Wendy Vincent – Executive Director Announcement
Wendy Vincent currently serves as the Executive Director of the Cultural Coalition and has a diverse background in entrepreneurship, business development, communications, marketing, fundraising, and non-profit leadership. She previously served as the eastern Connecticut Program Manager/Director for the Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC) where she managed and delivered WBDC’s programs and services throughout eastern Connecticut to entrepreneurs at all stages of business development. She is a past Marketing and Development Director for the Lighthouse Voc-Ed Center, a past President of the board of directors of the Friends of Gillette Castle State Park, a former board member of the East Haddam Historical Society and Museum, and a former journalist and social media marketing manager.
Prior to her early career in marketing and project management in the corporate sector, Wendy worked her way up from usher to Director of Audience Services at Lincoln Theater, operated by the Hartt School of Music. She is the author of three published books, founding editor of the East Haddam News, a writer/editor, and the owner of a publishing company as well as a New London based bookstore.
In addition to a B.A. in Communications from the University of Hartford where she minored in International Languages and Cultures, Wendy also has an M.A. in Liberal Studies from Albertus Magnus, where her final thesis was on the Trobairitz-12th and 13th century female troubadours from Occitania, France. She is completing an MPhil degree in the Humanities and Writing at Wesleyan University where her final thesis is in the form of a magazine of travel essays that focus on how travel experiences (food, art, music) shape and broaden cultural understanding.
Wendy’s passions include developing and supporting creative-based businesses, advocating for the arts, and connecting people to resources. She is an avid reader, gardener, an herbalist, and an art collector. Wendy enjoys traveling, hiking, yoga, and listening to hard rock while driving her Jeep Wrangler.
Former Executive Director – As of June 1, 2023 Wendy Bury is no longer working with the Cultural Coalition.
Since joining the Cultural Coalition as Assistant Director in 2016, Deb has managed general operations and administration of the Coalition’s programs, events, and activities. She participates as a member of the management team to formulate, implement, and track outcomes of programs and services in support of the organization’s mission and the Board’s strategic plan. As partner liaison and stakeholder contact, Deb has strengthened the Cultural Coalition’s role in the arts, culture and creative community and across the region.
Following an International Relations B.A. degree from Mount Holyoke College, Deb began her career at a Connecticut marketing research firm overseeing survey design and data collection. She moved into management and leadership positions with the growing company before leaving to become a project management and marketing consultant working with small nonprofit organizations and municipal departments.
Deb has been an economic development, tourism, and small business advocate for more than twenty-five years, serving on the Board of the Central Regional Tourism District and the East Haddam Economic Development Commission. Born and raised in northwestern Connecticut, she has lived in the southeastern region of the state since 1995.
Northeast Region Coordinator – Job posting in early 2024
Expanding upon the work of Charlene Haukom, the first Northeast Region (NER) Coordinator who started with us in October 2021, the Cultural Coalition will be hiring a new Coordinator to help us connect with artists, arts & cultural businesses, and community organizations in twenty-one northeastern CT towns. The Northeast Region Coordinator will serve as the liaison to the region and help extend the Cultural Coalition’s programs and services to the creative community.
Kia Baird is a Norwich, CT native with a life mission of connecting people with opportunities.
Ms. Baird is Past President of the New London County Section of the National Council of Negro Women, an organization founded in 1935 by Mary Mcleod Bethune to work collectively for women’s rights and the rights of young people. Kia is a former Ambassador for the Eastern CT Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals and served the Chamber as a member of its Board of Trustees. In 2013 Kia Baird received the Young Professionals Community Service Award. In 2015, she was honored with her peers as one the region’s 40 Under Forty and in the following years Kia was privileged to become one the SECT Professional Women of the Year and 100 Women of Color (CT, MA, RI).
Kia is on the board of directors and past president of OutCT, a 501c3 organization that works to build a community through educational and social programming that promotes acceptance and understanding of the LGBTQ community. Kia is also the Co-Chair of the Southeastern CT Re-entry Council, serving individuals that are returning to the community after incarceration. She is also on the Diversity Board for the Norwich Bulletin and has been featured several times as a guest columnist.
Kia Baird is a classically trained soprano. She studied the business of music at the Historically Black College- Winston Salem State University (UNC) located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Kia studied both sacred and classical music and concentrated in jazz under the tutelage of D’Walla Simmons Burke, Richard Heard and Dr. David Legette. Among other memorable performances, Kia was the soprano in the Opera Barefoot, narrated by the Late Dr. Maya Angelou and is currently the featured Soloist for RPM Voices of Rhode Island. Kia is a former Board of Directors member of the Norwich Arts Center, where she created Miss Lottie’s Café, A jazz- theater series, named for art and community activist, Lottie B Scott in historic Norwich, CT and is the Founder of Girls in Jazz.
Kia’s dream to connect people with passion and creativity to opportunities that develop exceptional business acumen, drive economic development allows her to help strengthen the community as a whole.
Jessica Morozowich grew up in Litchfield County before pursuing her undergraduate degree in vocal performance with a minor in music management at the University of Delaware. In 2003 Jessica completed her M.S. in Arts Administration from Drexel University in Philadelphia and returned to CT to advocate for the creative sector in her home state. She worked in the Northwest corner for almost a decade; first with Litchfield Performing Arts (Litchfield Jazz Festival and Camp), and as a board member for the Northwest CT Arts Council, later becoming staff working side-by-side with the Executive Director to advocate for and support arts and culture in the Northwest corner.
After having their second child Jessica and her husband relocated to Colchester, CT where she transitioned to be a stay-at-home-mom, and began a business as a contract grant writer and consultant for arts-based organizations and artists alike. She discovered she not only had a knack for grant writing, but for teaching and building the overall capacity of the organizations she worked with. Her clients received continued funding success at the local and state levels, and appreciated her comprehensive approach and honest programmatic input. After several years her interests focused more and more on teaching organizations “to fish”, rather than “fishing” for them, and she sought innovative ways to make a greater impact on the cultural community. In 2019, in partnership with the Cultural Coalition, the Funding Booster Program was born! This program utilizes Jessica’s unique skills to build the capacity of the southeastern region, and now the northeast region, to apply for and win funding opportunities. The program has been such a success that it has been replicated by the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County (the Cultural Coalition’s sister organization serving Fairfield County). Jessica thoroughly enjoys connecting with the incredible artists and creative organizations that make-up the fabric of our state, and helping them grow and achieve funding success. Jessica believes the arts and creative learning are so important that she ran for, and won, a seat on Colchester’s Board of Education in 2019.
Sarbani Hazra joins the Cultural Coalition as the Norwich Arts and Culture Coordinator. She is thrilled to bring her strong collaborative skills and community experience to Norwich. Sarbani has over 15 years of experience in academic management and community advocacy. She graduated with Honors from Smith College with a B.A. in Psychology. Sarbani was the Assistant Director of UCLA’s Center for India and South Asia and, previously served as the Sponsored Research Officer at Barnard College. She has been a lifelong advocate for equity and inclusion and has worked with several community organizations: South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association, South Asian Mental Health Awareness in Jersey, and Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence.
Sarbani is also an actor and writer. Her acting credits include the NBC pilot One Star Wonder and the music video “Aaja” with Emmy-winner Riz Ahmed. She has also performed with Emerson Theater Collaborative and Mystic Seaport Museum’s Lantern Light tours. Sarbani recently developed the play Merle’s Shadow which was partly funded by the Cultural Coalition. For more information about her creative work, please visit www.shazra.com.