Eight Latinos have been named to this year’s Connecticut Magazine’s “40 Under 40″ leader’s list, marking the first time such a large number of Latinos have been included on this or any other list by a media outlet in the state. According to the magazine, this year’s class is ” the best and brightest among Generation Next” and includes philanthropists, artists, community leaders, athletes, educators and entrepreneurs.
Matt DeRienzo, Editor of Connecticut magazine and group editor for Digital First Media’s publications in Connecticut, which also include the New Haven Register, The Middletown Press and The Register Citizen of Torrington said, “This is the most diverse 40 Under 40 list we’ve ever produced, and that includes diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, age, geography and occupation. We very deliberately set out this year to make selections that more accurately reflected the scope of Connecticut’s best and brightest young people.”
The list was compiled from nominations he said, “From our readers and staff, but also networking with leaders of Latino and other communities.” CTLatinoNews.com, which is a media partner of the New Haven Register and the Middletown Press, nominated several of the Latinos on the list.
The eight Latinos are Christopher Rosario, Thea Montanez, Alderman Manny Sanchez, Rep. Matthew Lesser, Samaia Hernandez, Sammy Vega, Javier Colon, and Andrea Ravitz – all represent leadership in various fields.
Christopher Rosario, 32, Bridgeport
Director of Anti-Blight & Illegal Dumping, Office of Neighborhood Revitalization, Bridgeport
Rosario began his career in Bridgeport mayor Bill Finch’s office as a constituent services representative. In 2012, he was put in charge of anti-blight services. Among other responsibilities, he works with Bridgeport neighborhoods in the “Clean and Lien” program, which removes severely distressed buildings and puts a lien on the affected property. When he took on this role, there was a backlog of 900 buildings on the blighted property list; now, says the mayor’s office, that number has beeen reduced to 500, and the average inspection turnaround period for these properties has fallen from 180 days to 30. He’s also a member of the statewide anti-blight task force.
Thea Montanez, 34, Hartford
Founder and managing director, Montanez Consulting LLC
For Montanez, philanthropy is her life’s work. As she says, “Had it not been for the generosity of others, I’d never been able to return to college and complete my degree.” Formerly the manager of philanthropy for The Hartford Financial Services group, she now runs her own philanthropy design and management firm. She is also the president of the Hartford Public Library, and serves on the boards of directors of Grace Academy and the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network. In addition to jumping out of a plane once for charity and traveling to Haiti to volunteer at a women’s sexual assault clinic, she was personally recruited by Arianna Huffington to blog about her experiences for The Huffington Post, and also curates content at SociallyConstructed.com.
Manny Sanchez, 25, New Britain
Member, New Britain City Council
Manny Sanchez was the youngest member of New Britain’s common council at age 22—and now during his full second term on the council is continuing to shine. Between his work on the council, serving on several other boards and commissions, and working full-time at Goodwin College, Sanchez also finds time to coach the Connecticut Roughriders basketball club, which plays across the country, and spearhead initiatives for the city. He’s recognized for helping to bring a national monument to New Britain memorializing Borinqueneers—the name given to the 65th infantry of the U.S. Army—which fought in World War I, World War II and Korea, despite being a Hispanic segregated troop. Politics may just run in his blood—Sanchez is the nephew of Connecticut state Rep. Robert Sanchez.