Humorist Gina Barreca to headline Greater Hartford Women's Conference

By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Fri., Feb. 22, 2013
Author, columnist, professor and humorist Dr. Gina Barreca will give the Keynote Address at the 2013 Greater Hartford Women's Conference. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

The keynote speaker for the 2013 Greater Hartford Women's Conference will be Dr. Gina Barreca, author, syndicated columnist, humorist and professor of English and feminist theory at the University of Connecticut. “Everything we do reflects our lives as women,” said Barreca. “When I went to college, the professors would always say, ‘Ms. Barreca, as a woman, what do you think of Shakespeare?’ ‘As a woman, what do you think of Moby Dick?’ And I thought, ‘Can't I just talk as a person?’” It became something of a joke to her - “as a woman, I am going to have meatloaf for dinner” - but then she started thinking seriously about the unique perspective of women, about what a woman thinks “as a woman.”

Her studies led her to explore how women tell their stories, and to discover the humor that can be found within each perspective. “I think that when women tell our stories, and when we find the humor in them, it's just a wonderful moment,” she said. The bestselling author of “It's Not That I'm Bitter: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Visible Panty Lines and Conquered the World,” and many other books, Barreca has appeared on “20/20,” the BBC, CNN, “Dr. Phil,” NPR, “Oprah” and “Today.”

Barreca hopes this conference will provide a forum for women to gather and tell their stories (she wants to “take the misery out of commiserate”), as well as give women resources to help with many different areas of their lives. Her keynote address will tie in with the conference's theme of positive change by taking a closer look at the unique perspective women offer.

“It's a really fabulous, local gathering,” said Barreca. “If anyone needs to wake themselves up for the next year, this will be the place to do it.”

The conference, hosted by the South Windsor Chamber of Commerce, is scheduled for Tuesday, March 26, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Maneeley's Banquet Facility, located at 65 Rye St. in South Windsor. Guests will have a chance to explore how they can be a force for positive change within themselves, their businesses or communities, and they will gain valuable insights and perspectives in many different ways.

This year, the conference will host two panel discussions. “That's always been one of the most popular things,” said Denise Carter, chair of the Chamber committee organizing the conference. “We really feel like we've got some great women on both of these two panels.”

The first is entitled “Pay it Forward,” and will discuss mentoring and coaching. Panelists include: Dr. Gena Glickman, president of Manchester Community College; Dr. Susan Weinberger, president of Mentor Consulting Group, who is heavily involved in mentoring programs in schools; Cindy Moore, global human resources manager from General Electric, who has been very active in GE's mentoring program as both a mentor and someone who has benefited from a mentor; and Tricia Brunton, president of Xcel, The Females' Center of Excellence and Leadership.

In the afternoon, there will be a second panel about volunteering in your community. This panel will include: Gloria McAdam, president of Foodshare; Erin Fletcher, director of volunteer engagement at the Urban Alliance in Hartford; Jessica Rich, director of operations and employee services at The Walker Group, which is set up as a social enterprise dedicated to giving back to the community, especially through your own business; and Paula Gilberto, senior vice president of the United Way. The moderator for this panel will be Pamela Papay, manager of special initiatives at the Newman's Own Foundation.

“In addition to that, we'll also have some breakout sessions,” said Carter. These workshops will cover such topics as finance, women as caregivers, and the “power of nice.”

The featured speaker for the conference is Dr. Tracey Wilen-Daugenti of the Apollo Research Institute, who will present, “How Gender & Generations are Driving New Leaderships.” This presentation will look at how leadership styles differ by gender and generation, why gender matters less, and what steps women can take to become more innovative leaders. In addition, Olessa Stepanova from WFSB Channel 3 will be the mistress of ceremonies.

Thursday, Feb. 28, is the final day to take advantage of an “early bird discount” for registration at $59. After March 1, tickets are $85. The cost of admission includes breakfast and lunch, as well as other gifts like cupcakes from Sugarbells and frozen yogurt from Pinkberry. For more information, visit or call the South Windsor Chamber of Commerce at 860-644-9442.

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