The 10 to Watch contest for 2019 got a huge boost with a rousing kickoff party on Thursday night at the One Hundred Club in Portsmouth.

The next step is up to the young professionals of the Seacoast. Missed the party? That's OK. The contest is just getting started and now is the time to take part, get exposure and meet people you can work with to better the community and make strides in your career.

Go to to enter the contest yourself, or to nominate someone you know, a co-worker or employee.

In case you aren't familiar with 10 to Watch, the contest is in its sixth year and is presented by Catapult Seacoast, the local young professionals network, in partnership with us at Seacoast Media Group. It's open to people age 21 to 40 and seeks to honor people who are making strong strides in their career and show a desire and willingness to do good work in their community, too. The careers and community work this contest honors are varied. People of all professions who live and/or work in the Seacoast are welcome.

The contest is supported by lead sponsors Bank of America and Eversource.

Everyone who enters is invited to become part of the Catapult community and raises their profile with publicity from the contest. Judges from New Hampshire young professionals networks outside the Seacoast select 20 finalists and the 10 winners, who are honored at the 10 to Watch Awards to be held May 22 at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth.

Tom Loughman, a 33-year-old state representative from Hampton, was one of the winners in the 2018 10 to Watch contest, several months before he was elected. He was the keynote speaker at this week's kickoff party at the One Hundred Club.

His message was clear. New Hampshire is an aging state, and the key to the future is young adults staying and making their careers here.

“We need young leaders badly right now,” Loughman said. “New Hampshire has a lot of challenges ahead and you’re the ones that are best suited to rise to that occasion.”

One addition we would make to Loughman's message is this: Don't be shy.

Each year we hear from some young adults who think about entering 10 to Watch but aren't sure they are ready to put themselves out there.

We say this: Why wait?

You might be a winner of the contest this year, or you might not. If you win, great, but the more important and lasting benefits of being part of 10 to Watch come from just being part of the contest.

We see people each year who started a new venture or new project because of people they met through the contest. They make friends and contacts and feel more connected to their community. That opportunity is open to everyone.

Don't miss out. Go to and learn all about it.