During the years that Linda Crotta Brennan served as Southern New England Regional Advisor (1992-1996), she was often contacted by people looking for authors and illustrators to speak at schools and community events. Seeking a fair system for making recommendations, she suggested that the Region compile a list of published members–an Author/Illustrator Yellow Pages–who were available for speaking engagements. After some research, however, Linda realized that distributing such a list via periodic mailings would be cost prohibitive, and the Yellow Pages languished.
In 1999, Linda recognized that electronic mailing (email) technology would finally make the Author/Illustrator Yellow Pages possible. The Executive Board agreed to move forward with the project, renaming it the Connections Speakers Directory.
Kathy Pacheco and Jan Kozlowski worked together to develop a database with information about members interested in speaking opportunities. After Connections became operational in September 1999, Kathy maintained the listings and Jan periodically sent out mass emails to schools and community groups.
In 2001, Jennifer O'Keefe took over the job of maintaining the Connections database. She worked with Jan Kozlowski, who continued to send out the email listings, until Greg Fishbone and John Bell integrated the database into the regional website in September 2002.
Because schools and community groups could now access and search the database themselves, mass emails were no longer necessary. But as the membership grew, Jen's role as administrator expanded. She spent many hours adding new entries and updating existing ones.
In 2005, Jen stepped down as Connections Coordinator and Elizabeth Lehrer filled the position. When Liz resigned in 2008, Jen agreed to come back on board. Not long after that, as Greg was planning a website redesign, he found software that made it possible for authors and illustrators to enter and update their own information. The transition to the new software was completed in 2007. Since then, Jen has been focusing on ways advertise the Connections Speakers Directory to schools, libraries, and a variety of community groups.
- Kathy Pacheco 1999-2001
- Jennifer O'Keefe 2001-2005
- Elizabeth Lehrer 2005-2008
- Jennifer O'Keefe 2008