For the past several years, Hartford Business Journal has compiled an annual list of Greater Hartford’s most influential leaders. Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney is included on the list again this year, along with several other people who have connections to Trinity: Andy Bessette P’10, parent of a Trinity alumna and a former member of the Trinity College Board of Trustees; alumnus Peter Denious ’90; and Jeffrey Flaks H’21, an honorary degree recipient and last year’s Commencement speaker.

The 2022 “Power Players” list highlights 50 private- and public-sector, nonprofit, higher education, real estate, and healthcare officials in Greater Hartford who are not only top leaders within their organizations but also of the broader business community, according to HBJ editor Greg Bordonaro.

“Power comes in a variety of forms. You can be a CEO, government leader, college president, run a nonprofit, regulate an industry, or be an important cog in a highly visible project, issue or trend,” Bordonaro said in the introduction to the publication’s special section.

HBJ’s third annual Power 50 class was chosen by its news team to identify newsmakers and leaders in the community who are having broad impact within the region and state. The list emphasizes diversity in people and industries.

“It’s important to highlight these leaders not as a vanity project but as a way to bring Greater Hartford’s business community together—especially at a time when many in-person events still remain sidelined as a result of the pandemic,” Bordonaro said. “Hopefully that will be changing in the months ahead.”

Joanne Berger-Sweeney

Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney

The HBJ notes that President Joanne Berger-Sweeney has helped oversee several major accomplishments at Trinity since her inauguration as its 22nd president in 2014.

“Under Berger-Sweeney’s leadership, Trinity completed a new strategic plan—called Summit—that will help guide the college toward its bicentennial in 2023,” HBJ says. “During her tenure, the college also established a new sexual misconduct task force and she helped get the Trinity-Infosys Applied Learning Initiative off the ground in 2019. The program incorporates elements of liberal arts and tech training.”

“Berger-Sweeney is a trained neurophysiologist who has contributed to more than 60 scientific publications,” HBJ adds. Click here to read more.

Andy Bessette P’10

The parent of a Trinity alumna and a former member of the Trinity College Board of Trustees, Andy Bessette P’10 was recognized by HBJ as one of Hartford’s top boosters.

“As executive vice president and chief administrative officer of property-and-casualty insurer Travelers Cos., which has major operations in downtown Hartford, he has myriad duties, including overseeing corporate real estate, administrative services, community relations, event management, and sports sponsorships,” HBJ says. He’s also helped turn the Travelers Championship into one of the PGA Tour’s best-run tournaments, generating millions of dollars for charities in the region. Click here to read more.

Peter Denious ’90

Along with David Lehman, Peter Denious ’90 was honored by HBJ as one of the most important figures in state government responsible for economic development and attracting new businesses to Connecticut.

“Denious, a former private equity exec, is the CEO of AdvanceCT, a not-for-profit entity that serves as the state’s business recruitment arm,” HBJ says. “Over the past year, Lehman and Denious have helped spearhead efforts to attract several new companies to Connecticut, including Digital Currency Group, an investor in bitcoin and blockchain technology companies, which is moving its headquarters from New York City to Stamford with a pledge to create 300 jobs in exchange for up to $5 million in state aid.” Click here to read more.

Jeffrey Flaks H’21

Hartford HealthCare President and CEO Jeffrey A. Flaks Commencement 2021
Hartford HealthCare President and CEO Jeffrey Flaks delivers the 2021 Commencement Address at Trinity College.

Hartford HealthCare President and CEO Jeffrey Flaks H’21 and Senior Vice President Bimal Patel made the list for helping to expand HHC into the second-largest health system in Connecticut.

HBJ says, “Flaks, who is a major Hartford cheerleader, oversees a statewide health system that recorded $4.3 billion in operating revenue in fiscal 2020, which represented just over one of every four operating dollars collected by all Connecticut health systems combined.” Flaks also led Hartford HealthCare through the pandemic, battling everything from supply and workforce shortages to overcrowded emergency rooms and staff fatigue. Click here to read more.