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Julie Daly Meehan

  • Hartford Young Professional and Entrepreneurs

Executive Director, HYPE (Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs), and Director of Investor Engagement & Digital Media

Julie is responsible for volunteer management, event planning, communications and member services for HYPE, which helps young professionals become better engaged in community life, expand professional and social opportunities and become ambassadors for the Hartford Region.

The group currently serves over 3,000 members with approximately 75 events each year.  To ensure HYPE’s success, Julie works closely with many organizations in the Greater Hartford area and with a group of about 80 dedicated volunteers across 7 HYPE Committees.  Julie has been recognized as a Hartford Business Journal “40 under Forty” winner and one of Hartford’s Finest Young Professionals by the Connecticut Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  She holds a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from The University of Connecticut (UCONN).

  • Young Professionals in Greater Hartford
  • Effective use of Social Media
  • Volunteer Management & Engagement
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Rebecca A. Nolan, EDP

  • Business Development

Vice President, Business Development, MetroHartford Alliance

Rebecca supports lead management and real estate services for business development activities in domestic and international markets. In this role, she is a liaison to the real estate brokerage, and site selection consultant communities. She provides consulting activities for municipalities, chambers of commerce and other economic development organizations.

Prior to joining the Alliance in 2005, Rebecca held positions with SullivanHayes Companies Northeast, LLC, a commercial retail brokerage firm located in Farmington.

Rebecca is a member of the Connecticut Economic Development Association (CEDAS), the Northeastern Economic Developers Association (NEDA), International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), and CoreNet Global Network (Corporate Real Estate Executives Network) CT/Westchester Chapter.  She also was the first recipient of the Lisa M. Kolodziej scholarship from CEDAS in 2009 to pursue her professional education in economic development.

In 2011, she received CEDAS President’s Award for outstanding contributions to the association. She is a major contributor to the communications committee and supports the CEDAS board on their initiatives and mission.

Rebecca currently serves on the program planning team for Northeast Utilities’ Community Builders Institute; Co-chairs the program committee for the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) CT ICSC Alliance; represents MetroHartford Alliance on the steering committee for the Hartford-Springfield Economic Partnership (HSEP); is a former board member for HSEP’s program; and sits on the Capital Campaign Steering Committee for Community Health Resource (CHR).

Rebecca holds a bachelor's degree in Graphic Design and Fine Arts from the University of Hartford, Hartford Arts School.  She graduated from of the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute and received her Economic Development Professional (EDP) designation from the Northeastern Economic Developers Association in 2010. 


  • Municipal economic development
  • International business recruitment and retention
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John J. Shemo

  • Business Development

Vice President and Director of Economic Development, MetroHartford Alliance

John Shemo has spent more than 30 years in municipal and regional planning and economic development in Connecticut.  

He served as Town Planner for East Hartford for eight years and as Economic Development Director for South Windsor for eight years. 

In 1993 John was named thHe served as Town Planner for East Hartford for eight years and as Economic Development Director for South Windsor for eight years. 

In 1993 John was named the first executive director of the Corporation for Regional Economic Development serving southeastern Connecticut. In 1993 he joined the Connecticut Capitol Region Growth Council as Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and was later named Executive Vice President. As part of a merger between the Growth Council and the MetroHartford Chamber of Commerce, he became the Vice President and Director of Economic Development for the MetroHartford Alliance.     

His community work includes having served as President of the East Hartford Rotary Club. He currently serves as a Director of Capital Workforce Partners and the Capital Community College Foundation Board.  In 1980, he served as a member of the Governor’s Aquifer Protection Task Force, which established statewide regulations governing the protection of aquifers.
He is a Past President of the Connecticut Economic Development Association as well as the Northeastern Economic Developers Association. In 2002 John received the Developer of the Year Award from the CT Chapter of NEDA and in 2006 was named Member of the year by NEDA. In 2010 he was named Member of the Year by the Connecticut Economic Development Association.  John was named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International in 2000.
John earned his B.A. in Urban Studies from the University of Connecticut, and his Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Hartford.


  • Young Professionals
  • Higher Education – adult degree completion, student retention
  • Innovation/Entrepreneurship
  • Municipal and regional economic development
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Susan Winkler

  • Insurance and Financial Services Cluster (IFS)

Executive Director, Connecticut Insurance & Financial Services Cluster

Susan represents the workforce and business interests of 30 major insurance and financial services companies in the state through marketing, development and lobbying efforts. 

Previously Susan worked as Facilities Strategy Manager at The Hartford Financial Services Group where she assisted the site expansion and consolidation activities of its U.S. real estate portfolio of 6 million square feet. More specifically, Susan negotiated economic development incentives on behalf of The Hartford and evaluated demographic criteria used in making site selection decisions.  Prior to The Hartford, Susan worked as Director of Real Estate at the Connecticut Economic Resource Center [CERC] where she led all real estate activities including the development of the SiteFinder database.

Susan is active President for Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance or NINA for the last eight years and currently acts as Co-Chair of the Advisory Board for High School, Inc. Hartford’s public high school dedicated to insurance and finance.  She also resides on CCSU’s School of Business Advisory Council and UConn’s Actuarial Science Program Board.
Susan received her B.A. from CCSU, and has a Business Masters Certificate from UCONN’s School of Business.


  • Data and trends in the current and future IFS workforce
  • Legislative affairs
  • IFS career opportunities within Hartford public schools and local post-secondary institutions
  • Support of the Insurance Capital of the U.S. brand within the Hartford region
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Martin Estey

  • Career Beginnings

Martin Estey is Executive Director of the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education, an association of twelve institutions of higher learning located in the Greater Hartford region.

The Consortium fosters partnerships across all sectors to ensure and enhance the role of the higher education community in the educational and economic health of the region.  The Consortium administers the Career Beginnings program, and, in collaboration with the MetroHartford Alliance, administers the Graduate!CT adult return to learning program. Both programs are geared toward college access for all. Martin works closely with employers in the region as well as with local colleges and universities, as well as with the philanthropic foundations and corporations that support these program. Prior to joining the non-profit sector, Martin worked as a high school teacher and administrator and as an adjunct college instructor. Martin holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Temple University.


  • LIFG (Low-income, first-generation) college access issues
  • Adult, non-traditional college access issues
  • College retention and persistence
  • Public/CBO/Corporate partnerships
  • Mentor programs
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