The Waterbury Regional Chamber’s Y.P.O.W.R. – Young Professionals of Waterbury Region – will launch a three part “Influential Business: CEO Speaker Series – Making It Happen” beginning Friday, January 24 with Charles Boulier III, president and CEO of Ion Bank. The series will continue on Friday, February 7 with Paula Van Ness, president and CEO of the Connecticut Community Foundation, and Donna Palomba, founder of Jane Doe No More will be the final speaker on Friday, February 21, 2014. The series is sponsored by Ion Bank and hosted by the Connecticut Community Foundation. All presentations will be held at Courtyard by Marriott, Downtown Waterbury at 63 Grand Street from 8:00 to 9:15 a.m.

“Starting Over at the Top” will be the topic of Charles Boulier III’s January 24 presentation. He will provide insights into what an individual can do when he/she finally reaches the top of their profession and needs to work through a major change. In early 2013 Naugatuck Savings Bank announced they would be changing their name change to Ion Bank. Boulier will discuss his two year path to accomplish Naugatuck Savings Bank’s successful rebrand to Ion Bank. Attendees will learn why Ion was the most popular name; why this new name will improve their growth rate in newer markets and in markets that may be entered as a result of future expansion; and what Boulier did to ensure that his team stayed on track to accomplish their goals. Ion Bank has been serving the community for 143 years and has evolved into an institution that fully supports its region and continues to grow outside of the community.

“Making Dreams Come True” will be the subject of the February 7 presentation by Paula Van Ness, president and CEO of the nonprofit Connecticut Community Foundation. Ms. Van Ness will discuss how she is fulfilling her dream to make a difference in the lives of thousands of people across our region and the nation, and how to meet goals in an economy that no one thought was attainable. She will teach what she did to make her dreams a reality and how one can make their career goals happen. In November 2013, Van Ness completed the first-ever Give Local campaign that raised over half a million dollars for more than 125 nonprofit organizations in the Greater Waterbury and Litchfield Hills region. Van Ness is recognized as helping to make a difference in countless nonprofits through her perseverance, dedication and commitment. She is also the former COO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation in New York; former president and CEO of the Starlight Children’s Foundation; president and CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America; CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness; and founding president of the National AIDS Fund.

“Persevere and Never Quit” will be the inspiring theme of the February 21st presentation by Donna Palomba, founder of the national nonprofit Jane Doe No More, an organization dedicated to improving the way society responds to victims of sexual assault. Palomba is recognized nationwide as a powerful voice for survivors of sexual assault. She is the face, founder and driving force behind Jane Doe No More, Inc. In her presentation, Palomba will help attendees find ways to have others hear their voice while sharing their drive and passion to make their next career step. Since first telling her story on a 2007 episode of Dateline NBC, Palomba has become a much sought-after author, public speaker and media resource, logging appearances on local and national television and radio shows, including NBC’s Today and Biography’s I Survived. She has also successfully lobbied for legislative changes that protect the rights of sexual assault survivors. Through Jane Doe No More, Inc., Palomba established Raising Awareness through Personal Experience (RAPE). Prior to founding Jane Doe No More, she co-founded The Worx Group, a marketing communications firm and served as a managing member from 1987 through 2009. She also released her book, Jane Doe No More: My 15-Year Fight to Reclaim My Identity – a True Story of Survival, Hope and Redemption.
The mission of Y.P.O.W.R. is to energize young professionals aged 21 to 39 who are looking to grow their careers in the Waterbury area by engaging them in positive opportunities for professional development, educational, social, and community service. The Y.P.O.W.R. series of events are sponsored by Post University as partner, and corporate member sponsors are Belle Case Verde, Crowne Plaza Hotel in Southbury, Connecticut Community Foundation, and New Opportunities, Inc.

All of Y.P.O.W.R’s CEO series programs will be held 8:00 to 9:15 a.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott in Downtown Waterbury at 65 Grand Streets. Costs are $15/event and $35 for the series. The series is open to Y.P.O.W.R. and Waterbury Regional Chamber members, and the general public. To register, visit, or contact Courtney Ligi at or call 203-757-0701.