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board members


Leo M. Connors, Jr. CRPC® is a ten year veteran of the financial services industry and has been with Merrill Lynch since 2002. After completing advanced study, he received the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor CRPC® designation in 2008. Leo graduated from Hopkins School in 1998 and went on to receive a degree in Economics from Ohio Wesleyan University. He is an active member in the community and in addition to NHHR he serves as the Vice-Chair of PULSE- The New Haven Chamber's young professionals organization and is the Vice President of The New Haven Old Black Rugby Club. In 2013 he graduated from The New Haven Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program and was elected Class Speaker by his fellow graduates. In addition to Rugby, Leo is an avid cyclist, golfer and adventurer. Leo and his wife Courtney live with their son in Hamden, CT.

Mary Ferrari


A Quinnipiac University Associate Professor of Law, Mary has been a past president of NHHR and currently sits on the finance committee. Mary has been a tireless advocate for the rights of the homeless.



Maryrose is a native of New Haven.  She graduated from Boston College where she received a degree in Nursing.  She also has a Masters degree in Financial Management from Fairfield University. Maryrose is a Sr. Operational Finance Analyst at Yale New Haven Health System.  Her daughter Casey lives and works in New York City and Maryrose often visits.  Maryrose is passionate about providing shelter and affordable child care to homeless women and children.  In her spare time she enjoys hiking and tennis.



Shirley attended Wayne State University where she graduated with a major in psychology and a minor in criminal justice. After graduation, she moved to California where Shirley attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where she received her master's degree and doctorate in sociology. Currently, Shirley is a professor of sociology at Southern Connecticut State University and the founder and co-coordinator of its Ethnic Studies minor. Her interests include watching Alfred Hitchcock films, original episodes of TheTwilight Zone, and Columbo. Shirley enjoys traveling to other countries. Shirley decided to get involved with NHHR after donating to the Furniture Co-Op, volunteering during the United Ways Days of Caring, and getting her students involved to learn about how the community attempts to solve social problems through a class assignment. Shirley looks forward to helping NHHR achieve its goals.



Jack is a native of New Haven.  He currently serves as a probate judge for the New Haven Probate Court. 



Barbara works at the Early Childhood Learning Center as the Social Service Coordinator.  She also sits on the board of Sisters’ Journey.


Eileen Love O'Donnell


After Eileen spent time in the Peace Corps as a volunteer in Yemen, she began working as an Art Director at advertising agencies in Connecticut and New York. Presently, Eileen is the Creative Director and partner at Odonnell Company, an advertising agency in New Haven, Connecticut.


Al Smith is a former managing partner of Murtha Cullina LLP of the firm and now serves as Chair of the Regulatory Department. Mr. Smith practices in the areas of environmental and municipal law. He has extensive experience in all areas of environmental law. He regularly advises clients with respect to regulatory compliance issues and in connection with environmental issues associated with real estate and corporate transactions. Mr. Smith has written and spoken on many environmental law issues including the impact of bankruptcy proceedings, fiduciary liability under environmental laws, employee and community “right-to-know,” air quality and “Brownfields” redevelopment. He regularly counsels municipal clients in matters ranging from governance to finance and land use. He also has devoted substantial time in representing clients in the development, permitting, and operation of energy generating facilities including those using fossil fuels, refuse and renewable sources. Mr. Smith has been recognized as a leading environment lawyer in Chambers USA and as a Best Lawyers in America, Environmental Law.  Mr. Smith is a former adjunct professor at the University of New Haven Graduate School, where he taught environmental law.
Mr. Smith has served as a member of the Town Plan and Zoning Commission of the Town of Woodbridge, and was Chair of the Charter Revision Commission.




Bernadette received her BA in Psychology from The State of New York at Buffalo.  For fifteen years she has worked as an independent insurance agent for Contessa Insurance Agency located in North Haven, CT.  Outside of work, Bernadette is the Chairperson of Spring Glen Church’s Christian Action Committee and is a board member of The East Haven Chamber of Commerce.  Also, she is involved with the Women in Business Program, Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce’s women group and is a member of BNI.  Bernadette volunteers for CABO (Connecticut Alliance for Business Opportunity.  She resides with her husband Bill in North Haven, and hopes to raise awareness of NHHR throughout the business community. 









Michael A. West Jr. is a Director of Corporate Communications for UIL Holdings Corporation.  UIL is the parent company of The United Illuminating Company, Southern Connecticut Gas, Connecticut Natural Gas and Berkshire Gas.  UIL Holdings is a publically traded company with assets of over $4 billion. 

In his role, Michael is responsible for the communications, marketing and public relations efforts of UIL and its operating companies across Connecticut and Massachusetts.  This includes managing all communications efforts - the development of television, radio and print advertising, media relations and he serves as the corporate spokesperson.  His activities also involve managing crisis communications, public image and community relations issues, research and other internal and external communications.


Prior to UIL, he managed a similar effort for Ameren Corporation in St. Louis, Missouri – a Fortune 500 company with assets of more than $24 billion. Before joining Ameren, Michael was Assistant Director of Communications for the Office Of The Mayor in the City of St. Louis where he served as a key advisor and strategist. 


Michael attended Iowa State and received a B.S. from Southeast Missouri State University in Marketing. He completed is Masters of Business Administration in 2009 from Webster University. 


In addition to his professional duties, Michael has served as Director and Chairman of the board for The Partnership for Downtown St. Louis CID, Director and board member for Children’s Home Society of Missouri, ARCHS, St. Louis Sports Commission, Downtown’s St. Louis Foundation and a host of other civic and volunteer activities.  He is also a gubernatorial appointment and Vice Chairman of a Lambert Airport Joint Development commission charged with overseeing the development of 600 acres just east of Lambert International Airport in St. Louis. 


In his spare time, Michael enjoys history, politics, music, sports and reading.   


Debbie Woodworth


Debbie is Assistant to the President at Yale-New Haven Hospital and serves as the liaison to the Hospital's Board of Trustees.  She graduated from Connecticut College and has been at the Hospital since 1986.  Debbie became involved with NHHR through the Hospital's program which encourages employees to volunteer their time to local non-profits.  She joined the board in 2009 because she believes in NHHR’s mission and enjoys the work that is involved in being a board member.  When she has some spare time, Debbie enjoys gardening and going to the beach.  She currently lives in East Lyme with her husband and their four year old yellow Labrador Retriever.



Linda got involved with NHHR by volunteering at CareWays. Each week she looks forward to spending time in the play room with the children playing endless games of Candy Land, helping with homework or building with LEGOS. She is an artist who combines her love for textiles with teaching children of all ages how to sew and create unique pieces of art using fabric, yarn and beads.  Almost every child she sees at CareWays leaves with a piece of art designed and sewn solely by them. Linda is also a member of the Connecticut Teaching Artist Directory, where she specializes in teaching textile arts to children. Recently, she has become a Certified Fitness Professional. Linda and her husband are recent "empty nesters" and now have more time to develop their respective businesses and to give back to the community.

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If you are interested in becoming a board member, please fill out the Board Interest Form, print a copy and mail it to the address included on the form.

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