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CEO recalls lessons learned at CRHS

CEO recalls lessons learned at CRHS



Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is a cute game which reminds us that our lives are all connected. If you are lucky, you might find yourself connected to ‘80s not-quite-Brat-Packy star Kevin Bacon. If you are even luckier, you are connected to Lisa Larsen, subject of my previous article.

Why is it better to be in the latter group rather than the former? Because a sense of confidence that arises from working with a talented teacher is the catalyst to success in any field, and much better – sorry Kevin – than a connection with the star of Footloose. Proof of that is found in the accomplishments of RSD13 alum Garrett Sheehan, a former chorus student, who is now the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce in New Haven.

Sheehan and I discussed his work via a phone call in June. 

Sheehan endeavors to do for New Haven County what the Economic Development Commission is doing for our community: supporting businesses in a fervent desire to achieve economic growth that is “so needed now.”

Not only is Sheehan’s work the same in objective, but it also makes him our neighbor in a sense, working in a 15-town area that extends to Wallingford. Take a short ride down Route 68, and you are now in Garrett Sheehan territory.  

Sheehan grew up in Middlefield, and received an education that he said “set me up to do well.” Doing well is an understatement. Not only is Sheehan a CEO, he also served as president of the Connecticut Economic Development Association, overseeing a full-time staff, and has worked on the governor’s reopening council.

Critical thinking, as Sheehan revealed, is integral to most occupations, and that’s just one of the skills he recalled having acquired in Regional District 13. Sports reporting was another, a passion that he pursued at Syracuse University, but nurtured at Coginchaug, where he worked at basketball games and broadcasted the morning announcements. This is in addition to his work with show choir, which he said helped build his confidence and find his gifts.

As Sheehan pointed out, just as there are many roles in show choir, and different skills to be learned, so too are there many roles one can take on in society

It’s an interesting parallel: working hard, developing skills, interacting with other people. Yes, there is more to this music program than just music.

Funny isn’t it, how a chain of success travels? Confidence that has its genesis in a high school show choir or basketball game leads an individual down a path that allows him to support businesses and entire communities? 

Kevin Bacon, please forgive me. I don't mean to disparage your accomplishments, but we have teachers like Lisa Larsen who nurture confidence and creativity, and business leaders like Garrett Sheehan who work tirelessly to support our state’s economic growth.

I think you would agree with me on this one: Our local celebrities deserve some recognition too.


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