Powerful Women at the Heart of Hartford Business
By Sara-Beth Donovan, President, Media Only
Today the Hartford Business Journal celebrated the seventeenth annual Hartford Women in Business Awards. These awards recognize outstanding female leaders in a broad spectrum of industries. I had the pleasure of being on this year’s judging panel. I’d like to congratulate the 2019 winners:
- Gail Baker, Senior Vice President, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance & Space Solutions, Collins Aerospace
- Joanne Berger-Sweeney, President & Professor of Neuroscience, Trinity College
- Nancy Bernstein, President & Chief Operating Officer, Women's Health USA; President & Chief Executive Officer, Women's Health Connecticut
- Sharon L. Castelli, Chief Executive Officer, Chrysalis Center Inc.
- Tracy Church, Executive Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer, Hartford HealthCare
- Rebecca Corbin Loree, Founder & CEO, Corbin Advisors LLC
- Megan Torrey, CEO, World Affairs Council of Connecticut
- Lisa (LaSaracina) Willauer, Partner, Fiondella, Milone & LaSaracina LLP
I’d also like to tip my hat to my fellow alum of the Women in Business. With Hartford being and continuing to grow as such a vital location for businesswomen, it is even more of an honor to have been one of the eight recipients of the 2018 Hartford Business Journal’s Women in Business Awards. My experience as a winner last year was so enriching, and it was beyond impressive to have even been considered. I was truly fortunate to have the opportunity to connect with other such dynamic and influential women as a winner and again this year as a judge.
With almost 90 nominees, the range of industries and backgrounds ran the gamut. Needless to say, the fabric of Connecticut’s economy was fully represented. These awards are so fundamental to celebrate outstanding women and executives in our community. To have the overall community both elevate and embrace these accomplishments, is paramount to furthering the success of women. Celebrating all leaders throughout our community, both men and women, is a ripple effect that will continue to shine a powerful light on Hartford and its impressive inhabitants.
When it comes to Hartford, I think we need to shift the narrative. It’s true that Connecticut has some budget problems, and we are struggling a bit to keep business. However, it’s not just our government’s job to pull Hartford in a positive direction. Local leaders, such as the women recognized today, demonstrate striving to improve these issues and make Hartford a more appealing place for businesses to thrive. In fact, Hartford, Connecticut was recently declared by the Businesswomen Power City Index as the third best location in the nation for women in business and for women to grow into executive roles. The city boasts 31.9% of women in executive roles and the second highest buying power of women in the country. With the wage gap between women and men in Hartford being 18.1% and the percentage of women-owned businesses having grown to 20.4%, it fits the narrative of empowering women to have Connecticut’s capital city to serve as the home to the Women’s Business Center. Located at the University of Hartford, the Center serves more than 1,000 individuals and more than 500 businesses every year, with 70% being women or women-owned businesses. Connecticut was even recently declared the fourth most innovative economy in the United States according to Bloomberg's latest U.S. State Innovation Index based on the presence of science, technology, engineering and math workers, density of tech companies, and research and development capabilities.
As a businesswoman in the greater-Hartford area, I believe that access to educational opportunity is yet another facet that makes Hartford the mecca for business women that it has become. Our schools are some of the best in the country and if you were lucky enough to be raised here, or even for those who have transplanted here, the access to public and private education is unsurpassed. Connecticut has long stood as a conduit to the best of all things, personally and professionally; arts, museums, access to healthcare and business services, further positioning Hartford as an undeniable hub for businesswomen seeking success.
At the end of the day the Women in Business Awards give us a platform to share this success, and learn from each other, rather than charting this course on our own. I look forward to witnessing the remarkable future that the women of Hartford will undoubtedly build right alongside each other.