By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER
The Professional Young Visionaries of Tomorrow and the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce held the inaugural emerging leaders event on Wednesday, Sept. 18, where 19 young professionals were recognized for their dedication to their professional lives, as well as the betterment of their communities.
Jeff Davis, owner of Phase to Phase Electric, was honored at the event. The Plainville company is celebrating its first decade in business this year, and Davis said he defines a leader as someone that has a good attitude, a person who does the right thing when nobody’s watching, and someone who has integrity.
“As I think of myself as just a basic electrician it’s kind of cool,” said Davis. “I never thought in a million years that I would be considered a leader of the community, if you will, so it’s pretty cool.”
Chamber board chair Jay Sattler said that the emerging leaders event was created as a way to give young professionals a platform on which to be recognized, and as a way to support all that they have done throughout their careers.
“They’re going to be the leaders of tomorrow, and we just want to help open those doors for them, recognize them for all they’ve done, and just encourage them to keep moving forward,” said Sattler.
Keynote speaker Rafaele Fierro, director of the civic engagement institute at Tunxis Community College, explained that CEI was formed about two years ago, and serves as a campus organization that “has devoted itself to making our students more civically active.”
He described present-day America as “needing some fixing,” referencing issues that touch all Americans, such as the opioid crisis and rising rates of poverty.
“Some say, as one of our community advisory members said recently, we have reached a tipping point in America, or more cynically, we are in the midst of a political civil war over the very nature of what the role of government is, so the problems are apparent,” said Fierro. “But the solutions require energy, civic action, on all levels, especially at the local level.”
Fierro addressed the honorees, saying that they themselves have brought civic action to the forefront, and that their efforts are truly impressive. “In many ways,” said Fierro, “you are all the products of what we at Tunxis envision when we created the civic engagement institute, and what we strive for our students to become everyday.”
He said there are three important qualities that all of the honorees were blessed to possess—to never forget where they came from, to work hard and persevere, and to be kind.
“Our society has become so course and so divisive, civility has passed us by, we seem to strive for unilateralism rather than unity, for one-upmanship over understanding, to demean rather than to discuss, and for slamming rather than seeing the other side,” said Fierro. “It’s up to you the emerging leaders to create a paradigm shift, whereby you continue to incorporate these three qualities, that love and respect for the past, that ability to work hard and persevere, and that civility that is essential for a civil society.”
The 2019 emerging leaders honorees were Halley Allair, an attorney with Allaire Elder Law; Shaun Calhoun, the branch manager of the Burlington office of Torrington Savings Bank; Elizabeth Cowdell, owner of Creative Concepts Kitchen & Bath Design; Brent Davenport, vice president and owner of The Shaffer Company; Jeff Davis, owner of Phase to Phase Electric; Meagan DeFazio, operations manager of the emergency care center, Bristol Health; Dean Greco, VP, banking center manager at Webster Bank; Lucas Karabin, co-president of Acme Monaco; Stephanie L. Kasson, manager of BlumShapiro; Kathryn Krajewski, assistant town manager of the Town of Farmington; Sarah Larson, recreation and community outreach coordinator for the City of Bristol Department of Parks and Recreation; Dr. Joshua T. Medeiros, superintendent of the City of Bristol Department of Parks and Recreation; Jessica Quintero-Villa, owner of Life Family Chiropractic; Samantha Rajotte, scholarship and program officer at the Main Street Community Foundation; Meghan Rickard, account manager at CompuMail Corp.; Anna Savastano, management assistant of the Town of Farmington; Rebekah Stokes, chief financial officer of Thomaston Savings Bank; Nicole Sweeney, owner of Get Up N Dance; and Dante Tagariello, tax reporting and advisory services with Grant Thorton.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@PlainvilleObserver.com.