On Sunday, April 30, KO’s Power of Women group hosted four female speakers for the fifth annual Spring Forum. Senior POW executive committee chairs Alyssa Temkin, Maggie Dwyer, and Tess Chapman led the engaging discussion with the help of Director of Leadership Giving and KO Power of Women Advisor Jayne Rotter.
The panelists were Angela Georgopoulos ’00, Christine Bromberg P’23, Debra Fountain P’23, and Joyce Mandell P ’82, ’85, ’87, GP ’21, ’22, ’22, ’23, ’25, ’26. They each shared their experiences in the variety of careers they represented on the panel.
Ms. Georgopoulos currently serves as the Senior Director of Resource Development with the American Society of Hematology. Since her time as KO, she attended Columbia University and got Bachelor’s degrees in both Biochemistry and Spanish. Ms. Georgopoulos went on to the University of Michigan and achieved a Master’s degree in Public Health.
Over the years, she has stayed true to her passion in the medical field, working in many positions and with many organizations as a research consultant. She moved up the ranks and had unique experiences and opportunities, and has since become a successful business director living in Washington, D.C.
Ms. Bromberg is a successful lawyer and a partner at Robinson and Cole, based in Hartford. She has worked with a variety of clients over her years and has taken on leadership roles in cases including private equity and international law. Ms. Bromberg also teaches classes on corporate taxation at UConn’s Law School.
While Ms. Bromberg found her passion for law later than most, she was able to develop her interest into a position where she can make impacts every day. Furthermore, Ms. Bromberg made her own time to begin a family, and now has two children in high school. She learned how to balance her priorities, both personal and professional.
Mrs. Fountain began her career at a corporate job in New Jersey, but soon realized that it was not a good fit for her. She quit her job to become a stay-at-home mom, putting her family and herself first for a change. As time went by, Mrs. Fountain found inspiration in Oprah to find a career she loved that she wanted to share with others.
Starting with fitness classes and personal training in her basement, Mrs. Fountain worked her way up to become an entrepreneur and owner of Lifer Fitness Studio in West Hartford. She has given a lot back to women in the community by helping them gain confidence in themselves.
Mrs. Mandell is an entrepreneur and an acclaimed film producer. With her husband, Andy Mandell, she works to develop the Greater Hartford community through her philanthropic work. Mrs. Mandell supports the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hartford, the Greater Hartford Arts Council, the Greater Hartford Jewish Community Center, and many other roles of leadership and community involvement.
Mrs. Mandell has a multi-faceted background in business, beginning with her father’s entrepreneurial goals when she was younger. She produces documentaries, owns a direct mail corporation, and works with the menagerie of organizations to spread her influence. She determined her own career and schedule, and now spends time with her children and grandchildren, who all went to, or are currently attending, KO.
Both younger and older women attended the event, even though the forum is geared more towards inspiring female students to pursue leadership opportunities. “Many adults in the room followed up with me personally and said it didn’t matter the age of the person that was in the audience,” Mrs. Rotter said. “Everybody had a nugget to take away from these women who’ve had very challenging and interesting careers.”
Sophomore executive committee member Camryn Weinstein took up an interest in POW last year. She wrote for the newsletter and began to get more involved, this year working to advertise the forum through social media outlets. “I asked a bunch of the members to repost the posters on their Instagram stories,” Camryn said, “just to get the word out there.”
This year’s forum had a noticeable impact, as messages from each panelist found ways to hit home in the audience. “The goal of the event has always been to create this authentic conversation between our students and the panelists,” Mrs. Rotter said.
A commonality between all the panelists’ advice was the idea of empowerment and taking on leadership roles. Although their professions and career paths created differences among the panelists, these four women shared their journey to where they are now, and challenges they still face.
“I think the overarching theme that Angela articulated, and that the other three women confirmed,” Mrs. Rotter said, “was ‘don’t be afraid to take up space’, and ‘why not me?’”
Over the course of the past five years, POW has grown to include the Spring Forum, a monthly newsletter, a student-run community service project, and, most recently, a Big Sister-Little Sister program with Middle School students. “I hope that people have developed more excitement about Power of Women,” Mrs. Rotter said, “and that students will want to be more involved in this next year as we continue to move forward and grow the program.”