A BIG Polaris 2022 THANK YOU! Friends of LGH and our alumni network recently gathered at Infinity Music Hall Hartford to celebrate and reflect on the 45-year legacy of LGH. Attendees were also inspired by the work and impact of our 2022 Polaris Award winners. They exemplify the three pillars of LGH: Community, Leadership, and Connections. Read their bios and watch their stories below.

Thank you to our Board, Staff, Sponsors, Event Attendees, Auction Donors, and Vendors, who made the night magical and fun!

For those unable to attend this year, you can still support the event and Leadership Greater Hartford’s mission by making a donation. Your gifts are appreciated!

Donate Here: bit.ly/DonatetoLGH

View Digital Program Book: https://leadershipgh.org/event/polaris-awards-2022/

View full photo gallery here (case-sensitive password is LGHPolarisAwards2022)bit.ly/PolarisPhotos2022

Read and watch more about each of the winners below. 

  Connections Award: Maura Keating, Keating Agency Insurance

Watch her story here: https://youtu.be/hoYaGZSf4k8

Maura Keating is a third-generation insurance agent, working with her dad and brother in West Hartford, CT, where she grew up. Maura returned to Connecticut in 2014 after spending a few years away for college and working in retail management in Massachusetts. The skills she learned in retail translated to insurance better than she would have thought and part of her career transition included her desire to create new connections and inclusiveness, which she found through local networking and volunteer organizations.

She enjoys being able to bring people together through events and introduce people to experiences that benefit both the groups and their members. Maura currently serves as FLOW Chairperson (FLOW is the young professional branch of the Chamber) on the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, is a member of the Junior League of Hartford and Co-Chair for the League’s Membership Experience committee, hold the treasurer position for The Town and County Club, is a volunteer For All Ages — a nonprofit that connects generation and combats loneliness, a proud Leadership Greater Hartford 2020 Quest graduate and constant advocate for LGH and its training services.

Her various community and leadership roles allow her to learn from and engage with so many of our region’s nonprofit organizations. She is particularly focused on women and women in business and serves as the connector fostering new fruitful relationships and access to resources and information. She does all of this with kindness and a humble spirit.

Also, Keating Agency Insurance, where she plays a senior role, is deeply committed to making sure its surrounding community is thriving. It sponsors many local organizations and donates employee time and financial support to local events and invests in businesses that also help the community like Friends of Feeney, Elizabeth Park, local schools and youth organizations, Park Road Playhouse, UCONN School of Business family business ambassador program, and more. By investing in a vibrant and connected community, the agency knows it is making an impact and improving the region it enjoys serving and hopes to do so for generations to come.

Community Award: reSET’s Food Incubator by reSET (Social Enterprise Trust) in partnership with Hartford Culinary Collaborative

Watch their story here: https://youtu.be/rWUK6dcNQzI

The Food Incubator program supports entrepreneurs with a passion for food, culinary skill, and a viable food business idea by connecting them with mentors and resources to create and build a sustainable food business.

True to all reSET programs, entrepreneurs come to the Food Incubator at a variety of stages of development–from having a plan on a post-it to having launched a food business and looking for tools to grow. Since its launch in 2019, 67 businesses have come through the food incubator with business ideas ranging from packaged food products to plans for food trucks, pop-ups, delivery,  bakeries and restaurants.

The Food Incubator is managed by reSET in partnership with the Hartford Culinary Collaborative, comprised of 7 local organizations working together towards a common goal of establishing equitable pathways for food businesses to grow and thrive in Hartford. HCC members Hands On Hartford, Forge City Works, Knox, Community Solutions, Breakfast Lunch & Dinner, Parkville Market, and reSET all work together to strengthen the culinary landscape in Hartford by providing support and business development assistance to local food businesses along a spectrum of growth.

Pictured: Sarah Bodley, Executive Director at reSET, and has over 15 years of experience leading organizations focused on entrepreneurship and the arts. She is passionate about systems change, sustainability, equality and justice, and believes that business should be a positive force for change in the world.

Pictured: Stefanie Robles, Food Catalyst at reSET, manages the Food Incubator program. Stef shares their passion for empowering individuals and their communities through social entrepreneurship, food justice, and wellness. Stef believes in developing communities where people, and the businesses they create, can grow, connect and thrive with accessibility and intention.

Leadership Award: Dr. Agnes Quiñones, CT Department of Education

Watch her story here: https://youtu.be/T9CGAuqgXSY

Dr. Agnes Quiñones was born and raised in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. As an undergraduate student at UMASS- Amherst, Massachusetts, she was often the only Latina in many of her math and science classes. Dr. Quiñones holds advanced degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in future studies and Multicultural organization development.

She is committed to promoting academic excellence, and her leadership in the policy arena has significantly improved learning opportunities for young people, both during and after school. She is a great believer of lifelong learning. Dr. Quinones credits her maternal grandmother for her success and achievements. She is well known for her commitment to equity in education and is very passionate about opening doors for all underrepresented students.  Her colleagues regard her as brilliant and visionary, a true and inspiring leader, and they value her expertise. She is one of those who takes a good idea and makes it great, yet she knows how to collaborate and make all the partners feel appreciated.

For the last 30 years, she has served as Program Manager for state and federal funded after-school programs, Neighborhood Youth Centers Program (CT Alliance Boys and Girls Clubs),  First Robotics, Leadership, Education, Athletic Partnership (LEAP), Primary Mental Health Programs in the Connecticut State Department of Education.

Dr. Quiñones was selected as the 2008 Latina Citizen of the Year by the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission; was named the 2009 Latino de Oro Education Award Recipient by Hartford’s Identidad Latina Newspaper, was selected  the  2011 CT After School  Champion  by the After School Alliance , an nationally recognized organization. In 2013, Dr. Quinones was awarded the Literacy Advocacy Award by the Reading and Language Arts Department at Central Connecticut State University. Most recently, Dr. Quinones was selected as one of fifty most influential in state and local government after school leader by the National After School Alliance. Dr. Quiñones has contributed more to the growth of after-school programs in Connecticut than any other single individual.

For her leadership and commitment to our region and youth throughout the state, Leadership Greater Hartford is proud to honor Dr. Quiñones with the 2022 Leadership Polaris Award. 

Polaris 2022.

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