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A common trait unites the annual recipients of the Citizen of the Year honor. These are people not satisfied with individual success, but driven by a desire to better their community and utilize their talents to help others.
This is certainly true of the 64th person recognized as the Citizen of the Year, Maria Miranda.
Ask colleagues about Ms. Miranda, owner of Miranda Creative Inc. in Norwich, and you get comments such as, "ebullient," "always ready to pitch in" and "a positive person."
Miranda Creative is a small business success story. Starting as the The AD Agency, before changing to the more engaging and aptly titled Miranda Creative, the business started in 1988 in "an office that was really a third bedroom and a conference table that was a dining room table," notes the company's website.
From those humble beginnings, Miranda Creative has grown into a full-service communications company that offers website design, social media management and branding strategies. The Elm Street firm has a dozen employees and more than 350 clients.
However, in selecting the recipient of the Citizen of the Year award, the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut looks beyond business achievements in honoring a person who has made significant contributions to the region.
In making Ms. Miranda its 2014 selection, the chamber notes, "Maria has offered her experience time and time again" to help other small businesses, an especially important contribution as the region continues to struggle to move past the damage done by a deep recession.
Ms. Miranda freely provided her creative services to develop a logo and website for the CT Farm Markets Trail, building upon a growing interest in helping people find locally grown farm-fresh foods and in the process boosting the market for local farmers.
This year's recipient provided her expertise at the chamber's Tourism Boot Camps in 2013, helping tourism-focused businesses hone their marketing plans and business strategies. Ms. Miranda is a frequent contributor to the chamber's monthly Brown Bag Seminars that provide information on a wide variety of business topics.
The Citizen of the Year is also active outside the business community, volunteering on many boards, including The Waterford Country School and the Three Rivers Foundation.
The Day joins the community in congratulating Maria Miranda as the chamber honors her this evening at The Fox Tower at Foxwoods as its 64th Citizen of the Year.