the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund several decades of stellar legal representation. She helped us be a smart and progressive employer. She also helped us shape our business investments in ways that strengthen both the company and its greatest asset—its employees.

Watching Andrea be sworn in as a judge within the legal system made me reflect on "judges" in the financial world. Economic markets don't always treat people fairly. Lenders lean toward formality and don't always express themselves in a kindly manner. Financial decision-makers don't have to look at the whole story, or all sides, when making a choice about which businesses or people to invest in. Yet these judgments are as life-changing as those of the courts.

The Community Loan Fund serves people and businesses that cannot otherwise obtain fair financing, even when they have been financially responsible and are capable of repayment. I'm grateful for all I've learned from Andrea about what to bring to the process of making sound judgments about those who might otherwise be unheard or too-easily dismissed.

Andrea helped us hone our skills, making us more observant beyond the stereotype, more kind even with direct critiques, and more gracious in walking nervous people through the daunting procedures of getting financing. We thank Andrea for her many years of guidance and we will continue to strive to "honor all the people" in our economic context while she does the same at the court. We wish her the best.

Juliana Eades is President of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund.