Middlesex United Way: Meet new board and officers for 2019

MIDDLETOWN — Each year, Middlesex United Way has the honor to celebrate outgoing members, as well as elect new members to our board of directors. We are fortunate to have such passionate leaders who step up to the plate and dedicate their time and service to our mission. I am excited to announce our newest selection of community driven difference makers.

At our annual meeting on Thursday morning, we welcomed Denise Brewer, Patricia Ciccione, Kevin Harris, Meghann LaFountain and Cathy Lezon to our board.

Denise Brewer is chief credit risk officer and senior vice president at Liberty Bank in Middletown. As part of the senior management group at Liberty Bank, she oversees the credit risk tolerances and credit administration of the bank’s commercial and consumer loan portfolios. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from Fairfield University in economics and is a licensed Connecticut real estate broker.

When asked why she takes her time to serve with Middlesex United Way, Denise said: “I have been most fortunate in my life, for which I am extremely grateful. I support the Middlesex United Way in an effort to ‘pay it forward’ to others who may not have been so fortunate in their lives.”

Denise resides in Middletown with her husband Edward Brewer and their Portuguese water dog Echo.

Patricia Ciccione is the Westbrook superintendent of schools and chairwoman of the Middlesex County Superintendents Association, a member of CT Association of Public School Superintendents, and serves on the Board of Directors for the ACLU, Connecticut.

When asked why she supports United Way, Ciccione shared a favorite quote of hers: “There can be no peace everlasting with one-third rich and two-thirds hungry.” She also shared Maya Angelou’s famed remark, “Nothing works unless you do.”

“Both, it seems, call us to action, and the United Way gives everyone a means to do just that — something, however small, that may help others,” Ciccione said.

Kevin Harris will serve as chair of the Young Leaders Society, after already serving on the steering committee for the past two years. This December, he successfully co-led the annual Stuff-a-Cruiser event, which helped raise gifts for over 50 in-need teens.

He is actively involved in various networking groups throughout the county, including the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce Young Professional Alliance. He is an active volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America Connecticut Rivers Council and is a recipient of the Eagle Scout Award.

Harris lives in Deep River with his wife Casey Harris and their 11-month-old daughter Arianna.

Cathy Lezon is the community relations and economic development lead at Eversource. She serves on the Branford Economic Development Commission and is a past board member of the Connecticut Economic Resource Center. She is on the board of the Branford Community Television and on several committees for local, state and regional stakeholder groups in economic development, workforce development and emergency preparedness.

She is an active member in St. Mary’s Church in Branford, a mother of one and lives in Branford.

Meghann LaFountain, who started her own immigration law firm in 2017, is on the steering committee of the Middlesex United Way’s Young Leaders Society and will serve as chairwoman of the Middlesex United Way Women’s Initiative. She is involved in various groups throughout the county, including the Middletown Rotary Club, Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce and the World Affairs Council.

She was awarded the honor of Outstanding Woman Scholar from UConn School of Law and is the vice chair of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers and treasurer of the Middlesex County Bar Association.

LaFountain lives in Middletown with her husband Brendan McGann.

In addition to welcoming new board members, we also elected new officers. They are all outstanding leaders who will continue to ensure Middlesex United Way remains true to our mission, vision, and values. Our newly elected officers are Scott Carlson, Carlson and Dumeer Law Firm, chairman of the board; Kimberly Hogan, Middlesex Community College, vice chairman; and Allison Dowe, Middlesex Health, treasurer.

We would like to take this opportunity to welcome our new board members and officers to the Middlesex United Way family. We are very thankful for your service and are excited for the year ahead.

Kevin Wilhelm is CEO and president of the Middlesex United Way in Middletown.