By Kaitlyln Naples
Connecticut Magazine recently released its “40 Under 40” class of 2014, and a few locals have made the list.
The list is comprised of individuals who are under the age of 40 and who are making an impact through their careers and personal initiatives.
Many have probably heard of, or watch regularly, WFSB Channel 3’s “Better Connecticut” in the afternoons, but you might not know who is responsible for the production of the show behind the scenes. Well, it is Southington’s very own Jamie Calli Mascia who is 32 and was recently named one of Connecticut Magazine’s “40 Under 40.”
“I’m so honored. I didn’t find out about it until I read the article. I was shocked,” Calli Mascia said in an email interview. “The people on that list are so inspiring. I’m definitely in good company.”
She started out at WFSB in September of 2004 and worked her way up to executive producer for “Better Connecticut,” WFSB’s lifestyle talk show featuring hosts Scot Haney and Kara Sundlun at 3 p.m. weekdays.
While she didn’t always want to be a producer, she knew she always wanted to work in television, Calli Mascia said.
She wanted to be a reporter or anchor for a television station, and anchored her college news station at Hofstra University. After that she said she “fell in love with producing” because she said “to be quite honest, I’m a bit of a control freak. I like to oversee the big picture.”
As a producer for the show, she books the guests, decides on the topics, orders graphics, coordinates new segments, and much more.
As far as her job goes, Calli Mascia said she loves how she can use television to reach out to people and affect them in positive ways.
“It can be by just putting a smile on someone’s face when they’re watching the show, by inspiring someone to do good in their community, or by helping them in some larger way, such as the kitchen makeover we did for a local mom in a wheelchair,” she said. “We make an impact on people’s lives, and I love that.”
Being a part of the “40 Under 40” awards, Calli Mascia is in a group of individuals who are young but established in their careers.
Her advice to peers in her age range, or younger, on success in career and life – “You have to believe in yourself. Decide what you want, and do whatever you need to do to make it happen. Don’t look to others to validate you. And be kind, to yourself, to others, even to people who aren’t very kind to you,” she said. “It will make them feel good, but more importantly, it will make you feel good.”
Looking into the future, Calli Mascia she said looks forward to watching her two children, 6-year-old Marcello and 3-year-old Giuliana, “grow (but not too quickly, into wonderful people.” She said she and her husband have been together since they were teenagers, and the couple has lived in Southington for eight years. She also said she hopes to continue to help more people through her media outlet, and do more volunteer work when life allows it. She recently started a blog, www.jamiecalli.com where she shares stories about life, parenting, cooking and anything else she can think of. She loves to cook and bake and said maybe she will pen a cookbook one day.
Bristol resident Andrea Ravitz, 34, was also named one of Connecticut Magazine’s “40 Under 40” and said it is an “unexpected honor.”
Ravitz, originally from Costa Rica who moved to Connecticut in 2007, is the multicultural marketing director for Access Health CT, and has held this post since September.
She is responsible for communicating with and educating the public about the Affordable Care Act and Access Health CT, primarily with the Hispanic community in the state.
“It is a pretty diverse position and it is very fulfilling,” Ravitz said, adding that she truly loves what she does and said she enjoys contributing to changing someone else’s life for the better. “It is a humbling experience,” she added.
Ravitz said she can’t count the number of times individuals will find health coverage that suits their needs and have tears in their eyes because it is the first time they haven’t had to worry about something happening and not being covered.
“For many of our clients, this is the first time they can have piece of mind,” Ravitz added.
She said while she reaches out to mass media, her focus is very much one-on-one with clients and the public.
“This is a brand new marketplace, and interacting face-to-face and educating people day-to-day to teach them how the Affordable Care Act will benefit their lives” is much more beneficial, Ravitz said, adding that she is able to help clients understand and be comfortable speaking with her in their own language. She said Access Health CT is constantly meeting with individuals face-to-face at enrollment centers around the state, and at enrollment fairs that are held regularly across the state. Ravitz said Access Health CT is going anywhere where there is a need.
The wife, and mother of a 2 1/2 old, said she is honored to have received this recognition of being named “40 Under 40” and said her future plans include focusing on her family, and to hopefully be able to help grow the community in which she and Access Health CT reaches.
Her advice to other young professionals is to remember to “truly love what you do and be passionate about it,” she said. “If you do, it is going to be perfect for you.”
She said she always wanted to be involved professionally in marketing and advertising, which is why she studied it and is where she is.
“I’m helping a certain part of the community that I am familiar with,” she said, adding that her focus is that “if I can make a difference in at least one person’s life, then my job is done.”
She added that she is lucky to have been always surrounded by individuals she sees as mentors, and reminds others to remember that “you will always learn something from others; we are all involved in a continuation of life education.”
Connecticut Magazine has been holding its “40 Under 40” initiative since 2011. Cathy Ross, associate editor for Connecticut Magazine, said recipients are nominated by others who know them personally or professionally.
“We try to select the people who stand out in all walks of life, the ones who are really remarkable in some way. They represent a new generation of leaders in Connecticut,” she said in an email.