Celebrating Encore Connecticut: Fall 2023

On Saturday, December 9th the School of Public Policy (SPP) celebrated the Fall 2023 cohort of Encore Connecticut. Host Dr. David Garvey provided welcoming remarks at the start of the ceremony. Dave currently serves as Director of Encore Connecticut in addition to being the Director of Partnership and Compliance at Career Resources Inc.

Profile photo of Mark Argosh
Mark Argosh

Mark Argosh, Executive Director at Social Venture Partners CT provided the Keynote.

For the past seven years, Mark has led Social Venture Partners (SVP)-Connecticut, a leading social impact organization that provides financial, human, and social capital to nonprofits and public sector organizations working to close the opportunity gap in Connecticut. In addition, in 2020, Mark was appointed to serve as the Chair of the Governor’s Workforce Council in Connecticut.

Previously, Mark served as a senior advisor, investor, and partner to Fortune 500 and mid-size companies, nonprofit organizations, and foundations. His work focused on business value and growth through building customer focused strategies, leading product and service innovation, and utilizing information based strategies to increase sales, improve customer retention, and aligning operations with strategy.

Mark’s expertise includes executive leadership, financial management, strategy development and implementation, M&A, private equity investing, cost management, and omni-channel businesses such as retail banking. As the founder of Organic Growth Partners, a strategic consulting firm, he led high-profile growth strategy and transformation efforts—seamlessly assuming C-level roles and revitalizing teams for banks, retailers, business services companies, insurance brokers, information technology companies and nonprofits.

Profile photo of Raina Giddings, MBA
Raina Giddings

Raina Giddings notes she is, “Grateful for the invaluable knowledge gained and ready to apply it to drive positive change!” She was selected by her peers to serve as Class Speaker. With over 15 years of experience in a variety of sales and marketing positions, Raina has found success at Fortune 100 companies prior to the program. An accomplished social impact professional and business engagement executive, she currently serves as Founder and CEO of Social Impact Consulting – Imprint to Impact, LLC in Hartford.

During her address, Raina highlighted the challenges facing the Encore graduates. From climate change to AI, she emphasized a need to embrace innovation in a responsible manner. She noted, “…there is a role for each of us to play in being part of the solution, both individually and collectively. Nonprofits hold incredible power in addressing crises by leveraging diverse perspectives to create solutions for a better world.” Through the program, graduates gained a toolkit of resources and skill sets. They gained insight into areas including but not limited to grant writing, advocacy and strategic management. Raina added, “The lessons we’ve gained in this collaborative space are invaluable. Our combined expertise, honed through this program, serves as a formidable tool for affecting positive change. The diverse knowledge and skills we’ve acquired have equipped us to be innovative, strategic, and creative in tackling future societal challenges. ” With her words, Raina promoted a call to action and encouraged her cohort to find solutions.

Fall 2023 cohort of Encore Connecticut

Following Raina’s remarks additional comments were provided by program co-leads Robert Francis, David Nee, Tom Ruderman and Scott Wilderman. 2023 graduate Dolores Bates later stated,

Through Encore, my view has been opened to the many ways one can contribute to the nonprofit sector. I learned about and gained an understanding of nonprofit governance, funding, advocacy, collaboration and evaluation.  And, Encore! confirmed the many parallels and throughlines between my work as an educator and that which I can do in nonprofit organizations. To say my experience with the program was as meaningful as it was informative is not enough. 

We wish all the best to the fall 2023 cohort! To learn more about the program, checkout our news story from September where we highlighted the kick-off of fall 2023. Interested in joining a future cohort, be on the lookout for an announcement from SPP soon!

The Fall 2023 Encore Connecticut Cohort included:

Dolores Bates • Arnold Berman • Paul Cooney • Tracey N. Foskey • Robert A. Fucci • Raina Giddings • Corey Alexander Gordon • Dr. Anthony W. Hopson • Holly Heline Jarrell • Timothy Jarrell • Robert Krzys • Nita Lathia • Robin Lemberg • Paula J. Lowe • Scott Redfern • Susan Scarduzio • Geralyn F. Schmitt • Robert A. Searles • Liliana Serrano Rojas • Beth A. Sweetland-Bailey • Marieta Y. Williams • Sophie Xu

Members of the fall 2023 cohort completed various projects with the following Fellowship partners:

Access Education • Appalachian Mt. Club • Building One Community • CT Children’s Medical Center • CT Foodshare • CT Invention Convention • Elena’s Light, Inc. • End Hunger CT! • For All Ages • Haven Harvest • Housatonic Community College Foundation • InformCT, Inc./CT Data 359 • Loaves and Fishes • Project Imo, Inc. • Save the Sound •  Soul Friends • Trinity College Entrepreneurship Center • URISE Ventures, Inc. • Wheel it Forward •  Winning Ways