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Environmental portrait of Senior Director, Research Strategy, Asia Research, Yu-Hui Rogers , JGM January 2018. Environmental portrait of Senior Director, Research Strategy, Asia Research, Yu-Hui Rogers , JGM January 2018.

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The Connecticut Technology Council, a group focused on strengthening the state’s tech ecosystem, is celebrating the 15th anniversary of its Women of Innovation Awards on March 27 at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville. While we don’t yet know who this year’s winners are, we decided to catch up with six past honorees to see how they’re continuing their mission. Those who have been honored over the years all have at least one thing in common: they don’t rest on their laurels.

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Neeharika Krothapalli

Youth Innovation and Leadership, Winner (2010)

From Farmington; Medical student at the University of New England in Newark, New Jersey

After winning the high school category, Krothapalli attended Dartmouth and spent a semester abroad in Tanzania working in clinical research trials on malaria and pregnancy. She also spent time with Floating Doctors to serve remote island communities in Panama.

“I discovered my passion for both patient-centered medicine and global health in my time at college that informed the journey I would take in pursuing further degrees. I would say to young women that it is all right to revise and redefine goals in accordance with life lessons or experiences. There is no single correct path.”

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Roxanne Amiot

Academic Innovation and Leadership (Secondary), Finalist (2018)

From Bridgeport, lives in Stratford; Automotive technology department head and instructor at Bullard-Havens Technical High School in Bridgeport

The automotive program at Bullard-Havens became the 2018 O’Reilly Wix Tomorrow’s Technician School of the Year, placing first nationally over 220 automotive programs (secondary and post-secondary). Amiot was the first female graduate, instructor and department head in the Bullard-Havens program.

“When I say I teach automotive technology, I am asked by many, ‘Do you really work on cars?’ My male counterparts are not asked this. Recognition at these WOI awards that talks about skills and accomplishments helps us move past this as people’s eyes are opened to the world of technology and innovation.”

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Arianna Kalian

Large Business Innovation and Leadership, Finalist (2012)

From New York City; Chief engineer, CH-148 Cyclone (helicopter program) at Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford

This past summer Kalian took on a new position working on the Cyclone, a multi-role shipboard helicopter developed by Sikorsky for the Canadian Forces. The Cyclone is now becoming operational with the Royal Canadian Air Force.

“One must be agile, adaptable, and ready to take on new career challenges and opportunities. My advice to female engineers as they consider their career goals is that they should have a flexible view of their future as they will invariably come across great opportunities that they did not envision in their original career plan.”

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Environmental portrait of Senior Director, Research Strategy, Asia Research, Yu-Hui Rogers , JGM January 2018. Environmental portrait of Senior Director, Research Strategy, Asia Research, Yu-Hui Rogers , JGM January 2018.

Yu-Hui Rogers

Large Business Innovation and Leadership, Winner (2015)

Lives in Weatogue; Senior Director, Research Strategy, Asia at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine

Rogers received an MBA from Yale and was selected by Poets & Quants as one of the Best & Brightest Executive MBAs in 2017. She is now leading Jackson Lab’s research strategy and efforts in Asia — an important extension of the lab’s mission to improve human health on a global scale.

“I believe that there is no greater obstacle than the one I place in front of myself. There is always something that I need to overcome to push myself forward and to grow. To me the greatest victory is overcoming one’s own limitations.”

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Severine Zygmont

Entrepreneurial Innovation and Leadership, Winner (2014)

Lives in West Hartford; President of Oxford Performance Materials

Zygmont, who since winning has become the CTC board chair, oversees all aspects of her company’s medical manufacturing facility and activities — quality control, production and logistics, financial reporting, customer relationships and contract negotiation. OPM manufactures cranial implants that are sent to hospitals around the world.

“In the rise and race to becoming a tech executive, certainly there is gender competition and gender discrimination, but there is also competition in general. So you must be mindful to not misattribute failures to a dysfunctional environment and not to use gender rivalry as an excuse. Instead, take responsibility for your actions. Own your failures so you can own your successes.”

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Jennifer Good

Small Business Innovation and Leadership, Winner (2007)

Lives in Sandy Hook; President, CEO and co-founder of Trevi Therapeutics

Good was the CEO of Penwest when she was honored in 2007, shortly before the company’s lead drug received approval. After Penwest was acquired in 2010, she co-founded Trevi, which is now pursuing treatments for serious neurologically mediated conditions.

“Solving unmet medical needs is extremely rewarding, and it really does take a team of motivated people. I encourage women to not be afraid of taking risks. The points in my career where I have jumped off the cliff into the unknown have without a doubt been my most rewarding decisions.”

This article appeared in the March 2019 issue of Connecticut Magazine. You can subscribe here, or find the current issue on sale here. Got a question or comment? Email, or contact us on Facebook @connecticutmagazine or Twitter @connecticutmag.