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 – Veronica Parsloe


Employer: Parent Child Resource Center (PCRC)

Title: Director of Development & Marketing

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

VP: My position with PCRC is administrative-based, focusing on anything from financial development, such as fundraising and grant writing, to marketing initiatives, such as coordinating the shoot of a promotional video for the agency or re-branding to make sure our logo and other branding standards are implemented throughout the organization.

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

VP: For a long time, I have wanted to be a member of a young professionals group so that I can meet new people in the area and increase my network to have resources to provide me with feedback on my professional work, and to also work on interesting new projects in the community. Specifically since joining YEP I have had the pleasure of meeting many young professionals who have helped me learn more about the Valley, from champions in the community to the best place to grab lunch.

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

VP: Shakespeare in the Bar. I have a bit of a theatre background in my family, so I was excited to see a performance in a new way. Also, one of our members played a primary role, so it was fun to learn more about a new friend.

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

VP: I would like to become an Executive Director of a healthcare non-profit. I hope to go to school for a Masters in Healthcare Management, a Healthcare MBA, or a similar degree so I can learn more about the business end of running an organization.

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

VP: I almost went pro playing tennis. Unfortunately I have a re-occurring issue with my wrist so I was not able to pursue that career. I was lucky enough to learn about development and marketing at the early age of 16 and have been working in the field ever since. I began volunteering at an earlier age, and volunteering is what led me to my true passion. I love volunteering and never thought of it as a “chore,” the way many people do. Tell me a more fulfilling way to get involved with your community and meet new people. Volunteer experiences alone have allowed me to grow so much, not just professionally but also in my personal life. I was in AmeriCorps and had a great time. I hope to join the Peace Corps later in life.

When I’m not working, I am kayaking, hiking or checking out a new restaurant. I have a guinea pig named Glen Coco and a yorkie, Atticus. I love traveling and hope to go on a road trip this summer.

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.

Letter To Members From Incoming Chair, Kayleigh Apicerno

me photo YEPHello All!

For those of you who do not know me, my name is Kayleigh Apicerno, and I will be your YEP Chair for 2015.

Over the past 3 years, I have been the Secretary and Marketing Committee Chair along with being the Co-Chair of the sub-committee for Pinktoberfest in 2013 and the Chair of this committee in 2014.

I have many ideas on how to grow and develop YEP during 2015 and cannot wait to get started. I am confident that with a laser focus on our 3 main pillars, ConnectDevelop, and Support, we will be able to build relationships, develop new skills, and support our community.

To those of you who have been a part of the Young Emerging Professionals, thank you for being a part of a great organization. You know how special our group is!

To those of you who are just joining us, on behalf of the committee and members, welcome!

It will take a dedicated team to reach our 2015 goals. Is it your time to emerge? Consider attending the following committee and board meetings. No registration or commitment required.

1st Board Meeting of 2015 
Monday, January 5, 2015
Meeting starting at 5:30PM
To be held at GVCC office
10 Progress Dr, Shelton, CT 06484

YEPresent @ Red Lotus
Thursday, January 8, 2015
5:30 – 7:30PM at Red Lotus
872 Bridgeport Ave, Shelton, CT 06484 (Stop & Shop Plaza)

I look forward to seeing you in 2015.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or comments either through email, or on or Twitter @CTYEP. I personally check all of these contact points and will return your message.

Kayleigh Apicerno
2015 YEP Chair

The Young Emerging Professionals is a networking group for people in their 20s and 30s who live, work, or play in the Valley. Our goal is to Connect with each other, Develop professional and personal skills, and Support the community.

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

Open House / Board Selections

YEP Open House

Want to get involved or know someone who would make a good addition to our organization? Join us at Vazzy’s on December 3rd at 5:30PM.

This is your opportunity to join the board and/or a committee. Our Board terms run from January through December. We need to fill a few positions for the upcoming 2015 term.

Food will be provided. We look forward to making things happen next year, and we need you in order to meet our goals!


Vice chair
Marketing Committee Chair
Events Committee Chair
Sponsorship Committee Chair
Community Outreach Chair

The Young Emerging Professionals is a networking group for people in their 20s and 30s who live, work, or play in the Valley. Our goal is to Connect with each other, Develop professional and personal skills, and Support the community.

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

Member Spotlight – Fernando Solis

Fernando Head ShotWelcome to the Young Emerging Professional’s Member Spotlight, where we sit down with one of our members and see what they’re up to.

Employer: Hampton Inn Shelton Managed by New Castle Hotels and Resorts

Title: General Manager

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do: I have been in the hospitality Industry for about 14 years now I have worked for many of the popular hotel chains and brands like Marriott, Starwood, and I am currently working for the best brand, Hampton Inn. In my position as General Manager, I lead a team of 30 employees and I focus on four man objectives: revenue growth, bottom line profit, guest satisfaction, and employee satisfaction.  I love this industry because every day there is something new and challenging.  I have been blessed with a great staff and a wonderful hotel. In the three years since it opened, we have received many awards from Hilton.  In 2012, we won the Lighthouse award that is given to the top 5% of Hampton Inn for Service and Quality, and in 2013, we received the Circle of Excellence award for being in the top 10% for Service and Quality.

How did you find out about YEP and why did you want to get involved? Not being from the Valley, I wanted to find out more of what was going on in the community.  I started attending more and more Chamber functions, where I met Thomas and Sue Steeves.  They invited me to a YEPresent, and I have been going ever since.  New Castle Hotels and Resorts believe in giving back to the community and lending a helping hand.  I always tell people we might not be able to give much money but I can always give you my time …and the occasional gift certificate for a free night.

Which YEP event has been your favorite so far?  I do have to say Pinktoberfest is a blast. Being a cancer survivor, I love giving to any organization that would help cure this horrible disease.

Tell us more about you. What are your future aspirations? I am originally from a small town in Texas, but I have been in Connecticut for about 21 years now.  I like to say I am on a really long vacation in Connecticut because Texas will always be home. I have many hobbies. I love to golf, hike, and being from Texas, I love to BBQ.  I am a cancer survivor from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and I have learned to live life with a positive attitude and face difficulties head on.

I love the hospitality industry and one day I would love a full service hotel, but my dream job would be to open and operate a BBQ place.

Any fun facts or most interesting thing that’s ever happened to you? In my 14 years in the hotel industry I have seen and witnessed many interesting things.  I have met and hung out with many celebrities like Joey McIntyre from New Kids on the Block, Alice Cooper,112 (had birthday cake with them), Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, Carrot Top, Terry Bradshaw, BB King, and Ray Charles.

My favorite person I have ever met was just last week.  I met an eleven year old little girl who had beaten leukemia.  This tiny person went through years of Chemo and treatments and is now in remission. She was full of life and so happy it melted my heart. Every time I think I am having a bad day I think of her and how happy she was when we met.  This was a great reminder that no matter how bad things are, they could always be worse. Live a positive life and positive things will happen.This was a great reminder that no matter how bad things are, they can always be worse. Live a positive life and positive things will happen.