Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce Member News

This is the place where our members share news and updates about their businesses.

Mystic Seaport Museum to Offer Free Admission to Essential Workers Saturdays in March

Mystic, Conn. (February 25, 2021) — Mystic Seaport Museum is offering free admission to health care workers, first responders, and all other essential workers Saturdays in March.

The free admission is being given as part of the Museum’s Caring for Our Community program and is intended as a way to say “thank you” to those keeping the community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Free admission will include a ticket for the essential worker. Guests accompanying the worker will receive the Museum’s discounted group rate.

Personnel in the following groups will receive free admission:

  • Health Care Workers

  • Firefighters, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

  • Law enforcement including local police and State Troopers.

  • Educators

  • Grocery store and food service workers

This is only a partial list of essential workers. Please reference the State of Connecticut’s definition for the complete list: https://bit.ly/2P0BMc5

Workers must present their badge or proof of employment when they arrive at the Museum. The free and discounted tickets will only be available in person and will not be available online. The Museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on those days.

About Mystic Seaport Museum

Mystic Seaport Museum, founded in 1929, is the nation’s leading maritime museum. In addition to providing a multitude of immersive experiences, the Museum also houses a collection of more than two million artifacts that include more than 500 historic vessels and one of the largest collections of maritime photography. Mystic Seaport Museum is located one mile south of Exit 90 off I-95 in Mystic, CT. For more information, please visit www.mysticseaport.org and follow Mystic Seaport Museum on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.

Contact:
Dan McFadden

Director of Communications
Mystic Seaport Museum
860.572.5317 | dan.mcfadden@mysticseaport.org

Southeastern CT Women’s Network sponsors “The Work of Safe Futures”: A Virtual Panel Discussion

March 2021… The Southeastern CT (SECT) Women’s Network and Safe Futures are both celebrating their 45th Anniversaries this year. In honor of the anniversaries, the SECT Women’s Network is sponsoring a virtual panel discussion on the work of Safe Futures - a free Zoom event on Thursday, March 18th, 2021 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.. Melissa Porter Zaitchik, Director of Development & Communications at Safe Futures will moderate the panel. Members of the panel include: Katherine Verano, Chief Executive Officer; Christine Foster, Director of Crisis Counseling & Camp HOPE; and Nazmie Ojeda, Director of Education & Community Engagement.

Safe Future’s mission is to save lives, restore hope, and change the future for those impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and trafficking in Southeastern Connecticut. Please join us for an informative evening as we shine a light on Safe Futures and see how they help our community. This panel is the first in a series of quarterly panels focusing on Safe Futures.

Free event. Open to the public. To join the panel discussion, please pre-register at the Zoom Link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83365019987?pwd=eWRWUVlxSHZFTm1Zc21nMnhyeVZhdz09

Or to https://sectwomensnetwork.org/events.

The SECT Women’s Network strives to create a dynamic and diverse membership, which promotes powerful, personal, and professional relationships through the advancement and education of its members. For more information go to https://sectwomensnetwork.org or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0EKE4VFfJc.

Bios:

Melissa Porter Zaitchik is the Director of Development & Communications for Safe Futures. Melissa became interested in advocacy after a personal experience with domestic violence. She became involved by volunteering 23 years ago with The Women’s Center of Southeast Connecticut, now Safe Futures. Moving from volunteer to staff, serving for several years as a Family Violence Victim Advocate based in New London and Norwich criminal courts.

Melissa holds a Bachelor’s degree in literature as well as degrees in communications, and sport & health studies. Melissa is also certified by the American College of Sport Medicine. Her professional experience includes real estate sales and management, broadcasting, and wellness; working for entities including Lincoln Property Company, Marriott Corporation, and Salem State University. Now in the development role Melissa is able to use her communications skill set and corporate work experience to gather support for the Safe Futures and increase domestic violence awareness throughout the community by building working relationships with organizations, businesses, and the public.

Katherine Verano is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Safe Futures, formerly The Women’s Center of Southeastern Connecticut. Katherine left her career in corporate banking and came to Safe Futures 26 years ago after a close friend and peer was brutally murdered by her husband. Katherine’s dedication to working in this field started with working the crisis hotline in 1994 at She continued her work at the agency over the years managing the emergency shelter, counseling program, criminal court advocacy in the justice system. Katherine was appointed as the Director of Client Services, prior to her role as Executive Director, and now CEO. Over a 20-year period in the criminal justice system, Katherine interviewed thousands of victims and offenders of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and trafficking at court arraignments and throughout the court process. Katherine has been exemplary in bringing court and community partners together in forums and roundtables; in a collaborative effort to enhance services to victims of crime, while educating partners. Katherine has served on multiple task forces and committees to include the Veteran’s Diversionary Council and Domestic Violence, Connecticut State Police Lethality Assessment Program Committee, Statewide Model Policy “Police Response to Crimes of Domestic Violence” Task Force Committee, and multiple local college community response teams. Since 2012, Katherine has been the Connecticut expert “Train the Trainer” on the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) with the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence educating police and advocates around Connecticut. She is also a re-certification instructor for the Law Enforcement Council (LEC) Officer & Supervisor and for CT POST Academy “Strangulation prevention/ investigation” instructing multiple statewide seminars. In 2017, Katherine traveled to Beijing, China, on behalf of the “Yale University-Paul Tsai Law Center” speaking and training on matters of lethality assessment programing – Domestic violence intervention strategies to government officials as well as speaking on “Development of Domestic Violence Laws” at the Beijing Public Safety University. Katherine is the Legislative Liaison for the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the agency since 2010, successfully testifying on numerous House bills.

Nazmie Ojeda, Director of Education and Community Engagement for Safe Futures is passionate about community work. Nazmie has served on the advisory board of the Immigration Advocacy and Support Center (IASC) of New London and as a member of the Hispanic Alliance Mental Health Network. She has served in several capacities at Safe Futures including counseling, advocacy, and residential life. In her current role Nazmie aspires to connect schools, providers, victims/survivors to Safe Futures and its mission and vision to save lives, restore hope, and change the future.

Christine Foster is the Director of Crisis Counseling and Camp HOPE for Safe Futures. Over the past 5 years, she has held various roles in the organization such as employment specialist, child advocate, and supervisor of our emergency domestic violence shelter, Genesis House. Christine received her bachelor’s degree in Psychological Sciences from University of Connecticut. Christine is a certified domestic violence counselor and is certified in restorative practices by the International Institute of Restorative Practices.

KEY DATES AND INFORMATION:

WHAT: SECT Women’s Network’s Zoom Panel Series – “The Work of Safe Futures”

WHEN: Thursday, March 18, 2021 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Online Zoom meeting

HOW: To join the panel discussion pre-register at the Zoom Link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83365019987?pwd=eWRWUVlxSHZFTm1Zc21nMnhyeVZhdz09

Or go to https://sectwomensnetwork.org/events. Free event.


Contact: Lisa Giordano, ldgldg7@gmail.com; (860)861-3743

Dr. Shelley des Etages

Adanne Nduaka

Dr. Nikel Rogers

Levenia Baker

Southeastern CT Women’s Network sponsors “Unconscious Bias – Unveiling Racism” Women in Science

March 11, 2021… The Southeastern CT Women’s Network is sponsoring a virtual panel discussion on the topic of “Women in Science” as part of the Unconscious Bias – Unveiling Racism” series - a free Zoom event on Thursday, March 11, 2021 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Shelley des Etages-Wong, Director, Clinical Biomarker Scientist in the Precision Medicine group at Pfizer Inc.

To join the panel discussion please pre-register at the Zoom Link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83365019987?pwd=eWRWUVlxSHZFTm1Zc21nMnhyeVZhdz09
Or go to https://sectwomensnetwork.org/events. Free event.

Members of the Panel include: Adanne Nduaka, MS, Program manager with over 21 years of extensive program management and systems engineering experience in the defense industry; Dr. Nikel Rogers-Wood, PhD, Clinical Director for Rice Psychology Group, a group private practice in Tampa Bay, FL; and Dr. Levenia Baker, Pharm.D., MS, Research Pharmacist on the Value Based Team at G-Health Enterprises in Buffalo, NY.

BIOS:

Dr. Shelley des Etages-Wong is a Director, Clinical Biomarker Scientist in the Precision Medicine group at Pfizer Inc. Prior to her current role, she was an Associate Partner at Panarea Partners, a healthcare advisory/investment bank focused on growth of the biopharmaceutical industry in emerging markets. She served as a faculty member in the Biology Department at Pace University in 2011 and 2012 and has held adjunct faculty positions at Quinnipiac University, Mitchell College, and Connecticut College. She has over ten years of experience leading scientific teams in identifying and validating targets and biomarkers across multiple therapeutic areas. She is a recipient of the Pfizer People Leader and Achievement Awards and contributed to projects that led to the marketed drugs Xeljanz® and Sutent®. She is a Founding Board member of the southeastern Connecticut based nonprofit Writer’s Block InK, contributor to the published book My Story, My Secrets: Letters to my Younger Self and has served as a non-profit representative to the United Nations Department of Public Information. Dr. des Etages-Wong completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at Pace University, a certificate in Drug Development from Temple University, and holds a doctorate in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Rutgers University.

Ms. Adanne Nduaka earned her Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Howard University, Washington DC and holds a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Binghamton University, NY. She also holds a management development certificate from Binghamton University, NY. Adanne has over 21 years of extensive program management and systems engineering experience in the defense industry. Currently she works as a Program Manager. Adanne is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society. She also volunteers her time for a nonprofit, The Africa Education Initiative, with a mission to advance science in Africa. In this capacity, she is part of the Helping Hands committee and co-chairs the Internship committee. In her spare time Adanne enjoys reading and travelling with her family. Adanne and her husband have 2 children.

Dr. Nikel Rogers-Wood holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of North Texas where her research interest focused on eating disorders, including the development of disordered eating among African American women. She has 17 years of experience working in a variety of settings across the country – from corporate consulting, to private practice, to consulting in skilled nursing facilities, to academia, and counseling centers. Currently, she is the Clinical Director for a Rice Psychology Group, a group private practice in the Tampa Bay area. In addition to providing therapy and psychological evaluations for the practice, she also heads clinical risk management, policy and procedure development, social media outreach, and business continuity planning. Prior to this role, Dr. Rogers-Wood served as the Coordinator for Post-Doctoral Training at the University of South Florida Counseling Center, a position that saw her double the size of the post-doctoral program and bring it into alignment with new national standards for postdoctoral training. In Spring of 2020 she launched the podcast, “At The Same Time” that she co-hosts with Dr. Elsa Rogers.

Dr. Levenia Baker, PharmD, MS currently serves as a Research Pharmacist on the Value Based Team at G-Health Enterprises in Buffalo, NY. She is responsible for working with managed care organizations on medication adherence measures and other gaps in care quality metrics. Most recently, she has been tapped to be the Covid-19 vaccine lead for G-Health Enterprises where she is responsible for making sure the company follows state and federal guidelines with administering, storing and handling the Covid-19 vaccines. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Erie, PA. Prior to receiving her PharmD, Levenia worked for almost 10 years as a scientist in academia and professionally. She received her MS degree in Molecular, Cellular and Systemic Physiology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and worked for almost 4 years as a scientist at Pfizer Pharmaceutical Company in Groton, CT. Levenia is passionate about patient advocacy and being a voice for underserved/underrepresented communities; particularly as it relates to science, research and patient care.

Please join us for an engaging and powerful discussion. This panel is the fourth in a series of monthly panels focusing on Unconscious Bias. The April, 2021 panel will discuss Education. Free event. Open to the public. To join the panel discussion, go to the Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83365019987?pwd=eWRWUVlxSHZFTm1Zc21nMnhyeVZhdz09 Or to https://sectwomensnetwork.org/events.

The SECT Women’s Network strives to create a dynamic and diverse membership, which promotes powerful, personal, and professional relationships through the advancement and education of its members. For more information go to https://sectwomensnetwork.org or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0EKE4VFfJc.

KEY DATES AND INFORMATION:

WHAT: “Unconscious Bias – Unveiling Racism, Women in Science” Virtual Panel discussion WHEN: Thursday, March 11, 2021 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Online Zoom meeting

HOW: To join the panel discussion go to the Zoom Link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83365019987?pwd=eWRWUVlxSHZFTm1Zc21nMnhyeVZhdz09 Or go to https://sectwomensnetwork.org/events. Free event.

Contact: Lisa Giordano, ldgldg7@gmail.com; (860)861-3743

Westerly Community Credit Union Names Chief Marketing Officer

Westerly Community Credit Union is proud to announce that Meg Sisco has been promoted to Chief Marketing Officer & Senior Vice President of Retail Experience for the Westerly Community Credit Union. Meg has been with WCCU since 1998, most recently serving as the Vice President of Marketing. Her responsibilities include management of the Marketing and Retail departments.

Meg is currently a member of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), Credit Union Executive Society (CUES), and Cooperative Credit Union Association (CCUA) Marketing Committees, the RI State treasurer Financial Literacy Roundtable, South County Health Business Partners Committee, and the Alzheimer Association Westerly Walk Committee. She previously served on the South County Health Board of Trustees and Chair of the VNS Home Health Services Board of Directors. She is a graduate of Bryant University receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing and has achieved the Certified Senior Executive (CSE) designation from the CUES, the Certified Strategic Marketing Executive (CSME) designation from CUNA, and currently is attending the CUES CEO Institute to obtain her Certified Chief Executive (CCE) designation. Meg resides in Westerly RI with her family.

The Board of Directors and Staff of the Westerly Community Credit Union congratulate Meg on her new position.


About Westerly Community Credit Union:

The WCCU mantra, #WCCUCares, emphasizes their focus on caring about their members, their members’ financial success, and their community. Established in 1948, Westerly Community Credit Union is a local, full–service financial institution that currently serves over 19,400 members with lending and deposit products through their convenient locations in Wakefield, Richmond, Westerly, as well as online via www.westerlyccu.com. Recent WCCU awards: Westerly Sun’s Readers’ Choice Best Bank Award (2017-18-19 and top 3 in 2020); Southern RI Chamber Choice- Best Employer (2018) and “Spreadin’ the Love” (2019 & 2020) community service awards; as well as PBN Best Places to Work (2018-19).

CHARTER OAK IS NO. 1 MORTGAGE LENDER FOR 11 YEARS IN A ROW

Since 2010, Credit Union Has Originated Nearly $1.4 Billion in Eastern CT Mortgages

Waterford, CT ­– February 22, 2021 – Charter Oak Federal Credit Union is the Number 1 residential mortgage lender in eastern Connecticut for the 11th consecutive year, originating over 900 mortgages in New London and Windham counties combined during 2020 with a total value exceeding $138 million.

Since 2010, when Charter Oak first became the top residential lender in eastern Connecticut, the credit union has originated almost 11,000 mortgages in both counties combined with a total value of nearly $1.4 billion, based on annual data compiled by The Warren Group’s Residential Mortgage Marketshare Report.

“For 11 straight years, more people have come to Charter Oak for their mortgage needs than any other competitor, including the mega-banks and big national mortgage lenders,” said Brian A. Orenstein, Charter Oak’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our mortgage team has done an amazing job for over a decade as eastern Connecticut’s go-to mortgage leader with great products matched by their great service,” he said. “It’s true that when eastern Connecticut looks for a mortgage for their dream home or a great rate on their refinancing, they look to Charter Oak,” he said.

Over the course of 2020, Charter Oak originated 923 residential mortgages in New London and Windham counties combined with a total value of $138.3 million, which exceeded all of the other local and national banks and credit unions serving the two counties, based on The Warren Group’s data. The next closest competitor to Charter Oak originated a total of 540 mortgages in New London and Windham counties combined during 2020.

The Warren Group’s Residential Mortgage Marketshare Report includes all residential mortgages in New London and Windham counties with a value between $1.00 and $25 million. The Mass.-based Warren Group (www.thewarrengroup.com) collects and compiles data on real estate sales and ownership and publishes The Commercial Record and the Banker & Tradesman publications.

Charter Oak offers an extensive line of mortgage products, including conventional mortgages as well as its popular Accelerator mortgages. In addition, Charter Oak offers first-time homebuyer mortgages and has FHA, USDA, and CHFA mortgages available as well as adjustable rate mortgages. Charter Oak also provides lower-rate mortgages geared toward police officers, teachers, members of the military, and disabled individuals.

To learn more about Charter Oak’s mortgage products, including our refinancing options, home equity loans and lines of credit, visit CharterOak.org or call our mortgage professionals at 860.446.3047 or 800.962.3237, extension 3047. Federally insured by NCUA. Equal Housing Lender.

Charter Oak Federal Credit Union is like a bank, just better! We've been proudly serving eastern Connecticut since 1939 and we offer great checking, deposit, lending, insurance and investment products. And because we're a credit union, we're owned by our members, not by shareholders. So we can offer lower rates on loans and higher rates on deposits. It's easy to become a Charter Oak member: simply live, work, worship, learn, or volunteer in New London or Windham counties. So join today and see why Members Bank Better at Charter Oak!


The Chelsea Groton Foundation Now Accepting Grant Applications Through Online Portal

GROTON, Conn. – The Chelsea Groton Foundation is now accepting applications for the spring grant cycle through the Foundation’s online application portal until Friday, April 16, 2021. Local and regional charitable organizations in the program areas of Animal Welfare, Arts and Culture, Economic Development, Education, Environment, Health and Human Services, Housing, and Youth Activities, should visit www.chelseagroton.com/CGFoundation to access the online application portal and more details on specific requirements.

The Foundation typically reviews applications and awards grants two times per year. However, as we enter a second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations who support critical needs may need emergency funding sooner than April. Any organization in need of emergency funding should contact the Foundation directly at giving@chelseagroton.com.

Additional resources are located on the Foundation’s web page, including application FAQs, grant writing assistance, and SBA PPP loan information. Please visit www.chelseagroton.com/CGFoundation.

Each year, Chelsea Groton Bank and the Chelsea Groton Foundation support more than 300 local organizations through monetary gifts, grants, sponsorships, scholarships and employee volunteerism. In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bank and Foundation provided more than $1,000,000 in unprecedented giving. More information, including a list of last fall’s grant recipients, is available at chelseagroton.com/CGFoundation.

About the Chelsea Groton Foundation

The Chelsea Groton Foundation was formed in June 1998 as a Section 501(c)(3) organization. Initially endowed with a $2 million donation from Chelsea Groton Bank, the Foundation has, to date, awarded over $4.4 million in grants to hundreds of scientific, educational and charitable organizations located within the Bank’s market area. To learn more, visit www.chelseagroton.com/CGFoundation.

About Chelsea Groton Bank

Based in Groton, Conn., Chelsea Groton Bank is a full-service mutually owned bank with over $1.4 billion in assets. Chelsea Groton Bank’s products and services include consumer banking, business banking, mortgage and business lending, cash management, financial planning and financial education programming. With 14 branch locations throughout New London County and a Loan Production Office in Hartford County, Chelsea Groton Bank also provides online and mobile banking, 24-hour telephone banking, and nationwide ATM banking for individuals, families and businesses. To learn more, please visit chelseagroton.com. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. NMLS Institution ID 402928.

Westerly Community Credit Union Names Chief Operations Officer

Westerly Community Credit Union is proud to announce that Andrew Rogers has been promoted to Chief Operations Officer &, Senior Vice President of Operations for the Westerly Community Credit Union. Andrew has been with WCCU since 2001, most recently serving as the Vice President of Operations. His responsibilities include management of the Operations, Lending, and Information Technology departments, as well as the Contact Center.

Andrew currently serves as the Secretary on the Board of Directors of the Babcock Smith House Museum and Chair of the Cooperative Credit Union Association RI High School Basketball Championship Committee. He has previously served on the Arcadia YMCA Board, PACE/Adult Day Center of Westerly Board, and Relay for Life of Greater Westerly as event chairperson. He is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics. Andrew has completed the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Management School receiving a Certified Credit Union Executive (CCUE) designation as well as completed the Credit Union Executives Society’s (CUES) CEO Institute receiving a designation of Certified Chief Executive designation (CCE). Andrew currently resides in Stonington, CT with his family.

The Board of Directors and Staff of the Westerly Community Credit Union congratulate Andrew on his new position.

About Westerly Community Credit Union:

The WCCU mantra, #WCCUCares, emphasizes their focus on caring about their members, their members’ financial success, and their community. Established in 1948, Westerly Community Credit Union is a local, full–service financial institution that currently serves over 19,400 members with lending and deposit products through their convenient locations in Wakefield, Richmond, Westerly, as well as online via www.westerlyccu.com. Recent WCCU awards: Westerly Sun’s Readers’ Choice Best Bank Award (2017-18-19 and top 3 in 2020); Southern RI Chamber Choice- Best Employer (2018) and “Spreadin’ the Love” (2019 & 2020) community service awards; as well as PBN Best Places to Work (2018-19).