YWCA Hartford Region held the 17th Annual In The Company of Women luncheon on March 20 at the Connecticut Convention Center.
The event was attended by over 1,300 women – and a few good men – including corporate and community leaders. The In the Company of Women Luncheon, a fundraiser for YWCA Hartford Region’s programs and services, featured keynote speaker Rosie Perez, actress and advocate. Perez shared her personal struggle with racism and how she looked within to overcome social stereotypes.
Perez’s message of self resilience touched the crowd. She detailed how racism affected her throughout her life. Perez discovered she was carrying the baggage of racism, which prevented people from getting to know the ‘real’ Rosie. “You have to shake it off and find the love within because that is how you eliminate racism,” Perez said.
In closing Perez shared a quote from legendary directory, George C. Wolffe, “Push through your fears and step into your greatness. Step into who you know you are – step into who you are supposed to be.”
Governor Malloy gave brief opening remarks commending the work of YWCA. The co-chairs of the event were Jean LaTorre, Chief Investment Officer at Aetna Inc of Durham, CT, and Stacy Smith Walsh, Director of Human Resources at Day Pitney LLP of West Hartford, CT.
A program was held in the morning for young women from the Greater Hartford area. This program, Creating Opportunities, introduces young women to the dynamics of women and philanthropy while fostering community involvement. Dr. Ana Maria Verissimo, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Division of Pain and Palliative Medicine at CCMC was their guest speaker. She spoke on the topic of holistic health and wellness.
Among the young women who attended the event were participants from YWCA’s Young Women’s Leadership Corps (YWLC), an after-school program that gives young women the power to persevere both personally and academically.
In its 17th year, the In the Company of Women luncheon showcased the programs of YWCA, which provide valuable services to women and girls in the greater Hartford region. YWCA provides programs and services to more than 2,000 individuals a year including: child care, supportive housing, young women’s leadership and financial literacy.