It was an unofficial “Ladies Day” at the Connecticut Convention Center Tuesday as an estimated 1,500 of them gathered at the Connecticut Convention Center for the annual YWCA 18th annual “In the Company of Women” fundraising luncheon.
Guest speaker was journalist and tv personality Laura Ling, who, in 2009 was held captive along with colleague Euna Lee in North Korea.
“I don’t have any bells and whistles,” said Ling about her Hartford visit that included a private meet and greet with about 40 high school young women who also attended the luncheon. “I talk about empowerment of women and the glimmers of compassion I experienced from the female guards while I was held in North Korea,” she said, explaining some of the topics of her presentation. “I love to speak to women’s groups, it’s a different kind of energy.”
YWCA CEO Deb Ullman said the organization expected to raise about $200,000 from the event. “It all depends on the generosity of the people,” she said, referring to the luncheon’s trademark “check writing ceremony” when donations are made.
As hundreds of women and a handful of men arrived for the event, most were more than happy to hear Ling and enjoy a day out of the office.
“It’s beautiful outside and I get the day off and have a wonderful lunch and a good speaker,” said Jasmine Largere of Enfield. “I remember reading about Laura (Ling) during her capture so I am interested in hearing her speak.”