HBJ 40 Under Forty Nominations Now Open!

May 12, 2014

Every year the Hartford Business Journal holds their 40 Under Forty Awards, and they receive hundreds of nominations about great, active, local young professionals vying to be chosen. Nominations are open until May 26th - nominate yourself or someone you know!

Every year there are always a few HYPEsters who receive the award, so we thought we'd follow up with a few of them to see what they thought about receiving the award and where they are now. Everyone listed below has been actively involved in HYPE's leadership team - either as a staff member or as one of our volunteer leaders.

2008 Winner - Julie Daly Meehan

What did being selected for 40 Under Forty mean to you?

Getting this recognition when HYPE had only been in existence for two years showed me just how important this initiative is to our Region. It was an incredible confidence booster, and confirmation that the business community in Hartford really does value young professionals.

What has changed in your life since then?

It's been so rewarding to see HYPE grow and expand since then. We went through strategic planning, changed our committee structure and added staff capacity. It's an absolute joy to work with such dedicated people. I'd have to say, though, that the biggest change in my life since 2008 is the fact that I'm now married to a previous Vice Chair of HYPE! I'm a lucky girl, and so thankful that our love of Hartford and involvement in HYPE brought Sean and I together.

2010 Winner - Ryan Friedman

What did being selected for 40 Under Forty mean to you?

Being recognized by the Hartford Business Journal as a 40 Under Forty designee was a great honor and truly humbling. For me it was affirmation that my professional and civil endeavors were leading me down the right path in life. I received the acknowledgement just after my 30th birthday and their recognition definitely provided me with added confidence and a hunger to continue to build my career and invest more energy in my community service.

What has changed in your life since then?

Shortly after being named a 40 Under Forty recipient, I married the love of my life in a traditional Mayan ceremony on a beach in the Yucatan. Together, we have taken a renewed interest in our fitness and overall wellness and continue to be very active. We have always loved traveling and exploring other cultures and have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to visit a number of amazing countries in the last four years.

As far as my professional career in concerned, I have remained at May, Bonee & Walsh and have placed more focus on my professional development and expanding my client base. With the introduction of sweeping legislative changes imposed on the insurance industry, I have found that my skillset is in ever increasing demand. The biggest challenge for me has become effectively managing my priorities and time, and fortunately I am surrounded by an excellent team which allows me to continuously pursue my goals.

2010 Winner - Michael Carucci

What did being selected for 40 Under Forty mean to you?

Being selected for 40 Under Forty was a huge honor for me in 2010. I was 31 and looking to expand my network and opportunities. My interests began to grow beyond clinical medicine and into the public/nonprofit sector. Being recognized within my own community by a respected entity like the Hartford Business Journal gave me additional confidence and a sense of civic responsibility. Now more than ever I wanted to play my part in the great work I was seeing around me and to champion change in my home, Hartford.

What has changed in your life since then?

Since 2010, I was fortunate to become the Chair of HYPE, a position I filled with great honor for two and a half years. It was during a time when HYPE was continuing to grow its membership and we instituted a strategic plan to help guide the organization. I have also been accepted into a regional leadership program with VA named VISN LEAD which will allow me to seek additional opportunities beyond physical medicine and rehabilitation so that I may help shape, in some small way, the VA as it grows and adapts in the 21st century to better serve our women and men in uniform after they return home. And finally, I am honored to be a part of Hartford's growing entrepreneur community with my partners and our venture MOVID, a service to help physical therapists provide video based home exercise programs.

2012 Winner - Alisa Dzananovic

What did being selected for 40 Under Forty mean to you?

As a recent immigrant to the Greater Hartford community, I embraced the 40 Under Forty recognition as an incredible milestone. It gave me the encouragement that I am on the right path and the motivation to keep going. I'm especially humbled to share this honor with the many talented and inspiring individuals who are part of the 40 Under Forty alumni network. It truly is a special award.

What has changed in your life since then?

Since receiving the award in 2012, I've continued on my quest to make an impact wherever I can. I have continued to grow professionally in my role at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. In addition, several experiences have allowed me to strengthen my leadership skills and give back; I've completed the Quest leadership development program through Leadership Greater Hartford, assumed a leadership role as a member of the University of Saint Joseph Alumni Council and most recently I've reconnected with the YWCA through one of its committees. It's a privilege to have these opportunities and I look forward to what's ahead.

2012 Winner - Ashley Baron Russo


What did being selected for 40 Under Forty mean to you?

Being a 40 Under Forty winner was an incredible honor.  It felt brilliant and emotionally touching to be recognized by the selection committee for the work I have done in the office and in the community.  And since that time, it has been a wonderful connecting with the community of 40U40 alumni, a group of powerful business people and inspiring philanthropists. 

What has changed in your life since then?

Since then, I have had the opportunity to take on many new responsibilities within my current role at Stanley Black & Decker, including acting as interim human resources leader of a corporate function and a business P&L.  At home, I had my first child in June 2013. 

2013 Winner - Caitlin Thayer

What did being selected for 40 Under Forty mean to you?

As someone who has only been in Connecticut since 2007, being chosen as a 40 Under Forty winner showed me that I was making an impact on my community, and that people were taking notice. I started a social media consulting company in 2009 to help nonprofits learn how to use social sites to their benefit, and have worked with many of the nonprofits in the Region. It was very exciting to get confirmation that what I was doing was important.

What has changed in your life since then?

Last year I was working full-time on my company, Barefoot Media, and was Vice Chair of Community Involvement for HYPE. Now I am the full-time Program Director for HYPE, and still doing work with Barefoot Media on the side. I am thrilled to be able to give back even more to HYPE, an organization that really helped me get my feet on the ground when I moved here. Through HYPE I was introduced to a great network of people, many of whom are now close friends. It's super fun to be able to introduce people to Hartford and to help them get more involved in the great work that HYPE is doing.


Don't delay! Nominate yourself or someone you know before the nomination deadline of May 26th.

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