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By Nan Price, Content Manager MetroHartford Alliance

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) Supply Chain Specialist Nicole Baccaro is proud to call Greater Hartford her home. A Connecticut native, she’s made meaningful connections with the local business community through networking and sharing about her love of discovering new things in and around Hartford.

NAN PRICE: Why Connecticut?

NICOLE BACCARO: My family has been here for four generations. My great grandparents came here as immigrants and we’ve been here ever since. For me, Connecticut is home. I’m clearly not looking to leave because I’m getting everything I need from the area.

NAN: In what ways have you leveraged the regional business community throughout your career?

NICOLE: At my last position, I was the program manager at the University of Connecticut Technology Incubation Program, which started opening my eyes to what was happening in the Greater Hartford area. I worked with many different entrepreneurs and researchers and I also got in touch with business service providers, including local lawyers and accounting firms; investors; and many different local resources, including you!

NAN: Did those connections spark a passion for you to want to be more involved?

NICOLE: Those connections definitely expanded my network. I began to realize there are other people like me who want Connecticut to grow. People who want to stay here and like being here. A lot of people are in similar boats as me, where their families are here and they’re okay being here. They like it here and this is their home.

NAN: How do we tell the story about Connecticut?

NICOLE: We need to drown out the negativity with positivity, which means asking people who are positive about the area to speak up more and quiet the naysaying, negative conversation.

NAN: Do you feel like using social media to promote the region plays a role in that? It is important to check in and tag local businesses to help promote them?

NICOLE: Absolutely. That’s where a lot of people are getting their information about what’s happening in the area. I’ve found many different places on Instagram by looking at #Hartford or using online maps to see where people are checking into locally. I’ve learned about a lot of places through social media—and there are plenty of places I still want to check out, too.

Anywhere you live, you have to have the desire to try new things. I love that, although I’ve lived here my whole life, there’s always something new to explore.

It all ties into telling the story—and sharing about it. It’s always about trying new things and doing things differently. For example, I live right off a CTfastrak bus line and I choose to take that anytime I go into Hartford, whether it’s to see a Wolf Pack or Yard Goats game, go out to dinner, or head to an event. I don’t have to worry about driving home or parking. I could easily just drive in, but I make it more of an experience to take the bus and get dropped off in the city.

NAN: What is it about Connecticut that makes you want to build your career, live, and play here?

NICOLE: First is the location. There’s so much variety here—you can go to the beach or hiking, so you can be in a rural area or in a more populated city. And, of course, if you want to get a taste of a larger metropolitan city, New York City and Boston are close by, but you don’t need to commit to living there.

Second, I would say are the job opportunities here and the network you can build. The potential to connect and make friends is a lot easier than I think in a big city. I’ve built a network of many friends who have so much in common because of the area and our interest in being here. They’re all from backgrounds, too—some have always lived in Connecticut, some have moved here from out of state, some are local entrepreneurs. I have friends from work and friends I’ve made from TIP events and local networking events. I’m grateful to be part of this community.