Connell earned her BA in Fashion Merchandising and her Masters of Business Administration in Marketing from Dominican University. In 2003, she was awarded the Provosts Fellowship Award for Service Learning. She continued her service learning with Bridge to Success in Chicago and has presented this pedagogical model at numerous conferences. Connell is the author of A Buyer’s Life: A Concise Guide to Retail Planning and Forecasting. This Fairchild Publication was developed as a framework for teaching basic retail buying concepts which were honed through her 25 plus years in corporate retail. Throughout her retail career, she received numerous awards for financial performance, in-store execution, and exceptional customer service with retailers such as Marshall Field’s, Neiman Marcus, and Mark Shale. Beyond her professional accomplishments, Connell is an active community member. She serves numerous organizations where her fashion business, organizational, and strategic visioning skills are utilized to benefit those in need.