Fifty six innovative, outstanding women from across Connecticut were honored March 31 during the
“Many of Connecticut’s most extraordinary and talented women working in technology are in attendance tonight,” said Matthew Nemerson, president and CEO of the Connecticut Technology Council. “As each year, this awards event allows us to recognize these exceptional innovators and leaders, while also introducing them to a professional network of peers who are equally accomplished.”
The 2011 keynoter was Ella Edmondson Bell, Ph.D., the founder and president of ASCENT‐Leading Multicultural Women to the Top, as well as an Associate Professor of Business Administration at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Dr. Bell is considered by industry to be one of the leading experts in the management of race, gender, and class in the workplace.
In attendance were the Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and Catherine Smith who will begin her position as the State's Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner on 4/1. As master of ceremonies, TV personality Diane Smith energized the crowd and spoke of the importance of strong networks.
The Jana Moak Scholarship
Paul Hermes, CTO, Covedien presented Jana Moak Scholarships of $500 to three of the finalists. These awards were provided by the Connecticut Technology Council and were in honor of Jana Moak, a former Board Member and herself a Women of Innovation winner who passed away in 2007.
The Jana Moak Scholarship 2011 winners were Joan Kim of Amity Regional High School; Guste Urbonaite of Newington High School and the Greater Hartford Academy of Math and Sciences; and Rachel Winsor of Stamford High School.
The 2011 Women of Innovation Winners by Category
Academic Innovation and Leadership Award
Rachel O'Neill, Assistant Professor of Molecular & Cell Biology University of Connecticut Prof. O’Neill graduated with a BA in Zoology with Honors from the University of Texas and completed her PhD in Genetics at La Trobe University, Australia. After completing postdoctoral work at the University of Melbourne, Princeton University and Rutgers University, she entered a faculty position at the University of Connecticut. She is Director of the Microarray and Next Generation Sequencing Facility, Center for Applied Genetics and Technology, and co-Director of the iPSCell and Chromosome Core.
Collegian Innovation and Leadership Award
Jacquelynn (Jackie) was accepted to the UConn MSE program (Ph.D. track) in 2006 after graduating from Southern CT State University with Honors in Physics (BS). In 2009, she received her MS degree in MSE under the advisement of Dr.Mark Aindow for research on electron microscopy characterization of laser-processed Ni-based superalloys. That same year, Jackie was the recipient of the Outstanding Woman Scholar Academic Achievement Award for the Graduate School at UConn. Also in 2009, Jackie was appointed EO Coordinator for CRISP, an NSF Center for Research Excellence at Yale/SCSU. Jackie plans to finish her Ph.D. in 2011. Her doctoral research focuses on advanced materials characterization to study the microstructural evolution of magnesia/yttria nanocomposites for optical components. Most recently, Jackie has been selected as the 2010 Outstanding Graduate Student for the MSE program at UConn.
Community Innovation and Leadership Award Nadia Glucksberg, Hydrogeolist Haley & Aldrich
Nadia has been a member of Engineers Without Borders since 2007 and has successfully designed and constructed potable water systems in rural villages in India, Guatemala and Ghana. Women in these villages are the primary caretakers and spend much of their time collecting water for their families. These projects are designed to not only increase public heath, but allow the women and girls time for education and become more self reliant. It also shows the US students how engineering can signifiancly improve public heath and how it goes beyond classrooms and calculations.
Community Innovation and Leadership Award Sharon Killian, Accounting Associate Pratt & Whitney Sharon Killian holds an Accounting Analyst position and is a devoted humanitarian. She leads by example in helping the homeless. Sharon worked with United Way promoting a skills empowerment program for homeless veterans and supported legislation for state funding. She remains in contact with area shelters and has led countless donation drives. She is a Steering Committee member of the Operation Santa program. She was recognized as "Volunteer of the Year" by CRT and by Finance senior management for her volunteering efforts.
Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership Award Leonora Valvo, CEO and Founder etouches Ask life-long entrepreneur Leonora Valvo, CEO and Founder of etouches, her pet peeves and she might tell you: sleep, primetime television, and people reluctant to embrace technology that can make their lives easier and more productive. If she's not skydiving at 30,000 feet or learning to sail, she's probably creating a new company. She has launched four successful ones in the travel industry, the most recent being etouches, which provides online event management software. The Financial Times named Valvo as one of the industry's "Women at the Top," and Trade Show News Network named etouches Top Event Technology Innovator for 2010.
Large Business Innovation and Leadership Award Deborah Orosz, AMS Manager, Operating Effectiveness
Hamilton Sundstrand Deb Orosz has over 12 years experience in aerospace. She holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Connecticut, and a M.S. in Management of Technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. As Operating Effectiveness Manager, Deb leads strategies to implement lean processes to optimize the company’s ability to meet customer and company commitments. In her role leading the company's global Green Products program, she focused on compliance with product chemical restrictions and reducing the environmental impact of HS products.
Large Business Innovation and Leadership Award
Agnes Klucha, program manager, Engineering Innovation Center Pratt & Whitney Agnes formed a group to bring new innovations to life through prototyping, design and validation using an integrated approach. In her 16 years at Pratt & Whitney, Agnes has held various roles including Flight Test Engineer, Test Planning Manager, and leadership of Tiger Teams to resolve top technical issues. Agnes received her BASc in Engineering Science – Aerospace Engineering from the University of Toronto and a MBA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is a member of WAI, AOPA, a tutor at Power to Read and a mentor to Athena's Warriors
Research Innovation and Leadership Award
Lisa Pfefferle, Professor of Engineering Yale University Lisa Pfefferle is an engineering professor at Yale University. Her research is focused on chemical reaction engineering to direct the structure of nanomaterials. She has contributed to fundamental understanding of combustion chemistry and sooting. Recent work has developed controlled property carbon single walled nanotubes (SWNT), the first boron SWNT, and other inorganic nanotubes, including means for assembling them into devices for medical, solar cell and superconductivity applications. Lisa collaborates widely, leads a team ranging from research associates to high school students, has 150 peer-reviewed papers that are highly cited, and holds four U.S. patents. Lisa has a 13 year old daughter, Gillian.
Small Business Innovation and Leadership Award Laura Dietz, vice president Sonalysts, Inc. Laura Dietz has been working with training technology at Sonalysts, Inc. for over 11 years. Her extensive experience has been applied to Air Force, Navy, and Army training domains. Ms. Dietz is also the mother of two boys, and enjoys hiking, running, and horseback riding.
Youth Innovation and Leadership Award Jenny Liu, High School Student Amity Regional High School Jenny Jiaqi Liu, a senior at Amity High School, is currently studying human-robot interaction at the Yale University Social Robotics Lab. Recently, she was selected as one of 40 Finalists of the Intel Science Talent Search and will travel to Washington D.C. in March to represent Connecticut. An award-winning violinist, she has performed at Carnegie Hall. In her free time, Jenny likes to read, play with her dog, and sleep!
The 2011 Finalists:
We also honor the full class of 2011 finalists, each and every one is an outstanding woman working in Science and technology.
Academic Innovation and Leadership
Antonella Bona, Teacher Farmington High School Antonella Bona is a science teacher at Farmington High School. After sixteen years of being a researcher in endocrinology, she decided to communicate her passion for science to the next generation of scientists. She has developed unique and highly creative lessons that reflect her former science background. She has been the High School and District Teacher of the Year in Windam, as well as being a finalist for the Connecticut State Teacher of the Year. She has been awarded the Exceptional Science Teaching Award by the Connecticut Science Teachers Association. Antonella has also won awards at the national level, winning the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching personally receiving the award from President Clinton. Most recently she won the Siemens Award which is given yearly to the best AP math or science teacher in Connecticut.
Academic Innovation and Leadership
Deborah Day, Science Research Instructor
Deborah Day is currently in her 12th year of teaching at Amity Senior High School, teaching classes in Chemistry and Science Research. She has enthusiastically established collaboration with local schools, including Yale University and Southern Connecticut State University where both she and her students have conducted research. She has introduced innovative approaches to curriculum development, developed strong research abilities, particularly in nano materials and has been recognized for her mentorship and outstanding leadership. Deborah is also the Co-Chair of the Amity Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Committee; a member of Amity's Game Based Learning Committee; Amity's Curriculum Steering Committee; SCSEF and CT JSHS Executive Committees; Fellow of the CT Academy for Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology, Inc. Deborah has a B.A. (Biology and Chemistry) and a M.S. (Chemistry). Deborah is currently training to complete her 12th marathon.
Academic Innovation and Leadership Donna Jean Fredeen, Dean of Arts and Sciences
Southern Connecticut State University During her 13 years as Dean of Arts and Sciences at Southern Connecticut State Univeristy, DonnaJean Fredeen has worked to increase the number of women faculty and students in the sciences, to improve the infrastructure needed to support faculty scientific research, and improve the overall teaching of science. Her research focuses on the leadership needed to facilitate innovation and creativity in teaching. She is actively involved in SENCER and serves as co-director for the New England SENCER Center for Innovation and as a leadership fellow. Her interest in science education began during her tenure as a chemistry faculty member and is illustrated with her best selling study guide to accompany the General Chemistry text by McMurry and Fay.
Academic Innovation and Leadership Amanda Harper-Leatherman, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Fairfield University
Amanda Harper-Leatherman has been Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Fairfield University since 2006. Prior to this position, she was a National Research Council Research Associate at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington D.C. She earned her Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2004, and her bachelor’s in Chemistry from St. Olaf College in 1999. Her research on the properties of proteins encapsulated within porous, solid aerogels has the potential to help improve biosensors or biofuel cells, and is currently funded by a Cottrell College Science Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement.
Academic Innovation and Leadership Rachel O'Neill, Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology University of Connecticut
Rachel O’Neill is Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Connecticut. She is Director of the Microarray and Next Generation Sequencing Facility Center for Applied Genetics and Technology. In 2010, Rachel received the CLAS Excellence in Teaching Award in the Life Sciences at UConn. She has secured $6,364,258 in grant support over the last five years and has received peer recognition for her leadership and innovation. She is recruited nationally and internationally as an important and valued colleague in a wide variety of genome sequencing projects. She graduated with a BA in Zoology with Honors from the University of Texas and completed her Ph.D in Genetics at La Trobe University, Australia.
Collegian Innovation and Leadership Jacquelynn Garofano, Doctoral Student, University of Connecticut & EO Coordinator, CRISP (Yale/SCSU) Jacquelynn (Jackie) Garofano is a UConn graduate student and doctoral candidate. She was accepted to the UConn MSE program (Ph.D. track) in 2006 after graduating from Southern CT State University with Honors in Physics (BS). In 2009, she received her MS degree in MSE under the advisement of Dr.Mark Aindow for research on electron microscopy characterization of laser-processed Ni-based superalloys. That same year, Jackie was the recipient of the Outstanding Woman Scholar Academic Achievement Award for the Graduate School at UConn. Also in 2009, Jackie was appointed EO Coordinator for CRISP, an NSF Center for Research Excellence at Yale/SCSU. Jackie plans to finish her Ph.D. in 2011. Her doctoral research focuses on advanced materials characterization to study the microstructural evolution of magnesia/yttria nanocomposites for optical components. Most recently, Jackie has been selected as the 2010 Outstanding Graduate Student for the MSE program at UConn.
Collegian Innovation and Leadership Elisa Jorgensen, Medical Student Yale University Elisa Jorgensen is a second-year medical student at Yale University. She began doing research at 16, and currently studies the long-term effects of environmental exposures during pregnancy on epigenetic regulation in the offspring. She is co-president of the Women in Medicine student group at Yale, and mentors three undergraduates in her laboratory. Elisa grew up in Connecticut, and received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Michigan in 2007.
Collegian Innovation and Leadership Anuradha Kodali, Doctoral Student University of Connecticut Anuradha Kodali is presently a Ph.D student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Connecticut. She received her B.E. in Electronics and Communications Engineering from Andhra University, India in 2006. Her research interests include data mining, pattern recognition, fault detection and diagnosis and optimization theory. She also received national-level merit certificate in mathematics from the Central Board of Secondary Education, India.
Collegian Innovation and Leadership Junxia Ma, Doctoral Student University of Connecticut Junxia Ma recently received her Ph.D from the University of Connecticut. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Beihang University, Beijing, China in 2003, and a Masters of Science degree from the University of Macau, Macao, China in 2006. She worked at Cadence Design Systems, Inc.’s Beijing R&D Center from 2006 to 2007. She was a Ph.D student at the University of Connecticut from 2007 to 2010 during which she had internships at (1) Texas Instruments, Dallas, Texas (2) Freescale Semiconductor, Austin, Texas, and (3) Qualcomm Corporation, San Diego, California. She graduated on December 2010 and has since joined LSI Corporation in Milpitas, California, as a Test Methodology Engineer.
Community Innovation and Leadership Nadia Glucksberg, Hydrogeologist Haley & Aldrich Currently the Vice President of Operations and CTO at Imaging Solutions, Wynne Cerone provides leadership and direction to a staff that is responsible for pre and post sales support in addition to the management, development, and implementation of ECM, data capture and workflow systems. She has managed enterprise-wide projects that involved the coordination, integration and implementation of products and systems from multiple vendors. Wynne began her career in the imaging industry when she joined DataImage, Inc. in 1987, later moving to the Plexus Software Division of Recognition International and then joining Imaging Solutions in 1994. Wynne is very knowledgeable in many of the imaging, workflow, OCR, ICR, full text retrieval, and document management software products in the market. She is certified in Kofax Capture and AnyDoc Software products.
Community Innovation and Leadership Sharon Killian, Accounting Associate Pratt & Whitney
Sharon Killian holds an Accounting Analyst position at Pratt & Whitney. She is also a devoted humanitarian. She leads by example in helping the homeless. Sharon worked with the United Way to promote a skills empowerment program for homeless veterans and supported legislation for state funding. She remains in contact with area shelters and has led countless donation drives. She is a Steering Committee member of the Operation Santa program. She was recognized as "Volunteer of the Year" by CRT and by Pratt & Whitney senior management for her volunteering efforts.
Community Innovation and Leadership Elizabeth Peterson, Nuclear Engineer
Dominion/Millstone Power Station Elizabeth Petersen is a nuclear Engineer at Dominion/Millstone Power Station For several decades, she has been turning ideas into reality in manufacturing, construction, operations, and sales. Outside of work, she enjoys coaching high school and middle school FIRST robotics teams, teaching engineering K-12 workshops, and mentoring college students. Elizabeth earned dual B.S. Degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Connecticut and an M.B.A. from the University of New Haven.
Community Innovation and Leadership Theresa Riggs, Senior Engineering Analyst Pratt & Whitney
Thersa Riggs is a Sr. Analyst, Engineering at Pratt and Whitney. Terrie’s real passion is people. She mentored a local student from grade 3 through high school graduation, volunteers at the Hole in the Wall Camp, founded the Connecticut Chapter of Women in Aviation, raises funds for the Chapter’s scholarship, the United Way Campaign and FIRST Robotics Team #3182. She is a proud mentor for Athena’s Warriors, the first all girl robotics team to win the “Rookie Inspiration Award”.
Community Innovation and Leadership Madeline Sola, Structural Engineer Pratt and Whitney
Madeline Sola joined Pratt & Whitney in 2004 as a Structural Engineer, a position she holds today in the Fatigue & Fracture Mechanics Group. She is currently working on unified fatigue life models as part of the Advanced Rotor Life System for the Next Generation Product Family. Madeline has been an active member of the Birds of Prey FIRST Robotics Team in Hartford since 2004, serving as co-lead and engineering mentor.
Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership Phoebe Browning, COO YourNurseIsOn.com
Phoebe Browning is the COO of an award winning technology company whose bi-directional communications platform, YourNurseIsOn.Com, is utilized in health care organizations around the world. Phoebe was a very early technology adopter, programming her first Tandy computer in the early 1980’s. Still a technology enthusiast, Phoebe mentors women in business and girls in science/technology/math. She currently resides in New Haven on an organic, urban farm with her family.
Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership Award Jill Lawrence, Principal J Lawrence LLC Jill Lawrence is founder and principal of a consulting practice with the mission to help companies use participation (from employees, customers, and suppliers) to spark innovation and accelerate decisions and results. Previously, Jill was the Director of Accelerated Innovation at Pitney Bowes, where she led a CEO-sponsored global innovation program to source ideas from employees and driving collaboration across business units. She has 10 years of experience working with multidisciplinary teams in design and innovation. She studied anthropology at Smith College and New York University and her work as an anthropologist has been covered in USA TODAY. Most recently, she was featured in Diversity Journal’s Women Worth Watching in 2011.
Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership Lakshmi Nair, Senior Founding Scientist Soft Tissue Regeneration, Inc.
Lakshmi Nair is a Scientist in the field of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering at Soft Tissue Regeneration, Inc. She is recognized nationally and internationally for her contributions in Biomaterials for musculoskeletal tissue regeneration. She is also one of the senior, founding scientists of her New Haven based company which is developing breakthrough technologies for soft tissue regeneration of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee and an augmentation device for rotator cuff injuries.
Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership Leonora Valvo, CEO and Founder etouches
Leonora Valvo, a lifelong entrepreneur, is the CEO and Founder of etouches, a software company which provides online event management. If she's not skydiving at 30,000 feet or learning to sail, she's probably creating a new company. She has launched four successful ones in the travel industry, the most recent being etouches. The Financial Times named Leonora as one of the industry's "Women at the Top," and Trade Show News Network named etouches the “Top Event Technology Innovator” for 2010.
Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership Nancy Westcott, President GoatThroat Pumps
Nancy Westcott is President of GoatThroat Pumps, a company committed to bringing environmentally preferable solutions for handling chemical products to the industrial, manufacturing and landscape marketplaces. Nancy’s industrial pump company is a successful sales and product development company for her unique pumps whose operation makes it safe for handling the transfer and dispensing of more than 950 liquids ranging from beer and wine to hazardous pesticides and aggressive industrial chemicals. A B.S. graduate of Tufts University with an M.Ed. from Columbia University's Teachers College, she is a lifetime member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and created and launched the Institute’s Sustainability Youth Council in 2005.
Large Business Innovation and Leadership Theresa Christy, fellow Otis Elevator Co.
Theresa Christy is a highly-respected expert and Fellow at Otis Elevator Company. During her 25 year career at Otis, she has used her technical and leadership skills to help design vertical transportation configurations for some of the most outstanding structures and landmark buildings worldwide. Theresa frequently travels to high-profile building sites around the world to develop and explain customized elevator solutions for building owners and managers. Her enthusiasm and innovative approach in her work has earned her numerous awards, and she is a named inventor on 14 patents. Theresa earned a BA in Mathematics from Wellesley College, an MBA from Babson College and an MS in Mathematics from Central Connecticut State University.
Large BusinessInnovation and Leadership Teresa Cowles, AMS Project Lead, Airbus A380 Air Generation Hamilton Sundstrand
Terry Cowles is a project lead on the Airbus A380 Air Generation at Hamilton Sundstrand. She currently is responsible for the development and implementation of requirements for aircraft thermal management systems. She has 28 years of experience in systems engineering, from project management, validation and verification, and requirements engineering management. She has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Connecticut. She has two children and enjoys cooking, outdoor activities and home improvement projects.
Large Business Innovation and Leadership Jennifer Diederich, senior design Engineer Covidien Jennifer Diederich is a Senior Biomedical/Design Engineer for Covidien Surgical Devices in North Haven. She is developing methods for the demonstration of EBM (Evidence Based Medicine) with endoscopic stapling devices. Prior to joining Covidien, Jennifer designed minimally invasive spinal implants and currently holds three patents and 11 patents pending. She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School.
Large Business Innovation and Leadership Beverly Elliott, Director, Project Management Comcast’s Western New England Region
Beverly Elliott serves as Director of Project Management for Comcast’s Western New England Region. In this role, she oversees the deployment of technology that strengthens Comcast’s competitive edge in the marketplace and establishes the provider as an industry leader and innovator. Some of these complex intitiatives include the company’s Digital Network Enhancement to maximize Comcast’s network and on-screen program guide upgrades. She received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and lives in Norwalk with her husband and their two children.
Large Business Innovation and Leadership Dorothy Goettler, Engineering Specialist Electric Boat Corporation Dorothy Goettler, an Engineering Specialist at Electric Boat, is currently leading a team developing electric actuators that meet the stringent technical requirements for use on U.S. Navy submarines. This is a new application for the technology, and requires innovation in a traditional environment. Dorothy has worked on the design and lifecycle support of mechanical submarine systems at Electric Boat for 14 years Outside her job, Dorothy is presently Board of Trustees President for the Montessori Discovery School.
Large Business Innovation and Leadership Laura Holmes, General Manager, Customer Training Center Pratt & Whitney
Laura has worked for Pratt & Whitney (UTC) since 1999, holding positions of increasing responsibility in multiple areas, including sales, customer service, business operations, and learning & development. She holds both a B.S. in Business Administration and an MBA from the University of Vermont, and has a master’s level certification in mediation. She enjoys her 3 children, Jesse, Faith and Brooke, and a wide variety of hobbies and community service activities.
Large Business Innovation and Leadership Agnes Klucha, Program Manager, Eng Innov Center Pratt & Whitney
Agnes Klucha is a Program Manager, Engineering Innovation, at Pratt & Whitney. There she formed a group to bring new innovations to life through prototyping, design and validation using an integrated approach. In her 16 years at Pratt & Whitney, Agnes has held various roles including Flight Test Engineer, Test Planning Manager, and leadership of Tiger Teams to resolve top technical issues. Agnes received her B.S. in Engineering Science – Aerospace Engineering from the University of Toronto and a MBA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is a member of WAI, AOPA, a tutor at Power to Read and a mentor to Athena's Warriors.
Large Business Innovation and Leadership Jeanne Larsen, Senior Fellow, Discipline Lead Hamilton Sundstrand
As a Senior Fellow, Discipline Lead, at Hamilton Sundstrand, Jeanne Larsen leads a diverse group of software controls engineers developing critical software and associated processes for the world’s largest and most complex aircraft including the Boeing 787 and Airbus A380. She has over 25 years experience in aviation software. She leads multiple Software Engineering Process Groups providing technical leadership and direction for the entire Hamilton Sundstrand software community. Jeanne is also an active member of the international safety committee that writes the regulations for the aerospace software community.
Large Business Innovation and Leadership Mary Lombardo, Director Engineering Carrier Corporation Mary Lombardo is an executive with over twenty-four years of UTC experience. She is currently the Director, Engineering, Materials Technology, in the newly established Technology and and Components unit at Carrier Corporation. In this role, Mary will be responsible for assuring that Carrier achieves and expands a position of leadership in the development and implementation of Materials Technology, including metallurgy, coatings, tribology, corrosion resistant materials, plastics, refrigerants and manufacturing process technology, thus ensuring product differentiation in performance, compactness and cost. Prior to this appointment, Mary was Director, Supply Chain Management where she was responsible for leading the commodity management teams at Carrier and had responsibility for over $4Billion in spending in global product and non-product categories.
Large Business Innovation and Leadership
Elizabeth Maerz, Vice President, Strategy and Execution The Travelers Companies, Inc.
As Vice President of the Strategy & Execution Office for Personal Insurance, Beth Maerz works with the Personal Insurance (PI) Leadership Team to define business strategy, prioritize initiatives, and align investments to the PI strategic roadmap. Previously, Beth was Vice President of Country Wide Products and Services, where she helped lead the ongoing development of Travelers’ Home and Auto product lines. Prior to joining Travelers in 2005, Beth held leadership positions with a variety of marketing and management consulting firms, helping senior executives of leading financial services firms prioritize their strategic business objectives, identify critical enabling capabilities and create implementation plans. Beth holds a Masters degree in Business Administration and Economics from Boston University.
Large Business Innovation and Leadership Irina Moore, Senior Vice President, Risk Analytics and Regulations GE Capital Aviation Services
Irina Moore is a Senior Vice President Risk Analytics at GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS). In this role Irina is responsible for the overall strategy, direction and execution of all risk analytics for credit and market risk. In her prior role, Irina received the GE Edison Award for developing and implementing a proprietary Risk Assessment and Decisioning model for GE’s consumer financing business. The model was implemented in GE’s business units in 50+ countries.
Large Business Innovation and Leadership Janice Nykyforchyn, Principal Engineer Electric Boat Corporation Janice Nykyforchyn is a principal engineer in the Propulsion Plant Structures, Shielding and Arrangements Department, at Electric Boat in Groton. She earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1983 prior to coming to EB and a M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of New Haven in 1987 while at EB. Janice has a 27 year career with EB in nuclear engineering design and construction support. She has worked in structural, fluids and acoustics, including testing, analysis and supervision. She is currently performing the function of technical lead in propulsion plant structures, shielding, and arrangements for the U.S. Navy fleet of nuclear submarine and land based prototypes undergoing refueling and modernization overhauls.
Large Business Innovation and Leadership Deborah Orosz, AMS Manager, Operating Effectiveness Hamilton Sundstrand
Deb Orosz is an Operating Effectiveness Manager at Hamilton Sundstrand and has over 12 years experience in aerospace manufacturing. In her current role, Deb leads strategies to implement lean processes to optimize the company’s ability to meet customer and company commitments. As the company's global Green Products program leader, she focused on compliance with product chemical restrictions and reducing the environmental impact of Hamilton Sundstrand products. She holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Connecticut, and a M.S. in Management of Technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Large Business Innovation and Leadership Tara Picard, Senior Project Manager Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
Tara Picard is a Senior Project Manager at Sikorsky Aircraft. As an aerospace professional she has more than 15 years of experience in a variety of technical and management positions at the Boeing Company, Pratt and Whitney, and Sikorsky Aircraft. She currently leads the Sikorsky Maritime Helicopter Program (MHP), leading her team through the design, development, and delivery of the first aircraft to the Canadian Government. The MHP aircraft will be one of the most advanced maritime surveillance, search and rescue helicopters in the world. In this effort Tara is responsible for over one billion dollars in the management of cost, schedule, design, procurement, lab and flight test of all avionics, electrical systems, flight controls and mission systems. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautical Engineering from Clarkson University, a Master of Science degree in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Juris Doctorate from Quinnipiac University School of Law.
Large Business Innovation and Leadership Danyel Racenet, Manager of R&D Covidien
Danyel Racenet is a manager of R&D at Covidien Surgical Devices. With over 10 years experience, Danyel is responsible for developing a customer centric product development process. She is charged with delivering impactful insights and strategic guidance to identify innovative surgical solutions to: improve patient outcomes; address unmet clinical needs; and drive efficiencies within the site of care. She has contributed on all levels of engineering, from fundamental research efforts to technology development as well as commercial product development. She holds numerous patents in medical device technology and is a certified Design for Six Sigma Black Belt. She holds a B.S. in Engineering and Math from Hofstra University and an M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Connecticut. She enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with her family.
Research Innovation and Leadership Tahany El-Wardany, Principal Engineer United Technologies Research Center Tahany El-Wardany joined United Technologies Research Center in 1997 where she is currently a Principal Scientist in the Physical Sciences Department. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham (England). Dr. El-Wardany has nearly 100 publications and 12 patents, and is highly regarded among academic peers nationally and internationally for her work in manufacturing sciences and tribology — or the science of friction, lubrication, and wear.
Research Innovation and Leadership Rajeswari Kasi , Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Polymer Programs University of Connecticut
Rajeswari Kasi is an Assistant Professor of Polymer and Material Chemistry at the University of Connecticut. A native of India, Kasi received her undergraduate degrees in Chemistry from University of Madras and Indian Institute of Technology. She received her graduate degree in Polymer Science and Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and was subsequently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota. She has been on the faculty at the University of Connecticut since 2006.
Research Innovation and Leadership Andrea Marra, Associate Director Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Andrea Marra is an Associate Director at Rib-X Pharmaceuticals where she is a leader in the development of novel drugs to combat serious bacterial infections. Andrea’s career includes postdoctoral fellowships at MIT and Tufts University and working at small and large pharmaceutical companies, establishing infection models to evaluate new anti-bacterials. She received her B.S.in Biology from MIT and Ph.D. in Microbiology from Columbia University, where she became interested in how bacteria interact with human hosts to cause infection.
Research Innovation and Leadership Susanne Opalka, Principal Engineer United Technologies Research Center Dr. Opalka has been a Principal Scientist in Physical Sciences at the United Technologies Research Center since 2001. She holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry and a M.S. in Materials Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). She is an internationally recognized expert in the application of first-principles atomistic and thermodynamic design methods for guiding the development of novel catalysts, active materials, and coatings for alternative energy applications. She has 31 publications and 12 patents.
Research Innovation and Leadership Lisa Pfefferle, Professor of Engineering Yale University Lisa Pfefferle is an engineering professor at Yale University. Her research is focused on chemical reaction engineering to direct the structure of nanomaterials. She has contricuted to the fundamental understanding of combustion chemistry and sooting. Recent work has developed controlled property carbon single walled nanotubes (SWNT), the first boron SWNT, and other inorganic nanotubes, including means for assembling them into devices for medical, solar cell and superconductivity applications. Lisa collaborates widely, leads a team ranging from research associates to high school students, has 150 peer-reviewed papers that are highly cited, and holds four U.S. patents. Lisa has a 13-year old daughter, Gillian.
Small Business Innovation and Leadership Laura Dietz, Vice President Sonalysts, Inc. Laura Dietz is a Vice President at Sonalysts, Inc who works with training technology. Her extensive experience has been applied to Air Force, Navy, and Army training domains. Most recently, Laura and her team were responsible for delivery of one of the most advanced PC-based instructional simulations ever built for the Air Force. In the fall of 2010, the production Stnadard Space Trainer (SST) was installed on schedule in a 28-seat configuration at Shriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs to support the 50th Operational Space Squadron. Shortly thereafter, the production SST passed a rigorous Air Force simulation certification and is currently being used for basic and advanced satellite controller training at both Vandenberg and Shriever, respectively. Ms. Dietz is also the mother of two boys, and enjoys hiking, running, and horseback riding.
Small Business Innovation and Leadership Billie Jo Mitchell, Director, Manufacturing RSL Fiber Systems, LLC Billie Jo Mitchell is the Director of Manufacturing for RSL Fiber Systems, LLC. In this role, she is responsible for successful, on-time delivery of all advanced fiber optic lighting systems for U.S. Naval ships, including inventory control, supplier management, scheduling, manufacturing, technical support, and field support. She also played a key role in obtaining ISO 9001 certification that was required for a multi-million dollar U.S. Navy program. Billie Jo has been with RSL Fiber Systems since it was founded in 2001. As part of the senior management team, Billie Jo participates directly in the company’s strategic planning.
Small Business Innovation and Leadership Pauline Murphy, Managing Director, Investments Connecticut Innovations Pauline Murphy is a Managing Director, Investments, at Conneciticut Innovations (CI). In that role, she is responsible for investing in and advising emerging Connecticut high-tech companies. She also manages Connecticut Innovations’ investment associates and investment team support staff. Pauline has led CI’s investments in Environmental Energy Services, etouches, FMP Products, New Ortho Polymers, Premise Corporation, XLerant and Zadspace. Additionally, she serves on the boards of eight CI portfolio companies. Prior to joining CI, Pauline was controller of an early-stage software development company. She launched her career at Ernst & Young in the entrepreneurial services group. Pauline holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Connecticut and is a registered certified public accountant in the State of Connecticut.
Small Business Innovation and Leadership Jessica Rowen, President Mitchell-Vance Laboratories Jessica Rowen is Founder and President of Mitchell-Vance Laboratories LLC. The company specializes in the research and development of products for the treatment and prevention of scars. In 2002, Rowen founded Advanced Health and Nutrition, a web-based business offering natural health products and nutritional supplements. She established Mitchell-Vance Laboratories in 2007, and soon introduced ScarAway® Silicone Scar Sheets with Silon® technology. Today, her company markets numerous scar treatment products and has become a leader in scar treatment in the over-the-counter retail marketplace. Jessica attended Albertus Magnus College where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in Business Management and Marketing in 1997. Rowen is a member of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council and the Guilford Chamber of Commerce. She and her husband reside in Guilford and are the proud parents of five children, ages 19, 18, 17, 16, and 10.
Small Business Innovation and Leadership Carla Tillery, Associate and Team Leader – Northeast Traffic Fitzgerald & Halliday, Inc. Carla Tillery is a Principal Planner/Engineer at Fitzgerald and Halliday, Inc, a full-discipline transportation and environmental planning and analysis firm. She has 18 years of experience in the transportation industry, both in consulting and government service. She serves as the Managing Director of Operations and also leads the Transp