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Member Spotlight – Rebecca Walkinshaw

Rebecca WalkinshawMeet Rebecca Walkinshaw, Insurance Coorinator at Commerce Park Children’s Dentristry and Orthodontics, and YEP Board Member!

Employer: Commerce Park Children’s Dentistry &

Title: Insurance Coordinator

YEP: Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do:

RW: I have been with my office for the past 6 years. I have worked throughout the office, face to face, over the phone and now in the insurance and billing side of things. I really love my job and the people I work with. I spend most of the day collecting payments from insurance companies and speaking with them in order to get the patient the most benefits possible.

YEP: How did you find out about YEP and why did you want to get involved?

RW: My office manager, Allison, introduced me to YEP. Once I attended the information session, I realized that I wanted to be involved with the events that were going on. I think there are some great ideas and am excited to help get the YEP name out into the community.

YEP: Which YEP event has been your favorite so far?

RW: I really enjoy the board meetings actually. I think it is a great place to brainstorm as to new ideas and helping revise existing plans that have been done. I’m looking forward to the future events, especially getting involved with the mentoring program in Shelton schools.

YEP: Tell us more about you. What are your future aspirations?

RW: I was just accepted to SCSU grad program for my MBA in finance, which begins in September, so that is an exciting and nerve racking road that I will be going on. I always loved school and I am ready to further my education to be more well versed in the finance aspect of things.

YEP: Any fun facts or most interesting thing that’s ever happened to you?

RW: This will be my 3rd year riding in Smilow’s Closer to Free bike ride on September 9th. I will be riding 62.5 miles in memory of my mom Diane. I love that I can help raise money for a great cause and be able to enjoy the ride with family and friends cheering me on the whole way.

Member Spotlight – Peter Gerardi



Welcome to the Young Emerging Professional’s Member Spotlight, where YEP sits down with one of our members and sees what they’re up to. These folks are the heart and soul behind our events and our mission.

This month we’re proud to present Peter Gerardi:

Employer: Newtown Savings Bank in Shelton

Title: Branch Manager, Assistant Vice President, Newtown Savings Bank in Shelton

YEP: Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do:

PG: Back in Mid-April this year, I joined Newtown Savings Bank managing the Shelton Branch located on Bridgeport Ave. My responsibilities cover all areas of retail banking, including sales, service, operations, and staff supervision. I enjoy my direct interaction with the local customers and advising them with their
banking needs. Business development and community involvement are included in my responsibilities, however I do have personal enjoyment fulfilling those duties.

YEP: How did you find out about YEP and why did you want to get involved?

PG: I was attending a Greater Valley Chamber event, Schmooz-a- Palooza (love the name), where I met Nancie Gray. During our conversation, I explained how I was looking to get involved with a local social/networking group but also have an interest in community involvement and volunteering. With no
hesitation, she suggested I investigate joining YEP. After meeting with Kayleigh, it was clear, with her leadership, this group has significant benefits to be affiliated with.

YEP: Which YEP event has been your favorite so far?

PG: I have not yet attended too many events however I’m really looking forward to upcoming Mystery on Main. Sounds like a good time trying to figure out the “who done it” with an interactive murder mystery. I grew up playing Clue!

YEP: Tell us more about you. What are your future aspirations?

PG: I sincerely enjoy working with individuals and businesses with their financials goals and plans.Hearing their stories and how they arrived where they are today is so personal. Where ever my future takes me, I am sure it will be using my experience and knowledge to help others.

YEP: Any fun facts or most interesting thing that’s ever happened to you?

PG: My family has been getting into bicycling now that my youngest, who is 5, is ready to take the training wheels off. For our family vacation this summer, we did a road trip visiting friends and family we don’t get to see often. We visited Washington DC, Charlotte, NC, Atlanta, GA, and Oak Island, NC. We took bike rides at each stop along the trip but my favorite was riding to around DC seeing the monuments. It was a memorable experience for all of us.

Pinktoberfest 2015!



Date: October 8, 2015
Location: Molto Bene in Ansonia

Register for Pinktoberfest 2015!

This special fundraiser for the Hewitt Center for Breast Wellness at Griffin Hospital is open to all 21+

This year YEP is featuring a variety of SuperHero themed games that will entertain and amaze attendees. Prizes promise to be legendary. There will be a selfie station with costumes for all types of heros to show off their best poses. Capes and masks welcome (and will be available for those who forget their own.) Lots of food, prize drawings and more!



Member Spotlight – Kayleigh Apicerno


We’re proud to present YEP’s current Chair, Kayleigh Apicerno:
Employer: R.D. Scinto, Cloud Media Marketing
Title: Receptionist/ Marketing Coordinator at R.D. Scinto. Owner of Cloud Media Marketing

YEP: Tell us a bit about what you do?

KA: I recently joined the team at R.D. Scinto. I am the Receptionist and Marketing Coordinator, responsible for the marketing communications and social media. After 5, I switch hats and work on my business, Cloud Media Marketing, training individuals and small business owners social media.

YEP: Tell us a bit about yourself?

KA: This is always the most difficult question! When I am not working, I spend my time learning. I really believe that it is important to learn something new every day. With the Internet at our fingertips, there are no excuses. Currently, my favorite pastimes include Coursera and Duolingo. I’m learning Italian a little each day!

YEP: What is your role with YEP?

KA: I am the current Chair of YEP.

YEP: What is it about YEP that you like?

KA: Getting to know other young professionals in the area. I have made so many friends and learned so much about the community thanks to this organization. Being a part of this group and seeing what my fellow peers are able to do have inspired me in many ways. I almost certainly would not have taken the leap and actually opened my own business. I also find it very fulfilling to give my time to the various causes in the area.

YEP: Future aspirations?

KA: As I mentioned, I just recently started my new position and my business, so I am working on figuring everything out. And of course, I am working very hard to make YEP a well-known and respected organization here in the Valley.

YEP: Any fun facts or most interesting thing that’s ever happened to you?

KA: Let’s see. This past March, I went on a trip to St. Lucia in the Caribbean. It was my first time out of the country besides a brief visit to Canada when I was 9. It was a gorgeous island. I did not use my phone or any technology the whole time I was away (besides taking photos)! It was tough, especially since my business is social media, but somehow I made it through!

Lessons From The First CEO Speaks of 2015


On April 14, 2015, I had the opportunity to attend the YEP CEO Speaks event hosted by Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan. The speaker was the CEO of the bank, William Calderara. Right from the start I knew it was going to be an interesting talk and I was not let down.


What is CEO Speaks?

Before I go any further, I want to describe what a CEO Speaks event is. The Young Emerging Professionals hold a variety of events throughout the year. The most well known is the monthly after hours networking events called YEPresents. These events really allow local young professionals to connect with each other. YEP regularly participates in a wide variety of volunteer activities to support the community. These include holding the annual Pinktoberfest during Valley Goes Pink, and Bowl-2-Benefit for BHCare. CEO Speaks and other developmental events are held, on average, once a quarter.


CEO Speaks, in particular, are lunch and learn type events where YEP members get the chance to listen to and have discussions with a CEO or other local business leader. They share how they got to where they are and what lessons they learned along the way. Leadership skills develop over time through practice, learning, and mentorship. Being able to be in a room with a local business leader provides a great opportunity to young professionals to ask a question or two and receive answers straight from a live and in person leader.


Mr. Calderara Speaks

The CEO Speaks lunch and learn was only one hour and that included time for food, which was kindly provided by NVSL. In just this short period of time, Mr. Calderara spoke clearly and concisely on a variety of topics. In the interest of time, I am only going to write about four of them here.


Point 1

CEO_placement_trianglesOne of the first talking points that William Calderara made was the way on the way he described his place in the company. He drew two triangles on the board and labeled them as seen in the image above. His point was that he sees himself at the bottom and it is his job to support everyone above him. This also puts the customer at the top as the most important part of the business. With this as a starting point, it started to become easier to see how he was able to help transform his company into the much more successful one it is today.


Point 2

The second point Mr. Calderara made was something that I have already been trying to do. It was great to hear that I was on the right track and that it will hopefully help me and everyone else that was in the room. Basically, he said learn everyday and learn all you can. Try out different jobs when possible and step outside your comfort zone. Not only will learning a variety of skills help with general professional development, it will also help to prepare you for a position in leadership.Besides actually working in different roles, Mr. Calderara suggested volunteering for different projects. Sit on different committees and work with others gain as much experience as possible.


Point 3

Towards the end of the hour, I heard a phrase that I have heard a thousand times, “Don’t be afraid to fail.” The second half was new to me, “It’s cheaper than a Harvard MBA.” How true is that? Failing and learning from the mistake is, to a degree, very much cheaper than a Master’s degree from an Ivy league school. This is not saying all mistakes or failures won’t cost you or your company a lot of money, but day to day, this holds true.


Point 4

One last point I wanted to make sure to include is the following. Mr. Calderara has made a point of talking to people. This includes employees and customers. He said he likes to hear about the “stupid stuff,” the seemingly trivial day to day items that many employees would usually not want to bother management with. By hearing what is really on the minds of the employees and customers, a manager can see and respond to the little things that usually matter the most. He encouraged everyone who steps into a leadership position to talk to people. Get out of the office and onto the floor or out with the customers.


If you have read this far, thank you and I hope it was worth your time. As mentioned above, CEO Speaks and other events are held by YEP on a regular basis. If you would like to stay up to date on upcoming events, Like YEP on Facebook, follow @CTYEP on twitter, visit, or send your email address to to be added to the email distribution list. I look forward to seeing you at the next event.

Member Spotlight – Elizabeth Potenza

Elizabeth Potenza

Welcome to the Young Emerging Professional’s Member Spotlight, where each month YEP will sit down with one of our members and see what they’re up to.

This month we’re proud to present YEP’s Elizabeth (Libby) Potenza (YEP’s Marketing Committee Chair):

Employer: Sacred Heart University

Title: Program Assistant, SHU Online and Cohort Programs

YEP: Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do:
EP: I am a graduate of Shelton High and Uconn. I work in the School of Nursing at Sacred  Heart University. I primarily work with RNs who want to obtain their Bachelors and/or Masters Degree(s). Most of our students take their classes in an online format. We also have several cohorts of students in area hospitals — they learn in a hybrid format (online and onsite in their places of employment). I truly enjoy working at Sacred Heart because of its emphasis on social justice and bettering the community.

YEP: How did you find out about YEP and why did you want to get involved?
EP: I noticed that some of my Facebook friends were involved with YEP, so I decided to check out a YEPresent event last year. I had been looking for a way to be more involved with the local community and YEP was a perfect fit! It has opened up many volunteering opportunities for me.

YEP: Which YEP event has been your favorite so far?
EP: Shakespeare in the Bar at Porky’s last March has been my favorite event so far. It was so fun to be in an open space with the play unfolding right in front of us. Some of the audience members were even asked to participate. I’m looking forward to this event again this year.

YEP: Tell us more about you. What are your future aspirations?
EP: I worked in human resources and non-fiction publishing before I got into higher education. I want to continue in higher ed and eventually get a Masters in Applied Psychology or Business. Besides YEP, I’m also involved with the SHU-ERC (Emergency Reserve Corps) through work. We help to keep SHU and the surrounding area safe in the event of a natural or manmade disaster. My interests include movies (especially independent ones), dancing (Nia and Zumba), and food (especially organic and locally grown). I also love spoiling my rescue cat named Tabitha (Tabby for short).

YEP: Any fun facts or most interesting thing that’s ever happened to you?
EP: I’ve gotten to meet several famous authors in person including David Sedaris, Anna Quindlen, Elizabeth Gilbert, Wally Lamb, and Ann Leary. My favorite recent read is “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.

YEPresent @ Red Lotus

The first YEPresent of 2015 will be held on Thursday, January 8th from 5:30 – 7:30PM at Red Lotus in Shelton.

Join us for a couple of hours of casual networking and fun. Connect with local peers and neighbors.

Please bring some cash with you as we will be raising money for a local family who is facing possible foreclosure and a pile of medical bills. For more information, visit  and share #savenurseginny online.

We are looking forward to an amazing 2015!

To preresister for this event, follow this link

YEPresent Networking Crawl

Our next monthly after hours will be a networking crawl. Earn tickets along the way for a chance to win some really awesome prizes!

Here is what we know so far:
-We will meet in the post office parking lot in Shelton at 5:30. Registration will be from 5:30-6:00.
-Bring non perishable foods to earn tickets right from the start.
Certain items will get you double tickets, so stay tuned for details.
-We will visit 3 local bar/restaurants on Center Street. Once they are confirmed, we will announce which ones.
-We will end at Bricks & Barley for some extra chances to earn tickets, share what we have learned, and announce winners.
-Ari will be hosting us at our final stop!

Details will be coming soon and preregistration will be highly encouraged for this event, so hit JOIN to make sure you get all the announcements.

Special Event! PULSE Nov 2014 Happy Hour and Concert

Young professional groups from around CT gather together for a happy hour and a concert.

Happy Hour is FREE to YEPs when they preregister & tickets for the concert are discounted.

Concert, you say? Yup! Fitz & The Tantrums will be playing under the dome. Stay for the show for just $25 per ticket.

From the PULSE website:
Calling young professional groups from around Connecticut!

Join us for a special combined happy hour followed by a concert at the Oakdale! Enjoy a reduced concert ticket price of $25 when you pre-register and indicate that you’d like to reserve a ticket. No ticket required for happy hour. Space limited to the first 200 registrants from PULSE, HYPE, YEP, CTYP, YPS, and FLY.

PULSE, HYPE, YEP, CTYP, YPS, and FLY members are free, and non-members are $10. All attendees enjoy appetizers, a complimentary drink, raffles, and great networking!

$25 for concert tickets for all guests – ticket reservation required with online registration

*Purchase your reserved ticket upon arrival at the event.


PULSE Nov 2014 Happy Hour and Concert Flyer