By Nan Price, Content Manager, MetroHartford Alliance
MetroHartford Alliance Chief Operating Officer Julie Daly Meehan enjoys the city’s perfect size and loves the life she’s created in the Hartford Region.
JULIE DALY MEEHAN: I’m a Connecticut girl through and through. I grew up in this area. My parents met in Hartford and grew up in Wethersfield. I went to the University of Connecticut. I spent a semester away, so I got a taste of what it’s like to live in another city, but ultimately knew I wanted to stay in Hartford.
What impact do you plan to make in the Hartford Region through the MHA?
JULIE: One thing that’s unique to my experience with the MHA is how long I’ve been here and the different roles I’ve served. In joining the Alliance team in 2007 through HYPE (Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs), my hope then was to help reshape the negative perceptions around Hartford by helping young professionals explore and get involved in the city.
Working in my first job out of college at Leadership Greater Hartford, I learned so much about the city and realized just how much I love Hartford. And when I saw the posting for the HYPE job, I was really excited for the opportunity to help other young professionals understand why.
Building and maintaining a group of young people committed to the betterment of the city during the great recession was no easy task, but we did it. We inspired a generation of young professionals who are rising into leadership positions today and their commitment to the Hartford Region remains strong.
I’ve since taken on different roles with the Alliance in investor relations, where I expanded my network beyond young professionals and further into the businesses in the area, learning what’s important to them and why they’re invested in the Hartford area. Now, in the Chief Operating Officer role, I’m focused on the health and wellbeing of the MHA as an organization and our staff. And I’m honored to be a part of this team that works tirelessly to help the Hartford Region improve and continually celebrate its strengths.
How have you become a part of Hartford and how has Hartford become a part of you?
JULIE: Clearly, HYPE had a lot to do with my connection to Hartford. Not only has my career been built around HYPE and the MetroHartford Alliance, but I have a lot to thank the organization for in my personal life as well. I met my husband through HYPE. We were married in Hartford at the Bushnell by Oz Griebel, the former President and CEO of the MetroHartford Alliance, who was actually responsible for getting us both involved in HYPE when it was being created. We enjoyed years of downtown living and formed close-knit friendships with our neighbors, who we are still close with today.
We have a bench in Bushnell Park that looks up at the apartment that we shared. And now, when we bring our three kids there, we have so many great Hartford stories to tell them and inspire them to love the city as much as we do.
What makes Hartford unique?
JULIE: I think Hartford’s perfect size is what makes it unique. It’s a large enough city to be a hub for businesses of all kinds, from startups to corporations—not to mention the extensive and impactful nonprofit sector. It’s also small enough that the connectivity of its people is incredible—people who are interested in the same things find or are introduced to each other very quickly, and that helps create a sense of community and belonging that’s unmatched in larger areas.
How do you tell the story of Hartford?
JULIE: Since Hartford has so much to offer, I try to take a personalized approach when I tell that story, helping whoever I’m talking with connect with Hartford’s version of whatever it is that’s important to them. Because whatever it is, it’s here. And helping people make their own personal connections is at the heart of what we do at the Alliance.