Hartford Speaker Series Moves Agenda Forward for Girls

L to R: Kara Sundlun, Dr. Bridget Cooper, Hannah Paquette, Janet Bailey Faude, Dr. Nina Livingston, Marlene Piche, and Thea Montanez
L to R: Kara Sundlun, Dr. Bridget Cooper, Hannah Paquette, Janet Bailey Faude, Dr. Nina Livingston, Marlene Piche, and Thea Montanez

Engaged members of the Hartford community attended the second State of Girls Speaker Series on Thursday, May 29, at Goodwin College.

The Speaker Series, hosted by Girl Scouts of Connecticut and generously sponsored by First Niagara Foundation, a not-for-profit charitable foundation funded by First Niagara Bank, focused on a groundbreaking report recently released by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) entitled “The State of Girls: Unfinished Business.” Those in attendance heard about the research and engaged in a conversation about challenges facing girls today and community solutions to support girls.

“It’s my hope that those in attendance continue the conversation regarding the state of girls,” said Mary Barneby, CEO, Girl Scouts of Connecticut. “We want to educate as many members of the community as possible to alert them to the facts: girls today still need our help and support to help them thrive and succeed and build their courage, confidence, and character. Girl Scouts is one solution, but we need the collective community to join together to ensure a happy, healthy future for our girls.”

Emcee Kara Sundlun, News Anchor and Co-Host of Better Connecticut on WFSB Channel 3, facilitated the conversation. Panelists included:

  • Dr. Bridget Cooper, President, Pieces In Place Consulting
  • Nina Livingston, MD, Medical Director, Hartford Regional Child Abuse Services
  • Thea Montanez, Founder and Managing Director, Montanez Consulting, LLC
  • Janet Bailey Faude, Board Chair, Aurora Women and Girls Foundation
  • Hannah Paquette, Girl Scout Ambassador, town of Marlborough
Each panelist provided a unique perspective about the state of girls. Topics included ways to strengthen a girl’s support system, helping a girl find a healthy balance in life, and what panelists learned from their own professional experiences.

“There is no question that we’ve made some progress in terms of being viewed as equal,” said Janet Bailey Faude. “But there are just still so many imbedded assumptions about how men behave differently than women, and how we accept men’s behavior and don’t accept it from women, and we’re part of that problem. We tend to isolate ourselves in terms of trying to solve the world’s problems because we collaborate and we try and seek out others who will share our view. But in all of these issues, we need to engage the men in our lives and in the world if we’re going to successfully make changes.”

The next Speaker Series panel discussion will be held at Naugatuck Valley Community College on Wednesday, June 4, with two events to follow in the fall on September 10 at Fairfield University and October 1 at Eastern Connecticut State University.

“First Niagara is a strong supporter of the Girl Scouts of Connecticut and their mission to bring awareness to the challenges facing young women in our country,” said Marlene Piche, First Niagara’s Department Head for Retail Banking. “We are proud to sponsor The State of Girls Speaker Series, and its mission to promote education, confidence and character in young women.”  

For more information about Girl Scouts of Connecticut, visit www.gsofct.org.  


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