July 22, 2011 | last updated May 31, 2012 7:59 pm

Hartford Business Journal 2011 40 Under Forty - Winners (D - M)

Richard M. Deenihan, Jr.

AGE: 30
TITLE: Vice president, branch manager
COMPANY NAME: Webster Bank
COMPANY'S LOCATION: Hartford
RESIDENCE: Suffield

What do you do: I oversee the staff of Webster Bank's CityPlace branch, the bank's flagship branch in Hartford. I lead and coach our team members to deliver superior service and help our customers — individuals, families and businesses — achieve their financial goals now and in the future. Additionally, I work with the other lines of business within Webster to ensure customer satisfaction and have roles in a variety of initiatives at Webster that affect the Hartford area market as a whole and the entire Webster four-state footprint.


What do you want to be doing in 10 years: I want to have achieved higher leadership positions within Webster Bank, roles that will offer me the opportunity to help contribute to the future of the company on a wider scale and coach higher level employees to help them grow and achieve their career goals. In particular, I am interested in continuing to help the greater Hartford area through Webster's commercial and consumer banking units, especially in the area of lending to local businesses.


What's your biggest strength: One of my strongest skill sets is being able to bring together individuals with different mindsets and priorities to realize common goals and formulate plans to get there. The key is listening to what each individual has to say, analyzing that information in the broader perspective and truly including everyone in the process. It sounds simple, but it is something that is too often overlooked by managers.


Where do you go for new ideas: I always start with looking to the past to see what worked and what did not work. The management team at Webster is another invaluable asset; our managers are always eager to share examples of from across the company, and the industry, that may be helpful to others.


What's the best advice you received: My mom works as a teller supervisor at a Webster Bank branch in East Windsor, but I have to admit that the best advice I received actually came from my father. Before I started work at my first supervisory position, he advised that it is best to go into a new supervisor position as assertively, and respectfully, as possible. "There will be plenty of time to make friends later," he said. And he was right.


What service or charitable cause has your attention: I recently joined the advisory board for High School Inc. and look forward to supporting their initiatives. The purpose of High School Inc. is to provide support to Hartford's youth (grades 9-12) so they can become successful in the finance and insurance industries, with a goal of encouraging our young talent to live and work in the Hartford community for years to come.

Heidi C. DeLisle

AGE: 33
TITLE: Director of employee resources
COMPANY NAME: A.W. Hastings & Co. LLC
COMPANY'S LOCATION: Enfield
RESIDENCE: Ellington


What do you do: One of the reasons I love what I do, is the variety I'm afforded. One day, I'm writing for our industry magazine on HR topics, the next, I'm working on the branding/marketing strategy for the HR consulting recruitment business I operate. Another day, I'm speaking to pension management conference attendees on 401(k) plan management topics. Yet another day, I'm gathering our investment committee to review the funds in our $18 million 401(k) plan. Other days are filled with business communications, resource planning, playing intrapreneur.
What do you want to be doing in 10 years: After I open up a branch of our business on the island of St. John, I hope to be a sommelier for all the out-of-town guests.

What's your biggest strength: Though I never intended to be a sales person, I've realized that I use sales-type skills every day. Whether influencing other senior leaders of the organization on a new idea or influencing a customer on a candidate, or a candidate on an organization. I end up using my ability and inner drive to persuade others to get things done, every single day.

Where do you go for new ideas: I can't say I go anywhere, or to see anyone, in particular. Though there are a few places that lead to inspiration for me. In no particular order they are: Starbucks, the shower, the windshield (when I'm driving) and reading business books.

What's the best advice you received: Try and work your way out of a job. Surround yourself with bright, capable people and continue to let them grow. Be secure enough to know that there will be a next step waiting for you.

What service or charitable cause has your attention: The Pajama Program gives pajamas and books to children in need. I've done a pajama and book drive at my office the last two years, then deliver the pajamas to the local places in need. Afterwards — we all wear pajamas and slippers to work to celebrate the occasion.

Enzo Faienza

AGE: 38
TITLE: President / Co-owner
COMPANY NAME: Universal Ceramic Tile Distributors Inc.
COMPANY'S LOCATION: Hartford
RESIDENCE: Cromwell

What do you do: I'm in charge of running the day to day operations of the company. My father Antonio and I started this business in 1996 and then my two brother's Joe and Tony became involved and are co-owners with me now. We import and distribute ceramic, porcelain, stone and glass tile throughout the Northeast. Along with our wholesale business, in 2006 we created a 7,000-square- foot design center. Our vision is to have a one-stop shopping facility where the general public along with builders, designers and contractors can purchase not only tile but hardwood, carpet, vanities, fixtures and kitchen cabinets. I'm also in charge of purchasing and organizing the international shipments.

What do you want to be doing in 10 years: I want to continue my work with the business and will be looking to expand and open several more locations. I'm also involved in politics and have a passion for our state and country. In this time period I will be seeking public office.

What's your biggest strength: My biggest strength is my ability to communicate and share my thoughts and vision with others. Through my strong communication skills, I have been able to energize and lead people to get the necessary tasks completed. This is a big part of why I have been able to be successful in business, politics and in my personal life.

Where do you go for new ideas: I get a lot of my ideas relating to the new trends and styles at the various trade shows I attend, especially the one held in Bologna, Italy. The trade shows also bring the opportunity to talk to fellow business owners from around the country and see what types of things are working or not working in their business. It is a great opportunity to bounce ideas off of each other and a great way to improve the business.

What's the best advice you received: My father, who has been in business for over 40 years, warned me to be careful during the good economic periods and not to over extend myself or the business because it will not last forever. He told me to enjoy life but live within your means because it's inevitable that there will be a slowdown and you want to be prepared.

What service or charitable cause has your attention: I have been fortunate in life and it's important to give back where I can, especially when it comes to children. I help organize, through the Cromwell Republican Town Committee, food and toy drives for the less fortunate families in town. I also have been involved in and was a sponsor for Legends Night, which helps raise money for the Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

Andrea M. Ferrucci

AGE: 39
TITLE: Executive director
COMPANY NAME: Mosaic of Connecticut
COMPANY'S LOCATION: Cromwell
RESIDENCE: Rocky Hill


What do you do: Every day I am privileged to lead a great agency and incredible team to enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. Mosaic in Connecticut is a non-profit organization providing services, supports and advocacy for over 100 individuals residing in 21 residential programs throughout the state. The agency employs over 250 support staff and has an annual operating budget of $13M. In addition to the routine responsibilities of directing an organization, working for a non-profit gives me the opportunity to build relationships that help further our mission while offering people the opportunity to give in meaningful ways that change lives. My position also affords me the opportunity to advocate for the people we support. One aspect of that is my role on the board of directors of the Connecticut Community Providers Association (CCPA)

What do you want to be doing in 10 years: I have been fortunate to have a rewarding career while still enjoying every aspect of being a mom. In 10 years, my children will be young adults, a time that will afford me the opportunity to further expand my reach in the field. I look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.

What's your biggest strength: Determination.

Where do you go for new ideas: I have a large network of friends, colleagues and mentors who are insightful, creative and extremely knowledgeable. I draw on their strengths when I'm looking for new ideas.

What's the best advice you received: Best advice has always been from my parents, Dan and Jean McMahon. Through their life experiences, both personally and professionally, they offer great perspective. Their advice has always been to find something you love doing and do it well, integrity is the cornerstone of a successful person, and family comes first.

What service or charitable cause has your attention: Mosaic. I am fortunate to work for the charitable organization and cause I believe in wholeheartedly. Mosaic has afforded me the ability to further enrich my life through service and charitable work on behalf of members of our community for whom I care deeply. In addition to our work in the U.S., Mosaic is involved in partnerships with organizations in several countries throughout the world. We've worked to bring children out of institutions in Romania and have an exciting program in Tanzania that is empowering women through jobs and training and helping children with disabilities get out of their homes and into a school-like setting.

Aimee Furness

AGE: 34
TITLE: Senior marketing executive
COMPANY NAME: vielife, a London-based CIGNA company
COMPANY'S LOCATION: London, England/
Bloomfield
RESIDENCE: Old Saybrook


What do you do: Everything I work on and contribute to shares the primary goal of positively influencing health-related behavior in an attainable way for organizations and their employees. As a company, we engage our customers around the world to make small lifestyle changes that produce healthy and lasting results. The bottom line, my work helps people live healthier lives.

What do you want to be doing in 10 years: Wherever my path takes me, I want to be doing something I feel passionately about. Passion is my driver and my guide. I won't limit my possibilities with specificity.

What's your biggest strength: My creativity. I view my world through the lens of a kaleidoscope. It reveals a collection of unique and intricate pieces combined with one another to create a seemingly endless combination of perspectives – each different but beautiful in distinction. The process is a dynamic, powerful and ongoing evolution to produce unquestionably artful and meaningful outcomes.

Where do you go for new ideas: I usually go for a run. A clear mind and fresh air help me formulate my thoughts and look at situations with a fresh perspective. When I'm not running, I like to rely on my experiences for new ideas. As a consumer of goods, knowledge and information, I experience and interact with a multitude of new ideas every day. Sharing these experiences with family, friends and colleagues broadens the view.

What's the best advice you received: A piece of advice I find valuable to both my work and relationships is: 'Begin as you mean to proceed.' This statement represents vision and preparation. Vision provides purpose and meaning where preparation sets tone and direction. Being grounded with a good start and a clear goal enables a successful journey.

What service or charitable cause has your attention: ConnectiKids. This Hartford-based organization has been helping to grow our future by growing our kids through one-on-one tutoring, mentoring and enrichment activities for more than 30 years. ConnectiKids takes a holistic approach to youth development and exposes kids to role models who inspire positive choices and big dreams.

Jason J. Giulietti

AGE: 31
TITLE: Research economist
COMPANY NAME: Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA)
COMPANY'S LOCATION: Hartford
RESIDENCE: Somers


What do you do: I manage the day-to-day operations of CBIA's Research Department, which produces original public policy and survey research, tracks the economy and supports making Connecticut a better place to do business. One of the most enjoyable aspects of my job is developing relationships with individuals and businesses across the region. I currently volunteer as president of the Board for the New England Economic Partnership (NEEP), president of the Hartford-Area Business Economists and president of the University of Connecticut Department of Public Policy Alumni Board. Additionally, I am a steering committee member of the Hartford-Springfield Economic Partnership and sit on the executive board of the Hartford Club. I also mentor students at the Sports Medical Science Academy in Hartford and University of Connecticut undergraduate/graduate students. My involvement in these organizations presents me the opportunity to provide leadership and strategic vision across several industries.

What do you want to be doing in 10 years: I envision leading a team that directly confronts the challenging public policy issues facing our state. I hope to continue building my network of diverse business and community leaders to collaborate and offer solutions.

What's your biggest strength: Being able to connect people and build relationships is my biggest strength. My passion for understanding the needs of others and translating this to a creative solution comes naturally.

Where do you go for new ideas: I find the best resource for new ideas come from those you surround yourself with. My friends and family are a tremendous support and offer a sense of reality to the situations I confront. I gain insight from their experiences shared during the most casual conversations. It's the difference in perspective which challenges me to consider opposite points of view and constantly pushes me to evolve.

What's the best advice you received: On my first day of work after completing graduate school, my boss told me, "Make sure to check your ego at the door." Her advice was based on years of experience where titles and personal agendas limited true productivity and defeated progress. This has molded me to value teamwork and to realize that recognition is not limited to one individual.

What service or charitable cause has your attention: The IQuilt Plan for Downtown Hartford has caught my attention. I am enthusiastic about the project bringing art, history, business and a stronger sense of community to the city.

Tara Griggs

AGE: 36
TITLE: Owner and founder
COMPANY NAME: SwapMeSports.com
COMPANY'S LOCATION: Online
RESIDENCE: Simsbury


What do you do: In addition to working at Aetna as a marketing manager for national accounts, I founded SwapMeSports.com, which is a free online community to buy, sell, trade or donate used sports equipment.

What do you want to be doing in 10 years: I love what I do and I hope that wherever life takes me in 10 years involves what I do now but on a larger scale. I have been fortunate to choose a career path that has involved all of my passions.

What's your biggest strength: I like meeting and getting to know people. I'm a firm believer that you can learn something from everyone but you have to put yourself out there. Networking and establishing relationships is very important to me as I see it as an opportunity for me to continue to grow and improve myself by learning from the example of others.

Where do you go for new ideas: I do a lot of journaling and running. It's during those times that I let my mind wander and try to sort through decisions that need to be made or how to come up with a solution for something I'm working on. I am so grateful for the invention of post it notes as I have them everywhere so I don't forget anything. My philosophy is nothing is impossible, you just have to figure a creative way sometimes to get the round peg in the square hole. It could be as simple as cutting the edges off one of them to make it fit.

What's the best advice you received: My mom was a small business owner and my dad a successful businessman so I had wonderful examples of strong and intelligent mentors growing up. My parents taught me that at the center of being successful both personally and professionally was to be impeccable with your word and to always give of yourself. My dad taught me at a young age to have a firm handshake, keep good eye contact and always send hand written thank you notes.

What service or charitable cause has your attention: The heart of SwapMeSports.com is helping children who can't afford to play sports receive the sports equipment they need to play. It's great all around as it also helps these kids stay active and get involved in team sports. We have aligned ourselves with many charities both locally and nationally that we are able to donate collected sports equipment to. Additionally, the Petit Family Foundation is a well known local charity that me, my family and friends have dedicated themselves to by running road races to raise funds to help keep the memory of the Petit women alive while supporting the causes they devoted themselves too.

Daniel Kennedy, III

AGE: 33
TITLE: Attorney
COMPANY NAME: Heneghan, Kennedy & Doyle LLC
COMPANY'S LOCATION: Rocky Hill
RESIDENCE: Hartford


What do you do: I'm an attorney currently licensed in both Connecticut and Illinois. I primarily practice in the areas of matrimonial law, business, and general litigation. I am based here in Hartford, but go to Chicago approximately once per month to handle issues that may arise with clients. Within the scope of business law, I serve as outside general counsel to several businesses including several nationally prominent companies. I previously worked in New York City and San Francisco prior to moving back to the Hartford area, where I grew up. Also, I am a partner in several businesses, including www.ctprenup.com, a website offering online prenuptial agreements to Connecticut residents.

What do you want to be doing in 10 years: Hopefully I will have continued to grow professionally and personally. A goal is to move forward, whatever that may mean, every year. In terms of exactly what I will be doing in 10 years, I don't know. I think that is part of the adventure, keeping an open mind to new opportunities. That said, I do intend to practice law in some respect.
What's your biggest strength: That's a tough one; it's never easy to self-assess one's own strengths. I think that knowing weaknesses is important. If faced with a legal or business issue in an area I am not knowledgeable, I will turn to someone who is. Fortunately, I have had several mentors to turn to for advice.

Where do you go for new ideas: I try to skim over two newspapers per day and other business and current affairs magazines each week. Discussions with friends and colleagues can also be invaluable.

What's the best advice you received: One of my professors at Georgetown would always tell us: "Don't be boring." I find it applies in both professional and social settings. So, I try my best not to be boring…

What service or charitable cause has your attention: Bushnell Park. I served on the board of the Bushnell Park Foundation. I think it's a key to further residential and community development in downtown Hartford, but needs support. See www.bushnellpark.org to donate, volunteer, et cetera.

Chad Landmon


AGE: 36
TITLE: Partner
COMPANY NAME: Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider LLP
COMPANY'S LOCATION: Hartford (with other offices in Washington, D.C. and New York, NY)
RESIDENCE: Southbury


What do you do: I am a lawyer, and my practice focuses on patent and food and drug law, with a particular focus on the life sciences industry. I litigate patent cases across the United States and regularly interact with the FDA on behalf of clients.

What do you want to be doing in 10 years: I hope to continue to grow my practice so that a company with a challenging FDA or pharmaceutical patent issue will view me as a go-to guy. Also, our clients are doing unbelievably innovative work in areas such as biologics and adult stem cells, and I want to be able to evolve my practice so that I can stay ahead of their needs.

What's your biggest strength: Not taking myself too seriously and being calm in stressful situations.

Where do you go for new ideas: It may sound hokey, but I often go to my kids. You can't believe the perspective that you can get from an eight-year-old and a 10-year-old.

What's the best advice you received: Do good service for your current clients. That not only leads to repeat business, but leads to referrals from that client to other, new clients. Our law firm adheres rigidly to that advice, and that's probably why many of the clients that I represent have been with me for almost my entire career.

What service or charitable cause has your attention: I have been politically active for a number of years and have served on various boards and commissions in my hometown of Southbury. After serving as vice chair on Southbury's Charter Revision Commission from 2008 to 2009, I was elected to the Southbury Board of Selectmen in 2009. During my tenure on the board, I spearheaded an effort to survey every student at our high school in order to understand how the town can better serve our teen population in order to provide safe activities and attract teen-oriented businesses to town. I also served as the chairman of the Committee to Study the Teen Survey results, which formulated a report circulated to the Board of Selectmen, various town agencies and the business community. The report recommended a variety of activities and infrastructure that the town should focus on. I am seeking reelection this fall.

Ingrid C. Lindberg

AGE: 37
TITLE: Customer Experience Officer
COMPANY NAME: CIGNA
COMPANY'S LOCATION: Bloomfield
RESIDENCE: Hartford

What do you do: I work with large companies, helping them to create strategies that will make them more customer-centric. My day consists of working across the company to embed customer-centric tools and theories and thought processes into the culture. I'm responsible for developing and overseeing the implementation of a corporate-wide customer experience strategy.

What do you want to be doing in 10 years: I absolutely love what I do. I get to help companies really figure out how to connect with their customers. How to provide products and services that people really want — even if people don't know how to ask for them. In 10 years — I hope to still be creating cars, not faster horses.

What's your biggest strength: After years of trial and error, I really have figured out how to get people to want to help you make massive change in a company. I've learned that you simply have to make personal connections with people and then ask them for help. I wander around the hallways and say hello to everyone I know.

Where do you go for new ideas: I love to study other industries. How do you buy a green cashmere sweater on Amazon? And why can't buying health insurance or a financial product be that easy?

What's the best advice you received: If one door closes on you, go find another one — there's always one open somewhere.

What service or charitable cause has your attention: I have been lucky enough to be able to be involved in two major charities since joining CIGNA and moving to Connecticut in 2008. I was asked to be the chair for our CT March of Dimes campaign in 2011 – we had a record-breaking year and we had over 700 CIGNA employees walk with us. I also was asked to lead the walk portion of Calhoun Cancer Ride & Walk in both 2010 and 2011. Both are dear to my heart — after all — everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer and everyone loves a healthy baby.

Justin B. Lundbye

AGE: 39
TITLE: Director, inpatient cardiology services at Hartford Hospital and chief of cardiology at
Hospital of Central Connecticut
COMPANY NAME: Hartford Healthcare Corp.;
Hartford Hospital and Hospital of Central
Connecticut
COMPANY'S LOCATION: Hartford and New Britain
RESIDENCE: Hamden


What do you do: Since the completion of my training in 2006, my job description has expanded significantly. As the medical director of the Hartford Hospital Cardiac ICU, I have successfully initiated several new programs to improve patient care. Of these, I am most proud of the therapeutic hypothermia program, an initiative that substantially increases the chance for survival after cardiac arrest. The program has been successfully deployed to all Hartford County EMS providers. I have also lectured on the subject, trained providers, produced research publications and now have a book contract on the subject. As director of Hartford Hospital's cardiology hospitalist program, I oversee seven physicians and three APRNs providing excellent care to 120 patients/beds. As director of the hospital's in-patient cardiology service, I ensure that quality of care is delivered to every patient admitted to one of the four inpatient cardiology units. As the associate director of the cardiology fellowship, I am involved in medical education. I give lectures as well as teach at the bedside on a weekly basis. As chief of cardiology, Hospital of Central Connecticut, my objective is to expand our patient care services and supporting programs. In addition, I care for uninsured and/or underinsured patients with cardiovascular illnesses in the HCC cardiology outpatient clinic.

What do you want to be doing in 10 years: In 10 years I would like to be a senior executive/physician leader in a hospital setting. I am working on obtaining an MBA to help me reach this goal.

What's your biggest strength: I consider my biggest strength to be my ability to set and achieve my goals, whether personal or career-related. I believe that setting the goal is the easy, albeit essential part; actualizing the goal takes dedication, confidence and hard work.

Where do you go for new ideas: Primarily other people, both my peers and my staff. Additionally I read professional journals and books; I especially enjoy medical management subjects.

What's the best advice you received: Never forget from whence you have come, your 'professional roots' — and all those whose guidance and mentoring have helped to make your advancement and growth possible. This will keep you connected — and humble.

What service or charitable cause has your attention: I admire the American Heart Association's commitment to public cardiovascular health, specifically their emphasis on resuscitation. Their initiatives focusing on increased public education and awareness as well as community CPR training, have been impressive and successful.

Melissa J. Marcucci


AGE: 39
TITLE: Assistant professor, Department of Biology
COMPANY NAME: Saint Joseph College
COMPANY'S LOCATION: West Hartford
RESIDENCE: Cheshire


What do you do: My primary focus as an assistant professor of biology is to creatively and effectively stimulate students to learn about the vast field of biological sciences. I engage undergraduates, graduates, major, non-majors, allied health majors and students who want to pursue pre-professional programs. My passions for biology and teaching help me deliver enriching lectures, which enhance students' knowledge of biology and their overall scientific literacy. As a first generation college graduate and a female, I feel connected to the women at Saint Joseph College, a third of whom are also first generation. I share my own story with them, fostering a unique bond that enhances our mutual desire to learn and discover science. Outside the classroom, I conduct research at Yale University in a laboratory focused on the dysregulation of insulin action in patients with type 2 diabetes. I am able to put my knowledge into practice to elucidate the signaling mechanisms responsible for defective glucose metabolism both in humans and animals. This aspect of my profession keeps me current in the field, which I share in the classroom. It also gives SJC students the opportunity to join me in the lab and see first-hand how translational science is carried out. At SJC, I also serve as an advisor to the student group Jays Against Cancer as well as on several committees, including the Institutional Review Board and Retention Committee. In the greater community, I am a member of the Education Committee for the American Society of Cell Biology and a judge for the New Haven County Science Fair.

What do you want to be doing in 10 years: I would like to utilize my experiences from the classroom in a leadership role which can positively impact how the science is experienced by both students and faculty at St. Joseph College.

What's your biggest strength: I am not afraid of a challenge. I tell students that "feeling anxiety/stress" for their coursework/program exemplifies their passion. My desire to seek new opportunities demonstrates my dedication and commitment, creating confidence in my understanding of the expanding field of biology.

Where do you go for new ideas: My colleagues, former mentors, professional seminars, meetings, and literature.

What's the best advice you received: Don't be afraid to stress some or make mistakes. One will never achieve a deeper understanding of their work, or learn the tough lessons in their professional and personal life, if they are secure all of the time. Moderate amounts of stress [about work/life] signify passion and commitment.

What service or charitable cause has your attention: Dr. Diane Dean (of SJC) and I are establishing a course to explore the biodiversity and molecular biology of orchids indigenous to Ecuador. An international program for students to explore molecular biology in this way would be the first of its type at the college.

Andra B. Mazur

AGE: 30
TITLE: General counsel
COMPANY NAME: TicketNetwork Inc.
COMPANY'S LOCATION: South Windsor
RESIDENCE: Stafford
What do you do: As counsel for TicketNetwork Inc., I orchestrate the legal department to efficiently handle legal and legislative issues while also improving the quality of life for all TicketNetwork employees.

What do you want to be doing in 10 years: I want to be working productively at a job I love, volunteering, racing and spending time with my family.

What's your biggest strength: I love to motivate others to reach their full potential physically, career-wise and emotionally. I am a firm believer in goal-setting and encourage all of my employees to create written short, mid- and long-term goals. We share these goals openly in order to provide support and help each other attain them. In this way, I am able to foster an incredibly team-oriented sense of loyalty to my department, my company and my community all while helping individuals better themselves.

Where do you go for new ideas: One doesn't need to look too far to find people with more expertise and experience who are willing to share their knowledge. So whether it be listening in on group meetings in departments at TicketNetwork where I have only minute levels of understanding --such as the engineering or IT departments -- attending continuing legal education seminars, or simply staying abreast of emerging issues by reading legal publications, articles and books related to the industries relevant to TicketNetwork, my goal is always to find three "takeaway points" and somehow within the coming months, utilize the new knowledge.

What's the best advice you received: From my current boss. "Do not be afraid to ask experts you are working with lots of questions. If you don't understand the person, it's most likely that they are not explaining something clearly enough. Challenge them, and do not assume that because you are young(er) or less knowledgeable in their specialty field your question or request for more clarification is not a valid concern." This advice opened a door for me, where now I feel more empowered to really get comfortable in my decision-making because I can glean a much better understanding of complex issues.

What service or charitable cause has your attention: Everything good in my life has come from being an endurance runner. Distance running is not just a physical exercise, it is an educational exercise. It teaches you to endure, to deal with pain and suffering, and to work to become a stronger person, the person you want to be. So, I volunteer at youth running races and coach the Kids' Track and Cross Country Clubs through the Vernon Parks & Recreation Department.

Rebecca Mead

AGE: 38
TITLE: Manager, marketing and communications
COMPANY NAME: CONNSTEP Inc.
COMPANY'S LOCATION: Rocky Hill
RESIDENCE: Killingworth


What do you do: By day, I manage marketing, communications and legislative relations for CONNSTEP Inc., a consulting firm specializing in top line growth and bottom line improvements for the Connecticut manufacturing and healthcare industries. By night, I do my best Julia Child impression in the kitchen, testing concoctions on my husband while attempting to be a respectable step-mother to his 16-year-old daughter.

What do you want to be doing in 10 years: In 10 years, I'd like to be pursuing whatever makes me happy, piques my curiosity and keeps me positively challenged. I really enjoy what I do now – my daily responsibilities are so varied. One day I am touring a manufacturer of precision aerospace components, learning how things are made, and the next, I am editing, designing and publishing a magazine or leading a strategy meeting so our company can successfully enter new markets. I love to travel, so perhaps in 10 years, I'll be on a book tour, exploring new cities across the world.

What's your biggest strength: Commitment. I never do anything halfway; if I start something, I will finish it. I read – and finished -- Ulysses.

Where do you go for new ideas: I find inspiration in conversations with friends and colleagues. Pulling together seemingly unrelated, tangential ideas to connect people and find solutions. I love the ideation process – the messy, creative, "primordial soup" – as well as the execution of the resulting ideas.

What's the best advice you received: During our last lecture in my senior year high school humanities class, our teacher quoted John Wooden: "Be more concerned with your character than your reputation." While I knew nothing of the coach, the quote resonated with me; I scribbled it down, ripped it out of my notebook and have kept it in my wallet ever since. Twenty years later, it means as much to me as the day I heard it – your character is the only thing that is truly yours.

What service or charitable cause has your attention: I am actively involved with the American Marketing Association – Connecticut Chapter, serving as president-elect this year with oversight of chapter communications and public relations.

Julia Miller

AGE: 34
TITLE: Director of catering
COMPANY NAME: The Connecticut Convention Center
COMPANY'S LOCATION: Hartford
RESIDENCE: Enfield


What do you do: As a member of the sales team at the Convention Center, I am responsible for selling over 40,000 square feet of banquet space with a primary focus on non-profit groups and social events. As director of catering, I am also responsible for ensuring our food and beverage standards and policies are met on a daily basis.

What do you want to be doing in 10 years: I hope I am fortunate enough to be as happy as I am today with my job and lucky enough to work with and for great people just as I do now. And because what is life without a few dreams…it has always been one of my dreams to work for the New York Yankees so perhaps by 2021 I'll be one step closer to making that a reality.

What's your biggest strength: I believe my biggest strength is the passion I have for my work.

Where do you go for new ideas: When I'm in search of a new idea, I first spend some time reading through industry magazines as I know there will always be something that will grab my attention. I'll also take the time to look at what's right in front of me; some of the best and most creative thoughts come from the most obvious places (perhaps a wild three-year-old child or an old photo).

What's the best advice you received: The best advice I've ever received comes from my parents. They have always told my sisters and me that we can be whatever we want to be or do whatever we want to do as long as we work hard. Through each stage of my life I have lived by those words. If you work hard you will succeed. I'm fortunate to also have parents who told me it is ok to make mistakes … every mistake I've made has helped to shape the person I am today.

What service or charitable cause has your attention: Through my job, I've had the opportunity to work with so many wonderful charitable organizations by helping them plan successful fundraising events. Each organization has touched my life and made me want to not only be a better person but also want to give back in any way I can. Over the past few years, I've chosen to do this by being a member of the Waterford Charitable Foundation which gives back thousands of dollars each year to support many charitable organizations, both on a national and regional level.


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