Bridgeport Regional Business CouncilContact:

Jocelyn Paoletta

Director of Communications, BRBC and Executive Director, BRBC's Women's Leadership Council



BRBC's Women’s Leadership Council Hosts Economic Development Luncheon and Awards $2,000 Grant to McGivney Community Center

BRIDGEPORT, October 16 –  

Business and community leaders gathered to celebrate Women in Economic Development at a Luncheon hosted by the Bridgeport Regional Business Council’s  Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) at Testo’s Banquet Center in Bridgeport on October 16, 2015.

The milestone event was sponsored by Community Capital Fund, Gilbane Building Company, Bridgeport Hospital and R. C. Bigelow Corporation.

More than 120 guests attended the luncheon that featured Ginne-Rae Clay, Deputy Director of the Office of Planning and Economic Development, City of Bridgeport; Karen Kaiser, Director of Economic Development, Town of Stratford; and Jamie Brätt, Director of Economic & Community Development, Town of Trumbull.  Three exceptional, dynamic, and progressive women who play a vital role working to support the region’s positive growth.


Guests were treated to an overview of the challenges and opportunities the region’s economic development professionals navigate as well as the unique viewpoint of economic development professionals who are women.

Mary Beth Nelsen, President of The Right Resource and The Board Chair of the BRBC’s Women’s Leadership Council moderated the panel and said, “the Women’s Leadership Council Board of Directors has been actively working to fulfill our mission to contribute to the economic growth and positive reputation of the Greater Bridgeport Region by presenting educational programs to the small business community and by showcasing influential business women - and this particular event aligned perfectly with our mission to promote and foster those positive conversations about economic development in our region”. 

The WLC Board of Directors is made up of a diverse representation of BRBC Member Businesses and includes: Elza Augustin of Ludlowe Center for Health and Rehabilitation; Gina Calder of Bridgeport Hospital; Wynne Cerone of Woodbury Consulting Partners, LLC; Lee Crouch of CT Challenge; Kate Hampford Donahue of Hampford Research, Inc.; Elaine Ficarra of The Barnum Festival; Blanca Kazmierczak of People’s United Bank, Maura O’Donnell of The Bijou Theatre; Clare Pusateri of Homewood Suites by Hilton, Patricia Sullivan of Cohen & Wolf; and Naomie Trofort of Wings of Eagles Senior Services.

The WLC was pleased to be able to award the 2015 Women’s Leadership Grant to the McGivney Community Center during the Luncheon festivities.  The $2,000 grant will support the McGivney Community Center’s After School Tutoring program.

"This Luncheon as well as a variety of professional development programs that the Women’s Leadership Council presents to the business community throughout the year affords the WLC the ability to provide grant opportunities for a BRBC woman-owned business and/or a BRBC business that provides relevant services to the region’s women and children." Said Jocelyn Paoletta, Executive Director of the Women’s Leadership Council.

This year’s grant applicants also included Dress for Success of Mid-Fairfield County; Junior Achievement of Western CT; The Center for Family Justice; Trumbull Housing Authority – Stern Village; and Wakeman Boys and Girls Club.

About Bridgeport Regional Business Council & The Women's Leadership Council

The Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) is an affiliate program of The Bridgeport Regional Business Council (BRBC). The Women’s Leadership Council centers its annual plan around three key objectives: To provide the region’s business community with information, tools and resources that will support a strong business environment and jobs growth; to create a network for women among BRBC member companies as well as within the Greater Bridgeport business community; and to support the BRBC’s women-owned businesses and those BRBC member businesses that provide relevant services to the region’s women and children.

WLC Grant opportunities are available to women-owned businesses and those businesses serving women and children in the region. WLC Grant is awarded each fall. For more information, contact Jocelyn Paoletta,

Representing 800+ member businesses and organizations in the Greater Bridgeport Region, the Bridgeport Regional Business Council is a voluntary organization that works to promote regional cooperation and economic development via advocacy for the expansion, retention, and recruitment of business, improved transportation/infrastructure, affordable healthcare, and business friendly legislation in pursuit of its goal to increase jobs and tax base growth. The BRBC includes six affiliates: The Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce, the Stratford Chamber of Commerce, the Trumbull Chamber of Commerce, the Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation, Leadership Greater Bridgeport and the Women’s Leadership Council. For more information, visit

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