Litchfield County Leaders Under 40

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Dear Readers, For the first time ever, the Northwest CT Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professional Organization is honoring Leaders Under 40 who live or work in Litchfield County and are making a positive impact on the community, both personally and professionally. Where did the idea come from? In 2017, the Chamber took a lead role in the Working Cities Challenge. After months of communicating with other community leaders and extensive research, the results were astonishing. We need to be paying closer attention to the changing demographics of Northwest Connecticut. We have a declining number of millennials, particularly age 25-35, falling public school enrollment, and a rapidly increasing senior population. All of which combine to threaten the financial security and quality of life for our residents, businesses and communities. Statistics obtained from focus groups indicate that Litchfield County will struggle with a decreasing workforce. The main challenge we face is keeping and attracting young talent to Northwest Connecticut who will make up our future workforce, consumers and taxpayers. In 2010, for every senior (65+), there were 1.04 millennials (18-34 year olds) in the region, the smallest statewide. Torrington is projected to lose 10% of students, while the senior population will increase by 39% by 2025, thus resulting in a .66 ratio. The perception is that no jobs are available in the area and it is not attractive for young people to live. In response to these findings, the Young Professionals Organization’s Community Engagement Committee created the Litchfield County Leaders Under 40. An impressive group of over 100 nominations were received for the honor. These young leaders are exceptional. A panel of distinguished community leaders selected 40 honorees. The recipients go above and beyond contributing their time and talent to companies, schools, non-profit organizations and communities. This publication serves to prove that there are abundant opportunities available for millennials in Northwest Connecticut. We should continue to celebrate these individuals and others like them and spread the word that Litchfield County is a great place to live and work. Thank you to everyone who contributed to make this endeavor a success. We could not have done it without you. Congratulations and thank you to all of the leaders highlighted. You’re an inspiration to us all.

Lauren Zordan Vice President Programs & Events Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce

Sponsor Page







Congratulations to all the Young Leaders Under 40. We are AMPed Up about all the great work you do in our Community. -Ellen Griesedieck, American Mural Project Congratulations Lauren Johnson! -Catalyst Counseling of Connecticut Congratulations to all the Leaders Under 40! -Conquest Congratulations to Phillip and the rest of the group for an outstanding achievement! -Heidi and Andrew Koenig LARC congratulates the Leaders Under 40 and especially our current board and staff members who are among the talented group: Andrew Deacon, Ruth Nadeau Dwyer, Sarah Dziedzic, James Steck, and Timothy Waldron. -LARC

Congratulations to the honorees! -Litchfield County Board of Realtors Congratulations! -Rivco Construction, LLC Congratulations to all the honorees! -Samantha and Klayton Wald Congratulations to Kate Mancarella and Tim Waldron! -Susan and Gordon Smith Congratulations to all the Litchfield County Leaders Under 40! -Torrington Municipal & Teachers Federal Credit Union Congratulations to Phillip, we are so proud of this amazing accomplishment! -Wamogo Regional High School




1 Katie Adkins

23 Katrin Moskowitz

2 Christian Allyn

24 Brian Ohler 25 Kimberly Petzel

Plymouth Meats

Town of North Canaan

3 Peter Callahan 4 Jamie Cantoni

Fresh Perspectives/Copper Beech Institute

6 Jennifer Donovan

28 Zachary Ritchie

Red Barn Consulting LLC

Thalyia Newman

Samantha Wald Elevator Service Co., Inc.

Lauren Zordan NW CT Chamber of Commerce

30 Michael Shea, OD

9 Danielle Eichman

31 Robert Simon

Phoebe Casciani

Phoebe Casciani Photography Photographer

Blondin Shea Eye Care

Torrington Police Department

32 John Simoncelli

11 Jessica Gueniat

33 James Steck

Earth's Palate Farm & Partners for Sustainable Healthy Communities

Torrington Library

Greenwoods Counseling Referrals, Inc.

Ebersol, McCormick, Reis & Steck, LLC

12 Johanna Idrovo Sarmiento 34 Michael Sweeney 13 Lauren Johnson 35 Carrie Taylor Northwestern CT Community College

Torrington Savings Bank

Catalyst Counseling of Connecticut

Brooks, Todd & McNeil Insurance

14 Jordan Kaine,RN,BSN

36 Jessica Tessman


37 Jill Veras-Corey

Visiting Nurse Services of CT

Wamogo Regional High School

Central CT State University

Torrington Library

17 Vince Laliberte

38 Julie Vincent

18 Meghan Lyon

39 Anthony Vultaggio Jr.

Hoekenga & Machado, LLC/UCONN School of Law

Susquehanna University

Torrington Ford Lincoln

19 Alain Malcolm

40 Timothy Waldron

20 Katherine Mancarella

41 Michael Whittaker

22 Mathew Montgomery

42 Crystal Wiggins

Altek Electronics, Inc.

North Meadow Farm

Northwest CT YMCA

Young Professionals Organization is sponsored by Conquest.

Central CT State University

10 Renee Giroux

Pursue the Clues

Contributors Steven Bechard State Of Art Graphic Designer

Prime Time House, Inc.

8 Sarah Dziedzic Papermoon Performing Arts

Prime Time House, Inc.

Northwestern CT Community College

29 Lisselot Rodriguez

Union Savings Bank

Prime Time House, Inc.

Northwestern CT Community College

7 Ruth Nadeau Dwyer Ackerly Brown LLP

Tracey Chadwick

Torrington Public Schools

5 Andrew Deacon Torrington Public Schools

NW CT Arts Council

State Representative, 64th District

26 Isabella Pinto 27 Olivia Pinto

Jeffrey Tillou Antiques/Western CT State University

Planning Committee Steph Burr

Community Health & Wellness Center

City of Torrington


Northwestern CT Community College

Hometown Harwinton Age 30 Someone who inspires me My Father Q: What is ONE change you would make to better the region?

A: More Agriculture Q: What is your


A: Perseverance

and Persistance

Q: What is your favorite thing about Litchfield County?

A: The Small



rom working on the farm to processing meat, helping youth to serving as owner of the growing new business Plymouth Meats – Katie Adkins does it all. She grew up working on the family farm and stayed active in 4-H and FFA. Through the FFA, she competed in public speaking and judging competitions, and also served as FFA President her senior year. Katie graduated from Wamogo Regional High School, then continued her education at Delaware Valley

College, from which she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Large Animal Science and a minor in Ag Business. Katie has been working in the meat processing business for 12 years. In November 2017, she opened her own facility in Terryville. It has been a long-term project, but she saw the growing demand for local food; Plymouth Meats is a crucial part of that cycle. Katie also owns and operates Blue Moon Farm along with her parents, Jim and Gail Murdock, and her husband, Aaron. On the farm, they raise beef cattle, pigs, chickens, goats, lambs, and rabbits. In addition, they raise purebred Hereford cattle, which Katie has shown nationally and also at various local fairs and shows. Along with the purebred stock, they produce naturally raised meats that they sell at their farm store and at farmers markets. As co-leader of the Litchfield County 4-H Beef Club for the fourth year, Katie works with local youth to promote agriculture in the com-

(860) 496-6666 1

munity. She mentors a large group of young beef cattle enthusiasts who raise, show, and breed beef cattle. She teaches the basics of raising beef cattle, travels to various fairs showing cattle, organizes workshops, and volunteers in the community. For the last three years, Katie has been on the Beef Show Committee for the Goshen Fair Association, providing input and ensuring that all aspects of the fair run smoothly. On a regional level, Katie has been Director of the New En-

gland Hereford Association for eight years, working to promote Hereford cattle and connecting area producers. Katie pays tribute to her high school roots by sharing her expertise within the meat processing industry. For years, she has provided hands-on learning for the Meat Evaluation Career Development Team, and has allowed students to tour her facility so that they can learn more about processing meats.

Adkins Katie 540 Litchfield Street, Torrington, CT

Hometown North Cannan Age 23 Someone who inspires me John F. Kennedy


lected as a Selectman in November 2017, Christian Allyn, a 23-yearold resident of North Canaan, is building his business while renewing his hometown. The youngest Selectman in North Canaan’s history started his business, Invasive Plant Solutions, in May 2016 while he was a junior at UConn Storrs. Throughout his life, Christian has maintained a vision for himself and for Canaan, which is now coming to fruition. Christian graduated in May 2017 from the University of Connecticut, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture and Resource Economics. While at the university, Christian started Invasive Plant Solutions, a company that specializes in the removal of invasive plants. It quickly ballooned from five prospective clients in May 2016 to more than 80 prospective clients at the time of Christian’s graduation in May 2017. This growth led to Christian’s receiving of a $4,000 IDEA grant from the university as well as his selection for participation in the Innovation Quest Business Incubator (IQbator) program run by the UConn School of Business. Throughout his time at UConn, Christian remained active in his hometown. He was appointed to the Housatonic River Commission in January 2014 and the Economic Development Commission in November 2016. In May 2017, he wrote North Canaan’s Town Plan of Conservation and Development, which saved North Canaan over $50,000. This led to

Christian’s being asked to run for the Board of Selectmen. Since his election to the Board in November 2017, Christian has worked with many people to reorganize the records of the Building, Inland-Wetlands, and Zoning Departments and to attract private investment in North Canaan, all while working to foster a positive, forward-thinking environment in the town as a whole. In January 2018, Tesla Motors approached the town with the proposal to install a Super Charging Station in the parking lot of North Canaan’s Stop and Shop. In April 2018, McDonald’s Corporation submitted its plans for a complete renovation of its restaurant. These projects will occur in concert with the opening of the Canaan Union Depot, planned for July 2018, along with the opening of the Great Falls Brewery inside the Depot. Christian’s involvement in these projects, along with his assistance in the coordination of increased volunteer activity in the North Canaan Beautification Committee and the newly formed Canaan Events Support Group, has raised the spirit and morale of the town as a whole. Christian looks forward to the full fruition of his vision for his life and for North Canaan. He works every day to build his business and raise awareness of invasive plants while actively removing them from the landscape. Coupled with this effort is Christian’s goal of promoting a spirit of unity necessary to lead the people of the Town of North Canaan toward a better future.



Q: What is ONE change you would make to better the region?

A: Attract a mid-sized company that requires highly skilled labor to the region.

Q: What is your superpower? A: Photographic memory. Q: What is your favorite thing about Litchfield County?

A: Its incredible history which any-

one can continue to contribute to in their own deeds.

Q: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

A: Time travel so I can appreciate the past and create the best future possible today.

Q: What is your favorite quote? A: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson


Hometown Harwinton Age 31 Someone who inspires me The Dalai Lama

Callahan Peter


eter Callahan is a professional coach and facilitator who passionately believes in the power of compassion and gratitude. Inspired by the common wisdom of the world’s universal t eac h ings and principles, he has dedicated his life’s work to sharing the transformative power of mindfulness practice and compassionate action. Peter founded Fresh Perspectives Coaching & Training in 2013. He is also the Leadership & Engagement Director of Copper Beech Institute in West Hartford. Copper Beech Institute teaches mindfulness practice and contemplative wisdom to inspire purposeful living, awaken one’s full potential for compassionate action, and encourage the creation of a healing shift in the way we relate to one another and in our interconnected world. The institute builds communities of practice and offers transformative learning opportunities to people of all


backgrounds, on and off campus, online, and through outreach among vulnerable communities. You may be aware that Peter is a self-proclaimed ‘recovering jerk’. He has devoted much of his personal and professional time to releasing judgement and developing compassion toward both himself and others. (Though road rage can still be a challenge.) Because of this, Peter loves to coach and empower leaders, students, and teams to discover and act on their values, meaningfully connect with others, and find fulfillment in their work and lives. Peter holds certifications as a Professional Coach through the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching as well as the International Coach Federation. He has a degree in Entrepreneurship and Business Management from The University of Rhode Island, and has completed thousands of hours of mindfulness training and practice.

Throughout the past 10 years, Peter has partnered with hundreds of nonprofits, Fortune 500 companies, and small businesses throughout the Northeast, supporting them in developing conscious leaders and engaged team members. Peter serves on the board of the Connecticut Chapter of the International Coach Federation. He is past President of the Litchfield Chapter of Business Networking International and the Providence Chapter of Toastmasters International. He is also a founding board member of the Entrepreneurial Center of Northwest Connecticut. Peter has served Northwest Connecticut and the Chamber specifically as a graduate and advisor of Leadership Northwest, as a mentor and instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, and as chair of the Young Professionals Organization’s Professional Development Committee. He has also spent many meaningful hours volunteering at the Torrington Soup Kitchen, the Leadership NW Rock n’ Recovery Concert for mental health, Millennials focus groups, and many financial reality fairs. Peter and his wife, Mackenzie, met at Sunset Meadow Vineyards in Goshen and were married last year at Camp Wah-Nee in Torrington after learning about it upon attending a Chamber event there! Peter and Mackenzie live on Lake Harwinton and love to read, travel, hike, connect with friends around a fire, and volunteer throughout the community.

Hometown Litchfield Age 34 Someone who inspires me My Mother


amie Cantoni earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from Western Connecticut State University and a Master of Library and Information Science with a concentration in Archives and Special Collections from Simmons College. She attended Rare Book School at the University of Virginia for descriptive bibliography. Jamie’s experience includes positions at the Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard’s School of Medicine, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Maine Historical Society, and Western Connecticut State University. In her most recent position as Executive Director of Cornwall Historical Society, in addition to managing the institution’s day-to-day operations, Jamie has brought the society into the 21st century by updating its website and creating and implementing policies and procedures that adhere to currently accepted industry standards. She has also made the collections publicly available by creating finding aids (available on the CHS website), cataloging the ready reference library (available on the CHS website via the society’s TinyCat online public access catalog [OPAC]), and implementing Omeka to make digital content available to researchers who are unable to travel to the society for research. During this time, Jamie also established an internship program in which students – ranging from

Cantoni Jamie

high school to graduate students, and in particular students in the Connecticut State University System – are matched with appropriate archival projects related to their interests in public history. In addition to mounting regular exhibits, in 2017 Jamie organized a colloquium related to the bicentennial of the opening of the Foreign Mission School. During this colloquium, six scholars from varied disciplines spoke about different facets of the Foreign Mission School and its legacy, including human exhibitionism, Wooster v. Georgia, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). During this time, Jamie also collaborated with Northwest Connecticut’s other small historical societies to expand the audience and increase participation across the region’s communities. In her recent work as an Adjunct Archivist and

Special Collections Librarian at Western Connecticut State University, Jamie has helped increase awareness and adoption of Connecticut Archives Online (CAO) among institutions of all sizes across Connecticut. She is also working to cultivate an appreciation for – if not interest in – public history among learners of all ages and disciplines. Jamie’s background in archives and museums, as well as her work in public history and material culture, indicate a strong commitment to public service as well as a depth and breadth of knowledge that enable her to tackle any job and incorporate context. She is excited to have recently joined the board of the Upper Housatonic Heritage Valley National Heritage Area. In this role, she will help community partners make successful realities of their hoped-for historical endeavors.


Hometown Litchfield Age 32 Mentor Carol Kearns, High School French Teacher

Deacon Andrew

Q: What is your


A: My people skills Q: What is ONE change you would make to better the region?

A: Greater diversity Q: What is your favorite thing about Litchfield County?

A: The natural beauty Q: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

A: To rid the world of hate and violence


ndrew D. Deacon, a native of Northwest Connecticut, grew up in Litchfield. After graduating from Litchfield High School, he attended Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York, where he studied Art History and French. Deacon graduated summa cum laude from Manhattanville in 2008, having completed the college’s honors program. Inspired by educators, Deacon attended the University of Bridgeport to earn his master’s degree


and teaching certification in elementary education. His first permanent teaching position was as Grade 2 teacher at Colebrook Consolidated School in Colebrook. Later, Deacon transferred to Torrington, where he assumed the position of Grade 4 teacher and numeracy coach at Torringford Elementary School. Deacon has attended several events hosted by the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, including five of its summer institutes in reading and writing.

In April 2014, Deacon was named one of 97 Connecticut Dream Team teachers, having worked with fellow Connecticut teachers to develop Common Core-aligned materials in the English language arts. In August 2016, Deacon was named Torrington Public School’s Teacher of the Year and was one of 16 finalists for Connecticut Teacher of the Year. In December 2017, Deacon completed a Sixth Year Degree in Reading & Language Arts at the University of Bridgeport, where he also earned two certifications: one in Educational Administration & Supervision and the other in Remedial Reading & Remedial Language Arts. In May 2016, the University of Bridgeport gave Deacon the Lydia A. Duggins Award in literacy teaching and the Lauren Rousseau Passionate Educator Award in memory of Ms. Rousseau, who lost her life at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Currently, Deacon serves as the K-5 Literacy Specialist for Torrington Public Schools. He coordinates the literacy program across the district’s five elementary schools. In this role, Deacon works closely with administration to enhance the district’s curriculum in reading and writing, supports teachers in their instruction, elevates students’ reading and writing abilities, and shares information about literacy learning with parents and the Torrington community. In addition, he serves on the Connecticut State Department of Education K-2 Writing Assessment Advisory Committee and is a member of the Board of

Directors of the Connecticut Association of Reading Research. Furthermore, Deacon is an adjunct professor at the University of Bridgeport, where he teaches a graduate course in children’s literature. He presents nationally on the topic of social justice issues in the reading and writing program. Since 2012, Deacon has served as Office Manager/Camp Registrar at Camp MOE, a traditional day program in Torrington. He has worked alongside Katherine Marchand Beyer, the camp’s director, and the leadership team to make Camp MOE a premier summer program for children in the Northwest Connecticut region. He also developed a successful summer reading program for campers, entitled TREES (Terrific Readers Emerge Everyday in the Summer). Deacon holds Camp MOE close to his heart because of its mission of inclusion. While proud of his own accomplishments, Deacon considers his students to be at the heart of his success. On the last day of school in June 2016, he received a letter from a student who wrote, “In fifth grade, I will take all of your advice, lessons, and most of all, your dos and don’ts. You have shown us to have respect and show kindness to others.” This quote inspired Deacon to say, “There is no greater reward in teaching than knowing that my students are empowered to make the world a better place for all of us.”

Hometown Torrington

Age 34

Someone who inspires me My Mom

Congratulations to all the Litchfield County Leaders Under 40 especially our own Red Barn Rock Star and President

Donovan Jennifer


ennifer Donovan resides in Torrington, CT, where she lives with her husband, Charles, and their personal zoo of four cats and a German Shepherd named Casey. Jenn is President of Red Barn Consulting, LLC, a business consulting firm located in New Hartford, CT. She started her professional career in advertising before moving to the corporate world at Dymax’s Coatings Division. There, she worked in customer service and learned the operations side of the company, including managing the process, from inventory to invoicing. Wanting to branch out, she worked briefly on the HR team at O&G Industries before realizing that operations was her calling. In March 2015, Jenn became Director of Operations at Red Barn Consulting, where she proved instrumental in the company’s scaling. She was promoted to President of the firm in April 2018, as the Founder and CEO quickly realized how integral Jenn was to the company’s succession plan. Jenn has assumed 100 percent of the day-to-day operations and decision-making. Jenn finds a way to be part of the solution instead of sitting back and watching from the sidelines. She strives to be a mentor, learner, and leader.

When she commits, she is “all in.” Jenn has a passion to make better places of the communities in which we work and live. In her free time, Jenn sits on the Board of Directors as Vice President of the Winsted Area Child Care Center. There, she is an advocate for area children and parents, and also provides marketing assistance and fundraising efforts. Jenn has also volunteered her time and support to the Girl Scouts of America, Brass City Rescue Alliance, and ASPCA. Jenn received her Bachelor of Science from Southern New Hampshire University with President’s List Honors. She is a graduate of the NW CT Chamber’s Leadership Northwest Program; there, she and her team created a project – Pasta for the People – which brought in the highest revenue to date for team projects in the program. On the personal side, Jenn and her husband are real estate investors (and serial “House Hunters” watchers). They love traveling, spending time at the gym, and visiting with family and friends. Jenn is an avid baker and a serious Harry Potter fan; she secretly wants to rent an RV and travel across the country, exploring every spot along the way.

Jenn Donovan Business Coaching & Consulting Operations | Marketing | Sales Business Launch Experts Q: What is your favorite thing about Litchfield County?

A: The landscape - no matter the season - it's a gorgeous place to live

Q: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

A: Invisibility


Hometown Torrington Age 38 Dream Job Judge

Nadeau Dwyer Ruth


ttorney Ruth Nadeau Dwyer grew up in Torrington, CT and graduated from Torrington High School in June 1997. In May 2001, she graduated from Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT, magna cum laude, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Politics. Ruth graduated from William & Mary School of Law in Williamsburg, VA in May 2004 and was admitted to practice in the State of Connecticut in November 2004. After completing a year-long legal research clerkship with the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, she joined Ackerly Brown LLP as a litigation associate. Ruth focuses her practice on all aspects of family law

(including mediation, litigation, and Guardian Ad Litem work), as well as civil and probate litigation. In addition to being a member of the Connecticut Bar Association (CBA), including the Family Law Section, since 2005, Ruth also served on the CBA Nominating Committee in 2015 and on the CBA Council of Bar Presidents from 2012 through 2014. Since 2007, Ruth has held multiple offices and positions within the Litchfield County Bar Association (LCBA). She was Chair of the Law Day Committee from 2007 through 2014 and held every officer position except

Q: What is your

superpower ?

Ruth has been recognized for her work and commitment to the legal community several times over the course of her career. In 2012, the Connecticut Law Tribune named her a “New Leader in the Law.” Beginning in 2013 and continuing each year through the present, SuperLawyers has named Ruth a “Rising Star” – the organization’s designation for outstanding lawyers under the age of 40. In 2016, the Judges of the Superior Court appointed her to the Litchfield Standing Committee on Recommendations to the Bar, for which she was named Chairperson. Ruth also enjoys writing and published an article in the February-March 2016 edition of Connecticut Lawyer Magazine, entitled “History Comes Alive,” about the Appellate Court hearing

arguments at the Tapping Reeve Law School in Litchfield, CT. In addition to being extremely active in the local legal community, Ruth is involved in many civic and community endeavors. She serves on the Board of Directors for the ARC of Litchfield County (LARC), a non-profit organization that provides services and advocacy for those with developmental and intellectual disabilities. She served as Secretary of the Board from 2013 through 2017. Ruth is also a member of the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce. In November 2017, she ran for the position of Constable in Torrington and was elected. She also serves as a member of the Torrington Democratic Town Committee and has assisted in campaigns for candidates. In May 2018, she became the Democratic nominee for Judge of Probate for the Torrington Area Probate District and will be running in the November 2018 election. Family life is very important to Ruth. She spends most of her free time with her threeyear-old son, Bobby, and her family and friends. She enjoys reading, writing, volunteering, and hiking. Ruth loves living in the Northwest corner of Connecticut and exploring all that this area has to offer.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Litchfield County?

A: Helping people navigate through crises

A: The people

Q: What is ONE change you would

Q: If you could have any superpower,

make to better the region?

A: Improve public transportation


Treasurer, including serving as the second youngest President of the Litchfield County Bar Association from 2012 through 2014. She is currently serving in an advisory capacity as Past President, as well as chairing two of the organization’s committees: the Continuing Legal Education Committee and the Scholarship Committee. In addition to her work with the LCBA, Ruth has been on the Executive Board of the Litchfield County Association of Women Attorneys since 2007.

what would it be?

A: The ability to heal

Hometown Winsted Age 39 Dream Job Photographer




arah Dziedzic is 39 years young, lives in Torrington, has three daughters, and is the Branch Manager at Union Savings Bank. In 2001, Sarah started in banking as a part-time teller at People’s Bank. During her three years there, she was promoted and moved her way up the ranks. In 2004, Sarah went to First National Bank of Litchfield (FNBL) as a full-time teller. She quickly became Head Teller and was pro-

moted to Assistant Manager. When FNBL merged with Union Savings Bank in 2010, Sarah became a Branch Manager in Canton. While in Canton, Sarah was involved with the Chamber of Commerce and volunteered for many events. She wanted to learn more about the town, so she also became a tour guide and board member at the Canton Historical Society.

rington, where she started her career. Her passion is volunteering and meeting new people, so she became involved in several of Torrington’s civic organizations. In 2013, Sarah joined the Rotary Club of the Torrington-Winsted Areas and is currently the Board Secretary. She is Co-Chair of the Winsted Pet Parade, which is celebrating its 82nd year in 2018. Sarah also helps organize the Rotary Annual Golf Tournament by coordinating volunteers for the event. In addition, she has sacrificed a few hours on a weekend to ring the Salvation Army bell for the Rotary Club.

Sarah wanted to be part of a not-for-profit in town and inquired about LARC. She was asked to become a board member in 2013, and is currently Secretary. At LARC, Sarah has helped organize several fundraisers, including the Annual Wine Tasting, the Festival of Trees, and the 50th Anniversary Gala. Sarah is also a member of the Young Professionals Organization In 2012, Sarah became a of the NW CT Chamber of Branch Manager in Tor- Commerce. Several times,

Q: What advice would you give your younger self?

A: Don't ever give up on your goals

she has helped clean Camp Workcoeman with the Young Professionals on the Day of Caring, and has met good friends in that group. Sarah is the past chair and current advisory member of the WOW! Forum, has worked as a Financial Advisor at the Financial Reality Fair, and has participated in the Annual Read Aloud Day. Sarah also works with the United Way in the small business division, soliciting donations during its campaign. In addition to her duties at the bank and in the community, Sarah is the mother of three daughters: Jordan (19), Cameron (17), and Madison (14). She encourages them to get involved, and they have volunteered with her several times. Sarah also has a passion for exercise and is a Beachbody Coach. She encourages others to be their best selves, and she exercises every morning before going to work. Her commitment to her customers, the community, and her family is why she has been successful in her career.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Litchfield County?

A: The people who are committed to the community

LEADING BY EXAMPLE Sarah Dziedzic Litchfield County Leaders Under 40 Award Winner Congratulations Sarah Dziedzic, Branch Manager of our Torrington office, for being named a Leader Under 40 by the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce. Thank you for making a difference in the communities we serve through your work and volunteer efforts.


Hometown Thomaston Age 28 Superpower Super creativity


anielle Eichman is a 28-yearold small business owner from Thomaston, CT. Since age four, she has dreamed of opening her own dance studio. Danielle had been teaching for over 10 years when, in February 2016, her dream of having her own place came true. She opened Papermoon Performing Arts for

a “soft opening” on the Torrington/Litchfield town line. While working full time in the Litchfield Public School system during the morning/afternoon hours to support her small business, Danielle taught workshop dance lessons for children, teens, and young adults, as well as dance-based fitness classes until the studio’s official season began in

Eichman Danielle


September 2016. Danielle holds her full-time job while successfully running every aspect of her business – marketing, social media management, class instruction, answering emails and phone calls, registering new students, implementing new classes, choreographing, editing music, ordering costumes, attending competitions, staging yearly recitals, and more. She takes pride in the fact that, in her studio, each student receives high-quality dance training, whether they are in recital or competition classes. Danielle has lived in Litchfield County for over 18 years and is passionate about helping others and giving back to the community. She wants Papermoon to be a stand-out studio because of what it brings to the community. First, it brings the gift of dance, as it currently serves dancers from eight towns. Danielle believes that dance should be a happy, safe way for kids and adults to express themselves and do something they love without having to compromise on the quality of instruction. Her dancers have opportunities outside the studio in the form of conventions and competitions across the state. This gives the dancers of Litchfield County an opportunity to train with industry professionals. In addition, Danielle’s adult classes offer opportunities for members of the community who grew up dancing or who have always wanted to take a dance class. Second, Danielle believes


that if young dancers encounter a positive but challenging environment in which to train, dance becomes an extremely positive influence on their lives and helps shape a community’s future leaders. Danielle teaches her students that kindness is one of the most important traits a person can have, and she uses dance to practice this. She has all her dancers sign anti-bullying agreements and discusses the importance of being kind, supportive, and uplifting to one’s peers, especially in an industry so stigmatized with drama and cliques. Danielle emphasizes that kindness in the studio must extend outside the studio doors. She teaches her dancers to give back to the community by leading food drives for St. Michael’s Parish Food Pantry (Litchfield, CT) and using Papermoon’s June recital as an opportunity to make collections for local charities. The June 2017 recital resulted in a donation of four huge boxes of supplies to the CT Humane Society. Danielle’s dancers perform for the community, including at Litchfield’s Memorial Day Parade, an enrichment performance at James Morris School in Morris, and performances at local nursing homes. Danielle looks forward to continuing to use her studio as a vehicle for bringing together the people of Litchfield County and for giving back to the community through her dancers.

Hometown Warren Age 35 Dream Job My current job and farm


enee Giroux, a passionate, energetic board member of Partners for Sustainable Healthy Communities (PSHC), is an accomplished environmental innovator and biodynamic agriculture entrepreneur. Her Earth’s Palate Farm and hydroponic greenhouse in Warren, CT serves as a living laboratory for what the future holds in farming. In addition to running the farm, she is Acting General Manager of a new agricultural economic business venture – the Northwest CT Regional Food Hub, located in Torrington. Renee’s unique expertise is the outgrowth of 15 years devoted to the field of horticulture and sustainable agriculture. She has developed soilbased greenhouse food systems using a biosphere growing technique, obtaining USDA organic certification for Gilberties Herb

Gardens in Easton, CT. While employed there, she served as head grower for three-and-a-half acres of greenhouses producing more than 300 herbs and vegetables. Her innovative Petite Edibles produce brand is sold and distributed regionally. Renee is a consultant to world-renowned chefs, including David Bouley in New York City. In 2016, she had the opportunity to travel to Japan along with a cadre of global chefs to forage in their pristine environment. The knowledge she gained from that experience has been integrated into her practices today. Along with the abovementioned, she has lectured on controlled-environment agriculture and developed a Nourishing Plants Living Classroom Initiative for Washington, CT Primary School. Renee has authored nutrition and healthy eating curriculum lesson plans for

Congratulations, Honorees!!! 173 Prospect Street Torrington, CT 06790 Phone: (860)496-8119 Fax: (860)489-8377

Giroux Renee

local schools. She has also led and taught workshops for regional garden clubs and designed living pantries as a teaching tool through which homeowners can grow herbs and produce year round. Renee holds accreditation certificates from the USDA-funded Holistic Management International, SCS Global Services (environmental, sustainability, and food quality) and Pfeiffer Center Biodynamic Agriculture. She also holds certificates for the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) preventative approach toward food safety and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) from SCS Global. As a board member for PSHC, Renee works to model and nurture programs and food-system initiatives connecting sustainable agriculture, local food, and

active, healthy lifestyles in Northwestern Connecticut. Renee lives on Earth’s Palate Farm with her fiance Kevin MacPherson, their son Tahleb, and their daughter Hunter. Earth’s Palate Farm is part of the Warren Land Trust, now being used as a teaching site for sharing sustainable farming insights with residents of regional communities. Renee contributes her “soil savant, cosmic approach to growing great produce” as farm gardener in collaboration with Executive Chef Frederic Kieffer at Artisan West Hartford restaurant. She was featured in the April 2018 issue of Hartford Magazine as “an accomplished down to earth professional.” Renee holds an Associate of Science degree in Horticulture and General Studies from Naugatuck Valley Community Technical College in Waterbury, CT.

Q: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

A: Read people better


Hometown Torrington Age 32 Dream Job Window Decorator at Macy’s!


s Director of the Torrington Library, Jessica Gueniat understands that what’s old often becomes new again – and that libraries are no exception. Jessica has an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Saint Joseph (2007) and a Master’s of Library Science from Southern Connecticut State University (2013) – proof that literature and books are in her blood. For Jessica, libraries are as relevant today as they were 50 years ago – but for different reasons. She believes that libraries thrive in active, tight-knit communities like Torrington. During her tenure at the library, where she began working as Program Coordinator in 2006, she strives to secure the library’s role as a community center where people of all ages and demographics can learn to live engaged, enriched, and empowered lives. Jessica, along with members of Torrington’s Arts and Culture Commission, created Main Street Marketplace (winner of the 2011 CT Main Street Center Award of Excellence), actively participated in the early formation of

Five Points Gallery, and oversaw the success of many city-wide initiatives – all to strengthen an already tenacious city. In 2015, the Torrington Library underwent an expansive $6 million addition and renovation project. Early in the project, Jessica transitioned from Program Coordinator to Director and now works collaboratively with a team of 18 employees in a new 33,000+ sq.ft. b u i l ding, serving more than 60,000 visitors a year. In her 12 years at the library, Jessica has won nine publicity awards from the Connecticut Library Association and has been credited with forging partnerships with many Torrington organizations, such as LARC, Brooker Memorial, KidsPlay, and more. Under Jessica’s leadership, the library has become more accessible to the public, with a focus on community engagement and participation. Her office door is always open and she welcomes questions and feedback, especially if they’re accompanied by butter pecan coffee. Her biggest accomplishment came in April 2017 when she and her husband welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Alex.

Gueniat Jessica Jessica

12 Daycoeton Place l Torrington, CT l 860.489.6684

w w w. t o r r i n g t o n l i b r a r y. o r g

All you need is your LIBRARY CARD!

Stop in and borrow a hot summer title OR download a Cool new eBook. We’ll make sure your beach-bag is filled with refreshing reads!

Q: What is ONE change you would make to better the region?

A: Stronger and more affordable downtown districts, especially in larger cities like Torrington and Winsted


We’re proud to have two 40 Under 40 representing the Torrington Library!

Jessica & Jill

Hometown Torrington Age 20 Dream Job Being a judge

Idrovo Sarmiento Johanna


ohanna Idrovo Sarmiento moved to the United States from Ecuador in August 2015. She started college classes at Northwestern Connecticut Community College (NCCC) within a few months of emigrating from her native country. A first-generation student, Johanna attended college full time while working to support herself and her family. She has worked as an intern for the United Way of Northwest Connecticut, Northwest Community Bank, and American Mural Project. Johanna has also worked as a legislative intern for Representative David Arconti.

knowing virtually no English to being recognized as a Robert T. Kenney Scholar and a Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship semifinalist. She graduated with honors in May 2018 with an Associate degree in Liberal Arts & Science. During her time at NCCC, Johanna was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, a Team Success Scholar, and a Student Senate Representative. Also, she holds credentials in CPR and Mental Health First Aid, and is a Direct Support Professional.

Johanna is an exceptional college student and a conscientious citizen, with a deep desire to give back to her community. During In less than three years, her short time in the UnitJohanna has gone from ed States, she has touched

many lives in Litchfield County, as well as statewide and internationally. Johanna is a recognized leader on campus, and is well-known among local organizations through her internships, as well as statewide with legislators. She formed the AAUW of NCCC club to promote women’s advocacy and to open conversations on such topics as pay inequity, women’s rights, and salary negotiation. This experience has allowed Johanna to help classmates engage with people who are committed to women’s empowerment. Johanna’s primary goal through this club is to get more students enrolled in community service projects and to advocate for women’s equity within her college and community. In May and June of 2018, she traveled to Washington, DC with the AAUW of NCCC club to attend the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders.

and at a statewide college faculty advisory council conference. At the global conference in the UK, Johanna spoke about being a child “left behind,” the resulting emotional damage, and how she has moved through this. In addition, she was asked to speak before state legislators at the NCCC-hosted Legislative Breakfast in February 2018. Earlier, in 2017, Johanna was a student panelist for the Faculty Advisory Council’s Conference on Student Success and Shared Governance. For each of these speaking engagements, she was encouraged to tell her story, from her humble childhood in Ecuador to where she is today.

Johanna loves learning about political science and law because she has envisioned her future as a place where she will dedicate herself to helping others find their voice. She believes that her education in these areas represents the building blocks that will help her In spring 2018, Johanna pursue a career in the legal was NCCC’s student se- system so that she can adlected to attend the Ox- dress these issues. ford Consortium of Human Rights in England. She has Johanna’s story is about shared with NCCC facul- courage, social justice, and ty and staff her story of resilience. immigrating to the United States and “making it” in America; she has also shared this story with Connecticut state legislators

Q: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Q: Who was your mentor?

A: To learn, speak and understand any language fluently.

A: Susan Dichter

Q: What is your favorite thing

Q: What advice would you

about Litchfield County?

A: Its citizens are always willing to help others.

give your younger self?

A: Do not judge people without knowing them.


Hometown Meriden Age 35 Dream Job I’m living it


auren Johnson holds a Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology from the City University of New York, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and is licensed by the State of Connecticut as a Licensed Professional Counselor. She has been working in the behavioral health field since June 2006 and specializes in treating those with substance abuse and addictive disorders, offenders with reentry issues, those with sexual disorders and conditions, and those with anxiety disorders. She has a particular aptitude for working with those who are experiencing relationship issues. In November 2015, with her business partner, Lauren opened Catalyst Counseling of Connecticut to help those living in the Northwest corner with life transitions, mood disorders, and substance use disorders. She has worked as the Clinic Supervisor for the Hartford Dispensary in Torrington, a Medication-Assisted Treatment program that helps more than 450 individuals suffering from Opioid Use Disorder. Lauren is on the front lines of the opioid crisis. Her primary responsibility was to work with other treatment providers to create, in Connecticut’s Northwest corner, a collaboration that better assists a population in need. Lauren has been involved with the Litchfield County Opioid Taskforce a n d attend-

ed many community opioid overdose awareness events to illuminate the crisis and the behavioral health issues that affect the community of the Northwest corner of Connecticut. Previously, Lauren worked in an administrative role at an agency that provided homes and case management services to members of the homeless population who were dealing with mental health concerns and substance abuse issues. She also has experience working with offenders being released to halfway houses and work programs; Lauren enjoyed offering therapy for reentry issues which can be stressful and cause recidivism. She firmly believes that counseling is necessary to reform and rehabilitate those incarcerated so that they can make positive life changes rather than resort to old, familiar behaviors. In May 2018, Lauren started a new career path as a Senior Clinician for Mountainside Treatment Center in Canaan. She is responsible for the detox unit, assisting patients new to treatment by offering counseling, support, group therapy, and compassion as they embark on their journey toward recovery. Lauren is passionate about her work and has empathy for all populations. She believes everyone has the power to grow and evolve into their best self.

Johnson Lauren

MATT by Night: HALLOWEEN Thursday, October 25 6:00-9:00 P.M. MATT by Night is the Museum’s after-hours event series for 21+. We welcome students, young professionals, night owls, socialites, and history and art lovers to experience interactive adventures in a casual and fun setting. The Museum hosts four of these events per year, including our upcoming Halloween event and the ever-popular Febtoberfest. For more information, check out and make sure to follow us on social media! Mattatuck Museum



Mattatuck Museum

Q: Who is someone that inspires you? A: My best friend, business partner, and amazing counselor Kelly Brown


ON THE GREEN IN WATERBURY 144 West Main Street, Waterbury, CT (203) 753-0381 •

Hometown Torrington Age 28 Someone who inspires me Mr. Rogers hand, she began her career at Bristol Hospital. On the busy and supportive med-surg floor, she managed to find her “comfort measures” patients. After two years in the hospital, Jordan found herself in homecare, but she missed working within her community and providing the end-of-life care that had transformed her heart. In June 2015, Jordan started her dream job, serving her hometown as a Hospice and Palliative Case Manager for Visiting Nurse Services (VNS) of Connecticut, a local homecare agency that provides both homecare and hospice/palliative care to patients in Litchfield County. Jordan values working within the community in which she lives, as this increases the a Nursing Major. She wasn’t comfort level of both the sure which specialty she would patient and the family. pursue until her clinical rotation brought her to an oncol- Jordan provides hospice care ogy floor. Her professor was to residents of Northwest assigning patients and asked Connecticut and beyond. Her Jordan if she felt comfortable goal is to help local families taking a “comfort measure find peace during the difficult only” patient. The always-en- process of caring for a loved thusiastic student accepted the one at end of life, allowing this challenge. Jordan says that the to be seen as a part of life and first time she cared for a dy- a special time spent with those ing patient was her “Tony sees closest. Jordan brings her hosMaria at the dance” moment. pice expertise to her cases by From then on, she knew what educating and empowering her she wanted to specialize in. patients’ families and friends to take an active role in their Jordan graduated from USJ in loved ones’ care, regardless of the spring of 2013 with her age and medical training. She Bachelor’s of Science in Nurs- firmly believes that all roles ing. Her well-earned license in are important and enrich end-

Kaine Jordan


ordan Kaine was born June 8, 1990. She was raised and constantly supported by her parents in Torrington, CT. While the medical industry has fascinated her since childhood, and her interest in it has always been fostered and encouraged, she had not considered a career in nursing until college. In 2008, Jordan was attending the University of Vermont as a psychology major when two of her professors serendipitously introduced her to nursing and hospice. In the fall of 2009, Jordan transferred to the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) as




Jordan resides in Plymouth, CT with her wonderful husband and her two beloved black cats. She is studying for her certification in hospice and palliative care and plans to work toward her Master’s Degree in Nursing.

We are proud of your accomplishments, your dedication and your commitment to quality patient care.

Providing quality clinical home healthcare and hospice services for residents of Northwest Connecticut ♥

Jordan’s passion is to see the next generation, both inside and outside the medical field, become more comfortable with end-of-life issues in care. She has spoken about hospice care to high school students interested in careers in the medical field, and also volunteers to take nursing students with her on hospice visits, sharing her knowledge and passion in the process. Jordan is constantly mindful of the children in her patients’ families; she establishes herself as a kind and trustworthy person, as her interaction with these children will establish their perception of hospice care in particular and the medical profession in general.

Congratulations Jordan

Visiting Nurse Services of Connecticut

of-life care. Jordan takes every opportunity to educate patients and their families about hospice and end-of-life care, as she encounters many barriers that inhibit care. Within her own agency, she always seeks to educate staff about concerns they may have related to their patients’ quality of life and care.



Teamwork 14

Hometown Goshen Age 17 Someone who inspires me My Father


t the age of 13, Phillip started a business, Helping USA Animals, which was designed to help animals all over the United States. Growing up, he had seven dogs, three cats, 25 hermit crabs, two birds, a turtle, and many fish. Phillip always talked about being able to change the world. His love for animals was strong, but being an elementary school student, he knew that he had a long road ahead of him in terms of showing people that he could make a difference. Phillip started slowly by gathering money to donate to a local shelter. This effort rapidly grew into a large operation to gather supplies that no-kill shelters could use. Phillip packaged boxes and delivered them to shelters in Litchfield County. From this small-scale operation, a larger idea was born: to help not only local shelters but also shelters across the country. His goal was to send packages to shelters in need of donations in all 50 states. Phillip knew he had to find a way to obtain funding to support his business. At 14, he started a Chamber of Commerce program called the Young Entrepreneur Academy, (YEA). Through YEA, Phillip was able to create a business plan for Helping USA Animals. This program enabled him to start his own website, promote his own business, and complete 85 percent of his goal before the business closed last year. Before reaching the young age of 15, Phillip had already started another business, this one centered on sand art: The Children’s Sandbox. He designed this business to help adults and kids explore their creative



side through sand. The effort bloomed into something he never anticipated; families came back, year after year, for a new design to show the growth of their creativity. Aside from planning well in advance for his financial future, Phillip was highly aware that he had an idea that would take off quickly. Starting at the Goshen Fair, he captured everyone’s attention with The Children’s Sandbox. It was only a matter of time before he was able to book his first private event. Driven to increase his selling point, Phillip began selling his sand art at other events throughout the community, as well as provide his services for private parties. This year, Phillip is seeking additional opportunities to promote his sand art at fairs and among his fans. Phillip has accomplished several outstanding goals, considering the fact that he is only 17. Along the way, he has taken part in many other activities. He is currently enrolled in FFA.

The National FFA Organization has encouraged Phillip to be the best he can be. Through the FFA, Philip has traveled all around the United States, accomplishing a variety of tasks, from hiking part of the Appalachian Trail to planting trees for Earth Day. This program as a whole has ignited Phillip’s dream to help others, animals and people alike. Because of this, Phillip plans to attend college in either New York or Maine for Aquaponics and Sustainability. Though Phillip is busy, he always finds time for community involvement. He is a member of many local organizations, such as the Goshen Agricultural Society, which runs the Goshen Fair, and the Silver Lake Conference Center, which shows kids the way of the Lord. These are only two of the many activities in which Phillip is involved. Litchfield County is being changed by Wamogo Agriscience, where Phillip is involved. Through Wamogo, he educates citizens about agriculture.

Q: What advice would you give your younger self? A: Work harder than you are now, it will pay off in the future. Q: What is ONE change you woul d make to better the region? A: More conservation and sustainability.


Instagram ◊ @phoebe_c_photography ◊ 860.600.0484


Hometown Waterbury Age 29 Dream Job Community Development Manager Q: If you could have any superpower,

Q: What advice would you

what would it be?

give your younger self?

A: Carry a notebook with you everywhere.

A: The ability to inspire people

You have amazing ideas but you are SO forgetful.




i n c e Laliberte grew up in Waterbury but moved to Wolcott while attending Holy Cross High School. During this time, he was introduced to Litchfield County by his father, who owned The Flooring Family on East Main Street in Torrington. While in high school, Vince discovered a predilection for community engagement; he planned open mic nights, blood drives, fundraisers, and community programs to engage students with both underprivileged youth and the elderly. Beginning his college career at UCONN Water-

bury, Vince went on to participate in Semester at Sea, a study abroad program in which students circumnavigate the globe, take classes on a ship, and experience cultures around the world. Upon his return, Vince transferred to Northeastern University to take part in its experiential learning curriculum, which sends students to work within the fields of their majors while they take academic courses to complete their degrees. Through this program, Vince lived in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and Italy before graduating and moving to Brooklyn. After amassing

just by speaking to them.

a unique and versatile resume with well-known and successful organizations in entertainment, marketing, and education, Vince decided to leave his job to pursue his writing; he spent a year touring the United States in his car, couchsurfing, and exploring the country while considering his professional options. In December 2015, Vince returned home to spend the holidays with family. His father brought up a business concept that Vince had proposed years prior. Within a month, a building was secured and Pursue the Clues was underway. Entrepreneurship was essentially a rite of passage for Vince, who is the son of two entrepreneurs; his mother, Marie, owns Marie’s Jewelry in Waterbury and his father, J-R, owns UFI in Watertown. Both are at the top of their respective industries within the state. Adamant that Pursue the Clues be a “social good” company, Vince looked for a way to ensure that when people visited Pursue the Clues, they would also be supporting the community. The result is that every booking at Pursue the Clues contributes to a fund that is donated at the end of each quarter. Ultimately, customers choose where the funds go. Thus far, recipients have included Friendly Hands


Food Bank, FISH, the YMCA, Community Health & Wellness, the Susan B. Anthony Project, and the United Way’s Campership Fund. In addition, approximately five to 10 donations are made each month for organizations to raffle or auction off at their discretion. Vince has been a member of many committees and organizations working to better the community. On the Working Cities team, he collaborates with community leaders to improve Torrington’s ability to attract and retain a younger workforce. Through the NW CT Young Professionals Organization, he is Chair of the Community Engagement Committee, working to provide more opportunities for members to become involved in community events, programs, and projects. Vince is also very active with the NW CT Chamber of Commerce, where he sits on the Board of Directors, the Membership Committee, and as an Ambassador. Vince has a perpetual list of projects on which he is working. However, in his free time he enjoys hiking, traveling, volunteering, environmental sustainability, and playing games of any kind – all of which serve as inspiration for future entrepreneurial ventures.

The MOST FUN you'll have in Litchfield County! Bring your friends, family, or book a team-building event today! We offer onsite AND offsite games, team-building workshops, and EVERY booking supports a local charitable organization! Solve Challenges. Work Together. Have Fun!

733 East Main Street, Torrington



Hometown New Milford Age 28 Dream Job A Lawyer


eghan Lyon currently resides in New Milford, CT with her husband and two children. She graduated from New Milford High School in 2008 and received her Bachelor’s Degree from Yale University in 2012 with a major in Anthropology and a focus in Violence and Conflict Resolution. While at New Milford High School, she was a threesport athlete and captained the volleyball, basketball, and softball teams, for which she received multiple league awards. In addition, Meghan was an All-State softball player three years in a row. Her dedication to and performance in those programs throughout her four years in high school earned her the 2008 Connecticut Scholar Athlete of the Year award. She was recently inducted into the New Milford Athletic Hall of Fame for her achievements and athletic contributions across the board. During her time at Yale University, Meghan was the four-year starting shortstop for Yale’s Division 1 softball team and earned All-Ivy League Recognition from 2009 through 2012. In 2013, she was named a National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-American Scholar Athlete for her athletic and academic prowess during the prior season. She also served in the Kiputh Leadership Acade-



my. Her performance on the field earned her a place in the Yale softball record books in multiple offensive categories. At the end of her athletic career, Meghan aimed to channel her tenacity and competitive spirit into her career. Her drive and motivation allow her to accomplish the extraordinary feat of working full time during the day and attending law school at night, all while raising two children, ages four and two, with her husband. Meghan was pregnant with her daughter during her first year of law school and, as part of her final examination, "Skyped" into an oral exam the day after giving birth. Her dedication

and commitment to succeed knows no bounds. During the day, Meghan works at Hoekenga & Machado as a Student Associate, assisting multiple attorneys within a variety of legal fields: Civil Litigation, Personal Injury, Worker’s Compensation, Criminal Law, and Family Law. She is entering her last year of studies at the University School of Law and currently holds a 3.571 GPA. She was awarded the CALI Excellence Award in Trial Advocacy and The Law and Forensic Science in the fall of 2017 and has been a three-year recipient of the Brenda Hauther ’82 Scholarship. Meghan also earned a scholarship from the Litchfield County Bar Association for her work and dedication to

the legal field. Meghan is actively involved in her community and sits on the board of the New Milford Substance Abuse Prevention Council, helping raise awareness of the opioid epidemic in the region. The council provides training, support, and outreach centers to addicts and families of addicts struggling with the disease. Meghan also assists with the New Milford Youth Softball and Baseball Association, helping youth softball players develop their skills and love for the game. Her love for the community is contagious; she encourages and facilitates her firm's involvement in community outreach programs and fundraisers such as the New Milford Animal Welfare Society's Cornhole Tournament and various non-profit charity sports tournaments. Meghan attributes much of her success to the family members and friends who have supported her throughout the years and to her extremely accommodating and encouraging attorneys and staff at Hoekenga & Machado. She would like to extend a special thank you to her husband, Mark Lyon, for everything he has done to support both her career endeavors and their family. She wants to thank her children for being such an inspiration to her, as well as her parents, Dave and Carolyn Johnson, without whom none of this would have been possible.


Hometown Torrington Age 20 Someone who inspires me Lloyd Blankfein


lain Malcolm grew up in a one-room house with nine other family members in a poor coastal village on the island of Jamaica. His family didn’t have indoor plumbing or electricity. Crime and violence were commonplace. When Alain and his family moved to the United States, he faced an entirely new culture and language. Alain experienced indifference and prejudice. He defied these stereotypes by being the only black person on his swim team to qualify for State Open, serving as Captain of his tennis team, volunteering on the Student Council, and serving as President of a business club. At 16, he joined the Northwest Chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy, starting his own business and pitching it to CEO investors. Alain’s business was honored by the State of Connecticut and the Governor. While juggling all this in high school, Alain completed a soldering class at Northwestern CT Community College, taught by Altek Electronics’ p r o d u c t i o n manager, Elvis Zayas. Elvis saw Alain’s potential and offered him a job as a full-time solderer. Alain stands out from the crowd. He is hard-working, makes personal sacrifices, and delays gratification for future benefit. Alain had approached Altek’s management team to request a change from a factory position to an office position. For eight months, he waited patiently until a position became available. At age 19, Alain was promoted to Junior Buyer at Altek Electronics. He purchases strategic components, parts, and materials for use in production by customers and clients all over the world, in such industries as medical technology, telecommunication, aerospace, and defense. Alain is a leader. In the c ommu n it y, h e h elps wit h Re d Cross blood drives, participates in the FBLA March of Dimes, coord in at es events for food drives in support of FISH and Friendly Hands Foodbank, volunteers with KidsPlay in downtown Torrington, and serves on the Torrington Action Committee Fighting against Teen Homelessness. In addition, through the Fearless Angel Project, Alain helped raise autism awareness, funding, scholarships, and support for families in need. He also served on the Young Patron Committee of the New York City Ballet. By working fulltime, pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Finance, and volunteering in the community, Alain is establishing himself as an upstanding citizen and making a significant contribution to the Northwest Corner.



Malcolm Q: What is your dream job? A: Global Investment Research Analyst at Goldman Sachs

Hometown Harwinton Age 30 Someone who inspires me My Dad


Kate took a leap of faith and jumped on an opportunity to become a full-time instructor at a local barn in Litchfield County. Leaving behind the proverbial “corporate America” was not an easy decision; however, training horses and riders was an activity that fulfilled Kate. As she experienced success in teaching for the barn owner, Kate encountered an opportunity to lease a facility and run the entire operation, also located in Litchfield County. Negotiations ensued and on November 1, 2014, North Meadow Farm opened its In 2012, Groupon recruited doors. Kate as a Senior Financial Analyst. In this role, Kate Two years in business and honed her financial analytic North Meadow Farm was skills, working closely with thriving. Kate and her husthe Chief Marketing and band began the search for Chief Financial Officers; a property to call their she was responsible for the own. On May 9, 2017, quantification and analytics they closed on a picturof all Groupon’s marketing esque property just north of downtown Winsted, CT. efforts. Seeing some development With her experience at and economic growth in 3M and Groupon, Kate town, Kate is excited to be founded Kate Marcotte part of Winsted’s rejuvenaConsulting in late 2012; tion. she subsequently resigned from Groupon. In this role, Since July 2017, when Kate worked closely with North Meadow Farm officlients to develop and im- cially relocated to Winstprove marketing strategy, ed, Kate and her husband, provide advice about and Tom, have developed the develop platforms for busi- once-vacant property into ness analytics, and consult a fully functioning, stateon general business best of-the-art equestrian facilipractices and organization- ty, offering boarding, training, and lessons to local al structure. residents and horse owners. Throughout the phases of her post-collegiate corpo- A lifetime passion for horsrate life, Kate maintained es combined with a solid a deep passion for horses, business foundation have which had begun in early allowed North Meadow childhood. Two cross-coun- Farm to become the thrivtry relocations saw Kate ing business it is today. move with her two equine Proud to be a female encompanions. While working trepreneur, Kate continues full-time, Kate taught rid- to develop and grow North ing lessons on the side as a Meadow Farm; she credway to subsidize her hobby. its her success to all her business endeavors and an After a move back to her incredibly supportive hushome state of Connecticut, band and family. f t e r graduating from Boston University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Communication, Kate Mancarella accepted a job at 3M as a public relations specialist. At 3M, Kate ran the pubic relations for a new business venture for the company’s division. A year later, she was promoted to the position of Marketing Analyst, through which she led all marketing efforts related to residential sales of 3M-branded products for the division.



With love and appreciation from your North Meadow Farm Family.

North Meadow Farm

115 Losaw Road, Winchester • 860-307-6416 • Full-service boarding and training facility offering boarding, training, lessons, leasing, and more. Specializing in hunter/jumper/ equitation, our beautiful 20+ acre facility includes 4 barns, 27 stalls, multiple tack rooms, an indoor and outdoor arena, a grass jump field, and acres of lush paddocks for private and group turnout.


Congratulations to Mat Montgomery As the elevator and lift industry experts, Elevator Service Company is dedicated to finding the perfect product for your application. We offer the most reliable and efficient lift solutions in the industry. Our products come in every finish and option imaginable, so you can add your personal touch.

203-757-5000 Providing not one, but all Major Manufacturers Equipment


CT Lic .# ELV. 400105 R1 ~ RI Lic. #21 MA Lic.# EC-000093

Hometown West Hartford Age 31 Mentor My parents


f Mat had a superpower, it would be the power of flight – the ability to be somewhere fast and then the next place faster. Since he was young, Mat has been quick. With parents who studied anatomy, Mat became fascinated by his own physical ability to move faster than his competitors. This interest continued through college. Mat went on to study the human body and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Exercise Physiology from Springfield College in Massachusetts, where he also played varsity soccer. After college, Mat found himself employed in the field of science; helping others achieve their personal wellness goals became his life’s work. Early in his career, Mat worked in a hospital, leading classes for cardiac and pulmonary outpatients, improving their heart and lung capacities. He moved on to a private school, where he instructed middle and high school students in physical fitness and coached young athletes in lacrosse. While keeping a full-time job, he focused on adult health and fitness on the side. While continuing to strive toward personal career goals, he was introduced to an opportunity within the Torrington YMCA – an opportunity

he knew he had to take. The Torrington YMCA is a nonprofit community health and wellness superstore. It offers aisles of programs and events for all ages and interests. It gave Mat a platform on which to sharpen his skills in many facets of community improvement, as well as to add new ones, like relationship building with local leaders such as Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, the Susan B. Anthony Project, the Torrington Trails Network, and the Torrington Area Health Department. Litchfield County in Northwest Connecticut is vast in its area of service, but the YMCA is perfectly positioned to do a large amount of good across a large area. Mat’s daily schedule was as follows: early morning adult health and fitness appointments and exercise classes, midafternoon committee meetings for community events, late afternoon physical education programs for youth, and, finally, evening classes for the community, including diabetes prevention and CPR/AED courses. Lunch was usually an afterthought. Amongst this, Mat was able to start and lead multiple programs, like a free six-week summer youth triathlon training pro-

Q: What is your dream job?



gram for 6- to 12-yearolds, a 12-month Diabetes Prevention Program for more than 13 adults with pre-diabetes, and three annual community road races for families to help raise money for community programs that the YMCA offered. Mat’s quickness suited his passion for the large amount – and type – of work he did. However, for him, he has never been fast enough to learn and perform it all. Today, Mat spends his mornings exercising, his days providing mobility solutions in communities for residential and commercial properties in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and his evenings with his wife and firstborn. Mat surfs on the weekends in be-


tween diaper changings and bottle feedings. He loves his wife, Ashley, who works even harder than Mat does, giving her time to charities when she can outside of her full-time job and role as first-time parent. Mat is very thankful for his coworkers, who have helped him gain experience and education in the fields he loves. He also thanks his friends for their support and their laughs during rough times, and his family, who has helped him stay motivated and passionate about helping our area. Although Mat does not have an actual superpower like flight or speed, his passion, dedication, and character are all he needs to get the job done for the Litchfield County area he calls home.

Q: What is ONE change you would make to better the region?

A: CEO of a successful non-profit for youth and families.

A: Create more partnerships with existing agencies to combine resources for the greater good.


Hometown Torrington Age 38 Dream Job CEO of a health care company


r. Katrin “Kat” Moskowitz is a doctorally trained Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), a wife, and a mom. Born and raised in Germany, she moved to the United States in 1991. As a Torrington resident since 2001, she has seen medical crises evolve in her community, first as a volunteer EMT, then as an Emergency Room Nurse at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, and now as a provider. As a new graduate FNP, she started her career in urgent care, then transitioned to primary care in a Federally Qualified Health Center in Meriden in 2015. In 2017, Katrin decided to leave her former employer and return home to help her community, which she realized lacked treatment for opiate-addicted patients. An epidemic was taking over. Katrin dedicated herself to the cause by starting the Medication-Assisted Treatment program for Community Health and Wellness Center (CHWC). The program focuses on the patient’s total wellbeing and ensures that the many issues causing addictions are addressed. She has used her many years



of experience to help her peers understand how Medication-Assisted Treatment programs can save lives and ultimately allow patients to regain control of their overall health. Katrin is a natural leader and self-starter who prides herself on her growth throughout her career. She uses her knowledge and life experiences to not only benefit her patients but also em-

power her coworkers. In 2016, she was chosen as a Fellow of the year-long Duke-Johnson and Johnson Nurse Leadership Program, which enabled her to network and grow her skills. Katrin’s patients appreciate her compassion, honesty, willingness to take on tough issues, and passion for change. She understands that health is not just about a patient’s medical conditions but is also a culmination of socioeconom-

We couldn’t be prouder of our Katrin “Kat” Moskowitz, who is at the front lines of battling the opioid crisis and transforming lives.

Q: What advice would you give your younger self? i stop believing A: Don’t

Q: What is your favorite quote?

A: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”- Ghandi


Q: What is ONE change you would

to her and all the other amazing young leaders in our midst!

make to better the region?

A: Continue to decrease drug abuse Q: If you could have any superpower, “YOUR CARING HEALTH PARTNER”




ic factors, medical issues, and behavioral health. She treats her patients holistically, leaves no stone unturned, and has returned to school to obtain her Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certification. In addition to Medication-Assisted treatment, she has a passion for providing care – including transitional care – to the LGBTQ community. She has become a well-respected provider and resource for her peers. Katrin has led the effort at CHWC to decrease the number of deaths from opioid addiction and to increase vital access to care for such. She has done this by forming a program and a team of caring and compassionate caregivers who help people with addiction realize that there is hope. Because of her work in such a short period of time, Katrin was recently named Assistant Clinical Director of CHWCT. She hopes to continue reaching out to the community, building relationships, and expanding services that will benefit many for years to come.

860-489-0931 WWW.CHWCTORR.ORG

what would it be?

A: To fly

Hometown North Canaan Age 34 Dream Job Any form of Public Service


support and national police mentoring missions. In 2011, Brian again felt the need to serve overseas. His third tour positioned him as a member of a multi-service security force tasked with protecting a Provincial Reconstruction Team operating in the western part of Afghanistan, near its border with Iran. After 12 years of military service to his state and country, and after being wounded in combat and receiving a Purple Heart Medal during each of his three tours overseas, Brian received an honorable discharge when his right hand as he was his enlistment ended in sworn into the Connecti- July 2013. cut Army National Guard as a private in the Military Upon his return home to Police Corps. The Nation- Connecticut, Brian quickal Guard was a perfect fit ly saw a need to enhance for Brian; he wanted to the safety postures of loserve his country yet re- cal elementary and secmain committed to the ondary schools. To that safety and well-being of end, he created Patriot his state and local com- Safety Group LLC. In the days following the tragic munity. incident at Sandy Hook For 12 years, Brian’s mil- Elementary, Brian volunitary service took him all teered hundreds of hours over the world. He vol- to prepare a Physical unteered for each of his Security Assessment for three combat tours of duty each individual school. overseas. First, he served in Baghdad, Iraq from Brian’s first attempt at 2003 to 2004. Then, attaining a college degree from 2006 to 2007, Bri- began in 2003 when he an returned to be part of returned home from basic the surge efforts in Mo- training. He enrolled at sul, Iraq. During these Northwestern CT Comtwo tours, Brian served in munity College in Winevery position within his sted. Brian had attended unit. He quickly became only two classes before a squad leader, organiz- he was shipped to Iraq. ing and leading combat His second and third over-



rian M. Ohler is a lifelong resident of North Canaan, CT. He is the grandson of former North Canaan First Selectman Henry Pozzetta, and the great-grandson of William Menser, a former Connecticut State Police Lieutenant and High Sheriff of Litchfield County. During his four years of vocational high school education at the Oliver Wolcott Technical High School in Torrington, CT, Brian quickly became a voice of – and an advocate for – his graduating class. Brian’s path to public service began in 2000, when he became an active member of his hometown’s volunteer fire and EMS departments. During the summer of 2001, between his junior and senior years, Brian raised

Q: What advice would you give your younger self? A: You will fail at first, but there is a greater plan for you. How you overcome that failure, not failure itself, will define you.

seas deployments slowed his process of obtaining a college degree. However, Brian was determined to graduate. In May 2016, he crossed the stage as a newly minted graduate from Northwestern CT Community College, receiving an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice. In November 2016, Brian was elected State Representative of the 64th House District in Connecticut. Today, Brian uses his voice to continuously advocate for and represent our best interests. He is a member of the Appropriations, Public Safety and Security, and Human Services committees. When he was a freshman legislator, Brian was chosen and appointed by his leadership to be the Ranking Member of the Regulations and Protection Subcommittee within the Appropriations Committee. In 2017, Brian was named an Environmental Champion by the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters and Legislator of the Year by the Connecticut State Firefighters Association.

Q: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

A: I would love to breathe underwater. There is so much left to explore in our oceans.


Hometown Fort Lauderdale, FL Age 37 Someone who inspires me My Girl Scouts


imberly Petzel, originally from Fort Lauderdale, FL, resides in Torrington, CT with her husband, David, and two daughters, Ashley and Naomi. Kimberly attended Florida International University before moving to Torrington in 2007. She is a fierce advocate for children and currently works as a Special Education Paraprofessional in the Torrington Public School system. Kimberly was named East School’s 2018 Paraeducator of the Year. Since January, Kimberly has been on the Redistricting Ad Hoc Committee, which helped the Board of Education make decisions as it was redistricted for the upcoming school year. It is often joked that Kimberly lives at the school, as beyond her paid role, she is also the East School PTO Secretary, is on the yearbook committee, and participates in many school functions. For the past eight years, Kimberly has been Troop Leader for her daughter Ashley’s troop. She loves these girls as her own; they are truly a family. Kimberly led the troop as it received its Bronze Award in June 2016. The Bronze Award is the highest community service award given to Junior Girl Scouts. The girls were chosen for this award due to their tireless community service efforts. They took a sewing class and learned how to make hats for the homeless; the girls loved it so much, they wanted to make more hats. Un-


der Kimberly’s guidance, the troop made 100 chemo kits for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. The kits included homemade hats, notebooks with handwritten inspirational notes, stuffed animals, and toothbrushes. In June 2018, Kimberly and her co-leader led Troop 40107 to Savannah, GA to visit the birthplace of Girl Scouting. For the troop to visit Savannah, its members had to fundraise. Kimberly organized several fundraisers, such as a pasta dinner, yard sales, a car wash, and a shoe drive. Through these efforts, the girls were able to have the experience of a lifetime. For the past four years, Kimberly has also led the troop of her youngest daughter, Naomi. Kimberly is teaching them the core practices of Girl Scouting, as well as the importance of community service. Throughout the last four years, Troop 40075 has held food drives, made and collected more than 500 cards for kids with cancer, made Easter wreaths for the elderly, and made pies for F.I.S.H. They plan to follow in the footsteps of Troop 40107 and work toward their own Bronze Award. In May 2018, Kimberly and her coleader took Troop 40075 on an adventure to the Museum of Science in Boston, where they participated in many STEM activities. Along with being the coleader of two troops, Kimberly is in her fourth year as Cookie Cabinet Manager for the area. She has also been

the Girl Scout Service Unit Manager for three years. Kimberly works closely with Girl Scouts of Connecticut to get more girls involved with scouting in Torrington. She is a natural-born party planner and has organized many service unit events. Her favorite is World Thinking Day, when girls in the Northwest corner get together yearly to celebrate Girl Scouting around the world. Throughout her eight years as a Girl Scout volunteer, Kimberly has received several recognitions: Outstanding Volunteer (2012), Distinguished Volunteer (2014, 2016), GSOFCT

Leading the Way (2015), and Distinguished Leader (2017). Her child advocacy continues as Kimberly helps with mentally disabled children, assisting them with the art of dance. This allows them to express themselves in new ways and embrace their individuality. Outside of school and Girl Scouts, Kimberly enjoys traveling, vineyards, and spending time with family and friends.


Petzel r

Hometown Thomaston Age 18 Dream Job A politician or a professional singer


sabella is excited and honored to have been chosen as one of the Northwest Chamber of Commerce Leaders Under 40. Isabella was homeschooled through high school and is currently a student in the Liberal Arts Program at Northwestern CT Community College. In 2008, when Isabella was eight years old, she started her own Children’s Right to Vote Committee to advocate for the rights of minors so their voices could be heard through youth elections. She headed up two youth mock presidential elections and one youth mock gubernatorial election. This inspired her to pursue a career in politics and ignited her passion for self-advocacy. As she continued her journey, Isabella became a debater in the policy and parliamentary extemporaneous fields. She competed on the debate circuit for eight years, and was captain of her debate team with the Yale Urban Debate League. She has taught a Politics & Government class to children in Torrington and the surroundings towns. Isabella participated in the Torrington YMCA’s Youth & Government program from 2013 to 2017. In 2013, she organized her campaign for youth Attorney General. She won that seat an unprecedented three years in a row. Isabella competed at the Nation-

Museum, and the Di- family business: Act Natural Health & Wellness, a Menna Center. health and wellness shop She is a member of the located in downtown TorUnited Methodist Church rington. She enjoys spendChoir in Torrington ing time with her friends and St. Anthony’s and family and is happy In 2018, Isabella was a Church Choir in Litch- to be sharing this moment with them. legislative intern with the field. Connecticut General Assembly. As an intern, she Isabella can often be was able to write to con- found working for the stituents, interact with legislators, have a sit-down interview with Lieutenant Q: What is your Governor Nancy Wyman, superpower? and network with people from inside and outside A: I think my superpower is the ability to speak my mind. I am not afraid to stand the capitol. al Judicial Competition for Moot Court through the Torrington Youth and Government program and placed seventh in the nation for her arguments.

up for my beliefs.

Isabella was a volunteer with the GOP at the Republican Connecticut Convention and will be working on a gubernatorial campaign over the summer. Along with her love of government and politics, Isabella has a deep love of music and the arts. She has been studying voice since the age of nine and has been in countless community theater productions with the Warner Theatre, Thomaston Opera House, Seven Angels Theatre, and New Britain Youth Theater. Isabella has also been a member of the Salisbury School Dramatic Society. She received the 2017 Halo Award for Best Leading Actress in a Contemporary Musical for her role as Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. Isabella is a member of the Jazz Power Initiative in New York City and has performed in such venues as Jazz at Lincoln Center, the National Jazz

Q: What is ONE change you would make to better the region?

A: I would increase public transportation options by considering extending rail services into the northwest corner.

Q: What is your favorite quote? A: "How we walk with the broken speaks

louder than how we sit with the great." - Bill Bennot



Hometown Thomaston Age 19 Someone who inspires me My Sister


livia would l i k e to thank the N o r t h w e s t Chamber of Commerce Leaders Under 40, as she is honored to be recognized with this community award. Olivia, 19, is a homeschool high school student, as well as a member of the Northwestern CT Community College High School Partnership Program. She belongs to the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Olivia has participated in debate and public speaking for the past 10 years. She was a member of the Yale Urban Debate League’s Homeschool Team from 2013 to 2017. She participated in local and regional debate tournaments, where she won many awards. Olivia participated in the YMCA’s Youth & Government Pro-

gram from 2011 through 2016. Each year, her bill made it through committee, house, and senate, and was signed by the youth governor. Olivia was elected President of the Homeschool Venture Crew in 2014. She was responsible for the flow of meetings, scheduling, and following up on events. She has taught several homeschool classes on debate and public speaking as well as Greek mythology. Olivia grew up with Shakesperience Productions in Waterbury. From 2006 through 2016, she participated in its dramatic classes and workshops. In 2015, she was invited to become an intern and facilitated workshops and summer camp activities. Olivia has always loved to write and create stories. Her imagination

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Olivia takes her to far-off places where anything is possible. She has been writing ever since she learned how to put her thoughts on paper. Olivia’s love of writing and the theater led her to create a marriage of the two. In 2015, she established a role-play blog where she engages others to role play along with her. She currently has more than 2,000 followers. In 2017, Olivia was introduced to Rob Carr, a Torrington writer. Rob asked to join Olivia’s blog and liked what he read. Rob then introduced Olivia to Mike Galitello, a U.S. Army veteran and Torrington author, who needed a ghostwriter for his new book. After meeting Olivia and sampling her work, Mike hired her. Just Us has been published and is for sale locally and online. The proceeds from sales of the book are donated to local veterans. This year, Olivia, together with Mike and Rob, has presented book sale proceeds to the American Legion in Tor-

rington. In May 2018, Olivia was an invited guest on Veteran Views, where she discussed her community involvement associated with helping local veterans. Olivia is planning a “meet-and-greet-the-author” book signing event to promote the book and encourage local book sales. She and Mike also plan to donate books to local organizations, the Torrington Public Library, and area schools. They would like to promote history and literacy by having Olivia read to school children while Mike teaches them about his military experience. Olivia has begun taking her mission on the road. Recently, she helped organize a community event at Brookdale Litchfield Hills in Torrington. There, she engaged the residents in games, entertainment, and book giveaways. When not writing, Olivia can be found working at her family’s busi-

ness, Act Natural Health & Wellness, which is located in downtown Torrington.

Hometown Torrington Age 29 Someone who inspires me My Father




achary Ritchie came to Prime Time House in 2011 as an intern through Northwestern Connecticut Community College’s Human Service program. He interned for the Clubhouse, a psycho-social program for adults with severe mental illness. His enthusiasm, connection to the members whom Prime Time House supports, and dedication to helping others led the agency to hire him in February 2012. At the young age of 23, Zak was promoted to Supervisor of the Clubhouse Program in 2013. In September 2015, Zak was promoted again, to the position of Program Manager of Prime Time House’s Clubhouse program. Today he manages five employees and oversees the well-being of the nearly 300 individuals who attend the Clubhouse every year. Zak ensures the program is run effectively, efficiently, and up to the standards set by Clubhouse International. Zak is a graduate of the Chamber’s 20152016 Leadership Northwest Program. In 2016, he was nominated for the Mary Talcott Fitzpatrick

award by the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). Zak was certified by the DMHAS in the Grievance Process as a Clients Rights Officer. In 2013 and 2017, he received training from the Genesis Club on the Clubhouse International Model of supporting adults with mental illness. In 2016, he received a certification from the Congregation Assistance Program. Zak is trained in the Question-Persuade-Refer (QPR) Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training Program, a community-focused, nationally recognized, suicide prevention program. Zak’s desire to enter the field of mental illness was formed by his own family experiences. At a young age, he dealt with the loss of an uncle to suicide and learned that his mother had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Zak understands first-hand the benefits of the Clubhouse’s psycho-social program. His mother is a volunteer for the Clubhouse program; the relationships she is forming and the experience she is gaining have helped with her recovery.

While Zak worked full-time at Prime Time House, he also completed a full class schedule and graduated with the highest honors with his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Human Services from Southern New Hampshire University in April 2018. He plans to continue his studies by obtaining a Master’s Degree in business management, with a focus in leadership, in July of 2018. Zak is dedicated to helping some of the most vulnerable members of our community – local adults suffering from severe mental illnesses. Many of the Clubhouse’s members enter after they have hit rock bottom, and some have no other place to turn. Zak ensures that every member is treated with respect and has the necessary tools to con-

tinue their recovery. Zak credits Prime Time House with the platform needed to help Northwest corner citizens who are struggling with mental illness. He works diligently to ensure

employment, education, housing, nutrition, transportation, and benefit needs are met for members of the community and has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the underserved and underfunded. One of his biggest goals for Prime Time House has been to increase the number of young adults, aged 18 to 30, in the Clubhouse program. When Zak came to the Clubhouse in 2011, there were only five individuals in that age range; today, the number is slightly above 40.

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Hometown Torrington Age 22 Someone who inspires me My mentor Susan Dicther does her best to accomplish it.

Rodriguez Lisselot


isselot is a dedicated professional woman whose goal is to acquire a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Central Connecticut State University. She wants to advocate for her community by promoting social services in the town of Torrington to low-income families and other populations at risk. Lisselot stands by the code of ethics of social work, which states that one must elevate services to others above self-interest – NASW Code of Ethics 2017. Lisselot is a 22-year-old immigrant from the Dominican Republic; she moved to the United States in the fall of 2013. Her first struggle was to overcome the language barrier, which impeded her pursuit of an education in the States. In the spring of 2014, she started working full-time at a manufacturing company to help her parents sup-


port the household. After a few days of working at this company, Lisselot learned about the English as a Second Language (ESL) program at Northwestern Connecticut Community College (NCCC). She quickly enrolled. Lisselot was part of the ESL program for three months until she was able to take English Workshop classes for the summer to prepare her for college courses. In the fall of 2014, after Lisselot enrolled in classes at NCCC, she was accepted into the school’s Team Success Scholars program. Through Team Success, Lisselot was able to participate in the nine-week program to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA); it took her three tries to obtain the license, not because of the content of the classes but because of the language barrier. Lisselot is dedicated and committed to her goals; once she sets a goal, she

Lisselot was part of NCCC and Team Success Scholars for three years. She graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts and Science in May 2017. Throughout her years at NCCC, she participated in many events and volunteer projects. On March 3, 2017, she was able to share her story with the Board of Regents at the Legislative Breakfast. Lisselot attended many conferences, panels, and workshops, which developed her interest in working for the community. From the winter of 2016 to the summer of 2017, Lisselot was an intern for the Northwest CT Chamber of Commerce, where she helped with event management and other office duties. Lisselot has volunteered for a range of community services, two of which she has led. She is an active volunteer for the Connecticut Food Mobile Pantry, which distributes fresh produce once a month in the commu-

nity of Winchester and in nearby towns. In December 2016, Lisselot directed an event to help the community of Winsted sign up for affordable health care. In April 2017, she directed a program to develop a recipe book with the products available at the Salvation Army of Winsted. In April 2016, Lisselot volunteered for a Community Learning Service Project with the VFW and Home Depot to improve the green life of Canaan. Lisselot currently works for Dan Pinton’s State Farm agency, where she holds the title of Account Manager; she has worked there since March 2017 and is currently seeking to obtain her license to sell insurance. She has come a long way, and will continue to exceed expectations to make her family, her friends, her community, and herself proud. Lisselot is living proof that with perseverance, dedication, and hard work, one can accomplish one’s goals.

Q: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

A: To appear and disappear anytime and anywhere I want.

Q: What advice would you give your younger self?

A: To listen more to those who have more experience than me.

Hometown Wolcott Age 29 Mentor Matthew Blondin




r. Michael Shea is very honored to receive this recognition for being a young professional in Litchfield County. He was born in Wolcott, CT and attended St. Paul Catholic High School in Bristol, CT. There, he met his wife, Rose Blondin. Dr. Shea became very interested in the field of optometry through Rose’s father, Dr. Matthew Blondin, a practicing optometrist in the Torrington area since 1979. Dr. Shea graduated from MCPHS University in Boston in 2011 and from the New England College of Optometry in 2014. He completed a residency in ocular disease at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Newington, CT. Dr. Shea is a diplomate of the American Board of Optometry and a member of the Connecticut Association of Optometrists and the American Optometric Association. In 2014, Dr. Shea joined Dr. Blondin’s optometry practice. Their office is centrally located in downtown Torrington. In 2017, Blondin Shea Eyecare opened a new office in Kent, CT.

Dr. Shea raised over $1,000 in donations for the Chamber Education Foundation as part of the Over the Edge fundraiser. He continues to contribute to the yearly Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH-CT) mission and has been on numerous missions, with several optometrists running a clinic in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. Every year, more than 4,000 patients are seen and eyeglasses and sunglasses are donated from Blondin Shea Eyecare. During the past three decades, VOSH has evolved into a dynamic nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation of human sight, mainly in developing countries where there is no welfare. Dr. Shea’s special interests in eye care include the fitting of scleral gas permeable contact lenses and genetic testing for macular degeneration risk and treatment. In his free time, Dr. Shea enjoys running, biking, and spending time with his wife, Rose, and twoyear-old daughter, Lily.


Hometown Harwinton Age 32 Dream Job Race car driver


ob Simon has been a member of the Torrington Police Department (TPD) for 11 years and during that time has set himself apart from his peers. He has embraced the community for the wonderful place it truly is and works tirelessly to positively impact those within it. Rob was asked to be the TPD’s Downtown Community Relations Officer due to his ability to connect with everyone in the community as a person rather than solely as a law enforcement figure. His ability to communicate the needs of the people of Torrington up the ranks allows him to accomplish projects in town. Rob is a member of the TPD Special Emergency Response Team (SERT), a Police Explorer Advisor, an ALICE Instructor for Active Shooter situations, a Field Training Officer, and a State-Certified Instructor for less-lethal weapons. During his time at TPD, Rob has collaborated with local businesses to acquire a Segway for his downtown patrols. He also established a satellite community policing office in Coe Park, which has had great success in its first year by hosting community events and trainings for the public. Since Rob began the community policing project, he has reduced calls to the downtown district by over 75 percent. Rob is an active volunteer with the Police Athletic League (PAL) and all PAL-sponsored events to raise funds for the program. He currently sits on the PAL board and was Chairman for one of PAL’s largest events to date. Most notably, he partnered with the Torrington area


soup kitchen to start and actively manage Community Cleanup, which is the downtown cleanup project occurring every other week throughout the spring, summer, and fall months. He donates many of his own resources to this project to clean up the streets of Torrington, utilizing the services of those benefitting most from the community support. In October 2017, Rob received an award from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for his outstanding performance in community policing.

Simon Robert

Being a police officer is an incredibly taxing job, both mentally and physically. Rob takes this challenge in stride and always does so with a smiling face. He cares deeply about his coworkers Torrington Police Union Local 442 and community. Rob looks 576 Main Street for the best in each indiTorrington, CT 06790 vidual he encounters and (860) 489-2094 always makes a concertE-mail ed effort to communicate a positive lesson to direct that person down the right President Executive Board Vice President path. He has created relationships with people from Todd Fador Edward Mumm Gregory Wityak Richard Dowd all walks of life and has enSecretary Brian Mrazik Treasurer abled many of those who have faced tough times to Matthew Fifer James Crean recover with his help. Upon a very unfortunate event for one of Rob’s coworkers, he took the initiative to hold a fundraiser for the The members of the Torrington Police Union family, which raised over would like to Congratulate Officer Robert Simon $20,000. Through his dedfor his accomplishments and involvement in the ication and the friendships community. he has created downtown, Rob has made it his goal to help one person each Torrington Police Union year who struggles with adLocal 442 diction. He has succeeded by finding all of them the help they need; they have landed steady jobs and are maintaining sobriety. Rob is more than an officer to the people of Torrington; he is father to his beautiful wife and support, he is able to also a friend. and newborn son. His sib- do the job he loves with unlings, parents, friends, and paralleled compassion and Most importantly, Rob is family mean the world to dedication. a dedicated husband and him. Thanks to their love

Hometown Goshen/Litchfield Age 33 Someone who inspires me Doris Simoncelli


ohn Simoncelli is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor who has worked as a mental health therapist and addiction specialist for over 13 years. John was raised in Litchfield County and has deep family ties to the region. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, magna cum laude, from Central Connecticut State University. John went on to attend the University of Connecticut, where he graduated with Master’s Degrees in both Social Work and Public Administration. In 2014, to provide quality mental health and addiction treatment to those in need, John founded a private practice group called Authentic Recover, LLC. Currently, 12 clinicians work out of the Authentic Recovery offices, located in Torrington and Waterbury. In addition to his administrative duties at Authentic Recover, John continues to carry a small caseload of clients. He specializes in the treatment of trauma and addiction and believes that a truly genuine therapeutic experience is essential for positive change to occur. Always looking to expand his impact on the community, in 2017 John took on the role of Executive Director at Greenwoods Counseling Referrals, a nonprofit social service agency in Litchfield. Greenwoods offers

mental health assessments and referrals to anyone living or working in Litchfield County. It also provides educational programming and professional training. Under John’s direction, the network of clinicians taking part in the Greenwoods referral program has grown to more than 150 individuals, which has significantly increased access to mental health services for residents of Litchfield County. Additionally, John has broadened Greenwoods’ services to include more direct counseling. Most recently, he worked collaboratively with local mental health providers and agencies to start a Suboxone Maintenance and Relapse Prevention Program – an integral part of treatment for individuals struggling with opiate use disorders. Through community connections and partnerships, Greenwoods is now able to provide this much-needed service that, for years, had been largely unavailable to residents of Litchfield struggling with opiate addiction. John is also an active member of the executive committee of the Litchfield County Opiate Task Force. He has a passion for educating the public about the connection between trauma, addiction, and other mental health issues. John strongly believes that all people should have access to quality mental health services and he works diligently every day toward that goal.


Simoncelli Q: What is your favorite quote? A: “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson @MariesJewelry

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Hometown Torrington Age 37 Someone who inspires me My Kids CONGRATULATIONS TO ROTARIANS





as President of the Board of Directors of The Arc of Litchfield County, Inc. (LARC), an organization that supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. During his tenure, Jim helped LARC with its purchase of a home for Camp MOE, LARC’s day camp for children with and without disabilities. He also helped with the nationwide search for a new executive director. Jim was fortunate enough to work with many accomplished professionals on the Board of Directors and staff to achieve the planning Enforcement Hearing and execution of many Officer, a Blight Hearing fundraisers, events, and Officer, and a member programs. of the Zoning Board of Appeals for the City of He currently serves as Torrington. Vice President of the Board of Directors of TorHe lives in Torrington, rington Affordable HousCT, and is married to his ing, Inc., an organization high school sweetheart, that manages more than Michelle. Together they 40 affordable housing units have three children: in Torrington, and on the Liam, Eli, and Trinity. Board of Torrington Area Jim served for four years Youth Service Bureau,



ames P. Steck is a Partner at the offices of Ebersol, McCormick, Reis & Steck, LLC. His practice is focused on Residential and Commercial Real Estate, Land Use and Zoning, Probate, Wills and Trusts, and the litigation of property disputes. In addition to his work at the firm, Jim serves as a Zoning



an organization that addresses the needs of youth and their families. Jim is a member of the Torrington/Winsted Rotary Club and a Corporator for Charlotte Hungerford Hospital. In the past, Jim has served as Secretary of the Litchfield County Bar Association and on the Charter Revision Commission for the City of Torrington. He has climbed off Torrington Towers for Over the Edge, jumped into freezing cold water for the Special Olympics Penguin Plunge, run many miles for Miles for MOE, and served on numerous panels for local students and young professionals. His hobbies include assistant coaching his children’s sports teams and running various obstacle course races throughout the Northeast as a member of Wideload Athletic Club.

Hometown Woodbury Age 30 Someone who inspires me My two daughters


ichael Sweeney is a Commercial Loan Officer at Torrington Savings Bank, having worked his way up from a courier role at a local bank in 2008. In his current role, he finds that his interactions with small business clients are fulfilling; Michael enjoys helping them secure financing to achieve their dreams and allow their companies to flourish. With a focus on the Torrington and general Northwest markets, he takes pride in having helped the community grow through his assistance in bringing small businesses to the area. Michael received his Associates Degree through Naugatuck Valley and Tunxis Community Colleges, then went on to earn his Bachelor’s in Finance from UMass Amherst. His path has made him a huge supporter of community colleges and the low-cost, quality education they provide. Outside of work, Michael is the proud father of two girls: two-year-old Kiera and nine-month-old Kiley. When not with his

children, he can be found helping his wife, Nicole, with the business side of her Bristol-based dance studio, Get Up N Dance. He also dedicates a significant amount of time to charitable causes, most notably as founder and acting Co-Chair of Professional Young Visionaries of Tomorrow (PYVOT). PYVOT is an organization dedicated to providing low-pressure networking and career development opportunities to local young professionals who call Connecticut home. Michael is also involved with the Northwest Chamber’s Young Professional Organization; he hopes to be a conduit for collaboration between the two groups, allowing them to have a greater reach than either could achieve on its own. Also through the Chamber, Michael was a 2017 graduate of the Leadership Northwest Program. His group spearheaded a non-profit placement fair for local high schools; more than 300 students attended, and more than 20 local non-profits participated. Michael feels that his

Sweeney Michael

unique path – working his way up from a courier position while pursuing his degree through community college and online programs – has given him a more modern perspective on career development. He hopes to use that experience and his presence in the community to help local youths – those who do not have set plans – find direction in their lives. He is also passionate about the area, especially Downtown Torrington’s potential for development and growth.

Michael is excited to be a part of that through both his role at Torrington Savings Bank and his volunteer and charitable activities.


If you could have any superpower, what would it be?


Mind ReadingSo I can tell what my ten month old daughter is actually thinking.

We are proud to congratulate TSB Commercial Loan Officer Mike Sweeney and all of the Leaders Under 40. (860) 496-2152 TORRINGTON | TORRINGFORD | BURLINGTON | FALLS VILLAGE | GOSHEN | NEW HARTFORD TORRINGTON | TORRINGFORD | BURLINGTON | FALLS VILLAGE | GOSHEN | NEW HARTFORD


Hometown Torrington Age 36 Someone who inspires me Oprah Winfrey Simultaneously, as a longtime self-taught artist, Carrie wanted to explore her options for a career in the Fine Arts. When the agency for which she worked went through a focus shift, she saw this as an opportunity to explore her art career on a full-time basis. In 2013, she started her own business, The Taylored Spirit, creating custom paintings on commission, with a focus on pet portraiture. She continues to do this at present. About the same time, she began teaching as a paint instructor for the Arts Desire in Watertown, which she also continues to enjoy.


Carri e


arrie Taylor is a young professional in the fields of Insurance and Fine Art who lives and works in Torrington, CT. The daughter of an entrepreneur, Carrie was drawn to the business segment of industry at a very young age. She began her professional career in Mortgage Lending, through which she honed her financial, analytical, technical, and professional skills. In 2010, she found what would become an excellent fit for her occupation: Insurance. After obtaining her Property and Casualty Insurance


License, Carrie continued her insurance education with additional designations: MLIS (Management Liability Insurance Specialist); ACSR (Accredited Customer Service Representative); and, most notably, her CPCU (Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter) Designation – the most recognized in the industry. She achieved all this by the end of 2013. Carrie started at an insurance agency in Washington Depot, CT as a Customer Service Representative; however, with a voracious appetite for education and through a gracious mentorship at the agency, she was ultimately promoted to Vice President of Commercial Insurance.

In 2015, Carrie decided to augment her artistry income by taking on a part-time position at Brooks, Todd & McNeil in Torrington, CT. However, due to her resume, credentials, and drive in the insurance industry, she was offered a full-time position, which she accepted. Carrie now pursues her fine art career part-time. She currently leads the Commercial Lines Service Department at Brooks, Todd & McNeil, where she takes immense pride in the team’s value, integrity, and work ethic. Carrie is extremely driven to support many causes in the non-profit sector. She is no stranger to personal adversity. As a child, Carrie lost a parent to cancer at a young age. She is also a survivor of domestic violence, and a person in longterm recovery from a sub-

stance use disorder. These life challenges have fueled Carrie’s passion and compassion for others. She has a strong desire to be of service to – and a positive influence on – any person (or animal) in need. As an animal lover, Carrie offers her time, talent, advocacy, and financial assistance to many rescue and animal support organizations, such as For the Love of Jack, the Brass City Rescue Alliance (BCRA), Westley’s Wish Rescue, and The Little Guild of Saint Francis. Additionally, in 2015 she used her artistic abilities to paint a train statue for the Chamber and KidsPlay Museum fundraiser; this statue is now on display at the corner of Franklin Street and East Main Street in Torrington. Carrie also donates her time in support of addiction and recovery non-profits such as Women for Sobriety (WFS) and Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR). Carrie is also the Founder and Chair of the Community Charity Committee (CCC), an employee-based committee at Brooks, Todd & McNeil. This year, the CCC is spearheading six large campaigns to support both local and national non-profit organizations, including: Suits for Soldiers, Hands for Grace Pet Food Pantry, Susan G. Komen Foundation, T.R.E.D, E.C.A.D., and Susan B. Anthony.

Hometown Winsted Age 21 Dream Job To work in the social work field


essica Tessman is a first-generation college student who became a Graphic Design graduate from Oliver Wolcott Technical High School in June 2014. The same year as her graduation, she continued her education; in May 2017 she received an Associate’s Degree in Human Services from Northwestern Connecticut Community College (NCCC). Jessica is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), with an expected graduation date of May 2020.

was a Team Success Scholar, a Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society member, and Treasurer for the Student Senate. On NCCC’s campus, she enjoyed volunteering for the Connecticut Mobile Food Bank Pantry once a month. She loved seeing community members work together to provide fresh, local produce to residents.

In October 2015, Jessica started working her first job, at Beardsley Library. She was an after-school program leader, and occasionally worked the circulation desk. At Beardsley, through her customer service, she Jessica has overcome a gained a stronger sense number of obstacles, and of community. has motivated herself throughout her life so During Jessica’s time at that she could succeed. NCCC, she had the opHer goal is to make a portunity, through Team positive impact, not just Success Scholars, to in her community, but attend a human rights worldwide. Jessica’s ex- conference in Oxford, periences inspired her England in the spring of to pursue employment 2017. The conference in the social work field. opened her eyes to the At a young age, she ex- world, motivating her to perienced financial hard- travel and give back to ships, so she understands low-income populations. what it is like to grow up Shortly after arriving in a low-income house- home from Oxford, Jeshold. Jessica is driven sica was named a 2017 to become an advocate New Century Coca-Cola and provide support to Scholar in recognition of low-income populations. her leadership and academic achievements. At NCCC, Jessica was actively involved. She In July 2017, Jessica had

Q: What is ONE change you would make to better the region?

Q: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Tessman Jessica

the opportunity to work alongside the American Mural Project (AMP), collaborating with interns and professional artists. AMP allowed her to dive deeper into the community. She traveled outside Litchfield County and interviewed blue collar Americans who were included in the mural. Through this experience, she gained more confidence in herself.

Upon entering CCSU in September 2017, Jessica became involved with the Central Activities Network, for which she helped organize CCSU community events. That semester, she acquired a leadership position in her Hall Council as Secretary, and also discovered her

passion for volunteering at the campus’s food pantry, called Maria’s Place. Jessica enjoys being involved in her community, and plans to make a difference in the world. Through CCSU, Jessica provided hurricane relief to the Houston, Texas community in March 2018. She helped by building a home, and volunteered for the Houston Food Bank. Jessica likes seeing community members active and engaged. She enjoys helping others and is excited about starting her career in the social work field. Her goal is to work with food-insecure populations and to provide empowerment, both internationally and locally.

A: Litchfield County members should become more connected. One change would be to organize more functions so townspeople can get together. We need to become active members in our community.

A: Teleportation, so I can rescue people quickly that are in trouble, internationally or locally.


Hometown Torrington Age 30 Someone who inspires me My Brother - Justin Veras

VerasCorey Jill


t a very young age, Jillian Veras knew she wanted to work with children. Beginning as a babysitter during her middle school years, she spent hundreds of hours mentoring and shaping the lives of the children she tended. After graduating from high school, she attended Western Connecticut State University for Psychology (focusing on Child Psychology) and in 2010 graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Jill began working for Play and Learn, a daycare/preschool in Thomaston, and quickly advanced to the position of Head Teacher. She decided to further her education and enrolled in Post University, working full-time while fulfilling the requirements for a

certificate in Early Childhood Education. In 2012 she was hired as Head of the Children/Teen Departments for Torrington Library. This position has allowed her to use her passion for reading, desire to work with children, and creative spirit to better her hometown. In her role as Head of Children and Teen Services, “Ms. Jill” is a friendly and familiar face – someone whom many children and teens ask for by name. However, Jill works not only within the library’s walls; she functions as a liaison to the community and is regularly out-and-about, promoting library activities and enlisting young readers. She has developed relationships with the local school systems, from Pre-K through the 12th grade, seeking to reach

Q: What advice would you give your younger self?

A: Always wear sunscreen


all age groups through unique programming and initiatives. Examples of this include the creation of the Teen Advisory Board (which engages an average of 15 to 20 middle school and high school students every month) and of educational and interactive programs for elementary-aged children (such as “Percy Jackson,” “Spy School,” and “Candyland”), as well as involvement with the Torrington Middle School Fall Festival and STEAM Carnival, and more. At the library, Jill also created and managed an affordable summer camp for children entering the first through fifth grades. “Camp Read S’More” is poised to enter its second season in July 2018, and has proved to be highly popular. In addition, during the holiday season, Jill and her staff put on a Story Time at the LARC Festival of Trees – an event that draws an average of 35 to 40 children. Jill participates in local parades, such as the Christmas Village Parade and Pet Parade, involving Children’s Room patrons and their families. She promotes the Summer Reading Program for kids from Pre-K through 12th grade and hosts a well-attended celebratory party at the end of summer. Jill and her staff planned the amazing “Storybook Through the Ages” mural that graces

the wall in the Children’s Room, coming up with all the character ideas and working closely with the artist, Marc Stolfi, to bring the mural to life. It took months to complete; the library unveiled the mural during the “Book Ball” in February 2018. Many storybook characters from the Warner were in attendance, as was Jill, dressed up as her favorite character – Belle from Beauty and the Beast. In addition to her role at the Torrington Library, Jill has a personal life marked by active community involvement. She is a registered volunteer at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, available to serve as a Baby Cuddler. She and her husband are custodial parents of two beautiful girls who attend the public school system. Jill’s family participates in competition dance classes with Center for Dance Arts and tennis lessons with Pinewoods Racquet Club; they also plan to get involved with Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD). On Tuesday afternoons and Thursday evenings, you will find Jill working at Tony’s Westside Restaurant, her family’s muchloved business of over 29 years.

Q: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

A: Shape Shifting

Hometown Winsted Age 20 Dream Job High School Athletic Director

Q: What is ONE change you would make to better the region?


ulie Vincent is a 20-year-old originally from Winsted, CT. She is the daughter of Randy and Debbie Vincent. Julie is currently a Business Administration major and Entrepreneurial Studies minor at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania, where she is approaching her senior year. Growing up, Julie was an active member of the community, participating in the Torrington Elks Lodge #372 youth program (The Antlers) and being an involved student at The Gilbert School. Julie is a dedicated individual seeking to pursue a career within an area of athletics that allows her to follow her passion for sports while maintaining a high level of community involvement. During her time at The Gilbert School, Julie was a member of the National Honor Society and Student Council. She was also Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) president, DECA president, and Class of 2015 social chair and president. Through these organizations, she collected hundreds of community service hours and helped with a variety of fundraisers. In 2015, Julie received first place in the state FBLA conference, which earned her the honor of representing Gilbert in the national championship in Chicago. Julie also played

saxophone and served as a section leader, earning All Berkshire League band honors. As a senior, Julie used her platform to publicly represent the opinions of students, faculty, and parents during various town hall meetings and showed support of Gilbert during budget cuts. Julie’s passion for athletics was sparked during her time at Gilbert; she participated in both varsity girls’ soccer and varsity track. She was the manager of the football, basketball, and baseball teams, as well as an intern to the Athletic Director. During her four-year internship, Julie organized several fundraisers, hosted the first staff vs. students game, and became a key contact in the athletics office. Upon graduating from Gilbert in June 2015, Julie received many academic, leadership, and service awards and honors for her hard work and commitment to her studies, Gilbert, and the greater community. Julie chose to continue her academic career at Susquehanna University after being accepted into the university’s Sigmund Weis School of Business, which is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Julie followed her passion for business after completing the Young Entrepreneur’s Acad-

A: More active communities i.e. active downtowns, community events

Vincent Julie

emy sponsored by the Northwest Connecticut Chamber in 2015. Within the realm of academics, Julie has been recognized through her receipt of an academic scholarship and through faculty member Dr. Emma Fleck’s selection of Julie as an assistant on multiple projects. These projects have included writing business plans for local companies and serving as a liaison for the Center for Economics, Business, and Entrepreneurship Education. This past semester, Julie spent four months in London, studying and completing an internship with Sport Inspired, a UK charity whose mission is to provide sports and social activities to underprivileged youth. Outside the classroom, Julie is an active member of the Susquehanna and Selinsgrove community. She has fol-

lowed her passion for athletics and works as the football and men’s basketball manager. She hosts recruiting events and has been chosen to work multiple tournament games. Julie serves as the Academic Chair for the Student Athlete Activities Committee, an organization dedicated to bettering the athlete experience. Furthermore, Julie completes 70+ hours of community service each semester as a member of Alpha Phi Omega. Julie returned home for the summer and is interning with the American Legion baseball organization. During this internship, Julie helps the organization transition its software and work on its website. Additionally, Julie returned to Boulder Ridge in Barkhamsted to lifeguard and teach swim lessons for a second year.


Hometown Kings Park, N.Y. Age 34 Someone who inspires me Warren Buffet


Vultaggio Jr.


nthony Vultaggio Jr. is a married 34-yearold with a young family. All his life, his teachers told him that he would be lucky to graduate from high school; he has always struggled with learning disabilities and the stigma that the label “Special Education” carries. Add a lifetime of being told “You will never amount to anything”... those are pretty tough odds to beat. Anthony proved them all wrong by graduating from Kings Park High School in 2002. A few years after graduation, Anthony took a trip to Florida to visit a cousin who owned his own busi-

ness. While there, Anthony planned to work for his cousin. After a week of working, he finally realized what he wanted to do for the rest of his life...and it was not in commodities. He returned home to Long Island, NY in 2006 and, after conducting many months of research, found a firm that hired him as an intern and sponsored him for the very difficult Series 7 & 63 test – the second most difficult test in the country. Anthony failed the first time. He went back to the books, studied, and in 2007 took the test for a second time...and failed. A person is allowed to sit for the Series 7 & 63

Q: What is your superpower? A: Spinning negativity into positivity

only three times, so Anthony hired a tutor for six months. In 2008, Anthony tested again and finally one point. His 11-year career began under the wing of one of the best in the industry. However, after coming from literally nothing and making a significant amount of money, Anthony was forced to resign in 2017 due to chest pains and stress. To Anthony, no amount of money is worth one’s health, especially with a wife and two young children. That’s when Anthony decided to take the risk and make a complete career change. In 2017, he found Torrington Ford Lincoln and decided to purchase the dealership. The lengthy process of getting to know the community has been a very humbling experience for him. Community service, giving back, and children are just a few of his passions. In his free time, Anthony coaches flag football teams for five- and six-year-olds; he has also regularly sponsored “hole in ones” for a variety of charities. When the Torrington School District lacked funding, he purchased agendas for every child in the district for the 2017/2018 school year. In addition, in 2017,

he worked with the “Drive for Your School” event for Torrington High School Marching Band, raising money to purchase necessary equipment to keep music in public schools. Anthony has also successfully built a new facility to not only house Torrington Ford Lincoln but improve the image of the community as a whole. Recently, Anthony spoke about his background, customer service, and goal-setting to students graduating with their MBAs from University of Hartford. Anthony has taken all the negativity, hardships, and challenges he faced and used them as fuel to strengthen, improve, and motivate himself, his family, his employees, and the community. He continues to look for other ways to give back, volunteer, and step up. Anthony is deserving of this award and recognition from the community Young Professional’s Organization for all that he is doing and all that he will continue to do as his new business and venture, Torrington Ford Lincoln, grows and flourishes along with his community involvement.

Q: If you could have any superpower, what would it be? A: To fly

Q: If funding were a non-issue, what would you do to better Litchfield County? A: I would create an affordable vocational school for young and old adults


Hometown Torrington Age 30 Dream Job Retiree


Torrington native, Tim Waldron received his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Central Connecticut State University and is a proud graduate of Oliver Wolcott Technical High School in Torrington. He is active in the community, serving as a member of the Board of Directors for Litchfield ARC, a member of the Board of Directors for the Torrington Area Health District, and Chairman of the Government Relations Committee for the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce. In April 2018, Tim was named Vice Chairman of the Torrington Republican Town Committee. He is also a long-time member of the Young Professionals Organization of the Chamber of Commerce.

Q: What advice would you

give your younger self?

A: Don't worry so much Q: What is ONE change you woul d make to better the region?


Waldron bone. He has served the City of Torrington since 2011, when he was originally appointed by former Mayor Ryan Bingham. Prior to his service with the City of Torrington, Tim was employed by the Town of Stratford, CT and the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce.

A: Increased economic

Culture Commission. He also performs a variety of constituent service and public information tasks, and works with the Mayor to forward the goals and priorities of her administration. In addition, Tim works with state and federal representatives and their staff in concert with the Mayor on issues Among his responsibili- of importance to the City Currently, Tim serves ties, Tim serves as Blight of Torrington. as Mayoral Aide to Tor- Enforcement Officer and rington Mayor Elinor Car- staff liaison to the Arts &

development opportunities ie. jobs, increased commercial tax base

Q: What is your favorite thing about Litchfield County?

A: The outdoors

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Hometown Torrington Age 36 Someone who inspires me My Grandfather (1922-2017)


i c h a e l w as raised and educated in the City of Torrington. In 2000, he graduated from Oliver Wolcott Technical School with a focus in Electronics Technology. In 2007, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication with an emphasis on Mass Media and a minor in Journalism from Central Connecticut State University. Michael started his career in the Radio and Television industry in 1995, volunteering for Cable 5 in Litchfield. He shadowed on-air personalities at AM610 WSNG, formerly of Torrington, and FM 97.3 WZBG of Litchfield. Michael was later employed with Cablevision and worked several crew positions to produce many hours of news and community interest programming about events in Litchfield County, as well as profiles on its residents and content highlighting local interest groups and high school sports activities. In 2004, Michael moved to ESPN; over the past 14 years there, he worked several studio and remote productions with the Creative & Studio Direction team. Most notably, he won two Emmy Awards for his work as an Associate Producer of ESPN’s College Football GameDay (Best Weekly Magazine Show). He currently works in a managerial role at ESPN on day-to-day scheduling of

personnel, long-range planning, and resource coordination of that same team. Michael has been a volunteer firefighter in Torrington since 2002. He was President of Torringford from 2007 through 2010 and has served as commissioner of Drakeville since 2015. Michael has directly impacted the City of Torrington by coordinating grant writing exercises and annual fundraisers dedicated to offsetting the firehouses’ operating, safety, and maintenance costs. He has supported community outreach programs such as fire prevention for the city’s elementary schools, participated in touch-a-truck events for area residents, coordinated resource drives for FISH and Friendly Hands Food Bank, and led programs for area Boy and Girl Scout troops. Michael maintains his love for volunteerism and broadcasting with FM 89.9 WAPJ on Water Street, filling in for on-air talent as needed and attending annual events to support the radio station and promote the community. Michael uses his air time to focus attention on community events; he promotes volunteerism with the radio station for those of all ages. He enjoys spending his free time with his four-year-old daughter, Savannah, and with his family and friends.



Congratulations to all of the “Leaders Under 40” Honorees

from all of us at

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Hometown Bristol Age 33 Someone who inspires me My husband, Vince Wiggins.


rystal Wiggins was born and raised – and still resides – in Bristol, Connecticut. She has been married since August 2007 and has one son. Crystal attended Central Connecticut State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree in Mathematics. She started teaching at the college level when she was just 23. She taught at multiple institutions across Connecticut before planting her roots at Northwestern Connecticut Community College (NCCC). Since August 2013, Crystal has worked diligently to integrate herself not only into the Northwestern family but into the surrounding community. During her first year alone, she received a Merit Award for developing new techniques in teaching statistics and developing a curriculum for transitional math. In 2017, Crystal developed a Medical Math course to help nursing students better prepare for their intensive dosage calculation exams. In addition to teaching mathematics and statistics each semester, Crystal takes pride in co-advising NCCC’s chapter – Alpha Nu Epsilon – of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). PTK is an international honors society for twoyear colleges. Taking on the co-advisor appointment with zeal, Crystal championed the club

through several conferences, both regional and international. In 2018 she received the Paragon Advisor Award for her commitment and enthusiasm as a PTK advisor. Dedicated to community involvement, she has volunteered her personal time and encouraged club members to follow suit; this led the club to receive an award for its community service project. Food for Thought, a student food pantry, has been a huge success. In part, this is due to Crystal’s role in supporting research to initiate the project, making site visits to the Connecticut Food Bank to secure a partnership, and establishing an on-campus presence. For the latter, she aggressively campaigned and recruited PTK students to share in her passion for others. As the project grew, she lobbied for and secured additional onground space to house the intake office and overflow of goods. True to form, Crystal pushed for longer opening hours and encouraged more student involvement; consequently, the pantry now serves students in need 96 hours per month as compared to the eight hours per month it was initially open.



leges (AMATYC) and is a mentoring and professional development initiative. The project requires that selected members attend two consecutive national conferences, as well as research, develop, and implement a college project to be presented at a national conference. Crystal’s project was a direct response to law PA1240. She created a Math Bootcamp to ease the transition from remedial to college-level math. The class was designed and marketed to students who had to improve their basic skills in math. Crystal remains an active member of AMATYC and takes great pride in being a professional woman in STEM (Science, Technology, Crystal was one of 25 Engineering, Math). individuals, selected nationwide, to participate in Crystal is a member of Project ACCCESS. Proj- many committees on ect ACCCESS is spon- campus, statewide, and sored by the American at the national level. She Mathematical Associa- also participates in sevtion for Two-Year Col- eral campus, state, and

national events to increase her skill set and provide positive, enthusiastic representation for NCCC. Additionally, she volunteers as a tutor at the Academic Success Center. During the fall of 2018, she will embark on a path to become the NCCC’s Teaching and Learning Consultant – a position that will start in the spring of 2019. This position embodies several of the teaching philosophies she holds dear; it will enable her to research and present new ways of learning to her colleagues, thereby keeping NCCC on the cutting edge of learning.

Q: What advice would you give your younger self?

A: To not let others’ perceptions of your limitations...become your limitations.


Your educational and career achievements, excellence in your field, leadership in community organizations, and impact on the community’s future make you an asset to our region. We celebrate you and hope you continue to make the Northwest Corner a great place in which to live and work!

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Congratulations to the NCCC Students and Alums on the Leaders Under 40 List!



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One in Three of our Leaders Under 40 are current or Former Students of NCCC!

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