ConnCAT Board Appoints New President and CEO, Announces New Broadened Reach and Mission of ConnCORP
Updated: Apr 14
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February 23, 2021 Julio Olivencia
ConnCORP's Broadened Reach Reflects a Deepening of its Mission and Commitment to Community.
New Haven (February 23, 2020) – The Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology (ConnCAT) Board of Directors today announced Genevive Walker as the new President & CEO to lead the organization into its next phase of community innovation. Founding President & CEO, Erik Clemons has been named Executive Chairman of ConnCORP, the economic development arm of ConnCAT, and is poised to lead the organization’s broadened and deepened programs and initiatives. Both appointments become effective March 1, 2021. The changes reflect ConnCORP’s strategic shift to become a 501(c)3 organization and cement its strategic growth and development plans, which include the acquisition and revitalization of commercial properties, the investment in new and existing local community-based businesses, commitment to economic justice, entrepreneurialism, and community financial literacy. Along with this announcement comes the launch of several programs, businesses, and initiatives: The ConnCAT Community Economic Impact Lab, a business incubator for entrepreneurs; A Health Equity Initiative to address health disparities worsened by the pandemic; The launch of Monterey Chicken, one of the first cloud kitchens in Connecticut; and ConnCAT Place on Dixwell, which was recently approved in a unanimous vote of the Board of Alders. Paul McCraven, who spearheaded the acquisition of the properties that laid the groundwork for ConnCAT Place on Dixwell, will remain as President leading real estate activities and food businesses. With its widened mission, ConnCORP seeks to drive economic development in these sections of the city by investing in local commercial and residential real estate. The objective is to deliver well-planned multi-use real estate investment, which can help stabilize the local economy, provide affordable goods and services, and create local jobs. As ConnCAT’s second employee and founding Director of Programs until being named Chief Operating Officer, Walker’s commitment to excellence in programming and dedication to supporting families has been pivotal to establishing the organization as a trusted leader and community partner. She has a proven track record of building community commitment into everything the organization does. "With Genevive’s leadership and the expansion of ConnCORP's mission, I am confident that we will greatly enhance ConnCAT’s ability to deliver to the residents of our city the tools, the resources, and most importantly, the hope they need to succeed." Carlton Highsmith, ConnCAT board chair. "Clemons's passionate commitment to uplifting all within the community is unparalleled. His deep understanding of community, his belief in economic justice for all, and his tireless advocacy for the under-served uniquely equip him to lead ConnCORP as Walker takes the helm at ConnCAT leading the vision to build a New Haven where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. This is a natural evolution born out of nearly 10 years of hard work and dedication." "Genevive has and continues to do great work for ConnCAT," Clemons said. "Her appointment is a testament to ConnCAT’s commitment to build and nurture Black leaders from within the organization and the community. Her leadership is exactly what the next decade of work at ConnCAT needs and I’m confident that our community of students, parents, families, and alumni are in good hands." "I'm excited and grateful for the trust placed in me to lead ConnCAT as we double down on our commitment to economic justice as we support families through the dual pandemics of the recession and COVID-19," Walker said. "Our work has and will always be focused on building a New Haven where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. And I’m humbled by the opportunity to support and lead that mission." ConnCAT's leadership shifts will enable the increased community engagement of the Dixwell project, a $200 million multi-use development project aimed at supporting community revitalization and intergenerational wealth creation. The project is slated to transform downtown New Haven, adding 150 rental apartments, 20 townhomes, 50,000 square feet of office space, and 128,000 square feet of ground-level retail space. "ConnCAT Place on Dixwell has been about community building from day one and that doesn’t change with these transitions," Clemons said. "We are working off the concept of restorative economic development, where everyone has a seat at the table so that our actions benefit everyone but especially current residents."
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ConnCAT's mission is to inspire, motivate, and prepare youth and adults for educational and career advancement, through after-school arts, and job training programming. ConnCORP seeks to drive economic development in the Dixwell and Newhallville sections of New Haven by investing in local commercial and residential real estate. The objective is to deliver well-planned multi-use real estate investment, which can help stabilize the local economy, provide affordable goods and services, and create local jobs.
Genevive Walker, ConnCAT incoming President and CEO
Erik Clemons, ConnCAT President and CEO
Carlton Highsmith, ConnCAT Board Chair