Norell Bassett Zable ’11,’ 12MBA and Quentin Williams ’05 (posthumously) will receive the Emerging Leader Award on Friday, June 2 on Bryant’s campus at a special banquet. Other award winners include Paul Kelly ’88, Hal Horvat ’91MBA, Joan Waters ’83, Heidi (Verrill) Pickett ’91, and Nirbhay Kumar ’97. The Alumni Achievement Awards are part of Reunion and Alumni Weekend, when all alumni will be welcomed back to campus, including those with class years ending in 3 and 8, who will be celebrating Reunions.
Emerging Leader Award: Norell Bassett Zable ’11, ’12MBA
“I’m lucky to exercise my creativity every day”
Norell Bassett Zable ’11, ’12MBA says her willingness to try new things has made all the difference in her career. “A decision you make can set the trajectory of the next few years. As long as you are building foundational skills along the way, you can take a risk and explore a new role within a company. That’s ultimately how I learned to manage a team.”
As Global Executive Director of Creative Strategy for Fashion & Luxury at Condé Nast, Zable manages a team of global marketers who create custom content programs for brands like Chanel, Tiffany & Co., and Gucci. “When you’re on Vogue.com and see Cartier sponsor Met Gala content or scrolling on social media and see Penn Badgley dancing in a Valentino video for GQ — that’s our team,” she says. “We work globally across markets such as Paris, Milan, London, China, Japan, India — the list goes on.”
“I remember visiting Bryant with my dad and getting a great feeling about following in his footsteps quite literally in the same rotunda and graduation archway.”
Zable credits her parents, who run Bassett Boat, a second-generation family-owned business, with teaching her to be confident and self-reliant, both in life and in business. Zable is a legacy Bulldog: Her father is Paul Zable ’75. “I remember visiting Bryant with my dad and getting a great feeling about following in his footsteps quite literally in the same rotunda and graduation archway.”
“Growing up in a family business, you’re learning business fundamentals very young, which becomes second nature. I’ve never felt that being a woman in business was out-of-the-norm because my mom is such a boat boss.” As Zable receives an Emerging Leader Award from Bryant, she thanks her entrepreneurial family for inspiring her leadership skills at an early age. “I sold my first boat when I was 13 years old.”
Zable, who co-founded the Bryant University Dance Team, believes her Bryant education, in undergraduate and graduate programs, gave her the tools to be successful in the fashion marketing industry. “I have to present in front of a lot of clients, and large groups of people, internal and external,” she says. “At Bryant, I would always volunteer to make the presentations in group projects. You’d never think that making those presentations would turn into a career in marketing for iconic brands. I’m lucky to exercise my creativity every day.”
Emerging Leader Award: Quentin “Q” Williams '05
“Bryant will designate a full-tuition scholarship in his name for an incoming student who best exemplifies his qualities and character, particularly leadership”
Quentin “Q” Williams ’05 was a beloved husband and son, devoted public servant, and passionate advocate for change. He died in January 2023, just hours after being sworn in for a third consecutive term in the Connecticut State House of Representatives, after being struck by a wrong-way driver.
Just 39 years old at the time of his passing, Williams was the first African American to represent Middletown, his lifelong home, in the Connecticut General Assembly. He had just been appointed as co-chair of the Labor and Public Employees Committee, where colleagues say he was excited to introduce new pro-labor legislation and advocate for working families.
Williams was widely known at Bryant for his contagious smile, booming laugh, and infallible optimism. He served as president of the student senate, and he was a recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award.
As an alumnus, he returned to campus in March 2018 and was a speaker on the Bryant Alumni of Color panel, where he offered career lessons and advice to current students. In addition, he shared his experience as a bank manager, community organizer, non-profit manager, and champion for social equity. His charisma and positivity allowed him to connect deeply with his audience.
To honor Williams’ memory, President Ross Gittell has announced that Bryant will designate a full-tuition scholarship in his name for an incoming student who best exemplifies his qualities and character, particularly leadership.