skip to main content

JoAnn Ryan

JoAnn Ryan

JoAnn Ryan was appointed to the Board of Regents for Higher Education in 2018 and serves on the Board’s Finance & Infrastructure and Audit Committees. Ms. Ryan is President & CEO of the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, a position she has held since 2002, and is first woman to hold that title since the Chamber’s inception in 1901. She holds a BA Degree in History from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, CT and an MA Degree in Education from Trinity College in Hartford, CT. She brings to the table extensive experience acquired in the educational, business, cultural, retail and political arenas.

Her previous career has included Regional Manager of Kelly Services, Inc. throughout Connecticut including a six month Pricing Task Force in Troy, Michigan with the CEO of Kelly Services; adjunct faculty at the Naugatuck Valley Community College and Northwestern Connecticut Community College; co-owner of a clothing store; real estate agent; librarian; high school history and English teacher as well as a City Councilwoman for Torrington.

Since leading the Chamber, JoAnn, along with a dedicated staff and Board of Directors, initiated numerous programs including the WOW Forum, Young Entrepreneur Academy, the Manufacturer’s Coalition, Health Care Council, School to Career Pathways, the Chamber’s Satellite Office in KidsPlay Children’s Museum, the Chamber’s Travel Program to Asia, Europe and Cuba, Leadership NW, Jr. Leadership NW and the Young Professional’s Forum. In addition, the Chamber is host to the US Department of Commerce, SCORE and the Small Business Development Center. She co-founded the NW CT Arts Council, founded the NW CT Economic Development Corporation and the Chamber’s Education Foundation. She writes business columns for three regional newspapers and is a frequent speaker at business and community events.

JoAnn is the recipient of numerous awards such as the Northwestern Connecticut Community College Board of Trustees Merit Award, Wisdom Award from Wisdom House, Woman of the Year from the United Way, Woman of the Year from the Litchfield County Business & Professional Women, the Chamber’s Business Person of the Year and the Rotary Club’s Paul Harris Award.

She serves on many Boards and steering committees that touch health and human services, education, recreation, philanthropy, historic preservation, the arts and business. In December of 2017, Governor Malloy appointed Ms. Ryan as Chair of the Governor’s Commission on Employment &Training. Other distinguished appointments include serving as Chair of the CT Leadership Cabinet for the Chamber Insurance Trust, Past President of the Connecticut Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, the Executive Committee of the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board, Chair of the United Way of Northwestern Connecticut, Advisory Board of Litchfield Bancorp, former Advisory Board for CT Mutual Holding Company, President of the NW CT Economic Development Corporation, Trustee for the NW CT Y and Advisory for Charlotte Hungerford Hospital and Torrington Historical Society. JoAnn is a Founding Board member of KidsPlay Children’s Museum. She serves on the Advisory Committee of Oliver Wolcott Technical High School and the Nursing Advisory Committee of Northwestern Connecticut Community College. Her previous Board service included the Warner Theatre, the NW CT Arts Council, Nutmeg Conservatory, the Community Foundation of Northwest Connecticut, State of CT Public Policy Committee for the Y, LARC and the Girl Scouts.

JoAnn is the mother of two daughters who reside in Charlottesville, VA and Litchfield, CT with their husbands and her three precious grandchildren. She enjoys reading, traveling, volunteering and spending time with her family and friends.

Comments & Questions

Questions regarding the Connecticut Board of Regents should be addressed to Pam Heleen, Office of Board Affairs, at 860-723-0013 or