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Millennials urged to create legacies on social media

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Kris Ruby, CEO of White Plains-based Ruby Media Group, told those attending the 2019 Westfair Communications Millennial Awards that living in the social media age gives millennials a unique opportunity to have a lasting impact.

Ruby was the keynote speaker for the event, which took place at Serafina at the Italian Club in Stamford on Nov. 21.

“You have this huge opportunity to take the knowledge base that you have developed and acquired in your career starting now,” she said. “You can record it in so many different ways that have not been available to people that have come before us.”

Kristen Ruby and Matt Scott

Ruby, who has more than a dozen years’ experience in public relations and has been a featured commentator on Fox News, CNBC, “Good Morning America” and other television stalwarts, said millennials who are social media-savvy have unique opportunities to create legacies incorporating the knowledge they accumulate throughout their careers.

“Just having all of this knowledge in and of itself in your brain isn’t enough,” she advised. “I believe as leaders, we have the responsibility to pass knowledge on. One of the ways that I believe we can do that is through social media.”

Ruby said that one of her goals is to change the perception of women on television. “Watch what people say about men when they’re on TV,” she said. “What they say is, ‘I heard what you had to say, you sounded really great.’ What do we say about women when they’re on TV? ‘You look great.’ And one of my key missions as a woman on television is to change that conversation …. to say ‘you sounded great. I heard what you had to say and it resonated with me.’”

She advised the millennials that as their careers progress they should surround themselves with people who will push them to greater heights and not to be content with “yes men.”

The master of ceremonies for the event was Matt Scott, meteorologist and co-host on the Fox 61 Morning News on WTIC-TV in Hartford.

The audience broke into gales of laughter when he read some of the emails he received from viewers commenting on the accuracy of his forecasts. “I wish I could get my job as wrong as much as you do and still get paid,” one viewer wrote. “Come to my house and shovel the 14-inches of partly cloudy you forecast out of my driveway, you little weasel,” another viewer complained.

Jillian McDonnell

One of the award recipients, Amanda Ayala of Mahopac, New York, has embarked on a singing career and appeared on the NBC program “The Voice.” After accepting her award, she surprised the audience by performing “Lost You,” a song she composed, which has been issued as her latest single. Her previous singles, “Mississippi Queen” and “Edge of Seventeen,” were listed on the top 100 iTunes Rock Chart in their initial releases.

The 32 millennials who received awards were selected by a panel of experts for their entrepreneurial spirit, passion and the lasting impact they’ve been having in Westchester and Fairfield. They were: Pakeeza Alam, a urogynecologist at CareMount Medical in Mount Kisco; Ina Gjoni Allkanjari, operations manager at Avanti Systems USA in Greenwich; Kelly Andersen, marketing director for the Wealth Continuum Group in Wilton, Conn.; Amanda Ayala; Theresa Baker, director of Health Care Sponsor Finance at Webster Bank in Stamford; Tom Burbank, vice president of service operations at Atlantic Westchester in Bedford Hills; Nate Checketts, co-founder and CEO of Rhone in Stamford; Michelle Eva Marie Colacion, senior manager at Deloitte Consulting in Stamford; and Alexandra Cooley, COO and co-founder of Greenworks Lending in Darien.

Other winners were Nicole Cuglietto, attorney with Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP in Stamford; Amanda DiPreta, art director of Catalyst Marketing Communications in Stamford; Laura Donovan, founder of Sonder Financial in Wilton; Lauren Enea, associate at Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano LLP in White Plains; Rachel Gould, accounting manager at Aquarion Water Company in Bridgeport; Rebecca Graziano, associate director of marketing at Westmed Medical Group in Purchase; David Jones, certified financial planner, The SKG Team at Barnum Financial Group in Elmsford; Adam Kirshner, manager of media and metadata operations, WWE in Stamford; Brendan Klein, youth advocacy and engagement coordinator, Westchester Institute for Human Development in Valhalla; Manette Macias, manager of lab services, Hampford Research in Stratford; Jillian McDonnell, sales associate + jeweler D’Errico Jewelry in Scarsdale; and Victoria McGruder, private wealth relationship manager, Merrill Private Wealth in Greenwich.

Also honored were Chelsea Merola, creative director, Grande Cosmetics in White Plains; Krystina Murawski, owner and founder of Noomi in Mamaroneck; Tugba Pal, assistant director of physician relations services at Columbia Medical Center-Westchester Columbia Doctors in White Plains; Loni Richards, CEO and president of Service After Service in Shelton; Nitin Sekhri, medical director of pain management and co-founder of WMC Headache Specialists at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla; Stelios Stavrianos, founder/CEO, Cylinder Vodka in Stamford; Nicole Thomas, vice president, middle market relationship manager, Wells Fargo Bank in Shelton; Ken Tuccio, founder/CEO, Best Trivia Ever in Norwalk; John Varamo, program manager, City of Stamford; Cassandra Vogel, counsel, Yankwitt LLP in White Plains; and Adam C. Weiss, associate attorney, Lever & Ecker PLLC in White Plains.

Instead of acceptance speeches, the award recipients were asked to pretend that they were posting a photo of themselves accepting the award to Instagram and come up with a caption for the photo in six words or less. “The future starts today, not tomorrow,” said Jillian McDonnell. Award-winner John Varamo said, “The adventures continue tomorrow.” Dr. Pakeeza Alam made sure her six words reflected her professional specialty and said, “Let’s increase pelvic health awareness #millennials.” Rachel Gould said, “Thanks all who have inspired me.”

The Presenting Sponsor along with Westfair was the UCONN School of Business.

The Benefitting Sponsor was the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, “Save the Sound.”

Innovators were Aquarion Water Company and Yale New Haven Health Greenwich Hospital.

Community Leaders for the event were: Enea Scanlan & Sirignano LLP; Wealth Continuum Group; Deloitte; Val’s Putnam Wines & Liquors; Westchester Institute for Human Development; and D’Errico Jewelry.

Mentors were: Barnum Financial Group – The SKG Team; CR, Rajni Menon; Center for Children’s Advocacy; Gloria Ferrer; kinapure; Blossom Flower; Webster Bank; Freixenet Mionetto; WWE; Le Caprice Paris; Intuitive Interiors; Perfect Provenance; Salt Cave; and Helen Ainson. Vendors who were with Val’s included: Villa Ponzi; Cylinder Vodka; Sono 1420; and Litchfield Distillery.

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