Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls Hosts Fifth Annual Girls’ Leadership Summit

Nov 08, 2017

Thought Leader Encourages Middle School Girls to Thrive Through Leadership and Public Service

(Stamford, CT) Throughout their community impact work, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’ Fund for Women & Girls focuses on encouraging girls to develop confidence, find their voices, learn life skills, and make healthy choices. Today’s fifth annual Girls Leadership Summit held at Chelsea Piers Connecticut in Stamford is a perfect example of how this organization addresses issues head on by creating inspiring opportunities.

The Fund’s mission is to engage philanthropists and invest in sustainable solutions that lead to economically secure and healthy women and girls throughout Fairfield County. Creating sustainable solutions and exposing girls to exciting opportunities is exactly what transpired when dozens of middle school girls from Fairfield County and beyond, participated today at the 5th annual Girls Leadership Summit.

The Girls Leadership Summit’s mission is to develop leadership skills in middle school children. Throughout the Summit, the girls learned how to become leaders in all areas of their lives. The Summit was created to address the preconceived, inaccurate notions about leadership that many girls have. Some believe that one’s socio-economic class; clothing; school and such, preclude them from leading. The Summit was developed to foster the notion that every girl has the potential to lead – whether it be at home, school, faith-based organization and/or in the community and continues to hold strong to their original mission. Throughout the day, the girls were encouraged to look at leadership differently and the girls were challenged by “being comfortable with being uncomfortable” while still achieving their goals.

“Helping to open a girl’s eyes to opportunities creates great new beginnings. We encourage all girls to dream big,” stated Tricia Hyacinth, Director, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls. She continued, “Today was exciting and important! Many thanks to our sponsors and partners, keynote speakers and especially the girls who inspired us with their enthusiasm, courage and determination! A special thank you goes to the participating schools and their principals who appreciate the significance of the Girls Summit and encourage their students to join us.”

Girls from public and private middle schools, located in and around Fairfield County, participated in presentations, workshops and team-building activities – all specially designed for this age group. Professionals, in collaboration with local high school girls, led leadership development sessions. The student presenters and their coaches were from Westbrook High School in Westbrook, CT. Girls at the Summit reside and/or attend school in the following cities and towns in Fairfield County and beyond: Bridgeport; Norwalk; Stamford; Greenwich; Newtown; Ridgefield; Trumbull; and Westbrook.

Participating schools from throughout Fairfield County include: Classical Studies Magnet Academy; Cloonan Middle School; East Ridge Middle School; Family and Children’s Agency; Hillcrest Middle School; King School; Nathan Hale Middle School; Reed Intermediate School; Stamford Youth Tennis Academy; Scofield Middle School; Stark Middle School; Trailblazers Academy; West Rocks Middle School and West Rocks Middle School.

Jill Bennett, the morning workshop leader, is a co-founder of the Listen Up Women’s Workshop which empowers women to be clear, concise communicators. Her Listen Up Workshop for the girls entailed an introduction to storytelling and making one’s message clear and memorable.

In the afternoon, Patti Russo, Executive Director, Women’s Campaign School at Yale University gave a powerful keynote presentation. She said, “In order to assure confident female leaders of tomorrow, we must first focus on the development of healthy and strong girls. Providing fun and life transforming steps so that they are well prepared to take on life’s challenges and opportunities will help to assure no matter which professional path they choose, they will lead well.”

To challenge themselves, connect with each other and simply have fun – the girls also participated in gymnastics, trampoline activities and rock climbing at Chelsea Piers in Stamford, CT. Sponsors and partners of this year’s program include Women’s Campaign School at Yale University; Listen Up Women’s Workshop; Cohen and Wolf P.C., Attorneys at Law and Westbrook High School.

The Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls is a special interest fund of the Community Foundation and the largest women’s fund in New England. Since 1998, The Fund has invested over $5 million in grants to programs serving females ages 5 to 90. The mission is to engage philanthropists and invest in sustainable solutions that lead to economically secure and healthy women and girls throughout Fairfield County.

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At Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls 5th Annual Girls Leadership Summit, friendships were formed while learning how to dream big and learn that that every girl has the potential to lead. Tricia Hyacinth, director, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls joins the girls in a friendship circle. (Photo credit: Francesca Andre).
To challenge themselves, connect with each other and simply have fun – the girls also participated in gymnastics, trampoline activities and rock climbing at Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls 5th Annual Girls Leadership Summit held at Chelsea Piers in Stamford, CT. (Photo credit: Francesca Andre).
Keynote Speaker Patti Russo, Executive Director, Women’s Campaign School at Yale provided fun and life transforming steps so that the girls are well prepared to take on life’s challenges and opportunities which will help to assure no matter which professional path they choose, they will lead well at Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls 5th Annual Girls Leadership Summit held at Chelsea Piers in Stamford, CT. (Photo credit: Francesca Andre).

About Fairfield County’s Community Foundation

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation promotes philanthropy as a means to create change in Fairfield County, focusing on innovative and collaborative solutions to critical issues impacting the community. Individuals, families, corporations and organizations can establish charitable funds or contribute to existing funds. The Community Foundation is in compliance with the Council on Foundations’ national standards and has awarded over $220 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond. As a trusted nonprofit partner and thought leader, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation brings together community organizers, business experts and philanthropists to solve our region’s challenges. Our goal is to create a vital and inclusive community, where every individual has the opportunity to thrive. fccfoundation.org

About Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls

The Fund for Women & Girls, a special interest fund of the Community Foundation, is the largest women’s fund in New England. Our mission is to engage philanthropists and invest in sustainable solutions that lead to economically secure and healthy women and girls throughout Fairfield County. Since 1998 The Fund has invested over $5 million in grants to programs serving females ages 5 to 90. The Fund is a member of the global Women’s Funding Network and the White House endorsed Prosperity Together. The Fund for Women & Girls awards grants to local nonprofits that address economic security, STEM/education, health, sexual assault/domestic violence and more. Through our community impact work, girls are developing confidence, finding their voices, learning life skills, and making healthy choices.

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About Jill Bennett

Jill is a co-founder of the Listen Up Women’s Workshop which empowers women to be clear, concise communicators. She has delivered Listen Up workshops at Google, Red Bull, Save the Children, Trulia, Ingram Micro and beyond. She is also a presentation coach with Elevator Speech, Inc. In her nearly 20 years as a business reporter and anchor, Jill interviewed CEOs, entrepreneurs, stock traders and rock stars. She best remembers the storytellers and the ones who could explain a complicated subject in a matter of seconds. That clear, conversational language is what Jill focuses on today when coaching executives for presentations and media interviews. It’s language that gets applause and gets quoted. Jill was the Managing Editor and Anchor of BusinessWeek TV, a program that aired nationally on ABC stations. She reported live daily from the stock exchange for ABC. Jill lives outside of NYC.

About WCS

The Women’s Campaign School at Yale University is a non-partisan, issue neutral leadership program, whose mission is to increase the number and influence of women in elected and appointed office in the United States and around the globe. The Women’s Campaign School at Yale University celebrates over twenty-three years of inspiring and training women to lead.For more information about Women’s Campaign School at Yale, go to www.wcsyale.org.