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Still Celebrating Women in Business

Bob Capazzo

i was talking with a colleague about women in the workplace and wondering why events like this month’s Women in Business (presented by Moffly Publications, which publishes New Canaan·Darien Magazine) are still so popular. After all, in 2008 it’s not a novelty to find women working outside the home, often at very demanding jobs.

After thinking it over for a minute, my coworker’s response echoed a familiar theme. “It’s still about achieving balance,” she said. “Being able to juggle all the roles expected
of you.”

She said that in one of her previous jobs, the office had conducted an informal survey asking employees what they had done that morning before coming to work. The answers were surprisingly similar, dividing neatly along gender lines. The men had gotten up, showered, eaten breakfast, kissed the kids and left for work. The women, regardless of their position in the company, had a much longer list, nearly every item on it being something they did for someone else. Not one woman even mentioned showering or eating her own breakfast. Sound familiar? 

The younger women on our staff added another thought. “At these events you can sit next to someone — even a stranger — and know you have something in common,” commented a young mother of two. “Even unspoken, I know they understand a lot of
the things I face every day.”

One of the businesswomen who will be sharing her experiences with us at our second Women in Business event later this month is Joy Herfel of New Canaan. A mother of three children aged six to eleven, Joy commutes daily into New York City, where she works as president of Polo Ralph Lauren Menswear.
No matter what the topic of her talk, you can bet that a large number of women in the audience will be listening to learn, “How does she do this? How does she balance raising kids with work, with her role as a wife, and still manage to take some time for herself?”

I’m not sure Joy will have all the answers (although I’m sure she’ll have some ideas).
I know she has made a name for herself in the apparel industry. For exactly what she’s done and how, check out Jane Kendall’s story “Joy at Work.” And don’t forget to join us along with many other local businesswomen on May 28 at the Dolce Center in Norwalk, starting at 5:30 p.m.    

For this issue we also caught up with Kelly Flatley and Brendan Synnott, those two Darien twenty-something entrepreneurs who started, ran and then recently sold their company, Bear Naked, for megabucks. Writer Stephen Sawicki first profiled them for us back in February 2005, when his story “The Granola Twins” made the cover. Now his update can be found in “The Million-Dollar Crunch.”

What would May be without our gardening stories? From Teddy Berg’s luscious “secret garden” to the dazzling azaleas that bloom at tiny Lee Memorial Garden in New Canaan, you’re sure to find something to delight you. Who knows? You may even find a few tips to enhance your own gardening pursuits.