By Nan Price, Content Manager, MetroHartford Alliance
Slalom consultant Victoria Parisi is working to make a difference in the Hartford Region.
VICTORIA PARISI: I was born and raised in Hartford County and grew up in the suburbs. I later went on to Sport and Medical Sciences Academy (SMSA) right next to the Colt Building, which really cemented my love of Hartford.
What impact did you hope/are you making/do you plan to make in the Hartford Region?
VICTORIA: I wish there were more hours in the day…
With my work at Slalom, I try to bring ideas to the office that will help Hartford. Last year, we created a book drive for students in need within Hartford Public Schools. I drove all over Connecticut to pick up books and drop them off. It was really rewarding since I graduated from the school system.
I’m also providing pro-bono work for an emerging nonprofit outside of work that helps after a loved one has completed suicide, called Honor Connor. I’m always looking to help emerging nonprofits or startups in the Hartford area get their feet off the ground.
How have you become a part of Hartford?/How has Hartford become a part of who you are?
VICTORIA: My dad really helped grow my love of Hartford. As a little kid, I was often in the city for New Year’s Eve for First Night or visiting historic places like the Hill-Stead Museum or the Mark Twain House and Museum. My dad took me to Elizabeth Park almost every year for the Rose Week Celebration. He knew the history of every house or building in Hartford, especially the Colt Building and factories, and made it so fascinating to me.
I also got the opportunity to go downtown at a young age and experience Take Your Child to Work Day in the blue building on pearl street or just visit my dad for lunch in the park. To a little kid, it felt like a big city.
Going to SMSA also made me love the people and the culture Hartford brings with it.
What makes Hartford unique?
VICTORIA: Hartford is part of so many stories in history. I mean Mark Twain lived here! There’s so much history of manufacturing including Colt, Stanley Black & Decker, Pratt & Whitney. Automobiles were even once produced here. Hartford has made so many products and services that still change lives today.
Hartford is also unique because you can go for a hike within 20 minutes and be at the beach within an hour. You have access to the city feel and the ability to get out of the hustle and bustle.
How do you “tell the story” of Hartford?
VICTORIA: The story of Hartford is truly the history of Hartford. If you haven’t researched it, go to the libraries or museums to understand why Harriett Beecher Stowe loved the city. Part of the Connecticut Freedom Trail runs through Hartford!
Even the new history is incredible. The city is establishing new places every day, like Parkville Market, an incredible new public market that provides new opportunities for small business owners to get their food out there. Places like Parkville Market don’t only help people inside the city who want to start a business, but also attract people to go to a side of the city they might not otherwise visit. It really is a win-win. Hartford is entering into the next chapter of its story and it’s just getting started.