Connecticut Women's Conference dances on the edge of inspiration

By Martha Marteney, Staff Writer
Regional - posted Sun., Feb. 6, 2011
Best-selling author Joan Anderson is the keynote speaker for the Connecticut Women's Conference. Photos courtesy of the Connecticut Women's Alliance. - Contributed Photo

The Connecticut Women’s Alliance is presenting the Connecticut Women’s Conference, to be held on Thursday, March 24, at the Hartford Marriott in Farmington. The keynote speaker will be Joan Anderson, best-selling author of A Year by the Sea and Second Journey-The Road Back.

The all-day conference offers programs and workshops for women of all walks of life. The conference theme is “Dancing on the Edge,” recognizing that women dance on the edge of so many possibilities. “It’s a day to help women understand how far they can go,” said South Windsor resident Cile Decker. The conference is expected to draw 320 participants from across the state.

Decker is on the CWA board of directors and is responsible for identifying charities to be supported by the CWA. In 2010, CWA made a donation to the Interval House, a shelter for women and children of domestic abuse, which is located in Hartford and services 30 surrounding towns.

This year’s charity, the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund, will be honored at the Connecticut Women’s Conference. This organization provides testimony at the state Capitol that focuses on gender rights and equal rights for women and children; advocacy for people in need; and referrals to services and attorneys. “They’ve been very effective in establishing coalitions at the state Capitol,” said Decker, as well as helping teach people how to work within the system, he added.

There is an early bird discount for tickets purchased by March 1. Tickets purchased by that date are $119, and tickets purchased after March 1 are $149. Included in the price of the ticket are the workshops and featured speaker presentations on topics ranging from fitness training to financial guidance, dream coaching, and leadership skills. Breakfast, lunch and an afternoon ice cream social will also be provided.

Nominations for the “CWA Woman of Distinction” award are being accepted until March 1. “We’re looking for one woman who shows great purpose and determination in supporting women or girls,” said Leahy. “We’re looking for someone who really shows passion.” Nominations may be made through the conference website at

Also on the website is the information on applying for the Mary Jones’ Believe Team Make-Over. One woman will be selected to win a complete make-over including fitness training, money management, life coach, stylist and photo shoot.

The members of the CWA board of directors were previously involved in the Greater Hartford Women’s Conference, sponsored by the South Windsor Chamber of Commerce. In addition to Leahy and Decker, the board includes Windsor resident Tonya Healis, vice president; Manchester resident Joanne S. Gustafson, secretary; South Windsor resident Annabel Pedemonti, treasurer; and board members Sharon Fales Grodzicki of Middlefield, Carolyn Griswold of Manchester, Marge Piccini of South Windsor, Dorothy Martin Neville of West Hartford, and L. Kay Wilson of Glastonbury.

“Part of the reason we formed the Alliance was so that we could grow,” explained CWA President Wendy Leahy of Enfield. “We were so inspired by our previous successes, that we thought we could do even more.”

“It allows us to help so many more organizations that support women and girls in so many areas of their lives,” added Decker. The CWA is in the process of obtaining 501(c)3 non-profit status.

For more information about the Connecticut Women’s Alliance and the Connecticut Women’s Conference, visit the website at or Tickets for the conference may be purchased through either website.

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