Connecticut Women's Council

Member Spotlight – January 2022

Member Spotlight – January 2022

Jennifer DiBella
Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C.

Education/Alma Mater: University of Connecticut/Western New England University School of Law

Morning News Sources: NPR

Hometown/Current town: South Windsor/Hartford

How long have you worked in your current position? 21 years in practice area; 1 month at current firm

Did you have a job that might surprise people? I worked on a farm in my teen years, as my dad was a farmer.  I learned how to drive a tractor at a very early age!

What do you value most about CWC? The opportunity to develop relationships with women who I may have not otherwise met or really gotten to know.  The friendships have deepened over the years, and I think it is because of the inherent camaraderie and mutual respect that CWC fosters among its members.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten? You will adapt.

Piece of advice for people entering your field / looking to excel in your field?  Do not be afraid when you don’t have the answer. It is better to admit when you do not know something (and then find the answer) rather than provide incorrect information.

First Job in high school: Picking and sorting vegetables on my family’s farm for sale to Stop & Shop and Stu Leonard’s.

Dream Job (besides current): Veterinarian

Bucket List Item: Attend the Met Gala

Hobbies (and any new ones started during pandemic): Dancing, horseback riding, reading, puzzles, hiking; During the pandemic, I started to cook much more often and now I enjoy coming up with my own dishes (and cocktails) based on seasonal ingredients (and what my husband will eat). My husband and I also have a wine blog.

Favorite Restaurant (and items you recommend): Locally – I am a big fan of Feng Chophouse (for when I crave great sushi/crudo); Max Downtown (great seafood even though known for steak); and Sorella (for its fresh house made pasta, which is always cooked perfectly – the grain bowl and the pizza are amazing too).

TV Character most like you: Laura Ingalls

Vacation Spot: The Piedmont region of Italy (although, lately, it’s been my parents’ house in Florida)

Favorite Movie: Return of the Jedi


Marlene Malin Ibsen
VP, Community Relations, Travelers and President & CEO, Travelers Foundation

Education/Alma Mater: B.S. Radio-TV-Film, Texas Christian University; M.S. Communications Management, Syracuse University

Morning News Sources: In the “old days” when I had a daily commute, NPR. Now NY Times and CT Mirror emails.

Hometown/Current town: I’ve been in Wallingford for 31 years, but grew up in Cheshire and think of it as my hometown.

How long have you worked in your current position?  26 years at Travelers and 14 years in this position.

Did you have a job that might surprise people? A few: cashier/food prep at a convenience store, housecleaner, retail management trainee, and costume shop tailor in the college theater department.

What do you value most about CWC? Book Club! I’m truly in awe of the intellect, unique perspectives, understanding and wit of this group of women.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten? Don’t be afraid to own your mistakes… or your accomplishments.

Piece of advice for people entering your field / looking to excel in your field? Empathy is a superpower. Having the ability to put yourself in others’ shoes, build relationships, anticipate stakeholder expectations, communicate effectively and navigate politically are skills that are critical for success in any field, but especially in corporate communications and philanthropy roles.

Proud moment or accomplishment you’d like to share? I’m proud to have been a leader in the development of Travelers EDGE®, the company’s career pipeline program. Talented individuals have leveraged Travelers’ resources to overcome systemic obstacles, attain degrees and launch careers. Travelers EDGE has made a profound impact and changed the trajectory of many families’ futures and celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.

First Job in high school: At 15 I was a home care aide, helping with meals and care for two elderly sisters. One was bedridden so there was a lot of “hands-on” hygiene involved. Now I’m someone who gets White Coat Syndrome in the doctor’s office and queasy hearing about any medical condition, so not sure how I pulled that off!

Dream Job (besides current): Actress

Bucket List Item: Italy trip with my two sisters

Hobbies (and any new ones started during pandemic): Reading, crocheting, walking—none are new but have served me well during the pandemic. Also traveling, once upon a time.

Favorite Podcast: Random crime, social issue and fiction series

Vacation Spot: Our lake home feels like a vacation for 5 months/year.


Click here to read CWC Member News – December