Business Reader Contributed The Center

SockStarz Looking for New Leadership as Founder Announces Retirement Plans

SockStarz is located at 18 LaSalle Rd. in West Hartford Center. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

There will be ‘big shoes to fill’ as Patricia Kinney, the founding leader of Harc’s successful social enterprise business, SockStarz, which operates a storefront in West Hartford Center, will retire this year.

Patricia Kinney. Courtesy photo


Harc, Inc., a local nonprofit that supports people with intellectual disability live lives of quality, inclusion, and dignity, announced this week that Patricia Kinney will be transitioning from her role as general manager of the organization’s social enterprise, SockStarz. Kinney will stay on until December to train her successor.

Kinney’s involvement with Harc began as a guest at their 2013 Annual Gala. After serving as the Gala chair with her husband the following year, she joined the board in 2015. She then became an integral part of the team that developed Harc’s first social enterprise, SockStarz and became the inaugural general manager when the initiative launched in 2019.

Harc’s novelty sock business was developed to create meaningful employment opportunities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Kinney’s leadership and vision through the years have been instrumental in Harc’s success, particularly in the innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship required from day one. SockStarz includes a retail location in West Hartford Center, featuring a growing variety of socks and additional distinctive items also sold on-line at sockstarzusa.com.  The enterprise adapted during COVID-19 and has continued to thrive.

“Patricia is one-of-a-kind, and SockStarz wouldn’t have come to be without her,” said Kenneth Cabral, president and CEO of Harc. “She’s built such a strong foundation and we’re looking forward to building upon her legacy for years to come.”

Kinney, who has also served as a Harc board member for the past six years, departs the organization during a personal transition, as she and her husband look to retire and enjoy more time with their four children as they build their own families. Of her departure Kinney said, “It’s been an honor to serve this community. Although I will miss working with Harc everyday, I know they have a very bright future ahead of them and am excited to see all they’ll accomplish.”

During this transition, Harc is focused on finding a replacement for Kinney to provide overall leadership, direction, and vision as General Manager of SockStarz. Those interested in the job opportunity are asked to visit harc-ct.org/about-us/careers and reach out directly.

“The success SockStarz has achieved over the last year is not an accident,” said Chris Conway, executive director of the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce. “Their compassion and mission shine through in every product and every interaction, and it has been a joy to see them come out of COVID with an even stronger community around them. We wish Patricia all the best and look forward to supporting their journey through this exciting transition and for many years to come.”

SockStarz opened in 2019 at 18 LaSalle Rd. in West Hartford Center. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

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