American Heart Association Names New CT Board Chair and President

The American Heart Association is proud to announce that Sarah Yeager, of Monroe, has been named Chair of the Central Connecticut Region Board of Directors of the American Heart Association. Leigh Pechillo, of Southington, is its new president. Both will serve a two-year term beginning July 1, 2020.

Sarah Yeager has been involved with the American Heart Association since 2008, when she joined the board of directors and served on the Greater New Haven Heart Walk Executive Leadership Committee. For two years Sarah was the highest fundraiser amongst the executive leadership committee for the Heart Walk. She also served on the Go Red for Women’s Luncheon Executive Leadership Committee for five years, 2015 – 2020 and was an integral part of creating the Wellness Showcase, educating women on their risks for heart disease.

Leigh Pechillo has been a Central Connecticut board member since 2018. She has been a committed and passionate volunteer for the American Heart Association since 2007 after her son was born with Noonan Syndrome, a genetic condition that caused congenital heart defects. Over the years, Leigh has been involved as a fund raiser, helping to raise over $100,000, and as an advocate for the health of Connecticut communities. She became a heart survivor in 2014, after having a sudden cardiac arrest and being saved by her husband using Hands-Only CPR. In 2018, Leigh received the inaugural Woman of Distinction Award, which recognizes a woman who has made a sustained, unique, or extraordinary effort to improve the community.


“When Robby was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and required open heart surgery, I wanted to do everything I could to advocate for him and other children like him,” Leigh Pechillo said of her son who is now 14 years old. “When I began my involvement with the American Heart Association and saw the incredible work they were doing, not only for children’s hearts, but for their health, and the health of everyone, I knew I had found my place.”


“In the years that I’ve been involved with the American Heart Association and the Connecticut board, I have been witness firsthand to the amazing things this organization can do, and wanted to be as involved as much as I could,” Sarah Yeager said. “In the immediate future, the board’s goal will be to help guide the organization through the brave new world during and post-COVID, to find new and creative ways to continue to share the mission of the organization and get people involved.”



Stepping down after two-year term as Connecticut Board president, is Dr. Sandra Bulmer, Dean of the School of Health and Human Services Southern Connecticut State University and Chair, Corliss Montesi, Vice President of Internal Audit/L3Harris Technologies. Both are remaining on the board.




“The American Heart Association is excited to have Sarah Yeager and Leigh Pechillo lead the board,” said Todd Munn, executive director of the American Heart Association in Connecticut. “Their dedication to and passion for the mission, as well as the insight they bring, will be beneficial to growing the Connecticut Board.  I’d also like to thank Dr. Sandra Bulmer and Corliss Montesi for their leadership, innovative thinking and constant professionalism in leading our board to the level that we are at today.”


Also new to the Connecticut board is Russ Mills, vice president finance, Stanley Black & Decker. He joins fellow board members:


Dr. Joonun Choi, Stamford Health

Marina Cunningham, McCormick, Paulding & Huber PLLC

Dr. Robert Elder, Yale School of Medicine

Anjanette Ferris-Senatus, UConn Health

Donna Handley, Hartford Healthcare

Edmund, Kindelan, CohnReznick LLP

Dr. Seth Lapuk, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center

Dr. Joseph Schindler, Yale New Haven Hospital