40 Under 40

 

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Jason Guberman-Pfeffer • 24 • Stratford
   Meet Renaissance man Jason Guberman-Pfeffer. The summa cum laude Sacred Heart grad (in three years) and class president has clearly demonstrated book smarts and people smarts. While still an undergrad he was invited to present at faculty panels; in his spare time he organized a concert promoting solidarity with Iranian dissidents. Today he’s a social entrepreneur—founder/guiding force behind the Diarna Project, which provides free virtual access to historic Jewish sites from Morocco to Iran. Enhancing oral and visual histories with today’s technology, e.g., Google Earth, and staffed by an ecumenical team, Diarna may well become a model for historical and community preservation projects worldwide. On top of all this, he’s an accomplished pianist.
Eleanora Tornatore-Mikesh • 37 • Wilton
    She’s almost doubled the family business over the past 10 years. What’s interesting is that the business is The Greens at Cannondale, an assisted-living community in Wilton with 140 residents and 100 full-time employees. As executive director, Eleanora Tornatore-Mikesh has grown it financially (from $7 million to $12 million a year); as a trained gerontologist, she’s developed The Evergreen Program, an innovative Alzheimer’s and dementia program, and drawn in the community by opening a dementia support group to the public and organizing seminars with Danbury and Norwalk hospitals. A leader in her field—she’s board chair for the Connecticut Assisted Living Association—she’s lauded for her “leadership, innovative thinking and compassion.”
Kinga Evans • 30 • Bristol
   Evans is no shrinking violet. She’d never ventured outside her small native village in Eastern Poland until at age 18, she moved to the U.S. to attend college. After graduating from Central Connecticut State University and earning an M.B.A. from the University of Hartford, she went to work in the call center at insurance giant The Hartford, despite En­glish being her second language. “This typifies her can-do attitude,” says her husband, David. “She excelled, winning customer-service awards and quickly being promoted—over eight years she worked in every department imaginable.” Today Evans brings her energy to Webster Bank, where she’s vice president of strategy. She also serves on the board of Meriden’s Cove Center for Grieving Children.
Jennifer M.F. Hillgen-Santa • 38 • Stratford
   Civic-minded Jennifer Hillgen-Santa makes a difference in the world, starting in her own hometown. After earning a law degree, she was elected to the Stratford Town Council, where she acted as a community builder and a trusted resource for residents, many of whom weren’t even her constituents. She left her mark on numerous town projects before exiting politics in 2005 to join her husband, Michael, in the Hillgen-Santa Financial Group, LLC. Her good work continues as a board member of the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health, as a teacher at Fairfield University’s Graduate School of Business, as pro bono counsel for the Animal Cancer Foundation and as a volunteer at her daughter’s school.
Isabel Carrington • 36 • New Hartford
   As director of education for the Warner Theatre in Torrington, Isabel Carrington has been a whirl­wind advocate for the arts in northwest Connecticut. She manages the theater’s Center for Arts Education, which includes dance, music, visual, technical and wrting arts, as well as artist-in-residence programs for area schools. But her participation goes deeper than that. She is the instructor for advanced high school acting classes and has directed 18 Young Actors Series productions for the Warner’s Main Stage. She’s even written two original full-length plays for the students to perform. Bravo!

 

40 Under 40

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