Women of FIRE

Celebrating Outstanding Women

Celebrating Outstanding Women

The Commercial Record asked its loyal readers to nominate deserving women in the finance, insurance and real estate sectors for our 2016 Women of FIRE awards. From dozens of nominations, our judges narrowed it down to 12 women who stood out from the crowd. They have shown substantial success in their field, they have...
Diane Cantello

Diane Cantello

As vice president of corporate sustainability at The Hartford, Diane Cantello helps coordinate the insurance giant’s sustainability agenda and directly oversees its environmental stewardship and community involvement. It is difficult to overstate the importance of this last role to local nonprofits, said Bobbie Bartucca, executive director of The Malta House of Care Foundation, a...
Lisa Casper

Lisa Casper

If you ask Lisa Casper, it was inevitable she would get into banking. If you ask her colleagues, it was inevitable she would be named a Woman of FIRE. Thinking back on her career now, the New Jersey native recalls that most of her high school classmates entered the financial services world in one...
Ginger Dean

Ginger Dean

Ginger and David Dean might be considered something of a real estate power couple: she currently serves as Litchfield County Commercial Realtors’ vice president, and both of them are owners and brokers at the firm. However, if you ask David Dean, he’ll tell you she’s the real backbone of the operation. “She is smart,...
Emily Dreas

Emily Dreas

Although Emily Dreas deals with some big dollar signs, managing private wealth for clients with plenty of it, for her the numbers are only as important as the individuals behind them. A consummate people person, Dreas goes to work each day with human-centered and goal-oriented mindset, finding satisfaction in helping clients get the most...
Patty Dyer

Patty Dyer

Patty Dyer’s passion for helping people and serving her community is reflected both in her present role as vice president of mortgage lending at Union Savings Bank, and in the countless hours of charity work she’s accumulated over the years. Dyer’s 35-year career in banking began when she was a college student, working part...
Meryl Freedman

Meryl Freedman

Growing up in the New York area gave Meryl Freedman an appreciation of differences. Moves around the country for education and career gave her an understanding of the residential real estate sales process. At her current role as leader of a large West Hartford agency, she gets a taste of both. “The thing I...
Laurie Gervais

Laurie Gervais

Laurie Gervais is a natural choice for the Women of FIRE award. In addition to climbing through the ranks from part-time teller to executive vice president and chief administration officer in her 33-year career, in the early years she was also a volunteer firefighter. “I was the first female firefighter in Windham,” Gervais said....
Nancy Hancock

Nancy Hancock

Nancy Hancock might be officially known as a partner and the sole female executive committee member at Pullman & Comley LLC, but she has a different explanation for her work: “I am the Office of Insoluble Problems,” she said. “And [my clients] come up with the most unique and fascinating problems.” Hancock has worked...
Melanie Joy

Melanie Joy

Melanie Joy brings over 25 years of commercial real estate lending experience to her current position as senior vice president of commercial banking at United Bank in Glastonbury. Created in 2014 through a merger of United Bank and Rockville Bank, United currently has over 50 branches in Connecticut and Massachusetts, with more than $6.3...

Victoria Kaplan

For Victoria Kaplan, the real estate bug bit early; she was just 18 when she purchased her first property, a two-family home with one apartment for her to live in and one to rent out. Years later, she became the first female real estate broker – and one of the first female Realtors –...
Elizabeth Verna

Elizabeth Verna

Elizabeth Verna joined the family business in real estate development shortly after working as an editorial assistant at Vogue Italia in New York. The career jump was unplanned, she said, but as a member of an Italian family with a family business, “It was a great opportunity. I really never thought I would work...
Margaret Wilcox

Margaret Wilcox

Margaret Wilcox remembers reading an advertisement in her local newspaper in 2002: “Are you independent? Self-motivated? Like to work hard? Like people?” “Yes,” Wilcox remembers thinking. “I like all those things.” “Then a career in real estate might be for you,” the ad concluded. Wilcox, in transition at the time with her children mostly...