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The Future Is Now

Future Is Now

Inspired to move past the notion that young people are our future leaders, this event celebrates Connecticut’s young women leaders that are making a difference in the lives of women and girls, here and now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
6:00 - 8:00 PM
Luce Hall, Yale University 
34 Hill House Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511

The Future is NOW 2018 Awardees:

Hillary Bridges 


Hillary Bridges is the founder and Executive Director of Telling Our Story (program that brings young Black people together in safe and intentional spaces to share and discover our untold stories both of continued oppression and also tremendous achievement) and the co-founder and on the leadership team of The PREST Movement (People for Race and Ethnicity Studies Today) (youth-led organizing effort for racial and educational justice throughout Connecticut), both based in New Haven, CT. Hillary also currently serves as the Director of Equity and Inclusion at The Nantucket Project in Greenwich, CT.  While in high school, Hillary co-founded the African Education Program (non-profit dedicated to helping improve educational opportunities in Zambia). She was a John B. Ervin Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis, where she spent a year abroad at Pontificia Universidad Católica in Santiago, Chile, a Danish Government Scholar at the University of Copenhagen, and a 2014 & 2016 Scholar at The Nantucket Project. Hillary has served as a tutor at New Haven Reads for the past three years and is on the Board of the Children's Defense Fund Freedom School of Greater New Haven. A native of the Philadelphia area, Hillary is happy to have called New Haven home for the past five years.


Callie Gale Heilmann and Rory Gale

Callie Gale Heilmann and Rory Gale are two-thirds of the trio of sisters who founded Hartford Prints!, an urban goods brand in downtown Hartford that is all about handmade and homegrown love. Hartford Prints! was founded on the idea that a company can both make and do good things, and Callie and Rory have focused on using the power of their press to create positive vibes in their local community. Hartford Prints! has been a leader in the growing list of small businesses in Connecticut committed to the Campaign for Paid Family and Medical Leave. Rory, who runs the day-to-day operations of Hartford Prints! has opened the store’s doors to the Campaign and its work in her commitment to providing the most supportive work environment possible for her employees. In addition to supporting the work of Hartford Prints!, Callie is the President and Co-Founder of Bridgeport Generation Now, a social action network dedicated to organizing to build civic engagement in the Bridgeport area. Both sisters strive to create community and work towards positive social change.


Jacquelynn Garofano

Dr. Jacquelynn (Jackie) Garofano is a STEMinist with a passion for making a difference in the lives of women and empowering girls in a unique way: as a professional woman scientist and a leader within a non-profit organization. As a research scientist at United Technologies Research Center, she works to solve technical challenges and develop innovative technologies for the aerospace and building industries within United Technologies. As a philanthropist, Jackie is invested in organizations that serve to build a better future for individuals, families and our community. She recently joined the Development Committee of Mental Health Connecticut and was inspired to become a #Be1of110 Champion. For several years, she has served as a leadership volunteer for the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut. Currently, she serves as the Vice Chair of United Way Women United, an organization that raises revenue and awareness to create a stronger, more vibrant community by helping women and families on the path to financial security and ensuring that children are better prepared for the future. A first generation college student, Jackie earned her bachelor’s in physics with honors from Southern CT State University and master’s and doctoral degrees in materials science and engineering from the University of Connecticut. She was named a 2011 Women of Innovation by the Connecticut Technology Council and named to the 2013 & 2015 Forty Under Forty by Connecticut Magazine and Hartford Business Journal, respectively. Jackie is a Connecticut native who was raised in Milford and lives in Prospect with her husband, Rob, of eleven years.

Kristianna Smith

Kristianna Smith


Kristianna Smith is the Owner and CoFounder of Via Arts LLC. A facilitator, theatre artist, and educator, she has spent over a decade working to reinvigorate the human experience through theatre arts. Kristianna works with educators, community organizers, and civic leaders to enhance their methods and practices with arts infusion. Through arts-based programming, she collaborates with her partners to increase their accessibility to address the difficult topics of privilege, equity, oppression, and creativity within their communities. Kristianna was one of 24 creatives chosen as a 2017-2018 National Arts Strategies Creative Community Fellow, where she began development of an arts integrated approach for community members that utilizes theatre techniques at every stage of policy planning. Recently, Kristianna has been exploring her pregnancy journey through her personal blog The Curlless Journey. She’s tied this journey into her search for more creative ways to co-devise a world of inclusion.

Kristianna is known for her quick wit, can-do attitude, love of play, and obsession with the color purple. 


Quyen Truong

Quyen Truong is Outreach & Evaluation Manager at North Central Regional Mental Health Board and is working towards her J.D. at UConn School of Law. A seasoned facilitator and advocate, Ms. Truong is interested in legal compliance and healthcare law. Born in Vietnam and raised in Connecticut, Ms. Truong earned her Bachelor's degree at Brown University. She partners with healthcare providers and community members to address health equity concerns, inform policy makers, and write grants to promote healthcare access. She advocates for disenfranchised populations in need of better access to healthcare with a focus on minorities’ experiences accessing mental health services under the Affordable Care Act. In addition to her work in the law and healthcare fields, she is also an artist and graphic designer who has exhibited widely all over New England. She is particularly interested in the ways in which art can create spaces for meaningful discourse.


Sponsorship Options:

Pioneer ($1,000) 

Sponsorship includes 5 tickets to the event and recognition on the event page, social media, and at the event.


Innovator ($500)  

Sponsorship includes 3 tickets to the event and recognition on the event page, social media, and at the event.


Trendsetter ($250)  

Sponsorship includes 2 tickets to the event and recognition on the event page, social media, and at the event. 

Sponsorships and tickets can be purchased here.

Click here to view last year's event.


Planning Committee: 

Ana Clara Blesso

Rebecca Cramer

Joanna Flanagan

Theresa Govert

Meg Grant

Michelle Noehren

Elizabeth Reitman

Lindsey Tengatenga


Purchase sponsorship & tickets here!

Click here to view last year's event.



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