SOUTHINGTON - Keynote speaker Karen Hinds told the crowd of about 500 Thursday that they needed to be comfortable being uncomfortable and claim their voice.
But judging by the breadth of diversity and experience of the honorees at the YWCA New Britain’s 17th Biennial Women in Leadership luncheon, the advice was more of a reinforcement rather than a teaching moment.
The nearly four dozen honorees included groundbreaking police officers, banking officers, women who work to better communities, coach teens, run non-profits and boards. In some cases, like New Britain residents Yvette Ghannam and Vicky Ramos who have tirelessly worked to improve their North Oak neighborhood, they have spanned decades. “I’m very happy,” Ramos said. “I’m very excited.”
The women, along with Edna Colon who is the sub-chair of community development for the North Oak Neighborhood Revitalization Zone, were nominated for their work with the community, staging clean-ups and bringing awareness to issues that impact the quality of life.
“I feel very honored I am among such great women,” said Jody Davis, the founder and executive director of the New Britain-based Coram Deo Recovery who was also honored.
Davis’ program helps women facing addiction get their lives back on track by providing a safe, sober environment. “It’s very humbling,” Davis said of the recognition. “I get it, I’ve accomplished some things, but when I look in this room, I see so many women who have done great things.”
The event held at the Aqua Turf honors women in leadership who have been nominated by employers, community members and others as showing exemplary skills as a pioneer, innovator, leader or role model in business, education, government or a civic organization. “It’s such an honor to be able to recognize these incredible women,” said Robin Sharp, executive director of the YWCA New Britain. “These women have done such amazing work.”
Mayor Erin Stewart proudly noted she had been an honoree 10 years ago while she was volunteering with the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative. “To see so many New Britain women being honored today is a promising sign for the leadership of our community,” Stewart said. “And they cover so many cross sections of the community.”
Hinds, an author and founder of Workplace Success Group, told the crowd to cultivate the courage and confidence to lead globally by preserving and “tilling your mind.”
“When the crops fail, that’s part of the cultivation,” she said using the example of her family’s wares that were grown and sold in the Caribbean as she was growing up. “It’s a process. No one wakes up confident in two years or five years. It takes years of trial and error.”
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcmmunications.com.