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Founder’s Award

NAPO-CT “Above and Beyond” Founder’s Award presented by Judith Ann Kirk, Founder

Thank you, past recipients, especially those who continue to be a part of NAPO-CT. On behalf of all NAPO-CT members, I wish to express our sincere gratitude for all you have done to keep NAPO-CT alive and active. You have been, and continue to be a positive impact — Above and Beyond our expectations and well deserving as a recipient of the “Founder’s Award.”  ~~Judith Ann Kirk, Founder of NAPO-CT Informal Group in 1995 and chapter in 2003

2024 – Lauren Hass

Lauren Hass accepting the 2024 Founder's Award presented by Judith Ann Kirk, Founder

Lauren was instrumental in elevating our professional education to a whole new level. She brought in speakers from all over the country, especially during the Covid pandemic and our Zoom meeting format. She continually volunteered for committees and events, was the first to recognize the importance of the meeting location at Contractor Nation, and brought in breakfast and lunches for all members as we came out of hibernation. And, she does it all with a HUGE SMILE.

From a Past President: “I remember thinking when I was president that the success of the chapter is largely dependent on who we have as Director of Programming. Lauren has gone above and beyond in bringing in a wide variety of really interesting speakers, who keep me coming back to meetings. She’s great at thinking outside the box and trying new things. She turned the downside of Covid into an upside by bringing in speakers outside our geographical area. She has a pleasant even-keeled way about her that makes her a pleasure to work with and learn from.”

2023 — Derrick Martinez and Sue Duval

Founder Judith Ann Kirk presenting Founder's Award to Derrick Martinez

Derrick Martinez and The Junkluggers were honored for adding a whole new dimension to our collaborative powers. NAPO-CT is fortunate to have Business Partners who see our potential as organizers and willingly work close at hand with our focus on making a difference to our members, clients, and the community.

Founder Judith Ann Kirk presenting Founder's Award to Sue Duval

Sue Duval has demonstrated the leadership skills she kept telling us she was uncomfortable doing. It makes no difference, Sue – you were the right person, at the right time, stepping into the right position when we needed your guidance the most.

Bonnie Maya accepting the Founder's Award
Founder's Award

2022 – Bonnie Maya

At the beginning of 2020, NAPO-CT members felt like they were launched into outer space – floating around aimlessly. We had no idea what was ahead for us during the pandemic or how long it would last. It is truly comforting to know that someone is willing to step up, do the research, take over the controls, and glide this spaceship to its docking station.  Bonnie certainly went Above and Beyond when confronted with the uncertainty of handling monthly meetings and our annual conference, NERCPO. She was willing to do the research, to learn, and to set the wheels in motion. All of us benefited from having Bonnie on our team.

Jan Baltrush receives Founder's Award in 2021 from Judith Ann Kirk

2021 – Jan Baltrush

2021 was a time to honor Jan Baltrush for her quiet, unassuming volunteer service over the years. Jan joined NAPO-CT in 2010 and became an integral part of every NAPO-CT outreach program from GO Month, IKEA, Contests, and Journey Home Warehouse Makeover. In 2018, she accepted the request to serve on the Board as Membership Director, a position she held for three years. She re-established the Ask the Organizer Panel for new members, resurrected the Mentoring Program, devoted time and energy to connecting with guests, and was always willing to chat with potential members. As we look back over the years, NAPO-CT is truly thankful for the chance to get to know Jan personally and professionally, and we appreciate all she does to exhibit the inclusiveness of NAPO-CT.

2020 Founder's Award Recipient Leslie Raycraft with founder Judith Ann Kirk

2020 – Leslie Raycraft

2020 recipient, Leslie Raycraft, is no stranger to hard work and lots of learning. After only a few years as a member, Leslie volunteered to be on the Board of Directors taking on the role of Treasurer even though she knew nothing about keeping the finances in order on QuickBooks. She learned and continues to learn. In 2019 she also took on the huge challenge of organizing the community outreach program, Journey Home — from helping to come up with a good recipient to soliciting sponsors, to designing the floor plan and flow of the warehouse, to organizing everything from beginning to end, even the great after-work party! Of course, she’s also a lot of fun to be with and always willing to help anyone with anything.

Founder Judith Ann Kirk presenting Founder's Award to Seana Turner in 2019

2019 – Seana Turner

The 2019 Founder’s Award went to Seana Turner. What can I say? Just googled her name and you will get over 325,000 results which go on and on, page after page. Many of these pages are directly about Seana and her organizing business and contributions to NAPO-CT. And many are responses made on other peoples’ blogs. Seana is a spark plug that ignites all of us into action. She was the dreamer and motivator of NERCPO back in 2015. It is a pleasure to honor Seana as she is a strong part of NAPO-CT’s success.

Founder Judith Ann Kirk presenting Founder's Award to Tom Larson in 2018

2018 – Tom Larson

In 2018, Business Partner, Tom Larson of Just Dump It was honored with this year’s Founder’s Award. Tom has been an integral part of every NAPO-CT event from regular meetings, to Vendor Fair, to GO Month, to NERCPO, to contests makeovers, and to summer and holiday socials. He was the first Business Partner to serve on the Board of Directors from 2014-16. Tom is the first to say, “I’ll be a part of that!” And, we love the orange shirt and truck which is always visible at all NAPO-CT outreach projects.

Founder Judith Ann Kirk presenting Founder's Award to Susan O'Connell in 2017

2017 – Susan O’Connell

The 2017 Founder’s Award goes to Susan O’Connell for her continuous commitment to NAPO-CT as Director of Marketing and her unfailing dedication to the Northeast Regional Conference for Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NERCPO). NERCPO has been and continues to be a solid outreach program geared to bringing together professionals for education, networking, and just plain fun. The huge success of NERCPO is directly attributed to Susan’s unfailing energy and go-get-them attitude. She really knows what she is doing and she keeps on giving.

Founder Judith Ann Kirk presenting Founder's Award to Matt Baier in 2016

2016 – Matt Baier

The 2016 Founder’s Award honors our esteemed Past President, Matt Baier. Over the years Matt has become a leading example of taking his business beyond a solo entrepreneur and teaching team approach to anyone who chooses to learn about the struggles and rewards of employing a team of organizers. We are most grateful to Matt for sharing his graphic talents by producing an entertaining and informative clip on our website home page. For those who have been a part of the summer contest that Matt orchestrated, you know that when he blows his whistle, we all jump into action.

Founder Judith Ann Kirk presenting Founder's Award to Beth Schlater in 2015

2015 – Beth Schlater

2015, Beth Schlater was honored for her commitment as Communication Director. Beth took control of our website out of the costly hands of the developer, reconstructed its layout and content, made it possible to relinquish the expense of outsourcing our database, and established an electronic communication system to benefit all of us. She set the stage for our present-day website and communication system. Beth has since taken a full-time position with one of her clients and is no longer a NAPO member.

Jennifer Burke receives Founder's Award in 2014

2014 – Jennifer Burke

In 2014, Jen Burke, NAPO-CT’s long-standing secretary, was recognized. Many years ago, Jen picked up the legacy left behind when two prominent members passed away and two other board members resigned mid-term and moved away. Huge gaps were left on the NAPO-CT Board. It was a sad and exceedingly difficult time, yet Jen confidently grasped the baton and tightly held on keeping everything straight during monthly and Board of Directors meetings. With Jen’s guidance, we were able to begin the process of a records repository for the permanent records mandated by national and important documents for future reference. Thank you, Jen, for all your hard work and commitment to NAPO-CT.

Sandra Wheeler receives Founder's Award in 2013

2013 – Sandra Wheeler

In 2013, Sandra Wheeler received the accolade of the Founder’s Award. Sandra gave much to the growth of NAPO-CT throughout the years. She has held multiple Board positions–Director of Communications, Vice President, President, Past President and again Vice President to fill the void. Sandra also shared her knowledge of Feng Shui at a regular meeting and NERCPO. She has a quick smile and a helping hand for anyone who asks.

Karen Bryant receives Founder's Award in 2012

2012 – Karen Bryant

The first recipient of the Founder’s Award was Karen Bryant – better known as KB. She was a powerhouse to our chapter as she took over the reins of revamping an archaic website on a non-existent budget. KB is no longer a part of our association as she took a full-time position with a past client. She is still friends with many of us and will always be remembered for her dedication to NAPO-CT.


As the founder of the CT Organizer’s Informal Group in 1995 and eventually the NAPO-CT chapter in 2003, I wanted to establish an annual honor for an individual who had gone Above and Beyond in commitment to NAPO-CT. Choosing one individual is not easy. It had to be someone who took a huge step forward in his/her contribution to the growth of NAPO-CT. Each recipient has outstanding qualities of compassion and commitment. I am honored to be able to highlight their contributions.  ~Judith Ann Kirk

  • A desire to give back to the chapter and its members
  • A spirit of gratitude
  • A person who knows how to grasp the moment and contribute in unique ways that make things easier for others
  • A willingness to step up and take on a task that you may not be particularly skilled at doing, but know it has to be done
  1. Active member for a minimum of  3 years
  2. Attends meeting regularly
  3. Gone “Above and Beyond” in contribution to the growth of NAPO-CT