July 14, 2017 | last updated July 14, 2017 2:58 pm
40 Under Forty 2017

Jennifer Widness

Photo | J. Fiereck Photography
Photo | J. Fiereck Photography
Photo | J. Fiereck Photography
(From left to right) Patrick Langevin, Jennifer Widness, Aaron Gill, Laura DePergola and Christopher Duffy.

Age: 39

Company: Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC)

Title: President

Town where I live: West Hartford

Town where I work: Farmington

College: University of Virginia, American University's Washington College of Law

Fun Fact

My husband nominated me for this award, unbeknownst to me! I could not do this job without his support.


What do you do in your current job? CCIC is an association that represents the 15 private, nonprofit institutions of higher education in Connecticut. As president, I serve as a liaison between the state and these institutions, working to influence and support public policy as well as to foster cooperation among higher-education institutions in the state.

What are your goals in your current job? My primary focus is to work diligently on behalf of our member institutions to make sure state leaders, policymakers and others view our schools as partners in economic development and to understand all that they do to educate our citizenry and contribute to their communities.

What's your biggest passion? My family is No .1. I love getting my kids out on the weekends and enjoying together all that this region has to offer — whether it's visiting a local farm, the Wadsworth on Second Saturdays, the Historical Society, Bushnell Park and more recently, the Yard Goats. I'm also really passionate about my job. I spend a lot of time reading and talking about the value of higher education.

What are your future professional aspirations? To be honest, I have never spent a lot of time thinking about my career ambitions. Instead, I give my current job my all and I make a point of always exploring new opportunities when they present themselves; even if the timing is not perfect (e.g., I was offered this job 38 weeks pregnant). This approach has served me well.

How are you involved in the community? I've been a member of the Junior League of Hartford for almost 10 years including two years on the board of directors. It is a fantastic organization that provides leadership and community service opportunities as well as access to a great network of women.

What do you hope Greater Hartford will be like in 10 years? I love living in Greater Hartford. It provides for an incredible work/life balance with so much to do and see so close by. The professional opportunities are great considering the size of the city. There are so many exciting new things underway. I hope that the region, and the state, will successfully navigate through these really trying economic times without undoing all this good and come out on the other side intact and maybe even stronger than it is now.

List four reasons why you deserve to be a 40 Under Forty: Successful advocate at the state and federal level on behalf of independent colleges in Connecticut. Member of the board and chair of the Connecticut delegation to the New England Board of Higher Education. Member of the Student Aid Policy Committee and Legal Services Review Panel of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). Report to a board of directors comprised of 15 college presidents.

Click here to see all 40 Under Forty winners

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