11 From West Hartford Among ’40 Under Forty’ Honorees

Ben Roberts is a member of the Hartford Business Journal's '40 Under Forty' class of 2019. Photo courtesy of Ryan Marketing

The annual list of outstanding young professionals in the Greater Hartford area was published in a recent edition of the Hartford Business Journal.

By Ronni Newton

Eleven individuals who either live and/or work in West Hartford will be among the “40 Under Forty” honored at the Hartford Business Journal’s annual celebration Sept. 26, from 5-9 p.m. at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.

This year there were 177 people nominated, which HBJ Editor Greg Bordonaro noted was an 8 percent increase, and made it even more difficult to choose the honorees.

“Greater Hartford already has a strong cohort of young professionals making a difference at their respective organizations and the broader community,” Bordonaro noted in his introduction to the feature. “It’s important to spotlight them in order to show others that starting and making a career here can pay dividends, both professionally and personally.”

Hartford has recently been named a top-10 U.S. city for recent college graduates, and with all of the negativity about the state, Bordonaro noted that it is important to keep that talent here.

The 2019 winners come from large and small private and public companies as well as the nonprofit sector.

All of the honorees were asked to respond to a series of questions, which included “Who is your favorite superhero?” as well as questions about their greatest accomplishment, community involvement, outside interests, and why they deserve to be a “40 Under Forty” honoree. Each was asked to offer a “fun fact” about themselves.

Wilson Camelo, Tara Costanzo, and Julie Daly Meehan were this year’s judges.

Winners with ties to West Hartford are listed below. Click their names for links to their profiles in the Hartford Business Journal:

Gregory Calnen, 32, West Hartford resident, Senior Account Manager with ZAG Interactive in Glastonbury. He earned a bachelor’s in business administration from St. Michael’s College and his favorite superhero is Lance Cpl. Lawrence Philippon.

Rebekah “Becky” Humphrey, 35, West Hartford resident, director, Insurance Research & Consulting at Conning in Hartford. She attended Wheaton College and Trinity College and has a master’s degree in economics. Her favorite superhero is Wonder Woman because of her commitment to social justice.

Benjamin C. Jensen, 39, West Hartford resident, partner at Robinson & Cole LLP in Hartford. He attended Indiana University and has a law degree from UConn. His favorite superhero is Frank Ocean.

Michael “Mike” Johnson, 35, West Hartford resident, director of Government Affairs at Sullivan & LeShane in Hartford. He attended Sacred Heart University and has a bachelor’s in business management from the Jack Welch School of Business and a bachelors in government and politics. He said his favorite superhero has always been Batman, but Wonder Woman is a serious contender now thanks to his daughter.

Amanda Jolly, 28, West Hartford resident, vice president of Programs and Communications for the World Affairs Council of Connecticut in Hartford. She has a bachelor’s in international service from American University and said her superheroes are her parents.

Shawna M. Kitzman, 38, West Hartford resident, senior planner with Fitzgerald & Halliday Inc. and chief creative Oofficer with Jam Program Inc. in Hartford. She has a bachelor’s of fine art in illustration from the Massachusetts College of Art and said her superhero is “Elastigirl aka Mrs. Incredible.”

Tyler Polk, 38, West Hartford resident, partner and senior consultant with Fiduciary Investment Advisors in Windsor. He has a bachelor’s from Williams College and his superhero is Captain America.

Ben Reder, 38, West Hartford resident, owner/broker with The Reder Agency in West Hartford. He has a bachelor’s in American studies and his favorite superhero is Silver Surfer.

Ben Roberts, 39, West Hartford resident, creative director with Ryan Marketing in West Hartford. He has a bachelor’s in graphic and information design from Central Connecticut State University and Ironman is his superhero.

Nicholas Sheridan, 34, West Hartford resident and certified financial planner with Lindberg & Ripple in West Hartford. He has a bachelor’s in finance from UConn and his favorite superhero is Batman.

Jonathan Winer, 38, West Hartford resident, athletic director at Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) in Hartford. He has a bachelor’s from Clark University and a sixth year in educational leadership. His favorite superhero is Flash Gordon.

For the complete list of members of the “40 Under Forty” class of 2019 and to read the entire article in the Hartford Business Journal, click here.

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