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Despite being a smaller community, Cheshire is home to two of the 40 people under 40 years of age that Connecticut Magazine believes are the “bright young leaders” of the future.
In this month’s issue, Connecticut Magazine revealed its “40 Under 40” list, which includes doctors, teachers, bankers, attorneys, and artists. It is the first time Connecticut Magazine has compiled a list like this, and two of Cheshire’s own made the cut.
“They appear in every walk of life. In every corner of Connecticut,” the magazine states. “We are happy to show off our first class of young leaders. We hope you gain as much encouragement from them as we did.”
Kia Murrell, 36, is an assistant counsel for the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA), where she represents the business community before the state legislature and other administrative agencies. She is also the vice president of the Connecticut Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the largest not-for-profit breast cancer organization in the world. Additionally, she serves on the board of Community Health Services of Hartford.
“I was so surprised, but so honored,” Murrell said. “I didn’t know who else was selected, but I knew it’d be a diverse group with backgrounds and interests. It’s an honor.”
Those appearing on the list were nominated by co-workers, neighbors, business associates, and even family members. Connecticut Magazine editors selected some residents as well, and, when all was said and done, the profiles were featured in the March issue.
Murrell isn’t certain who nominated her to be on the “40 Under 40” list, but she suspects it was someone she works with in her office. As a lobbyist, Murrell said she was surprised to be included given the stigma that often accompanies the profession. To be on “an impressive list” was special, she admitted.
“Usually these (types of lists) are nothing but doctors, lawyers, and (people of prominence) but this list has activists and physical therapists. It’s everyone that makes a difference,” she said. “I’m active with what I’m doing—personally, professionally. I take it really seriously and it’s humbling to be nominated for this work.”
She told her parents and husband, all of whom were very proud of her recognition. She was happy to be on the list, but Murrell was also pleased to see so many others on the list as well because it lets Connecticut residents know the talent they have right in their own backyard.
“It alerts the population at large to who’s doing what in the local community,” Murrell stated.
With complaints that the population is aging, there have been many who have stated that the state is losing its young talent to other areas of the country. Connecticut Magazine begs to differ.
“As one generation prepares to leave the stage in Connecticut, another one moves in,” the magazine states. “A new generation of leaders, full of energy, ideas, and the determination to steer an unswerving course into the future.”
Also on the list was Chad Wable, 35, who is the chief executive officer of Saint Mary’s Health Systems in Waterbury. He has held the job for the past two years, where patient satisfaction has “reached new heights,” Connecticut Magazine explained. The hospital received gold and silver awards for quality improvement from the American Heart Association, and another gold for cardiac care. Saint Mary’s was also one of the few hospitals in the state to have a positive operating margin last year.
“I am truly gratified to be part of the ‘40 Under 40’,” Wable said. “There were so many talented folks, so I am quite humbled.”
Wable doesn’t think being recognized by the list provides any more status, but that isn’t important. What is important, he said, is “trying to do something each day to help someone.” Wable hopes to “pay this recognition forward” someday. He isn’t sure who nominated him, but he believes it was a member of the Saint Mary’s staff.
“The recognition was a surprise. I am blessed to lead and be part of the Saint Mary’s family,” Wable said.
He hasn’t taken too many good-natured jabs because of the magazine article, but did have some fun during the photo shoot where, at one point, he stuck his head through the zero in the number 40.
“Not good,” he joked, “but all in good fun.”
The full “40 Under 40” list can be seen in this month’s Connecticut Magazine, and on the Web at www.connecticutmag.com.