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Introducing WE Local Keynotes: Hartford 2023

Introducing our keynotes for this year's WE Local Events.
Introducing 2023’s WE Local Keynotes - WELocal

Julie Martin

Vice President at 89 North, Inc.

Introducing 2023’s WE Local Keynotes - WELocal

This year, Vermont Business Magazine’s Annual Book of Lists flagged 89 North, an engineering firm in Williston, Vermont, as one of Vermont’s top growth companies over the past five years. This positions the company alongside some of Vermont’s most compelling high growth and women-led firms and the firm has also repeatedly won “Best Places to Work” designation. Leading the charge is Julie Martin, Vice President of 89 North, Inc. A lifelong Vermonter and pioneer in the industry, Julie Martin is the primary resource for 89 North’s engineering and manufacturing strategy and is responsible for directing the day-to-day operations of 89 North’s light source and custom products business. She supervises the engineering, production, and administrative staff and is responsible for setting goals and priorities, and promoting a motivated and productive culture. Julie’s impact goes beyond the walls of 89 North, as it is a subsidiary of Chroma Technology Corporation.

Like many high tech development and manufacturing companies, there are few women in technical leadership roles here. Julie recognizes this and takes her responsibility as a leader and role model very seriously. In addition to her formal role at 89 North, Julie takes on the additional role of mentor for other women engineers Julie impacts our Vermont community in a number of ways. She is a member of the Manufacturing Leadership Group of the regional Chamber of Commerce, which looks at emerging legislation and its impact on manufacturing in the State. Julie is a champion, catalyst, and contributor internally as well, exemplifying our company’s philanthropic-driven values. As an example of “walking the talk”, Julie and members of her team “camped out” on a cold Vermont night in March to highlight and bring awareness to the issue of youth homelessness. Julie’s other noteworthy community contributions include leading her team in food drives and toy drives for local agencies. Julie’s reach also includes engagement with and in support of higher education, particularly in partnership with the University of Vermont’s Senior Experience in Engineering Design (SEED) program. While providing student teams with experience in real life manufacturing problems, they benefit from seeing her as a role model. Most recently, Julie Martin was amongst the Manufacturing Institute’s 2021 STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead honorees. 

In her session, “Power of the Pebble”, at WE Local Hartford, Julie will talk about how success is made up of tiny increments. From the beginning of college, foundational building blocks are ingrained in students. These building blocks, we’re told, will prepare us for industry and the opportunities that await. We establish goals and milestones that mark the path to a successful career. We read books of the greats to become good problem solvers and leaders. But what keeps these building blocks in place? What forms the path that we actually take? What influence do we have on others? It’s the pebbles.

In this talk, she will share how recognizing these pebbles has influenced her professional successes and shaped her professionally as a leader:

  • How not letting goals get in the way and following what drives her has led to a fulfilling and productive career
  • How embracing uncertainty and experiencing being out of her element has made her a better problem-solver
  • How recognizing small but significant influences made her a better engineer and a better leader

The pebbles you accumulate can provide strength to your career fulfillment and are what differentiate you from others. Pay attention to them – the pebbles are powerful.

Jill Albertelli

President of Military Engines at Pratt & Whitney

Introducing 2023’s WE Local Keynotes - WELocal

Jill brings 30 years of Pratt & Whitney experience to her role as President of Military Engines at Pratt & Whitney, from leadership positions in engineering, manufacturing operations and supply chain to sales, programs and commercial aftermarket, to leading the Quality organization. Most recently, Jill led the Transformation & Strategy organization, partnering across the company to drive performance and alignment and spearheading enterprise-wide initiatives, including Office of the Future and the building of the new world-class turbine airfoil production facility in Asheville, N.C. Jill has also been a key driver in furthering the company’s digital and sustainability strategies. Jill is an advocate to advance girls and women in STEM fields. She serves on the Boston University College of Engineering Dean’s Leadership Advisory Board, the Southern New England Junior Achievement Board of Directors and is a member of the Miss Porter’s School STEM Advisory Board. Jill is also a member of the Society of Women Engineers, Women in Aviation International, the Order of the Engineer and United Way’s Women United committee. At Pratt & Whitney, Jill is the executive sponsor of the employee-led Women’s Council.

At WE Local Hartford, Jill’s session “Making Courageous Commitments” focuses around how Jill Albertelli has used her varied career choices to become comfortable taking more innovative and adventurous chances. Learn how to build and use your own ‘safety net’: your network of people that will help build you up and help push you through to meet your goals. Whether the experience is success or failure, it’s always an opportunity to learn and grow. Don’t be risk averse when it comes to making commitments, your career development, waiting for the ‘perfect’ role, or to have ‘all’ the answers. Jill will highlight how she has navigated her career by making courageous choices because they were right for her, even if risky.

Dr. Jenny Gusba

Sr. Director, R&D Beverages Strategy and Portfolio Management 

Introducing 2023’s WE Local Keynotes - WELocal

Dr. Jenny Gusba is a scientist with a background in exercise physiology and sport nutrition. She completed her bachelor’s degree in human kinetics at the University of Guelph and her master’s degree from the University of Western Ontario in Kinesiology. In 2008, Jenny was awarded her doctorate at the University of Guelph from the Human Health and Nutritional Sciences Department. Previously, Jenny Co-founded Welldesign and worked as a Director of Scientific Affairs for Canadian Sugar Institute. Currently, Jenny is an R&D Senior Director at PepsiCo who leads diverse teams who build and execute winning strategies. In her role, she is balancing the voice of the consumer in global powerhouse Sports and Fitness brands like Gatorade and Muscle Milk, while delivering innovative solutions in R&D. Jenny is passionate about talent development and mentoring women in STEM. She is also an avid athlete, enjoying basketball, tennis, running, cycling and swimming. Most importantly, Jenny enjoys traveling and cheering her 3 daughters on in their sports endeavors.

Sara Schonour

Vice President of Education and Engagement at Lytei

Introducing 2023’s WE Local Keynotes - WELocal

Sara Schonour is a lighting & engineering enthusiast, nature & food lover, and world traveler. When she’s not working on her dream property (net positive by 2050!) with her wife, she’s usually hiking, skiing, drawing, doing a puzzle, or hanging out at the community theater. Sara is a community ambassador at Lytei, where she helps lead a team of changemakers and cheerleaders to build awareness about the world of lighting design. Before Lytei, Sara founded and led an award-winning lighting studio for an internationally acclaimed architectural firm. Sara loves to learn and teach; she’s served as adjunct faculty and guest lecturer for multiple university lighting programs (including RISD and the Boston Architectural College) in addition to presenting lighting and engineering concepts to K-12 STEAM students. She speaks regularly at events, on podcasts, and at conferences on all kinds of topics surrounding light, engineering, leadership, career path, and now, what it’s like to be on reality TV! You can see another side of Sara on the hit Netflix show, Baking Impossible. Sara is highly engaged in both the design and her local community, and regularly volunteers her time. She serves on multiple industry boards, and wears many hats at the Footlight Club – her local community theater. Sara has taught as adjunct faculty and guest lecturer for multiple university lighting programs, and speaks regularly at local and national conferences on various topics surrounding light, engineering, and now, what it’s like to be on reality TV! You can see another side of Sara on the hit Netflix show, Baking Impossible.


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