Sep 20, 2013
08:03 AM
Style & Design

Bigger than Martha Stewart,Polo Ralph Lauren, Kathy Ireland Coming to Connecticut for Business Women's Forum

Bigger than Martha Stewart,Polo Ralph Lauren, Kathy Ireland Coming to Connecticut for Business Women's Forum

Kathy Ireland, CEO of Kathy Ireland Worldwide, will be a keynote speaker Oct. 18 of the 2013 Business Women’s Forum, which also features six professional development workshops, breakfast, lunch, networking, and closing reception with hors d’oeuvres buffet and door prizes.

Her company outperforms Liz Claiborne, Tommy Bahama and Polo Ralph Lauren, and, according to a Forbes magazine cover story on this “Supermodel Supermogul,” she also outsells Martha Stewart “and she’s richer, too.”

The she is former-swimsuit-model-turned-fashion-empire-entrepreneur Kathy Ireland, of course, and she’s coming to Connecticut in October to inspire other women in an event that raises funds for a Post University scholarship program.

A news release Friday revealed that Ireland, CEO and chief designer of the design empire Kathy Ireland Worldwide, the 23rd most powerfully licensed brand in the world, will be the keynote luncheon speaker for the 31st annual 2013 Business Women’s Forum (BWF), Connecticut’s largest and longest-running full-day annual conference for women.

Psychologist, author, consultant and motivator Dr. Janet Lapp will be the BWF’s morning motivational speaker.

The Business Women’s Forum ( is anticipated to attract over 600 business people from throughout New England, the release said, and will be held at on Friday, Oct.18 at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.“Be The Change” is the theme of the event, which will also feature six professional development workshops, all-day networking, breakfast, lunch, and a closing reception.

Those planning to attend should also plan to be inspired by Ireland. “While Ireland’s success is staggering, it’s also unconventional,” that Forbes story says. “She admits that she barely graduated from high school  … .” Today, her company has annual merchandise sales of $2 billion, and her personal net worth is estimated at $350 million to $400 million.

Ireland achieved all of that by celebrating a lifestyle, as the bio portion of her website says, explaining, “The missions of “…finding solutions for families, especially busy moms™,” “…finding solutions for people in love™,” and “…finding solutions for business people™,”  translates to all kiWW® collections, including: fashion, fine jewelry, intimate apparel, accessories, weddings, home, office and more.”

She uses that success, in one way, to try to make the world a better place, by investing time and energy into the Youth Leadership Conference at the United Nations.

Guests at the Business Women’s Forum, a program of the Greater Waterbury Chamber of Commerce Foundation, are sure to hear all about that, as they are inspired to grown and burnish their own success.

 According to the release, the BWF is “led by female executives dedicated to the professional and personal growth of working women.” In addition to being sponsored annually by the U.S. Small Business Administration, it is also supported by numerous Connecticut-based companies.

“We are very delighted to welcome Kathy Ireland and Dr. Janet Lapp as this year’s keynote speakers,” Lynn Ward, president and CEO of the Waterbury Regional Chamber, and a BFW director, said in the release. “In 1993, Ms. Ireland created what ‘Forbes’ magazine identifies today as a design empire with [roughly $2 billion] in worldwide annual retail sales. This accomplishment ranks her company higher than Liz Claiborne, Tommy Bahama, and Polo Ralph Lauren. Kathy Ireland’s company sells over 45,000 products in over 50,000 retail stores in 50 countries. We are very confident she will provide our BWF attendees with tremendous insights, inspiration and encouragement for their businesses and careers. We are also certain Dr. Janet Lapp will provide attendees with exciting insights into their individual business styles and ways to assess their personal leadership skills and how to acquire tools for improving and expanding their capabilities.”

The release goes on to tell the rest of the story:

The mission of the non-profit Business Women’s Forum’s for the past 30 years has been to raise funds for a scholarship fund for female Post University students to pursue business educations. “The BWF’s continual commitment,” explained Ward “has been to the equality of opportunity and advancement for women in business. During the past 30 years, the BWF has generated in excess of $135,000 toward those scholarships.”

Since its inception, the BWF has provided an unprecedented number of attendees with access to phenomenal speakers, networking opportunities and diverse training during the course of a full day of activities. For the past 30 years, the BWF has featured such prominent, high-profile keynote speakers as Elizabeth Vargas, Paula Abdul, Robin Roberts, Goldie Hawn, Jamie Lee Curtis, Suze Orman, Jane Seymour, Chris Madden, Ann Curry, Jack Ford, and Faith Popcorn.                   

Ward commented, “Each year the BWF welcomes over 600 businesspeople from across Connecticut and the New England states. Experience shows us that every participant benefits greatly from this highly-informative and exciting day of dynamic and accomplished speakers, professional business trainers as workshop leaders, networking opportunities and a very exciting closing reception that features a buffet of hors d’oeuvres, beverages, raffle and door prizes.”

Mastering strategies for success, becoming a motivated negotiator, managing stress, recognizing common blind spots that affect professional women, unleashing the power to thrive, and low-tech LinkedIn tactics are topics of the six professional development workshops that will be offered at the Oct. 18 BWF conference.                         

During the “Power of Distinction: Master Strategies to Stand Out and Move Up” presenter Karen Hinds will help participants excel their career or business through seven strategies outlined in her program, The Power of Distinction™. Hinds will help participants prepare for and achieve professional and personal excellence by focusing on three foundational strategies while building four major skill sets to stand out and move up.

Executive coach Kathy McAfee will provide insights into being, “The Motivated Negotiator: From Peacemaker to Rainmaker-How to Unleash Your Inner Negotiator”. She will provide instruction on how to become more comfortable and confident when discussing all aspects of business (including money), negotiating larger deals, and more.

“Thriving in Chaos: Managing Stress at Work” will be a morning workshop led by professional High Impact Training coach Tracy Knofla to help attendees identify areas of their careers that cause chaos and stress and, more importantly, concrete strategies to help attendees, their employees (if they are a supervisor), and their colleagues thrive within their organization.

The “Blind Spots for Women” workshop will be led by two executive coaches Claudia Shelton and Kathy McAfee who will provide insights into the most common blind spots of professional women. They will help participants empower themselves for early career success, identify what may hold them from greater future achievement, and ways to develop strategies for their careers.

“Unleashing the Power to Change and Thrive” workshop will be led by business consultant Karen Hinds to help participants examine tools and techniques to reduce the stress, anxiety and chaos of personal, professional and organizational changes. Social media specialist Lena West will lead an afternoon workshop titled, “Find the Missing Link with LinkedIn: Drive Leads, Visibility & Sales with Low-Tech Tactics that Work”.

Admission to the 2013 BWF is $175 per person and includes breakfast, lunch, networking, workshops, and closing reception with buffet and raffle prizes. To register, visit, or call the Waterbury Regional Chamber at 203-757-0701


Bigger than Martha Stewart,Polo Ralph Lauren, Kathy Ireland Coming to Connecticut for Business Women's Forum

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