Bysiewicz headlines Milford Chamber’s women leaders summit

MILFORD — When Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz presides over the state Senate, she looks out at 36 legislator. Counting herself, only 10 people in the room are women.

Bysiewicz was a featured speaker at the inaugural Women in Leadership Summit, hosted by the Milford Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Black Business Alliance. The conference, held March 25 in celebration of Women’s History Month, aims to empower more women to strive for leadership roles.

Bysiewicz said if there were more women CEOs, then more people would be used to seeing women in a leadership positions and government positions such as senators and governors.

“It matters so much,” said Bysiewicz. “I am the person who presides over the state Senate, and when I look at the circle at 36 people, I see only nine of the 36 are women.”

The event included a question-and-answer session with panelists Bysiewicz, Yvonne Renee Davis (BBA media expert, international entrepreneur, on-air talent, leadership development trainer) and Shirley Chock (professional coach, speaker and award-winning journalist).

One the personal and professional barriers that women face, Chock said, is leaving their jobs to start their own businesses. Men often leave jobs for startups, too. But, if those startups failed, they didn’t have a problem getting another job because they were seen as having gained valuable experience.

“Women who left their jobs to become CEOs of their household were viewed to have a gap in their experience even though they succeeded and then wanted to reenter the corporate world,” she said.

Julie Nash, Director of Economic and Community Development for the city of Milford, attended the event and was impressed by the energy in the room.

“It was inspiring,” she said. “Women engaging, supporting and uplifting each other up is very powerful.”

Simon McDonald, the chamber’s membership and marketing director said the event was about putting the focus on women in leadership.

“March is Women’s month, so we’re celebrating women who are creating opportunities for other women,” he said. “We sold out the room. Seems like there is a lot of interest in this subject of diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Chamber president Michael Moses said throughout the event there was stimulating conversation everywhere in the room.

“We are thrilled to help raise DEI awareness and look forward to building out a new panel curriculum that aids the greater good of our communities,” he said.