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A 2019 Exhibit by

Rebecca Rose Fine Portraits

Celebrating entrepreneurs of Connecticut during entrepreneur month is a wonderful privilege. Rebecca Rose Fine Portraits captured each entrepreneur in their own unique way. With many entrepreneurs the heart of their business is family. With others they are a strong independent entrepreneur paving the way to success and innovation. These entrepreneurs are inspirational and a very important part of their communities.

From manufacturing to scientist to interior design there is a wide range of entrepreneurs who all are the definition of success and deserve to be celebrated. They are an essential part of CT's economy


The exhibit will feature portraits of the entrepreneurs as well as a plaque with each of their biographies and will be displayed at the Capitol until November 29th. 

Rebecca is pleased to present the following portraits and biographies of the entrepreneurs featured in this exhibit and is deeply thankful for their participation and support. It is her hope that this exhibit will be an inspiration to others who have dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur. Please come and view the exhibit which is located at the Upper Concourse between the State Capitol and the Legislative Building.


Ashley Kalinauskas



Ashley is the founder and CEO of Torigen Pharmaceuticals, a start-up that resulted from her graduate thesis project at the University of Notre Dame. Ashley graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2012 with an undergraduate degree in Pathobiology, and went on to complete her Masters at the University of Notre Dame, graduating in 2013. Torigen and its product, an experimental autologous cancer vaccine, are based upon the research of Dr. Mark Suckow, her former University of Notre Dame professor.

When current treatment options aren’t right for pets with cancer, Torigen offers a different solution. We’re making personalized cancer treatment accessible for you and your clients. Our vaccine works as a supplement to surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. We utilize a surgically resected portion of tumor to capture the entire repertoire of potential antigens to include in a personalized cancer immunotherapy.

Brian Weinstein

Chapco, Inc.


Brian is the president and CEO of Chapco, Inc, a contract manufacturer specializing in metal fabrication, assembly and product development.  Over the past 10 years, he has led a team that has transformed Chapco from a regional sheet metal job shot to an international organization with tremendous capabilities.  During that time, Brian also founded or acquired 4 niche product companies. Denlar Fire was established in 2007 and manufactures and sells the original full-integrated fire suppression range hood.  Samsara Fitness was established in 2013 and manufactures and sells the Trueform Runner, a curved non-motorized treadmill. In 2014, Brian acquired Fastcorp Vending, a company that now manufactures and sells a portfolio of versatile and customizable machines incorporating the latest in technology to fully service all aspects of the unattended retail markets. Last year, Brian acquired Esico Triton, a company that manufactures and sells soldering equipment and accessories.  A serial entrepreneur at heart, Brian continues to lead teams that are on the forefront of innovation in multiple industries.  Brian received a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Rutgers University and an M.B.A. from the University of Connecticut. Brian and his wife Lauren share the entrepreneurial spirit and work on most phases of the business together. When not working, they like to be on the water, traveling or enjoying life with friends and family.


Sharon McCormick

Sharon McCormick Design


SHARON MCCORMICK  is an accomplished, forward-thinking business person with an entrepreneurial spirit. She is the CEO of Sharon McCormick Design, an East Coast residential interior design firm established in 2002, based in Hartford’s Pratt Street Historic District.


Sharon McCormick Design is known for creating elegant, comfortable homes which live as beautifully as they look. Each custom design is the personal signature of everything her clients are and everything they aspire to be. The firm’s portfolio reflects her clients’ individual design styles, from contemporary to traditional, and relaxed to formal. Clients receive a well-considered balance of aesthetics, practicality and investment.


Sharon has designed primary residences and vacation homes for clients in Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Washington D.C., Virginia, and Florida. Her firm won two Home Builders Association awards for a custom home in Vienna, VA.


Sharon is an Allied Member of AIA-CT, and a founding board member of Design Trust, Ltd. She is a graduate of Williams College, Western New England University College of Business (MBA), and Paier College of Art. Previously, Sharon was a fast-track CPA for PriceWaterhouseCoopers  and CFO of Electrical Dynamics.

Jessica Kissane

dapple + grey





dapple + grey greeting cards are designed, cut, and folded in Glastonbury, Connecticut, by two sisters with a passion for clean lines and the simple power of connection through the written word.

 Jessica, a work-at-home mother of two-year-old twins, strips the greeting card concept down to first principles; no sequins, glitter or lace, just well-placed words that speak to real human sentiments.

The simple inspiration of two hard workers creating a business was so important for Rebecca Rose Fine Portraits to celebrate in this exhibit. Showing that it only takes action on a thought to create a life long dream.


Abby Kilgore, AKBD

The Inspired Kitchen LLC


Abby Kilgore is the proud founder and owner of The Inspired Kitchen LLC, based out of Glastonbury, CT.  After graduating Paier College of Art in Hamden, CT with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design she started her career in the Kitchen and Bath industry.  Since 2009 she has acted as a designer and project manager for hundreds of amazing projects throughout Connecticut.  In 2018 she was ready to spread her wings and set sail on her own, building The Inspired Kitchen from the ground up, which proved to be both liberating and rewarding.  She prides herself in really understanding each client’s needs and desires so that she can deliver them a space that is above and beyond what they could have imagined.   She is always looking to learn, keep up on trends, and grow personally and professionally. 

Being a successful female general contractor, Abby is determined to prove herself as a leader in the industry- an industry almost entirely male.  Abby’s tag line, ‘Dream. Design. Build.’ Can be and has been applied to all aspects of her life.

Abby and her family live in Glastonbury, CT and are deeply rooted in the community.  She and her husband Jesse are blessed with two great kids that keep them on their toes (Rebekah and Jacob) and they all enjoy the beauty that life has to offer.  They enjoy their animals (dogs, cats and chickens), friends and family, gardening, boating, snow mobiling, hiking, camping, dance and football.

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Candace Freedenberg

Untapped Potential Inc.


Untapped Potential engineers social change for women ensuring work-life success! UP captures, readies and motivates educated-experienced talent who have stepped out of the traditional workforce. Untapped Potential Inc is a social enterprise that impacts the gender equity, diversity in the workplace and overcomes the 'mother-hood' penalty. Awards: 2019 CT Entrepreneur Award Winner, 2018 Woman of Innovation Winner, Finalist in SBA's InnovateHER Challenge and recipient of Cash Award: reSET's Impact Accelerator. Successfully acquired seed funding, revenue generation in year 1, penetrated Fortune 100 and International Accounts. Serves small business, start-ups, non-profits and Fortune 100 companies in the field of Aerospace, Insurance, Manufacturing, BioTech and Data Analytics. We return women to their caliber following care giving.


Jessica Bailey

Greenworks Lending


Prior to co-founding Greenworks Lending in 2015, Jessica led the design, management, and implementation of the nation’s first successful C-PACE program at the CT Green Bank. In its first two years, the program financed $75 million in clean energy projects and executed the first securitization of commercial efficiency assets – more than doubling the volume of C-PACE transactions between 2013 and 2014. From 2004-2012, Bailey worked at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF), an $800 million foundation based in New York. As the Fund’s program officer for sustainable development, she co-managed a $7 million portfolio of grants focused on mitigating climate change and promoting clean energy.

Jessica has received numerous awards and positive recognition for her work. Most recently, she was selected for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women of 2019 program. In 2014, Bailey was named a “Champion of Change” by the White House for solar deployment. For her work designing the successful Connecticut C-PACE program, The Hartford Business Journal dubbed her a “Green Warrior;” and after co-founding Greenworks Lending and scaling C-PACE nationally, Jessica was named to Connecticut Magazine’s 2018 list of “40 under 40.”

Jessica received her graduate degree from Yale University and undergraduate from the University of Notre Dame. She is a member of YPO and sits on the board of PACENation, the League of Conservation Voters, CT and CTNext.


Athena Fliakos

Be As You Wear


After a decade of service to affluent and traditionally underserved schools, Athena's focus has become to re-imagine the business of doing business by solving the problem of underestimation and underutilization of our planet's most valuable and renewable energy resources. While she remains a frequent flyer in high schools and Universities where she delivers teacher and human effectiveness workshops on cultural relativism, identity crisis and conflict, mindful leadership, and the sacred feminine, her goals as a visionary thinker demand deeper focus on building businesses that unabashedly build profits with the mission to redistribute and invest in companies run by women for every body.

Her passion for bringing out the best in people is second to none, and her willingness to speak truth to power as a matter of finding beauty in all things makes her an excellent role model, change facilitator, and brand specialist.


Kiana Danial

Invest Diva


Kiana Danial, CEO of Invest Diva, is an award-winning, internationally recognized personal investing and wealth management expert. Having been featured in The Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, Fox Business, CNN, Forbes, TheStreet, and Nasdaq, Kiana is a highly sought-after professional speaker, author and executive coach who delivers inspirational workshops and seminars to corporations, universities and entrepreneurial groups. She is a frequent expert on many TV and radio stations, has reported on the financial markets directly from the floor of NYSE and NASDAQ, and was named the Personal Investment Expert of the Year in 2018, and the Investment Coach of the Year in 2019 by the Investment Fund Awards.

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Jason & Nikki Dawson

Beauty by Mineko & Dawson Entertainment Production, LLC


Nikki & Jason Dawson are often called a power couple, each managing their own businesses while navigating their many other responsibilities and of course, family life. The center of their lives is their five-year-old son Lukas who’s many interests & activities include swimming, gymnastics, hockey, skateboarding, soccer & art. 


As the owner of Beauty by Mineko, Nikki’s main focus is bridal makeup, using her passion for skin care to help make her bride’s most important day become a reality.  Nikki also offers lash and waxing services at her Groton based studio and additional services at Penelope’s Advanced Aesthetics in Mystic, CT.  You can also see her work on the runway at New York Fashion Week, Providence Fashion Week, in magazines like Bliss Bridal and on HGTV’s Beachfront Bargain Hunt. 


As a premier DJ in New England, Jason aka Dj JD gets to play the best parties around.  In the wedding industry, his company, Dawson Entertainment Production, LLC, is one of the most sought-after wedding DJ companies, offering multiple DJ’s, theatrical lighting & photo booth.  Their many awards include The Knot Hall of Fame and The New London Day’s Reader’s Choice Award 2018.  In the nightlife industry Jason is the Music Director and resident DJ for Boston based Big Night Entertainment Group which owns 17 venues across New England including Shrine Foxwoods, The Grand Boston, winner of the Nightclub of the Year 2019 and Memoire at the Encore Boston.  Jason’s love for DJing has even led him to the education sector, teaching the next generation of music makers through five DJ classes at the world renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston.


Richard Zotti

Zotti Shoe Service

Wednesday morning, June 26th, Richard Zotti (94) of Westbrook, drifted off in his sleep to join his wife, (Virginia Bickel), of 69+ years. He graduated from Hall High School, West Hartford, CT; served in WWII Navy (Guam Advance Base: Lion III, Lion VI). Owner of Zotti Shoe Service (Hartford and Newington) started by his father, Antonio, and in operation for over 70 years. Richard and Virginia volunteered for many Westbrook and Clinton organizations (Westbrook Seniors, Garden Club, Welcome Center, Estuary, Meals on Wheels, and played Santa and Mrs. Claus for St. Mary's Church of the Visitation.

Rebecca Rose Fine Portraits had the great privileged photographing Mr. Zotti a week before his passing.

Allyson Genovese- Naughton

Ally G's Everyday Angels Foundation & Adventures with Ally G

Allyson Genovese- Naughton is a native to Connecticut. Her energetic and enthusiastic personality makes her a crowd favorite with everyone that she comes into contact with. Many would be surprised to learn her age after meeting this beautiful, fun, and charismatic mother and wife. Allyson has been married to her husband, Patrick, for 12 years and they have a daughter, Reese, together who is 9 years old. Allyson is also a step-mother to Patrick's two teenage daughters, Madison and Mckenna. Allyson left a successful career holding her series 6, 63 and Insurance licenses in the financial industry, after having a child. With the opportunity to stay at home to raise their daughter, she was determined to become fit and fabulous shortly after pregnancy. She has made it a priority to teach her family the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. Allyson started out as a certified boot camp instructor and since then has become a certified personal trainer, nutritionist, aroma touch therapist and an Integrative Reflexologist. She is also the founder, president and CEO of Ally G's Everyday Angels Foundation. Ally G's Everyday Angels Foundation's mission is to raise money and awareness for lives in need through community action to promote the general welfare of our society. Lives in need include poverty, under-privilege, patients with terminal-illness as well as individuals in their time of need. For the past 13+ years Allyson has coordinated and hosted 30+ charity events annually to benefit Homeless Shelters in CT, St Jude's Children's Research Hospital, The American Cancer Society, Various Veterans Programs and several fundraisers for specific individuals in their time of need. Allyson continues her crusade to be an inspiration to others by encouraging them to gain control of their lives, making healthy choices, becoming active and believing in themselves. Her motto is to "Inspiring others to believe in Miracles" She has also appeared in World Physique Magazine and Poise New England Pageant Magazine, has been a model of fitness wear in the Caribbean Islands, was a frequent special guest on FTNS radio and iheart radio, has appeared in the movie "The Heat", HBO mini series "Olive Kitteridge", a hip hop music video and TV commercials. She is also the author of From Mom To Fitness Model, available on Amazon. She has earned the titles of WBFF Pro (World Beauty Fitness & Fashion Inc) in 2011, Ms. Tri-State 2014, Ms. New England States 2015, Mrs. Connecticut America 2016 and made the top 15 at Mrs. America.


Michelle Armellei Jacoby

Sundance Salon & Spa


Michelle Armillei Jacoby grew up in Torrington Connecticut. College wasn’t in the cards at the time, but seeing what the world had to offer was. After hairdressing school Michelle had the luck of becoming acquainted the beauty world in a big way. Working for and with some of the industries biggest players at the time. She took the opportunity to move to the Caribbean with a friend to help open a salon on the waterfront of beautiful Charlotte Amalie harbor in St. Thomas. Bringing to the Virgin Islands her experience and expertise to many locals, tourist and cruise ship employees. While there, Michelle gained first-hand knowledge of beauty through the work of professional and natural born stylist from all over the area, giving her an experience and education that can’t be bought- only given. Woman with multi-cultural hair styling ideas and multi-racial hair and beauty needs. Michelle will always be that Island Girl at heart. In her late 20’s she decided to move back stateside and randomly stick a push pin in a few places in a map of the state of Connecticut. One finding its way into Glastonbury. After a short interview process she began her professional life in a town she quickly called home. Opening Sundance Salon & Spa in 2002 she realized a business and psychology degree may come in handy. So with her boundless energy Michelle opened up her Sundance, its yoga studio and boutique while simultaneously getting married and soon after starting college. She took control of making her vision become her reality. The beauty industry is her passion, making people feel and look beautiful is her goal and ever expanding her commitment to knowledge and providing an experience that make others feel that their time with her is something they can’t wait to do again fills her with pride.


Rebecca Rose

Rebecca Rose Fine Portraits LLC

Rebecca Rose Fine Portraits, LLC., has a commitment to capturing the beauty of families that will be cherished for generations. Rebecca Rose born and raised in rural Connecticut studied art from the time she was 12. Throughout high school and college her passion was for art concentrating on painting. After graduating college, she taught art in a private school. After realizing that she had a passion for painting instead of teaching, she began painting murals for many local businesses. Her creative mind and entrepreneurial spirit lead her to picking up a camera. From there it became her new passion instantly. Within 3 years of her business opening she photographed hundreds of people as well as over one hundred weddings and events including the Harvard Business Gala. Since her degree was not in photography she found it of utmost importance to go back to school for photography and earned her diploma in photography from The Photography Institute. Rebecca Rose Fine Portraits was founded in 2017 after finding there was a need of traditional family portraiture displayed as a form of art. The process is a combination of photography and traditional painting through software editing. Rebecca Rose Fine Portraits' purpose is to encourage a deep appreciation of human beauty.

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