The Watertown-Oakville Chamber: Business Women’s Forum Slated

“Nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.”

That quote by Lawrence Bossidy, a former chief operating officer of General Electric, offers a tip to business owners or those who supervise workers. 

Providing employees with avenues for personal and professional growth is an important part of any plan to improve your organization. 

When you respect and value your employees, they’re happier and more productive.

One way to accomplish that is to offer them opportunities to hear from experts and learn more about the business world.

That’s one goal of the annual Business Women’s Forum, a program of the Greater Waterbury Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which is affiliated with our sister organization, the Waterbury Regional Chamber. 

The BWF is the state’s largest and longest-running full-day annual conference for women, and this year will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 29, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville.

Now in its 37th year, the 2019 BWF will feature luncheon keynote Stacy London, best known as co-host of TLC’s popular show, “What Not to Wear.” 

Ms. London is a highly sought-after fashion expert, New York Times best-selling author, and magazine editor and contributor. Her expertise is turning personal adversity into professional advantage, and doing it with a sense of style!

Attendees also will hear from morning keynote Connie Podesta, a Hall-of-Fame motivational speaker, award-winning author, and comedienne who also happens to be a licensed, board-certified expert in the psychology of human behavior. 

She’s a leading authority on sales strategies, leadership and identity branding.

Ms. Podesta also will present one of the forum’s workshops, focusing on how to create a team of employees willing, able and excited to get the job done. 

Other workshop topics include how to have difficult conversations surrounding money with clients and customers, how to develop and maintain an effective digital brand, and how to renew and maximize your energy in a demanding world, among others.

Lori Turmel-Kecskes, president of Employers Reference Source, Inc. in Waterbury and BWF chairwoman this year, said the event provides many opportunities for employees to learn and grow professionally.

“All of our workshop topics are something that’s related to your work on a daily basis,” she said. “It’s something they can take back to share with their coworkers and build upon to make a more cohesive and productive work environment.”

The forum offers employers more than just skill and leadership development opportunities for their staff. 

A business also can benefit from being a sponsor; the BWF provides direct access and connections to an audience of over 600 leaders and managers for employment, research and marketing; direct sales and sampling opportunities, and the chance to raise brand awareness.

Sponsors this year include Presenting Partners Onyx II Fine Jewelers of Watertown; Wells Fargo; Star Partner Post University; Forum Partners Aetna; Barker Specialty Co.; Corporate Display Specialties; Employers Reference Source, Inc.; Powerstation Events and the Republican-American.

The BWF also has provided more than $200,000 in scholarships over the years to female Post University students pursuing a degree in a business-related field.

With so many benefits for your employees and your business, we hope you’ll join us or support your staff in attending this year’s forum.

For sponsorship information, call Courtney Ligi at 203-757-0701 or email her at For tickets, visit or call the chamber to register.

Lori DosSantos is chairwoman of the Watertown Oakville Chamber, a board member of the Business Women’s Forum and a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. 

She can be called at 203-573-5725. 

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