Our stories.  Our successes.  Our news.

Year 2020


July 9, 2020

Join us in congratulating our own Debra Hertz for her appointment as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Liberation Programs, Inc (LPI), starting its new fiscal year on July 1, 2020.

Liberation Programs provides prevention, treatment, and recovery services to help individuals and their families impacted by substance use and mental health conditions to foster hope and maintain wellness.

Debra's role as a management consultant and founder of The Strategy Group, LLC with over 25 years advising nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, makes her the ideal chair for the Board of LPI. 


Debra holds a PhD. and Master of Social Work from Fordham University where she also teaches leadership courses in the Graduate School of Social Service.  A Darien resident, she is on the Board of Directors of Achievement First - Bridgeport. 

More information about Debra's appointment and LPI can be found at the following link

Please take a minute and reach out to Debra to congratulate her and to wish her the best in her role.


July 1, 2020

Join us in congratulating our own Molly Gavin for moving forward with Connecticut Community Care (CCC) as she retires from her President position.  


Molly came to CCC’s predecessor, the SAIL (Strengthened Assistance for Independent Living) Project at the North Central Area Agency on Aging in 1976, a 26-year-old “kid” wanting to change the world. Thanks to decades of stellar Board, Corporator and staff dedication, she has, in fact, done just that. Every single night over 9,000 clients and their families are resting a little easier because CCC is in their lives.


Under her leadership, CCC worked decisively and collaboratively with public and private stakeholders in the development of the Connecticut Home Care Program, Money Follows the Person and Community First Choice.  They joined forces with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter, the Congregation of Notre Dame and countless elder care attorneys and probate judges to provide customized care management to their private clientele.  They spoke in hundreds of classrooms and lecture halls across the country sharing their unique brand of care management; one of the most respected and emulated models in the nation. 

Molly stated "over the years I have been blessed with extraordinary teachers; primarily our clients and our staff. Clients share decades of lived experience, from the Depression to World War II, to the joy and suffering of their own lives. Their resilience never ceases to amaze me. They never stop reminding us to always allow them to direct the course of their own lives in any and every way possible. Our staff, on the other hand, share all the challenging lessons of teamwork, negotiation, prioritization and perspective; learning that have served me well".  More information about Molly's announcement can be found at the following link.

Effective August 3, 2020, Julia Evans Starr will succeed Molly as the President of Connecticut Community Care.

Please take a minute and reach out to Molly to congratulate her and to wish her the best in the next chapter of her life. 

Welcoming New Member

June 15, 2020
IWFCT is pleased to welcome Susan Dunn as one of our new members. 
Susan is a Consultant and Retired President and Chief Executive Officer, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut. 
Susan Dunn joined United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut (UWCNCT) in 1990 as communications director and was named president and chief executive officer in 2006. She was the first woman to lead the organization since its founding in 1924. Susan was responsible for achieving a record high of $28 million in the annual fundraising effort, leadership giving, communications and public relations along with administrative responsibilities for the organization.
Since retiring, Susan co-founded “Beyond Books,” a speaker’s series on current issues for retired professional women in Greater Hartford. In addition, she has hosted several national webinars for UWRA and co-hosts a monthly Zoom “Idea Exchange” for United Way professionals nationally.  Susan is currently, serving as a paid consultant to United Way of New York City, chairs the board of NCCJ of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts, a corporator of Hartford Hospital and an Ambassador for the Village for Families and Children and Secretary of the board of the United Way Retirees Association.
Susan was named one of Greater Hartford’s 50 Most Influential People (Hartford Magazine, July 2008, 2009, 2010) and the Hartford Business Journal 2008 Nonprofit Executive of the Year. In 2016, she received a Rising Star Award from the MetroHartford Alliance for her 25 years of service to the Greater Hartford community. 
Susan is one of the first women graduates of Fairfield University, Fairfield, Connecticut with a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing, cum laude. She resides in Clinton, CT with her husband, Ned, and has three adult children.

Additional information on Susan's background can be found at the following link

Welcoming New Member

April 14, 2020
IWFCT is pleased to welcome Penny Maxwell as one of our new members. 
Penny is the Chief Financial Officer of IBM Canada with the responsibility of managing IBM Canada's Finance and Operations inclusive of Finance & Planning, Pricing, Tax, Treasury, Real Estate, Procurement, CIO and Enterprise Operations.  Penny is a Connecticut resident on assignment to Canada. 
Prior to her role, Penny had multiple roles at IBM ranging from Director of Finance for Watson and Cloud Platforms, Global Business Services.  Her scope has been both US and global in nature.  In addition to Canada, Penny had assignments to Singapore and Spain.  
Penny is involved in various women initiatives at IBM including the advancement of Women in Finance to executive ranks.  Great progress has been made to date and more in progress.  Penny is also engaged in building leadership and external eminence to women in sales through robust programs for both executives and non-executive women.  This includes how to get involved externally, to share expertise publicly, to participate on boards and more.

Penny has a Masters of Science in Accounting from Louisiana State University and a Bachelors of Science in Accounting, Math and Spanish Minors from Missouri State University

Additional information on Penny's background can be found at the following link

Welcoming New Member

January 24, 2020
IWFCT is pleased to welcome Laura Skandera Trombley as one of our new members. 

Laura is the President of the University of Bridgeport.  She is president emerita of Pitzer College and The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Previously, she served as vice president for academic affairs at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A preeminent Mark Twain scholar, she has coupled impassioned advocacy for the humanities with deft and strategic leadership to transform some of the country’s most important cultural and academic institutions.  Laura is also a consultant to the Libra Foundation, a private foundation with $260 million in endowments, and the Harrington-Schiff Foundation. It supports nonprofits working in the areas of community-based health, the environment, arts, and culture.

Laura is "leading the University’s efforts to assert its value in uniquely combining career-oriented education with a strong tradition of local, regional, and international recruiting".

Laura has a Bachelor of Arts in English/Humanities and her Masters of Arts in English from Pepperdine University. She received her PhD in English from the University of Southern California as a Virginia Barbara Middleton Scholar and a recipient of the Lester and Irene Finkelstein Fellowship for Outstanding Humanities Student.

Additional information on Laura's background can be found at the following link

For more information or questions