The Waterbury Regional Chamber’s Y.P.O.W.R. – Young Professionals of Waterbury Region – will host their annual three part “Influential Business CEO Speaker Series” with the 2015 theme “Making the Difference in YOUR Community”. The series will begin with a session Tuesday, January 27, 2015 featuring Jim O’Rourke, executive director of the Greater Waterbury YMCA in Waterbury. The series will continue on Friday, February 13 with keynote speaker Brandon Dufour, general manager of All-Star Driver in Watertown, and Bob Burns, executive director of the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury will be the final keynote speaker on Friday, February 27. The series host sponsor is 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.
   “Lead by Example” is the title of Jim O’Rourke’s January 27th presentation that will begin the series, and sponsored by Barker Specialty Company. O’Rourke is responsible for the overall operational management of the non-profit $6M Greater Waterbury YMCA that serves 20,000 people each year. He is known as a mentor to many young professionals and for supporting, assisting and committing to helping other businesses, non-profit organizations, friends and family. January 27th attendees will learn why O’Rourke chooses to focus his strengths on developing generations to lay a path to success in addition to managing his full-time career with the YMCA. He models employee wellness in his organization through his actions and is a two-time Ironman, resident tire changer, brush clearer, general “Get Things Done” kind of guy. In addition, O’Rourke serves on numerous boards including the American Savings Foundation, Main Street Waterbury, NVCC Foundation, Post University Sports Management Committee, Shakesperience Productions, Waterbury Public Art Advisory Committee, Bridge to Success (BTS) Community Council, and the City of Waterbury Greenway Committee.
   “Starting Off on the Right Path” is the title of the program to be presented by Brandon Dufour as the series’ February 13th speaker. Dufour is a well-known young entrepreneur in the region who has made public commitments to the region’s community while creating leadership paths for himself through his involvement on the boards of The Palace Theater and the Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs in the area. At age 18, he achieved his young professional dream of working in a luxurious job in the entertainment industry when he became an intern at MTV which grew into a full-time position. He went on to work with the Dave Matthews Band and Island Def Jam Records. Five years later, in the heart of Manhattan, on the top floor of a Wall Street high rise, Dufour walked into his office, and quit. He moved back to the Greater Waterbury area to pursue his entrepreneurial energy. Today, at age 31, he is the leader of the high-growth driving school, All-Star Driver in Watertown. February 13 event attendees will learn how he has grown his family-owned business, and why he feels social responsibility is a necessary element of any young leader’s career today.
   “Learn By Doing” is the title of the program to be presented by Bob Burns, the series’ February 27th speaker sponsored by O & G Industries, Inc. As executive director of the Mattatuck Museum, Burns’ vision for the museum is to invigorate it with a youthful culture, and aim to attract the area’s young people to get excited about the arts and culture the region has to offer. Burns’ presentation will help attendees discover how they can share in his vision and expand their personal career paths by becoming involved with non-for-profit organizations in their areas. Burns possesses 20 years of administrative and fundraising professional experience at several not-for-profit organizations including the Ronald McDonald House of New York City, the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, and the State University of New York at New Paltz. For 10 years he served as vice president for development at The Olana Partnership, the non-profit support arm of Olana State Historic Site in Hudson, New York. Burns has also served on boards and advisory committees including being a founding board member of the New York City’s Fertile Ground; advisory board member of the Hudson Opera House; and has served three terms on the New York State Council on the Arts’ Museum Program Panel.
      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. Corporate members sponsors of the Y.P.O.W.R. series of events are Belle Case Verde, LLC; Crowne Plaza Hotel, Southbury; and the Connecticut Community Foundation.
    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, Downtown Waterbury at 63 Grand Street. The series is open to Y.P.O.W.R. and Waterbury Regional Chamber members, and the general public. Costs are $15/session and $35 for the full series for Y.P.O.W.R. members; $20/session and $40 for the full series for Waterbury Regional Chamber members; and $25/event for not-yet Y.P.O.W.R. members and $60 for the full series. To register, visit, or email to or call 203-757-0701.