Chris Traczyk has a knack for bringing people together. As both community development manager and executive director of Farmington Bank, she is the bridge that connects the bank to nonprofits for the betterment of the community.
“I think of myself as a facilitator, convener, connector, between the bank and the products and the services it has and the community. Community development really is helping create a better community,” Traczyk said.
Traczyk helped set up Farmington’s Community Foundation, writing the guidelines and directing the focus of the foundation. She created the foundation’s program “Spill the Beans,” which allows nonprofits “to present themselves on where they are today and their needs for tomorrow,” said Tom Andrea, a strategic partner at Sullivan & LeShane.
It’s a “wonderful event; it’s an eye-opener,” said Deva Varela, assistant vice president and project manager at Farmington Bank, adding the “special thing Chris brings is people to listen intently to the nonprofit.”
One of the program’s most memorable accomplishments was providing diapers to nonprofits in Hartford that work with single mothers. Diapers are often a challenge for low-income families, as they are unable to apply any subsidies towards the purchase. Not only did Traczyk spearhead the initiative to donate $10,000 worth of diapers, but she loaded up the van, jumped in and delivered them to 12 organizations.
“It was the best day for the organizations. Our employees were ecstatic at being able to … make a difference, because they were personally delivering the diapers. I get to coordinate and orchestrate things like that, where everybody has an opportunity to give back,” Traczyk said.
Traczyk also acts as chairman of the Wethersfield Tourism Commission, which is dedicated to inviting visitors to historic houses in Wethersfield.
She describes the commission as “a way to promote people coming and appreciate history,” and as “an economic development tool – a way to help bring more business into the community.” According to Traczyk, being part of the Wethersfield Tourism Commission has given her “a much better understanding of how a community works and the politics of it, which is helpful for the bank position.”
Traczyk is a mother of two, and said, “my career and the kind of work I’ve done has helped my kids to be, I think, much more cognizant of other people that are out there and what’s happening in their communities.”