Taste of Teaneck

Photo 1: Helen Archontou, CEO of YWCA Bergen County (left) is joined by Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan (right), who announced the official kickoff of the YWCA’s “Week of the Women” during the opening ceremony at the Park West Tavern in Ridgewood, N.J.

Photo 2: Keynote speaker Tara Gilvar takes a question from an attendee at “The Big Shift: Planning for Change” summit. Gilvar, founder and chief executive officer of B.I.G. (Believe, Inspire, Grow), discussed workable strategies for creating a more balanced life at the daylong empowerment conference, which was held at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Hackensack, N.J..

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YWCA Bergen County
2 University Plaza
Suite 208
Hackensack, NJ 07601

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Release Date: Friday, April 11, 2014

Media Contact: Caryl Bixon-Gordon (201) 796-7788

Events Included Launch of Women’s Empowerment Network, Job Placement Program and Empower U(niversity) for Girls

HACKENSACK, N.J., April 11, 2014 – Women and girls of all ages had several opportunities to give and receive support, encouragement and inspiration as YWCA Bergen County hosted its first-ever “Week of the Women” from March 23-29. Held in conjunction with the celebration of Women’s History Month, the series of events and activities comprised the organization’s most comprehensive empowerment initiative to date.

“‘Week of the Women’ simultaneously acknowledged the amazing milestones women have reached and addressed the challenges they continue to face,” said Helen Archontou, CEO of YWCA Bergen County. “The programs launched this week will provide women and girls with ongoing support, inspiration and opportunities to connect, share, learn and lead as they travel their personal and professional paths.”

Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan kicked off the week at an opening ceremony on March 24 at the Park West Tavern in Ridgewood. “Since it began serving Bergen County in 1920, the YWCA has remained true to its mission of empowering women, girls and their families,” said Donovan. “‘Week of the Women’ is vital to this mission, as it honors the past achievements of women and positively impacts their lives today.”

More than 30 business professionals attended the March 26 inaugural meeting of the Women’s Empowerment Network (WEN), which connects women’s networks in area corporations and service groups. “In the Company of Women: Networking, Philanthropy and the Power of Community” was presented by Maxine Frampton, founder and director of Women United in Philanthropy (WUIP), one of New Jersey’s largest women’s philanthropic efforts. Panelists from United Water’s Women’s Leadership Network and AXA Equitable’s Women’s Outreach at Work (WOW) joined Frampton in emphasizing the importance of engaging networking group members on a deeper and more rewarding level by supporting causes and organizations whose missions align with theirs.

The week also included the launch of the YWCA blog; the first session of “Moving Ahead in 2014,” a three-part job placement series for women who are long-term unemployed or re-entering the workforce; and the unveiling of the YWCA’s Empower U(niversity) Girls Leadership Academy.

“Empower U will provide opportunities for girls who might be overlooked in the college application process to explore options for future career choices, including non-traditional fields like the sciences, engineering and math,” said Archontou, who was joined by representatives from United Water’s Women’s Leadership Network, a lead sponsor of the program. The YWCA is seeking corporate and individual sponsors to fund student scholarships.

The “Week of the Women” concluded on March 29 with “The Big Shift: Planning for Change” empowerment summit. More than 80 women and girls gathered at Fairleigh Dickinson University for a day of networking and education designed to arm them with new ways to successfully deal with change in all aspects of their lives.

Highlighting the conference were keynote speaker Tara Gilvar, founder and chief executive officer of B.I.G. (Believe, Inspire, Grow), who discussed workable strategies for creating balance both personally and professionally; and a panel discussion led by Michele Brown, president of IntuAction Coaching, that provided attendees with valuable insight on how to turn a hobby or talent into a profitable and rewarding business. Workshops included a series for girls ages 14-18 that focused on preparing for life after high school.

For more information about sponsorship opportunities and YWCA Bergen County’s empowerment programs and services, contact Archontou at harchontou@ywcabergencounty.org.