Organizing Team

Patrice Gans is the Executive Director of Random Hacks of Kindness. Random Hacks of Kindness Junior Inc (RHoK Jr.) is a nonprofit agency that provides elementary and middle school children (specifically 4th-8th grade) the opportunity to come together as problem solvers and innovators to make the world a better place.


RHoK Jr. Inc., in partnership with local schools, universities, businesses and charitable organizations, provides local youth the chance to create mobile apps for their communities. RHoK Jr. promotes “hacking” for good causes and computer science education for all. There has been a lot of press lately about exposing students to computer programming the “app competitions” and “hackathons”. RHoK Jr. embraces that concept, while simultaneously providing students a venue for focusing on solving real problems for real people.


RHoK Jr. Inc. was formed in direct response to the growing demand for computing skills in the workforce. The goal of the organization is to introduce students to the growing field of computer science and technology. The ultimate goal of the event is to empower students while simultaneously fueling their enthusiasm for a potential career in computer science. The anticipated short term outcomes is for participants to learn a variety of problem-solving skills, to become more familiar with the problems and concerns of their local community and the wider national community, and lastly to develop basic skills with computer programming.

Proven track record of product placement and bringing initiatives to major companies and universities globally. Current track record includes managing and increasing the yearly business growth of Diversity and Inclusion associations. In this role, I average above quota in sales year to date. Responsible for a portfolio that averages over 3M in sales yearly.

Over 5 years of consulting and career center management for associations that include; The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), and the College Diversity Network/HBCU Business Deans. Lead account executive for a team managing D&I associations, with an emphasis on pitching and delivering products that disrupt the market.

Over 10 years of experience in event production & brand management. Transformed a talent showcase into an incubator for emerging artists and an economic driver reaching over 65 cities. For more information please click here.

I help my clients plan well for today and the future through our exclusive Confident Retirement® approach. It starts with a personalized conversation about covering essentials, ensuring lifestyle, preparing for the unexpected and leaving a legacy. By breaking your financial goals down into doable steps, I can help take the uncertainty out of planning for your financial future. In fact, 90% of Ameriprise clients who have had the Confident Retirement conversation feel more confident about retirement1. I’m here to help you feel more confident, too. When you have the right financial advisor, life can be brilliant.

Bernard Kavaler is Managing Principal of Express Strategies, a strategic communications and public policy consulting business he founded in 2012. The firm has expertise in advocacy writing, media relations, content development, speech writing and crisis communication, and through the Express Strategies Collaborative teams with top-notch professionals in social media, graphic design and video profile production.


Bernard has worked with entrepreneurial businesses in Connecticut, organizations focusing on finance, law, business, civic involvement and higher education, and is an Adjunct Faculty member in the University of Hartford’s School of Communication. During a previous career in journalism, he was recognized by the Connecticut Associated Press for outstanding cooperation in news coverage. He founded, manages and compiles Connecticut by the Numbers, the state’s leading numbers-driven news website.

Ryan Keating, CIC, CLCS, is a third-generation insurance agent, entrepreneur, and community builder.  Prior to returning home to Connecticut in 2016, Ryan spent time in California and Dallas working with professional sports teams, startups, and large group health insurance/employee benefit clients.  Since returning to Connecticut Ryan has completed two designations – Certified Insurance Councilor, CIC and Commercial Lines Coverage Specialist, CLCS – as he works to build the commercial insurance division, continuing the half century generational success The Keating Agency has provided clients with insurance peace of mind for their home, car, or business.

Ryan has always been active in young professional organizations, serving as chair of the Association for Corporate Growth Young Professionals in Dallas, TX and Founding President of FLOW – Future Leaders of West Hartford.  Today Ryan serves as a board member for the Young Insurance Professionals of Connecticut and one of the founding committee members for the CT Professionals Leadership Academy.

Giving back to the community is important and Ryan co-founded a monthly happy hour, Finest Hours/Greater Hartford Gives Back, to highlight local non-profits and create volunteer opportunities.  You can also tune into the Experience We-Ha Podcast, co-hosted by Ryan, featuring local movers and shakers in the West Hartford area.

Ryan is an active participant and speaker with Insurtech Hartford and the UCONN School of Business.

Bill Kenney is the founder of MEET. MEET helps international B2B companies exhibit at U.S. trade shows. Bill is also Soft Land Partner, a global consortium of organizations  and service providers that help companies internationalize and enter new markets.

Paige Rasid is the Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner at the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). Serving as the assistant and liaison to the Deputy Commissioner-DECD. Responsible for the daily operations of several divisions; assist in special projects, research, and budget control. Paige has a rich history of working for some of the states leading entrepreneur facing organizations from TIP, UCONN’s Technology Incubation Program to the CT Technology Council.

Laura Stetler is a Program Manager for the Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC). The WBDC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing the tools and resources to help women thrive in business. They believe that when desire, education, and preparation come together, opportunities are created, ideas are ignited, and economies are expanded.

Rob Zielonka is a Senior Manager, Commodity Management at Collins Aerospace. Collins Aerospace works side-by-side with its customers to tackle the toughest challenges in aerospace and defense. They combine boundless imagination with a broad portfolio and an unmatched dedication to customers – all to make the skies and spaces we touch smarter, safer and more amazing than ever. They are redefining aerospace.

Thanks for registering!

We’ve sent you an email with a verification link. Simply click the link and you’ll be set to start voting for your favorite CT Entrepeneurs!

Login or Register in Order to Vote

Please create an account or login to vote. When creating an account you will be sent a verification link that must be clicked to verify your email address.