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OUR 2021 Stories & News

New Member

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July 1, 2021

IWFCT is pleased to welcome Ursuline Foley as one of our new members. 

Ursuline is an accomplished board member, c-suite executive, thought leader and advisor, with 35 years in Financial Services and global leadership in a public company.  She provides tailored advice and insights to executives and boards in areas of technology, strategy, innovation, business & digital transformation, risk management, data & privacy and cybersecurity.


Ursuline is currently a Board Member for a public bank (Provident “PFS”) and a Large European Insurance software private firm (DOCOsoft) servicing Lloyds.  Formerly served on XL Group’s U.S. entity boards and former Chairman and President of a Not-for-Profit (FWSIM). 


Ursuline is a former Chief Corporate Operations Officer, Managing Director and global CIO who influenced business strategy, operations and culture by leading technology, innovation, digital, data, operations and global business transformations.  She has advanced company growth, expense containment, regulatory compliance, risk management and innovation through M&A integrations, diversifications, transformations, leveraging start-ups and shared services. She has led large, high performance teams in complex business outcomes and is a member of NACD CT as well as World Affairs Forum. She has lived in Ireland and Bermuda.


Ursuline holds a Masters of Computer Science from PACE University, Lubin School of Business in New York and a Bachelor of Science from the University Cork in Ireland.

Additional information about Ursuline can be found at the following link


June 28, 2021

Join us in congratulating our own Lisa Nkonoki, Owner, Nkonoki Entertainment Group LLC, Live Your Life Coaching and family Advocacy for being featured for her successful achievement of her vision to bring fabulous pioneering ladies from the 152nd St Black Ballet Legacy reclaim their rightful place in history. 


The article appeared in Sunday’s June 20, 2021 New York Times and featured on ABC news on June 28.


The stories and features create a better understanding of why the presence of these amazing women and why voice matters.


June 17, 2021

Join us in congratulating our own Maura Carley, founder and president of the health insurance consulting firm Healthcare Navigation LLC, on launching a free video series to educate people on basic health insurance coverage topics.

Each week, Maura and key staff will focus on a different aspect of health insurance.  Maura has already produced three segments.  Health Insurance Basics includes brief videos on terms and concepts everyone should understand – the deductible, coinsurance, the network, COBRA coverage and the pros and cons of selecting it, and others.  There is also a Frequently Asked Questions segment and two “Our Story” videos introducing Healthcare Navigation and the channel.  Segments on Medicare as well as managing your coverage are in production.  

The purpose of the video series is to educate people who may be confused by their health insurance coverage and how they can learn more about the coverage options that are available to them.


Maura's Health insurance videos can be viewed by clicking here, or you can watch on the Healthcare Navigation YouTube channel. Each video is accompanied by written information.


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April 19, 2021

Join us in congratulating our own Jane Whitney for being featured in an article captured in the Litchfield Magazine about her new television show “Common Ground” making its national debut on PBS.

The article starts by saying "Jane Whitney had to prove herself as a moderator when Conversations on the Green was launched some 10 years ago. Why would a talented 25-year veteran of television (hosting several shows) and print media be in such a situation?"  Read on for more at the following link.


Jane is currently the moderator and Managing Editor for the topical television series “Common Ground,” which premieres nationally on PBS stations in May. Powered by the 501(c)3 “Conversations on the Green,” which Jane and her husband started 9 years ago as a speaker series, “Common Ground” will feature nationally known voices in an interactive setting. Guests including Dr. Anthony Fauci, NYT columnist David Brooks, historian Heather Cox Richardson and former CIA Director John Brennan are already slated to appear. The programs are also broadcast virtually to benefit charities involved in helping victims of the coronavirus pandemic.  She also manages two family foundations which support services for domestic violence victims, the homeless and at-risk children and is a consultant and special events producer for political campaigns and non-profit organizations.


During her 25-year career in television, Jane was a correspondent for NBC News based in Central America and a reporter for "Entertainment Tonight." Ms. Whitney also anchored broadcasts for PBS, CNN and CNBC.  Finally, she was dubbed a "recovering talk show host" by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd after she hosted the Warner Bros. nationally syndicated TV program "The Jane Whitney Show." Her political columns and social commentary have appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine and The New York Observer.

Do reach out to Jane to congratulate her on the article.

New Member

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April 15, 2021

IWFCT is pleased to welcome Nisha Kumar Behringer as one of our new members. 

Nisha is a Managing Director and the Chief Financial and Chief Compliance Officer of Greenbriar Equity Group, L.P., a private equity firm managing over $4 billion in active funds focused on mid-market buyouts of companies primarily engaged in business services and advanced manufacturing across the logistics, distribution, aerospace and defense, specialty industrial, transportation and related sub-sectors.  She oversees all financial, investor relations, tax, administrative and compliance aspects of the firm. She is a member of the firm’s Investment and Management Committees


Prior to her role, Nisha spent 15 years as a senior mergers and acquisitions and operating executive in the media and internet industries. She was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of AOL, senior executive at Time Warner Inc. and Corporate Development at (now  Nisha began her career in Morgan Stanley’s Investment Banking Division, where she advised large-cap media and internet companies on various mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and corporate financings. 

Nisha has and continues to serve as a independent director on multiple companies including Aberdeen Standard Investment’s The India Fund, Inc. (NYSE: IFN), Asia Tigers Fund and Aberdeen Income Credit Strategies Fund. Since 2019, she has been an independent director of the Legg Mason Closed End Funds where she also serves on the funds’ Audit and Nominating committees.

Nisha also volunteers for the Harvard College Fund and the Harvard College Schools and Scholarship Committee of Fairfield County. She is a Trustee of Brunswick School in Greenwich, CT.  She has served as a Trustee of the Putnam Indian Field School and as the President of its Board of Trustees.  She is a former member of the Leadership Council of the Harvard School of Public Health and the Harvard School of Public Health’s India Advisory Council, a recipient of the YWCA of Greenwich BRAVA Award for professional achievement and community leadership and the Harvard College Fund’s Albert H. Gordon Class of 1923 Award. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, where she serves on the International Affairs Fellowship Selection Committee and the Membership’s Diversity Committee.


Nisha hold an AB in government from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Additional information about Nisha can be found at the following link


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April 14, 2021

Join us in congratulating our own Paddi LeShane for an amazing article on her perspective on leadership published in the "Women's Leadership Center Newsletter" at the University of St Joseph in West Hartford, Connecticut.

The article is a powerful message to not simply the Women students at the University but to any leader  irrespective of their role or gender.   Please read on and always remember Paddi's message "you don't have to be the smartest person in the room or the highest "ranking" person but if you can master the skill of emotional intelligence, you can lead anyone through the toughest of challenges and hold your head right". 


As many of you know, Paddi is the co-founder of the state's most recognized and respected public affairs organization made up of the government relations firm of Sullivan & LeShane, Inc. and a regionally-recognized strategic communications/public relations firm Sullivan & LeShane Public Relations, Inc.  She is uniquely experienced in public relations, lobbying, and government relations. Professional skills include strategic problem solving, leadership development, and crisis management. 

Paddi is the 2017 Recipient of the Public Relations Society of America Greater Connecticut Chapter's (PRSA-CT) Practitioner of the Year.  Selected to participate in Executive Leadership Seminars at Stanford University, McGill University, and the University of Chicago. Topics included Disruptive Innovation: Strategy Beyond Markets, Analytics Leadership, and Strategic Planning & Innovation. Earned certificates from the PRSA in Reputation Risk Management and Crisis Communications.

Do reach out to Paddi to congratulate her on this timely and great article.


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April 7, 2021

Join us in congratulating our own Kay Maxwell for her being awarded with the Community Impact Award with the Planned Parenthood Southern New England on April 7, 2021.

As many of you know, Kay has a rich global background from being the Chair of the Board of Governors at Off The Record, to her role as the Executive Director of the World Affairs Forum and her role at the League of Women Voters as well as her service on the Board of Inspirica . 

An interview video with Kay at the Virtual Spring Luncheon and her follow-on speech can be accessed at the following link.

Do reach out to Kay to congratulate her on this amazing and so well deserved award.


April 6, 2021

Join us in congratulating our own Carolyn Miles for her appointment as a senior adviser to the dean and executive fellow of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. She will also serve as a distinguished lecturer starting in the fall of 2021.

As many of you know, Carolyn retired as president and CEO of Save the Children, the world’s leading child-focused NGO, after nearly a decade in the role. In the position, Miles managed key facets of a complex, global humanitarian organization, led a staff of more than 1,700 and helped lead a successful capital campaign as part of the organization’s 100-year anniversary. Under her leadership, the organization reached more than 130 million children a year, providing critical resources in areas such as health care, education and child protection. Her previous roles at the organization included executive vice president and COO, and multiple leadership roles in the marketing area. Prior to Save the Children, Miles held global leadership roles in financial services and as part of an Asia-based startup. She served last fall as a professor at the Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University. She is also a current member of the eight-person Sustainability Council at Bayer AG, advising management on sustainability issues.

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


Do reach out to Carolyn to congratulate her on her role.

Welcoming New Member

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Apr 1, 2021

IWFCT is pleased to welcome Roberta (Bert) Wachtelhausen as one of our new members. 

Bert is the visionary and strategic leader of WellSpark Health. She is a recognized expert in health care and wellness, with more than 30 years of experience. Under Bert’s leadership, WellSpark delivers a suite of programs designed to support the modern workforce in areas of preventing and managing chronic disease. Working with WellSpark, employers create a culture of health moving even the hardest-to-move employees to a more enduring well.


Prior to leading WellSpark, Bert was Senior Vice President, Chief Sales and Marketing Office for ConnectiCare. She has also held senior leadership positions at national and regional health plans, including Cigna, Meritain and LifeCare. In addition, she co-founded a health benefits startup, Averde Health.


Bert was recently named a 2020 Distinguished Alumna by the UConn Neag School of Education. In 2019, she was named Chief Marketing Officer of the Year by the Hartford Business Journal.


Bert holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education and was a Division 1 athlete for the Huskies. She completed graduate-level coursework at the University of Hartford studying Organizational Behavior.


Bert currently serves on the board of directors for the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame and volunteers her time with several non-profit organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Junior Achievement, and Special Olympics.

Additional information about Bert can be found at the following link


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Join us in congratulating our own Marilyn J. Ward Ford for her interview with the League of Women Voters (LWV) of New Canaan on the 19th Amendment and other issues involving Women.   

As many of you know, Marilyn is Marilyn is a law professor at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut where she teaches courses and represents individuals and groups in cases that she considers interesting.

Students have assisted Ford in several cases including representation of a rap artist and member of a hip hop group, representation of a professional athlete, and litigation of a case to prevent clear cutting by an international corporation on ancestral land in Alaska, a case to secure retirement benefits for senior executives of a Fortune Global 500 corporation, a case to obtain pension benefits for a retired member of a national union, and representation of a Native American tribe in the largest land claim case in the United States.

Before joining the faculty, Ford worked for a Wall Street law firm, a human rights organization, and a Fortune Global 500 corporation.  One of Marilyn's key publications is "Connecticut Corporate Law" which captures a complete understanding to Connecticut's corporation law, both procedural and substantive.

The interview with Marilyn can be accessed at the following link.

Please take a minute and reach out to Marilyn to congratulate her on her interview.

March 30, 2021


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March 30, 2020

Join us in congratulating our own Virginia P'an who was selected and highlighted during the Women's Month History by the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council (GNEMSDC) for her incredible strength, resilience and success and thank them for their continuous support

As many of you know, Virginia is the Founder & CEO of Yumi EcoSolutions Inc., an award winning sustainable consumer products company.   Her company is an environmentally conscious manufacturer of innovative, premium quality products made from sustainable and renewable bio-materials.  In addition to the two successful eco-friendly product lines, Virginia is also advising companies in developing sustainable packaging for consumer products utilizing her company's expertise in bio-materials technologies.  Previously Virginia held various Senior executive positions including with American Express and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.


Do reach out to Virginia to congratulate her on this special recognition.


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March 22, 2021

Join us in congratulating our own Colleen McGuire for being one of the Award winner of HNJ's 2021 Women in Business Award Winners.  


Hartford Business Journal’s Women in Business awards are an annual opportunity to recognize those at the forefront. The challenges of COVID make the honorees that much more significant, having shown resilience during uncertain times. 

As many of you know, Colleen is the Co-Founder & CEO of Silver Fern Healthcare.  The company has developed evidence-based, SaaS diagnostic products that enable clinicians to quickly unlock the behavior and psychosocial barriers that prevent individuals from effectively managing chronic disease. Their clinically-proven, proprietary products significantly improve health outcomes for people living with chronic disease, reducing the overall cost of care.


For more information about the award, Colleen and the list of awardees use the following link 

Meanwhile, please take a minute and reach out to Colleen to congratulate her on this special award.

Welcoming New Member

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Feb 27, 2021

IWFCT is pleased to welcome Wendy Foster as one of our new members. 

Wendy is an accomplished executive with more than three decades of executive leadership in the corporate and nonprofit sectors.  Wendy recently brought to a close an 11-year run as Chief Executive Officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts (BBBSEM), the largest youth mentoring organization in New England and among the top 1% of Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates in the nation. 


Prior to her work in the nonprofit sector, Wendy served as a senior executive with America Online (AOL) and was Marketing Director for New Product Development at Time-Life Inc., a division of Time-Warner.  She began her career in direct marketing with the country’s leading agency, Wunderman. 


Wendy is nationally recognized for her leadership within the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America federation, and most recently served as Vice Chair of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Nationwide Leadership Council and co-chair of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Large Agency Alliance.


Wendy serves on a number of boards including YWCA Boston, the Massachusetts Women’s Forum and the Big Brothers Big Sisters Foundation. She is a Director Emeritus of the BBBSEM Board of Directors. Wendy is a member of the LeadBoston Class of 2010. Wendy received the 2017 Pinnacle Award for Nonprofit Management from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. She received the 2018 Silver Stevie Award for Female Executive of the Year, Government or Non-Profit - 11 to 2,500 Employees.


Wendy Wendy holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and an M.B.A from The George Washington University.

Additional information about Wendy can be found at the following link


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Jan 27, 2021

Join us in congratulating our own Debra Hertz, Principal of The Strategy Group, for her contribution in the process facilitation for the unification of the two largest nonprofit anti-hunger organizations--Foodshare and Connecticut Food Bank.  The transaction will be effective Saturday, January 30, 2021.

As many of you know, Debra the Founder and Principal of The Strategy Group, LLC has over 25 years advising nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.  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. 


Additional information regarding the unification can be found at the following press release link 

Meanwhile, please take a minute and reach out to Debra to congratulate her critical contribution on this very important and critical merger.

Welcoming New Member

Jan 27, 2021

IWFCT is pleased to welcome Karen Peart as one of our new members. 

Karen is currently Director, University Media Relations at Yale Office Public Affairs & Communications.  Karen provides strategic counsel to the University leadership on a broad range of sensitive issues while managing the University's media relations strategy amplifying Yale's name in news outlets worldwide. 

Before coming to Yale, Karen was an award-winning education writer and editor at Scholastic/New York Times Upfront Magazine; a reporter at Gannett Newspapers, and a writer for the National Academy of Sciences, NBC Universal, Planned Parenthood, and many other magazines and websites.  She has also worked for public relations agencies in New York City, where she managed multi-million dollar product launch campaigns for pharmaceutical clients such as SmithKline Beecham, Wyeth-Ayerst, and Rhône-Poulenc Rorer.  Karen’s work at Yale has earned countless placements in top media outlets, bolstering Yale’s reputation for excellence in the sciences, medicine, and research across many disciplines, such as autism, women’s health, psychiatry, immunobiology, pediatrics, cardiology, outcomes research, big data, and precision medicine.

Karen has a Master of Science degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Connecticut School of Law.


Karen’s philanthropic and volunteer work includes serving as treasurer and currently chair of the Fund for Women & Girls at the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. She serves on the Wellness Committee and the Title IX committee at Yale University. 

Additional information about Karen can be found at the following link

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