2023 Citizens of the Year: Jevera and Bill Hennessey

Since they met as young associates at the Bedford Street law firm of Brennan Dichter Brennan & Comerford (with their eventual romance nudged along by mutual colleague turned matchmaker, Ben Fraser), Bill and Jevera have been inseparable, and together with their daughter Rachel (her husband, Brandon, grandchildren Graham and latest addition, Georgia), a family.  Inseparable, that is, except perhaps for their very eclectic and expansive immersions into community service. It is there that Jevera and Bill have divided, and conquered indeed.

Among Jevera’s many good deeds, she has served as the Vice-Chair of the Board of SilverSource, a not-for profit safety net for Stamford’s neediest senior citizens, as well as its Advisory Council. She’s been a Director for the Stamford Public Education Foundation and is on the Professional Advisors Council of the Fairfield County Community Foundation, helping to connect philanthropic individuals with its myriad program needs. She is a member of the Greenwich Historical Society Professional Advisors Council and is a former Board member and current Advisory Board member of Hill House in Greenwich. Jevera also served 10 years as a Governor’s appointee to the Connecticut Board of Examiners of Embalmers & Funeral Directors. And she still finds the time to serve on the Stamford Hospital Foundation and its Planned Giving Advisory Committee. But if you want to see Jevera in action, then whenever Stamford’s Community Emergency Response Team is deployed, there will be Jevera, helping our professional First Responders in any way called, any day or any night.

Jevera is also an extremely thoughtful and successful Trusts and Estates attorney, for many years as partner with her brother Jeremy Kaye and now with the Greenwich law firm of Whitman Breed Abbott & Morgan LLC. She has been president of the Greenwich Bar Association and a Director of the Fairfield County Bar Association, as well as a frequent lecturer for those organizations and the Connecticut Bar Association on all topics trusts, estates and probate. She also served as a pro bono legal volunteer for 9/11 victims for those whom and when they needed it most. She has received the Greenwich YWCA Brava! Award, the Connecticut Yankee Council of the Boy Scouts of America’s Good Scout Award, and the Greenwich Probate Court’s Pro Bono Award. She also serves on the First County Bank Board of Directors.

That’s a tough act to follow, but Bill has held up his end as well. He served on Stamford’s Committee on Training and Employment anti-poverty agency (C.T.E.) from 1999 to 2007, the last 7 years as its Chairman of the Board, expanding its educational programs to include adult computer literacy and helping bring services like the Ferguson Library, a dental clinic and childcare to the Yerwood Center. He is a longtime board member and current Leadership Council Member to the Childcare Learning Centers, a venerable early childhood institution that serves nearly 1,000 kids annually. He’s also an original and current board member of two groundbreaking organizations–the Waterside School, an independent K-5 day school located in Harbor Point, that provides a character building academic and moral education regardless of the income or circumstances of its students, and the Mill River Collaborative, the private side of the public private partnership that created one of the most beautiful central parks in Connecticut. Bill also proudly serves as the Debate Moderator for the State Street Debating Society, which provides college scholarships and an annual forum for Stamford’s high school debate clubs.

Many Stamfordites also know Bill as a conscientious, innovative, sustainability minded and very successful Land Use attorney with the law firm of Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP, who has guided numerous projects in Stamford including the Tully Center, the new Stamford Hospital, Harbor Point, Chelsea Piers, Target, Charter Communications and many others including schools, day care centers, places of worship and similar not-for-profits throughout Fairfield County, along with thousands of housing units. Bill started out humbly as a Law Clerk and then an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Stamford, later hanging his own shingle before joining forces with Jay Sandak and Kevin Greco to form Sandak Hennessey & Greco, growing their practice for many years before merging with Carmody and Torrance, where he and more than seventy-five other lawyers continue to lead the legal community in numerous practice areas.
Bill has also served on the boards of the Stamford Chamber of Commerce and the Stamford Partnership.

Jevera grew up in Greenwich as one of nine siblings, daughter of iconic family attorney Joe Kaye and his wife Miriam. Bill grew up in Brookfield with his parents William and Effie and sister Nanci, and he and Jevera settled in Stamford back in the 80’s, where they continue to reside blissfully.