On October 27, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich, in the presence of an esteemed audience of over 700 attendees, which included distinguished figures such as Senator Blumenthal, Governor Lamont, and the Honorable Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, Dr. Melissa-Sue John was celebrated as one of the six women-owned business owners honored with the 2023 CT Women Rising Award.
The event itinerary was meticulously organized. Awardees and the keynote speaker convened at 11 am, providing an opportunity for photos, interactions with staff members, and a delightful breakfast, followed by a rehearsal.
Dr. John was happy to be greeted by her support system of mentors, advisors, and friends: Jodi (Jodi's Cup of Health), Christine Sullivan (Connecticut Small Business Development Center; Realist Lab), and Kerrie McDevitt (Impact Growth Partners)
At noon, the doors were opened for guests to take their seats and the ceremony commenced with a warm welcome from the master of ceremonies, Gilda Bonnano. The audience then had the privilege of hearing Senator Blumenthal's address.
A particularly poignant moment in the event came when Fran Pastore shed light on the historical context, emphasizing that it was only in the 1970s that women were granted access to credit cards and loans. She referenced a powerful statement made by America Ferrera in the Barbie Movie (2023), underlining the myriad contradictory expectations imposed on women.
The event continued with the presentation of the Patricia Billie Miller award for outstanding community service to Dr. Joanne Brunn, CEO of XLerant. The final 2023 Women Rising video featured Emmanuella Lautrue (Ma Maison Childcare) and Shellena Pitterson (Orchid Maids Cleaning Service). After the video, all awardees were welcomed to the stage and presented with the awards. At the table, Dr John was congratulated by Georgette Gouvela, Editor- in-Chief Westfair Communications Inc.
A delightful three-course lunch was served, including a bread, cheese, and fruit platter, roasted chicken breast with farro, roasted Brussel sprouts, butternut squash, baby kale, toasted pepita seeds, and cranberries, and tiramisu for dessert, layered with mascarpone mousse soaked in coffee liqueur.
Post-lunch, Impact Awards were presented to Leander Dolphin, managing partner of Shipman and Goodwin, and Jeffrey A. Flaks, President and CEO of Hartford Healthcare. The keynote speaker, Katrina Adams, broadcaster, author, and former chair and president of the United States Tennis Association, delivered an inspiring address, followed by closing remarks.
The event was truly remarkable, celebrating the achievements and contributions of outstanding women entrepreneurs and leaders.