Among those profiled:
Novelette Peterkin, Executive Director of the Carver Foundation of Norwalk, the city’s largest after school program, who says her sixth grade teacher—Mrs. McKenzie—had a strong influence on her while going to school in her native Jamaica. Peterkin attributes her success as a leader to McKenzie who encouraged the young pupil to take the initiative like standing in front and addressing the class with confidence. McKenzie’s influence was so pivotal that the two of them have maintained a close relationship since Peterkin and her family came to the U.S.
Carissa Ganelli, founder and owner of Bridgeport-based LightningBuy with a breakthrough product that dramatically simplifies how e-retailers sell and consumers purchase products via mobile devices, was shocked two years ago when an angel investor quickly offered her a million dollars to help grow the new venture following her one-minute pitch. She thought it prudent to turn down the offer, wait and re-visit the financing issue. Soon after, Lax.com, the lacrossee-commerce retailer, singed on as the start-up’s first client, enabling Lightning Buy to secure financing from other sources with better terms than the angel investor offered. Ganelli was on her way!
Reenie Brown of Redding, founder of the Fashion Accessories Benefit Ball, whose determination to succeed and become financially secure and independent occurred at a very early age of 10 when her family became homeless. The painful experience had a powerful impact on her, intuitively learning at an early age that if she did well at school and pursued a college education, doors of opportunities would open up which would protect her and her loved ones from poverty.
Richard Silver, senior partner of Stamford-based Silver Golub & Teitell, a medical malpractice attorney whose commitment to getting justice for individuals in the courtroom was powerfully reinforced when he received a poem from a child which reads, “So here’s a handprint just so you can recall, exactly at age 4 how I looked when was very small.”
Barbara Netter, President and co-founder of the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy, Stamford, whose journey from psychoanalyst to head of one of the leading supporters of cell and gene-based therapies to accelerate effective and safe treatment of all types of cancer, was a result of the loss of her daughter in law to breast cancer.
Marcia O’Kane, Executive Director of the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce who previously was a high-level financial executive with the Royal Bank of Canada Dominion Securities on Wall Street. Her defining moment was witnessing the 9/11 attacks that prompted her to change her career focus so that she would be able to give back more the community.
Vicki Volper, a prominent mediation and collaborative divorce attorney in Westport, who formerly was a commercial real estate law attorney. She switched careers when she received a flyer in the mail from the Dispute Settlement Center, opening her eyes to a new and appealing legal practice.
Karen DelVecchio, Executive Vice President of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council (BRBC), who previously was a stay-at-home mom. But her involvement and leadership roles with the local PTA prepared her for a new and exciting career path when a door of opportunity opened at the BRBC nine years ago.
Jonathan Orleans, a prominent business litigator with Bridgeport-based Pullman & Comley, who attributes his success to a decision he made to spend three years working in the business world and volunteering before going to law school. His second defining moment was clerking for the Honorable M. Joseph Blumenfeld, Senior U.S. District Judge in Hartford who shared a wealth of knowledge and experience with the young attorney.
Mary-Jane Foster, Vice President, University Relations at Bridgeport University, who previously was a professional actress for more than 20 years. A decision to become a volunteer for the YWCA of Eastern Fairfield County profoundly changed her life when she became aware of the problems that abused women and children faced and decided to devote her energies to help them.
Lesley Stroll consultant, Stamford Innovation Center who set on her path to become a successful serial entrepreneur and founding partner of several firms when she discovered in the third grade that she could make some money by selling sharpened pencils to her classmates.
Cynthia E. Roy, President and CEO of the Regional Hospice and Home Care of Western Connecticut, Norwalk, who says her passion for championing the quality of life and dignity of children and adults diagnosed with terminal illnesses dates began early in her career as a clinical social worker for the New York City Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Pagani used his My Defining Moments approach when he interviewed the individuals for Winners Circle profiles that were first published in the Fairfield County Business Journal.
My Defining Moments continues Pagani’s Getting Your Story Right value proposition of his strategic public relations and marketing communications consulting business. By closely collaborating with clients, Pagani helps to create high-impact communications by first Getting Your Story Right, an approach whereby he drills down and unleashes the core messages that uniquely set a company, product or service apart from the competition.
A typical My Defining Moments consists of a 750 to 1,000-word narrative and is created as a result of Pagani conducting an in-depth phone interview with the client. The final approved draft can be used to maximum and lasting effect by adding it to the individual’s Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, personal blog, website or as part of a traditional family album that can be printed or produced as a CD.
Pagani noted, “I think baby boomers are potentially a significant market for My Defining Moments as they will have more time to reflect on their personal histories as they join the retirement ranks.”