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OUR 2019 Stories & News

News Announcement

November 24, 2019

Join us in congratulating our own Filomena Soyster for being selected as one of the 30 Women of Distinction by Hartford Magazine.  Filomena along with the other 29 women were selected as remarkable leaders who make a difference in our community.   The article and more about Filomena can be found at the following link.

Please take a minute and reach out to Filomena to congratulate her on this sensational recognition.


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October 30, 2019

Join us in congratulating our own Marie Meliksetian for being featured in Harvey Nash's Women In Technology Report . The fourth annual Harvey Nash Women in Technology survey report shines light on how the changing environment of the technology industry impacts women and men differently.

Marie is featured with couple of her mentees on pages 12 and 13.  A must read report.

Summary of the report can also be found at the following link.


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October 25, 2019

Join us in congratulating our own Marie Meliksetian for joining the Advisory board of "Cann-Ade, LLC".  A Cannabis start-up company. Marie is the CEO of Reliance Solution Services and the President of IWF Connecticut. 

Marie will be serving in her role to the growth of the company ranging from strategy to operation including supply chain, technology and more.


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October 18, 2019

Join us in congratulating our own Maura Carley, President of Health Navigation, for being quoted in an article published in Barron’s on October 18th entitled Medicare Plan F Will Soon End:  Here’s How that Changes Retirees’ Cost.


Additional information on the article can be found at the following link


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October 9, 2019

Join us in congratulating our own Tracy Chadwell, Founding Partner 1843 Capital for being featured as one of the 100 most powerful entrepreneur women by Entrepreneur Magazine as well as one of the eight women VCs identified to share her most memorable pitch she has ever received.


Tracy shares insights and lessons driving change and impacting the landscape of the business world. 

Additional information on the announcement can be found at the following link


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September 30, 2019

Join us in congratulating our own Marie Meliksetian for joining the board of "The Business Council of Fairfield County".  Marie is the CEO of Reliance Solution Services and the President of IWF Connecticut. 

Additional information can be found at the following link


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September 25, 2019

Join us in congratulating our own Laura Dambier, IWFCT Vice President and Membership Chair, to her recent appointment as the president of the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum!  


Laura will be stepping into this role on October 1st.  The JFK Hyannis Museum will be the beneficiary of Laura’s vast knowledge of presidential sites across the country as well as her enthusiasm for helping presidential museums to remain even more vital in the 21st century.  


Laura will remain on the IWFCT Board and will continue to chair our Membership Committee.

Additional information on the announcement can be found at the following link

Welcoming New Member

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August 19, 2019
IWFCT is pleased to welcome Lisa Braden-Harder as one of our new members. 

Lisa founded and grew a Natural Language Processing (NLP) company focused on speech and search technologies. Leveraged early research experience in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to launch a startup focused on data for machine learning technologies and global markets. Guided company from founding, through a merger, private equity investment and IPO always focusing on growth and innovation.

Lisa has graduated recently as a Senior Fellow at the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard University.  This fellowship is for seasoned executives focused on social impact.  Lisa explored the issues of digital inclusion and linguistic technology at the MIT Media Lab, HBS, and HKS including courses on business at the base of the pyramid, impact investing, social entrepreneurship, future ecommerce and behavioral science for inclusive organizations.

Welcoming New Member

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July 18, 2019
IWFCT is pleased to welcome Lorraine George-Harik as one of our new members. 

Lorraine is a co-founding Partner of Cerity Partners, an independent  wealth management and investment advisory firm for affluent families, family offices, private businesses and foundations.

She is a member of the firm’s Executive Council, Personal Development Committee and Wealth Management Advisory Practice.

Prior to joining Cerity Partners, Ms.George-Harik  was a member of the Chairman’s Council, Managing Director at Citi Private Bank in New York, and  Managing Director at UBS Private Wealth Group.  Lorraine has extensive experience in corporate and international banking. Her background includes roles of Director at Citigroup’s Merchant Bank, serving on the Vice Chairman’s Special Projects Team for sovereign acquisitions of precious metals, Director of Citicorp International Trading Company in New York, Global Manager in the Citicorp World Corporate Group in Cleveland, responsible for Fortune 500  multinational clients headquartered in the US, Europe and Latin America and Vice President at First Chicago’s International Banking Department for sovereign wealth agencies and women’s banking in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Lorraine was named to Crain’s 2019 Notable Women in Banking and Finance and recently co-founded Zesty Z, a Mediterranean condiment, snack and flavor company, with her son,  


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July 12, 2019
IWFCT is pleased to announce that Maureen Gorman has been awarded The University of St Joseph's Business and Entrepreneurial Award .
This award goes to a graduate with a talent for seeing opportunities and developing those in successful businesses or organizations. This individual has demonstrated the ability to cultivate a positive and successful image.

Serving as Managing Director at Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. in New York, Maureen is described by one of her many nominators as, "an insightful female leader focused on results and service to others." She is skilled in all aspects of Property & Casualty Insurance, business development, mentoring, budgeting, Commercial Insurance, and public speaking. A female leader in a male-dominated industry, Maureen is highly regarded by her colleagues, friends, and family.

Maureen graduated from Saint Joe's in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and later went on to receive her master's in Financial Services from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1991.  Congratulations to our 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients!

Welcoming New Member

June 19, 2019
IWFCT is pleased to welcome Lisa Nkonoki as one of our new members. 
Lisa is a Life Coach and Family Advocate and Founder of Live Your Dreams Life Coaching & Family Advocacy.  She and her team help clients from all backgrounds reach their full potential and live their best lives, creating strategies and assisting with coaching, personal development, empowerment and articulating clear vision.
Lisa's journey started at age 18 working for her grandfather.  From there she became a producer and co-host of a television show "What about Women".  She moved on to become a press intern on Capitol Hill working for a Congressman.  Her career journey later took her to Hollywood where she worked side-by-side with legendary television producer Norman Lear.
Lisa's creative entrepreneurial spirit, innovative marketing and grass roots initiatives have garnered her with many awards. 

Welcoming New Member

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June 12, 2019
IWFCT is pleased to welcome Debra Zampano as one of our new members. 

Debra Zampano is General Manager/Director at Frontier Communciations.  She is a pioneering transformational executive. Her entrepreneurial skills along with a passion for lifelong learning has led her to successful leadership positions in small businesses, consultancy, a Fortune 50 and a Fortune 500 company.


Debra has held roles in P&L leadership, Engineering, Quality, Manufacturing, Supply Chain Program/General Management, Operations and Field Services. In addition to her functional experience, her leadership roles held full responsibilities for Sales, Marketing, Human Resources, EH&S, Legal, Regulatory, Transportation and Logistics and Communications. 


Among her numerous professional awards she considers receipt of the Maintenance Excellence Award from the United States Naval Reserve Tactical Support Wing among one of her most cherished. The award was for “demonstrated dynamic leadership, exceptional professionalism and unsurpassed management effectiveness required to safely fly and operate aircraft involved in Navy Adversary Flight Operations.”


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June 11, 2019

Join us in congratulating our own Jill Hummel, President and General Manager of Blue Cross Blue Shield to her recent appointment to the Qualidigm Board Of Directors. 


Timothy Elwell, PhD, Qualidigm president and CEO said "I am pleased to have Jill join Qualidigm's Board of Directors.  She is an incredibly driven and dynamic business leader who brings a wealth of market knowledge and expertise, complementing the organization's strategic vision of working collaboratively to make New England the healthiest region in the United States. I congratulate Jill on her election to the board and thank her for her commitment to Qualidigm."

Additional information on the announcement can be found at the following links:

News 1

News 2


June 6, 2019
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June 6, 2019

Molly Gavin, President, Connecticut Community Care, Inc was awarded on June 6, 2019, the Primary Care Leadership Award by the Connecticut Center for Primary Care.

This recognition was awarded to Molly for her outstanding contributions to the Community Services and Advocacy.

Congratulations to Molly Gavin for this outstanding recognition and continued success in her role.


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June 5, 2019

Our own Virginia P'an was featured today, the 2019 World Environment Day. 


The interview with Virginia highlights her business and the exciting life she leads running and growing her business.  Virginia also shares with her readers wise tips to becoming a strong and successful entrepreneur.  More can be found at the below link.


Virginia P'an, Eco Entrepreneur - June 5, 2019 World Environment Day

Welcoming New Member

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May 31, 2019
IWFCT is pleased to welcome Andi Goldman as one of our new members.
Andi is a financial executive, leader and mentor in the legal cannabis industry. Co-founder and Managing Member, Equitas Partners (cannabis industry investment fund), and advisor to start-ups and entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry.
Former corporate and securities lawyer with a passion for equal opportunity, healthcare and wellness.

Welcoming New Member

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May 9, 2019
IWFCT is pleased to welcome Alice Schroede as one of our new members.
Alice Schroeder is a former CPA, Wall Street analyst and banker, and portfolio director.  She currently serves on the boards of Prudential plc, Natus Medical Incorporated, and Quorum Health Corporation, and was named to the 2018 list of “Directors to Watch” by Directors & Boards magazine. 
Alice is the author of the #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life. 


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May 9, 2019

Join us in congratulating our own IWFCT member Debra Hertz for being honored on May 9 as the YMCA  "2019 Women of Distinction Award" (Announcement)

The award is bestowed in recognition of the outstanding achievements of a select group of women whose significant and unique contributions have made a difference in the community.

The YWCA Darien/Norwalk is a non-profit organization dedicated to giving women the support and tools they need to transform their lives, be confident in their choices and raise healthy families. Its national mission, eliminating racism and empowering women, translates locally into a vision to create opportunities for growth, leadership and empowerment for all women and


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May 2, 2019

Join us in congratulating our own IWFCT member Kay Maxwell for being awarded on May 2 the Liberty Bell Award, given each year by the Fairfield County Bar Association FCBA to an individual who has engaged in outstanding community service and stimulated a sense of civic responsibility. 


The Liberty Bell award was established more than thirty years ago to acknowledge outstanding community service by a layperson.  Presented to men and women who have promoted better understanding of the rule of law, encouraged greater respect for the law and the courts, stimulated a sense of civic responsibility, or contributed to good government in your community. 

Kay's service as Executive Director of the World Affairs Forum and her role in the League of Women Voters as well as her service on the Board of Inspirica where key to her well deserved recognition. 

The Liberty Bell Award is being held on May 2, 2019 at Giovanni’s in Darien. 

Welcoming New Member

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April 25, 2019
IWFCT is pleased to welcome Janet DeFrino as one of our new members.
Janet DeFrino is the Partner and Co-Founder of Muse Advisors, a strategic advisory firm for women-led series-funded startups looking to raise capital or scale their businesses.  Located in Rowayton, Muse Advisors builds granular financial models to help founders deepen their financial knowledge and convey their company’s potential through numbers. 
Janet has years of investment and operating experience in the financial industry with Eachwin Capital, McVeigh & Co, Morgan Stanley and American Express.


March 5, 2019
March 6, 2019

Join us in congratulating our own IWFCT member Donna de Varona for her recent podcast


As part of IWF’s commemoration of International Women’s Day, IWF is introducing the “IWF Game Changers,” a monthly podcast that celebrates the trailblazing members of IWF. These women are policymakers, executives, pioneers and instigators of change. In the recording studio, they’re sharing the lessons they learned and insights they gained from their journeys.

You can find the first episode on the IWF website under the “About” section, as well as on iTunes and soon on Spotify.


Anne Doyle – president of IWF Michigan and podcast host – kicks off the inaugural episode, chatting with Donna de Varona, celebrated Olympian and sports broadcaster. She spoke with Anne about her start in sports, her involvement with the Women Athletes Business Network, and why she thinks being an athlete gives women unique skills for their future careers.


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March 5, 2019

Join us in congratulating our IWFCT member Mary Barneby for being one of the seven winners of the 2019 Women Who Mean Business.  


New Haven BIZ announced today the seven winners.  The award recognizes outstanding achievement by female leaders across a broad spectrum of professional endeavor.

"New Haven has a long and distinguished legacy of women leaders in business, as well as government, the arts and other industries," said NHB Editor Michael C. Bingham. "With this new initiative, New Haven BIZ seeks both to recognize women in positions of leadership who might not previously have been in the spotlight, as well as to provide an example to encourage and inspire the next generation to aim high in their professional lives and in all they do."

The honorees will be celebrated at an awards luncheon to take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. April 2 at Anthony's Ocean View, 450 Lighthouse Rd., New Haven.


Mary is profiled in a special issue of the print edition of New Haven BIZ published today.


February 28, 2019

Molly Gavin, President, Connecticut Community Care, Inc was recently voted to serve the next term on the Qualidigm executive Board as the Treasurer.  She joins Mag Morelli, president of LeadingAge Connecticut as the board chair, Michelle DeBarge, JD, partner, Wiggin and Dana LLP as the board chair elect president, Angela Mattie, JD, professor at Quinnipiac University, as the board secretary and Rollin Schuster, Jr., principal at Schuster Driscoll, LLC, as the board's past chair.

“I congratulate Mag, Michelle, and Molly for their elected positions within the executive board of directors,” said Dr. Elwell. “These appointments reflect their skills and experience. I am proud of the diversity at the executive board level where 66% of the officers are distinguished women leaders. I am honored to have such accomplished, well-respected, forwarding thinking visionaries lead the Qualidigm Board of Directors.”

Congratulations to Molly Gavin and continued success in her role.

Announcement can be found here


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February 21, 2019

We congratulate Nancy Bernstein, President and Chief Operating Officer; and President and CEO of Women's Health Connecticut for receiving the Hartford Business Journal’s 2019 Women in Business Award. The prestigious honor showcases eight of Connecticut’s successful female senior-level leaders, C-suite executives and entrepreneurs that make a difference in their company and the community. An independent panel of judges selected the finalists from nearly 90 nominations this year. 

Nancy’s dedication to Women’s Health CT extends over 20 years and has branched out nationally as the Women’s Health USA President and COO since 2017. An indispensable business leader, she also previously served or currently serves on the boards of Leadership Greater Hartford, Community Health Charities, Connecticut Center for Primary Care and United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut. She received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 from the Hartford Business Journal for her contributions to the region. 


Click here to see HBJ’s Women in Business 2019 Winners.

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