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Jazna Stannard is Program Specialist at Launc[H]artford. She’s also spearheading the “Capitol Hearts” initiative that will display large hearts with encouraging messages on the Hartford State Capitol lawn May 6 through 17. The hearts are being made at MakerspaceCT.

Why Hartford?

JAZNA STANNARD: I moved here from Boston for an incredible job opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I was an entrepreneur and innovator prior to taking this job, mainly within the nonprofit sector through social innovation. I saw this job posting through a couple different mediums. Professor David Garvey, who is Director of the Nonprofit Leadership Program at the University of Connecticut, where I got a non-profit management certificate emailed me information about the job posting, thinking I may be interested. I already had previous jobs, but I got the position with Launch and I pushed all those other responsibilities to the side to do this full-time.

What impact do you hope to make here in Hartford?

JAZNA: With my background in the nonprofit sector, I hope to continue to be involved in that regard. That is, however, outside of my 9-to-5. I’ve already joined some community organizations, including HYPE (Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs) and Hartford Decide$. I’m in the Leadership Greater Hartford Quest cohort and I’m on the steering committee for the United Way Emerging Leaders Society Case Competition.

Through my job with Launch, I really want to grow the startup ecosystem. Hartford is an innovation hub. Beyond my roles and responsibilities, in the next two years, I want to shift more to focusing on culture and entrepreneurship life, helping create and promote Hartford as a city where entrepreneurs want to come because of the lifestyle.

What makes Hartford unique?

JAZNA: I’m happy here. I’ve found a lot of great ethnic food and coffee shops. I love the outdoors and I’ve been enjoying visiting local parks like Elizabeth Park and Bushnell Park, which I can see from my apartment.

The opportunities are endless in Hartford. There’s a huge amount of potential for growth, opportunity, and there’s definitely an eclectic group of stories to be told and heard.