Each year Pulse Magazine selects up and comers in Central Massachusetts who are making an impact in the world around them. Whether in the business fields, entertainment industry or through community work, 2020’s People to Watch demonstrates the immense diversity and talent that our region has to offer.
Tessy St. Fleur
Tessy St. Fleur, a 28 year old Designer and Owner of Querelle Designs and Demoiselle Accessories, believes success is based on accomplishing your goals no matter what it takes. The Haitian designer started creating fashion in high school and worked in several retail stores. She then used her talents to create her own modeling agency, ReV Fashion which is a “one stop shop” fashion company that offers modeling, photography, makeup, wardrobe and hair styling. Additionally, St. Fleur recently opened her own boutique, Demoiselle, in Downtown Worcester. Her feminine, chic, and fabulous clothing and accessories are made with the intention to accentuate women’s “fabulosity”. St. Fleur enjoys helping others realize their dreams. She said, “I love fashion but I like helping people feel better about themselves. I want to inspire others while learning from my success and my failures.”
Melissa Glenny, 40, is a resident of Leominster and Founder and CEO of Franklin Professional Associates. Glenny who has worked in staffing and recruiting for 12 years, strives to create a work environment that is beneficial for everyone. Coming out of a corporate environment in her early 30s, Glenny found herself burnt out. She said, “I think there are better ways companies can function.” Franklin Professional Associates recruits candidates for medium to large companies in areas such as administration, sales, management and manufacturing. For eight years, Glenny has helped companies recruit and retain employees. Glenny said, “The team that I built at Franklin Professionals and the feedback from individuals who work here, trust us. They feel challenged and learn they have more capability.”
Sophia El-Hayek, 29, is a resident of Leominster and Co-Founder of the skincare line Phenic Natural Skincare. El-Hayek, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and an MBA from Assumption College, had a personal interest in skincare. According to El-Hayek,“I had terrible skin growing up. I experimented with skin products and took expertise to make my own products work good for me and everyone else.” Before launching the natural skincare brand with a college friend, El-Hayek focused most of her time on creating recipes with natural ingredients that work for all skin types. One of El-Hayek’s favorite products is the Oil Cream Moisturizer that originated from ElHayek grandmother’s recipe from Lebanon. The Moisturizer is oil based and contains extra virgin olive oil and honey. According to El-Hayek, “We care about our ingredients being simple.” Therefore, the skincare brand does not use any products that are banned in Europe. Phenic Skin Care is one of the award winning companies found in StartUp Worcester which is located on Portland Street.
Patrick Sargent, 36, is a resident of Worcester and Producer for Charter TV3. He is also the Founder of This Week In Worcester. Sargent is a graduate of Worcester State University and is passionate about breaking local news. He considers himself a Worcester news nerd who enjoys obtaining the latest news leads and most interesting stories. In September 2017, Sargent developed a large following when he launched his own website thisweekinworcester. com. Since the age of 14, Sargent knew he wanted to work in the field of journalism. He said, “I always question a lot of the things that are happening in the city and I’m not afraid to ask those questions.” Sargent was surprised that he was selected as one of the People To Watch for 2020. “I don’t direct too much attention to myself. I’ve been doing this for years and to be included in this is a good indication of how far I’ve come professionally,” he said.
Kyle Moon, 29, is a resident of Worcester and the Chief Operating Officer for the private membership lounge, Summit Lounge in Worcester. Moon worked for the Department of Public Health as the Consulting Project Manager for the Young Adult Recovery Community Advisory Board where he found a connection with individuals who suffered from the same addiction issues Moon had previously experienced. Being sober for over six years, Moon found the need to create a social club where individuals with the same interests can socialize. Summit Lounge is a safe, clean and stigma free atmosphere for medical and recreational consumers to gather and grow intellectually. “Positive change is my biggest measure of success,” said Moon. Moon feels good about the impact his lounge is having on the community as well as the progress that is being made in the overall consumption of cannabis. Being a People to Watch for 2020 makes Moon feel that cannabis is becoming regularly accepted by residents. Moon hopes this community impact along with a better understanding of cannabis will ultimately be his legacy.
David Conner, 36, is a resident of Worcester and the Director of Community Engagement at the Worcester Historical Museum. He is also the Co-Founder of Queer the Scene. Conner who has a background in teaching ESL and Spanish for high school students and adults is passionate about exploring different cultures and bringing his experiences to life in museums. According to Conner, “I’m into languages, exploring the world and bringing it to the local community. So they [community members] get curious about culture, education and languages.” One of Conner’s biggest achievements is the galvanizing that is happening in the Worcester Queer Community. Conner took action with Queer the Scene and created a unique space where people can feel free, respected and protected in a community where they will not be judged. “This is an accomplishment I share with so many in the city who have worked up until this point and continue to mentor those of us who are currently taking action in 2019,” said Conner.
Anthony Surabian, 25, is a resident of Shrewsbury and the Owner of Froze Zone in West Boylston. Surabian, who has worked in commercial real estate for four years knew that he wanted to open his own business someday. “I knew I wanted something different, new and better!” said Surabian. As a result, he learned how to make homemade gelato using fresh Italian ingredients. “Once you try fresh, homemade gelato, with a third of the calories, fats, sugar and cholesterol from regular ice cream, you will love it !” said Surabian. With the huge success of his homemade gelato and unique flavors, Surabian found the need to expand the sales of his gelato by making it mobile! Now, Surabian uses his mobile gelato cart called Iovanni’s Gelato to offer catering options for small and large events.
Ed Gutierrez and Ryan Convery
Ed Gutierrez and Ryan Convery both 38, are co-founders of the Production company Fat Foot Films. Gutierrez, who resides in Auburn and Convery who lives in Lowell, started Fat Foot Films in 2001 with a group of close friends from high school. The duo, started their short films with sketch comedy similar to the “Jackass” movies. Overtime, these short films turned into a late night local access show on Sutton’s Public Access. “We are passionate about the same thing, creating something that we can all take pride in,” said Convery. Both Gutierrez and Convery are excited to have the opportunity to work with talented people throughout New England. Gutierrez and Convery have produced over three full length features and multiple award winning short films. Their latest suspense/thriller film, “Stray” won an award for Best Thriller/ Suspense from the SNOB Film Festival. “We truly believe with our skills and the talent in the New England area, we can compete with the big players in Hollywood,” said Gutierrez.
Brianne Tangney, 37, is a resident of Millbury and the Manager of Civic Engagement for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. She also sits on the Board of Directors as the 1st Vice President for Girls, Inc. Tangney was born and raised in Worcester and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Religion and Spanish and a Master’s Degree in Education with a concentration in Culture and Society. In 2018, Tangney was the recipient of the Alum of the Year Award from Girl’s, Inc. and she is passionate about giving back to the organization she benefited from. Working for various non-profit organizations such as Congreso de Latinos Unidos, Tangney currently is in charge of connecting over 3,000 Blue Cross associate volunteers to support non-profits across the state in projects to improve healthy living. As a new mom, Tangney is looking forward to getting involved with non-profit organizations that support maternal mental health and post-partum. She said, “Being a new mom is overwhelming and I want to give back and focus on the things that are personal to me.”
Vincent Pacifico is a 25 year old architect from Auburn. He is one of the managing partners of Pacific Vision Studios and the creator of the Adaptive Buildings Network. Pacifico is a local architectural designer who offered his vision for the development of a city block in the northeast corner of the Worcester’s Canal District. His design focused on the adaptive reuse of 20th century industrial buildings in a mixed use development. According to Pacifico, he seeks potential in old, vacant and underutilized properties and turns them into 21st century properties, such as lofts, that can be utilized. Pacifico measures success by using his skills and passion for architecture to benefit the community. Pacifico is honored to be in Pulse Magazine’s People to Watch. “What I am doing is being noticed. I work hard to be a leader because of my age and being a young professional. I am making an impact and change in my community. Now I know that what I am doing is actually working, I am going to continue in that direction,” he said.
Jon O’Brien, 23, is a resident of Holden and a Legislative Aide for the Massachusetts House of Representatives. O’Brien, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Emmanuel College in Boston, found passion in politics at a very young age. Politics runs in the family with his uncle, Joseph O’Brien becoming Mayor of Worcester in 2010. O’Brien sees his passion for politics as a way to do the most good for his community and to help others. “My passion is helping people by electing good Democrats to represent us,” said O’Brien. In 2018, O’Brien was the field organizer for the committee to Re-Elect Jim McGovern and Rufus Gifford for congress. O’Brien believes his success as a Legislative Aide is measured by assuring every constituent of Representative Daniel Donahue that their voice is heard. He said, “Helping people with what they need, from healthcare to fuel assistance. As long as we do our best efforts to help them, that is how I view success.”
Nikolin (Niko) Vangjeli, 28, is a resident of Worcester and the Assistant City Clerk at the City of Worcester. Vangjeli holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Holy Cross and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Clark University. He is a first generation American who moved from Albania to Worcester eighteen years ago. Vangjeli is passionate about local government and enjoys assisting the public with customer service and explaining the city council process. His favorite part of the job is providing solutions to problems and having one-on-one interaction with residents. He is most proud of successfully implementing early voting in 2016 and introducing new technology such as, Poll Pads for Election Day. According to Vangjeli, “We put a lot of effort to make Election Day possible and seeing people show up is a success to me.”
Gracie Day, 30, is a resident of Southbridge and a Worcester County based singer and songwriter. Day, who holds a Bachelors Degree in English from UMass Amherst, became a full time musician at the age of 26 when she discovered that people enjoyed listening to her music. In 2017, Day opened the show for John Lodge of the Moody Blues and has won “Best New Act” at the New England Music Awards. She then released a song called “Tennessee” which has received thousands of plays on Spotify. Additionally, Day landed a license deal and now her songs can be heard on Boston and New England FM stations. “I’m passionate about the arts in general and the importance it has in peoples’ lives and the fact that they can express and interpret their own feelings through it,” Day said. Day is currently promoting her latest music release, “ The Nashville Sessions” and is excited to be working on her first full record.