Chris grew up in Wallingford and his family goes back several generations in town. A lifelong parishioner of Holy Trinity Church, he currently resides in Yalesville–about a block away from the house he grew up in–with his wife Tracy and sons Ryan (10) and Zack (8).
Chris attended Holy Trinity School (’86) and Xavier High School (’90). His memories of growing up in town include marching in the 1981 Memorial Day Parade carrying the flag with the Cub Scouts, playing (poorly) in the Wallingford Youth Soccer League for several years, and being an Altar Server at Holy Trinity from 4th grade through senior year of high school.
His parents, John and Barbara Shortell, instilled in Chris a love of reading, writing, and history. Some of his fondest memories include talking to his grandfathers about their service in World War II (WWII), or his grandmothers about what life was like ” in the old days” when Yalesville was mostly farmland!
Holy Cross (1990-1994)
In the fall of 1990, Chris started at the College of the Holy Cross, a small, Jesuit liberal arts college in Worcester, MA. His grandfather and great-uncle, along with several cousins, had also attended. Chris was very active at Holy Cross. He was a writer and later one of the editors of the student newspaper, The Crusader. He was involved in theater, working on stage crew for four years. He was the only person in his class to serve each year on the Executive Cabinet in the Student Government Association. However, his favorite activity was writing and acting in The Crusadists senior year. This was a select group of campus personalities who wrote and developed a live comedy show, a campus tradition dating back to the 70’s. Copies of the 1994 show are rumored to exist on VHS, but it’s probably in Chris’ best interest if they don’t see the light of day…
Work & Municipal Experience
Chris worked at Dime Savings Bank (now TD Bank) during summer vacations from Holy Cross. In his job as a Mortgage Department Clerk, he would often find himself having to walk to Town Hall to research tax records. Little did he know it would not be the last time he’d be frequenting that building…
After graduating from Holy Cross with a degree in English, Chris continued to work at Dime until an opportunity arose at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Connecticut, the state’s largest health insurance company. Chris was hired in July 1995 as a Sales intern and was promoted to Municipal and Local Government Account Management. In this role, Chris traveled to over sixty towns and boards of education in Connecticut, presenting to local teacher, police, firefighter, and library unions on various health insurance packages.
As the 90’s came to a close, Chris left Sales for a position in Sales Training. In this role, he provided one-on-one training to new employees, overhauled the company’s existing training curriculum, and taught classes to Sales teams (over 70 people) on a variety of topics including new products, legislative changes, and systems training.
In the 2000s, Chris was promoted to various positions in management, including overseeing the Proposal Development team; Small Business and Taft-Hartley Call Centers; and leading an Enterprise Proposal Team with associates in multiple states. (Note that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Connecticut merged with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in 1997, and now is part of a family of plans in 14 states, spanning the entire country). During this time, Chris attended Wesleyan University at night and earned a Masters in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Humanities in May, 2004.
Chris is currently a Director of Marketing Strategy and Planning at Anthem. In this role, Chris works on key initiatives, developing the Marketing strategy and messaging. He just celebrated 24 years at the company in July 2019.
Chris met his wife, Tracy, in 2003; the two were married in 2007. Ryan was born in 2009 and Zack followed in 2011. In the interest of full disclosure, Chris supports neither the Red Sox nor the Yankees. He is a lifelong Atlanta Braves fan, in addition to rooting for the Atlanta Falcons, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and Calgary (formerly Atlanta) Flames in the NHL. If you’re wondering how Chris ended up marrying someone from Wisconsin, or why he likes Atlanta teams, you’ll just have to ask him on the campaign trail (or come to a Council meeting and ask during the Public Comment portion of the agenda. Chairman Cervoni will enjoy that.)
You can also follow Chris on Twitter and Instagram (@ckshortell for both), although be warned that he rarely, if ever, gets into politics. But if you like 70’s and 80’s music, 70’s disaster movies, obscure travel, science, Cape Cod, Easter Island, the Titanic, or any of the above mentioned sports teams, then you’ll love following Chris on social media.