Management and Leadership
Russell R. Bielawiec
I have been in manufacturing / machining since 1975, 38 years. I have been associated with several different company’s over this time period and have held management positions in Production, Engineering and Quality. I am currently with Projects Inc. I am responsible for three facilities and product production. I also manage process engineering / Programming, special process i.e. Welding EDM laser, sheet metal and grinding.
Training and Development Manager
Lorensen Auto Group
Jill M. Currier, SPHR
Chief Human Resources Officer
Mental Health Association of Connecticut
Jill Currier is currently employed as the Chief Human Resources Officer for Mental Health Association of Connecticut with direct oversight of all Human Resources policies and functions statewide. Previously, Jill held the positions of Senior Director of Human Resources for Girl Scouts of Connecticut and Vice President of Human Resources at USI Consulting Group generating over 15 years of senior level HR generalist and executive level management experience from both nonprofit and profit sectors.
Jill holds her Senior Professional Human Resources designation and is currently a member of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Human Resources Association of Connecticut (HRACC).
Vice President, Operations
Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company
Liz DeVito is Vice President of Operations at the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company. During her tenure at HSB, Liz’s focus has been in the areas of operations, process improvement, information management, automation and most recently, social media. Currently she manages a website designed to assist homeowners in saving money by providing a variety of services designed toward efficient home management.
Liz holds a degree in Accounting from Bentley College and a Masters of Business Administration from University of Hartford. Liz is passionate about education and incorporating the creative arts into the learning process for all age groups. She is a firm believer in the quote “blessed are the flexible, for they will never be bent out of shape.”
Barbara E. Fernandez
Director, Office of Insurance and Financial Services
Department of Economic and Community Development
Barbara E. Fernandez is director, office of Insurance and Financial Services for the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. She is responsible for directing the staff and operations of the insurance and financial services program. She is responsible for developing, implementing and directing a comprehensive public relations, marketing, business recruitment and retention strategy for the insurance and financial services industries; formulating program goals and objectives; acting as a liaison with representatives of the insurance and financial services industries and other state and federal agencies; coordinating program strategies and activities with leaders in the insurance and financial services areas and working with industry representatives to address issues of retention, expansion, workforce development and business climate. Ms Fernandez performs analysis of industry trends and forecasts; participates in the development of public policy impacting the insurance and financial services industries; develops and conducts presentations; works with state leaders to develop strategic initiatives to facilitate retention and expansion of industries; manages the assessment and delivery of business assistance to clients; manages the development of financial assistance proposals to clients including direct negotiations with companies and others; plans, develops and implements out-of-state business recruitment strategy, including making agency presentations and company visits.
Before joining the state Ms Fernandez was Executive Director of Guakia, Inc bi-lingual school of Hispanic music, art and culture located in Hartford, CT. From 1976 to 2000 she worked at The Phoenix. Ms. Fernandez joined Phoenix in 1976 as an operations analyst. After a series of promotions, she was named director of training and development where she was responsible for all the corporation’s training and development activities, actuarial student program, and professional designation programs. She also served as director of corporate services and worked closely with senior staff to integrate the Phoenix and Home Life operations after the merger. Her last position at the company was assistant vice president of international development. In that role she was responsible for identifying, evaluating and developing international projects, joint ventures and acquisitions and providing on-going support to Phoenix’s international partners in the area of marketing, distribution strategies, operations and client management. Prior to joining Phoenix, Ms. Fernandez worked for The Travelers as an analyst.
Ms. Fernandez graduated from Trinity College with a degree in economics. As an undergraduate she also studied at the University of Navarra, Spain. She received her MBA from the University of Connecticut. She is on the board of directors of the CT Council for Philanthropy, and CT Voices For Children. She is a member of the Steering Committee for the Latino Endowment Fund.
Close to Home and Connecticut Shade & Blind
I was born and raised in New Jersey and after graduating from college, was employed teaching math at Hartford Public High School.
My husband and I married in 1970 and have 4 children and 11 grandchildren.
In 1982 we opened a retail business: a quilt shop, featuring fabric, accessories, books and classes for quilters. Today, we employ 11 people, are award winning sewing machine dealers and a Hunter Douglas Gallery location. We continue to sell quilting supplies, offer classes, sell and service multiple brands of sewing machines and sewing furniture. Our complete window treatment department has a staff of installers.
Two of our sons own their own buildings in Southington and Orange, CT and run the same types of operations. Our daughter had her own business in Worcester, offering the same products and services. She currently lives in Salt Lake City and is employed in her in laws’ sewing machine business.
Executive Director-School of Continuing and Professional Studies
Manhattan College Riverdale, New York
Lee Housley, a Corporate Procurement Agent for Eversource Energy, works on field service and material contracts primarily for the power generation plants in the New Hampshire service territory. Prior to this position, Lee worked in the Corporate Transportation and Technical Training organizations also with Eversource, specializing in regulatory compliance (DOT & PHMSA) and training and development. Lee also serves as the Connecticut state lead for the Training, Education and Development committee, a subset of the Diversity & Inclusion Council.
Lee is a graduate of Goodwin College, holding an A.S in Business Administration, a B.S. in Management & Leadership and is currently pursuing an M.S. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Hartford.
Clare Meade, CFRE
The Giving Collaborative
After working in non-profit healthcare management, Ms. Meade moved to a different aspect of non-profit leadership – raising philanthropic dollars to support non-profit mission. Building on broad experiences in arts and healthcare organizations, Ms. Meade joined consulting firm The Giving Collaborative to help further mission across a broad range of non-profits.
Naval War College, Newport