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Aurora Foundation Holds ‘100 Men’ Breakfast at KO in West Hartford

Oz Griebel speaks at the 100 Men Breakfast at KO in West Hartford. Submitted photo

Kingswood Oxford School hosted the Aurora Foundation’s 100 Men Breakfast at its West Hartford campus.

Submitted by Jackie Pisani, Kingswood Oxford School

The Aurora Women and Girls Foundation held its 2017 100 Men’s Campaign kick off breakfast at Kingswood Oxford School Wednesday.

The goal of the campaign is for male community leaders to raise $25,000 to unlocking the potential of women and girls in the Greater Hartford region. Kingswood Oxford Head of School, Dennis Bisgaard, serves as co-chair of the 100 Men’s 2017 Host Committee.

Karen Jarmoc, chairperson of the organization’s board, called the Aurora Foundation “ a small but mighty” force that improves the circumstances of women in the Greater Hartford area. She pointed out sobering statistics regarding the status of women in the surrounding region. One in three Hispanic girls will not graduate high school, and middle school girls are scoring well below the state averages in standardized tests.

The organization seeks to offer data and solutions and hopes to improve the outcomes and circumstances for these young women. Since 2004, the organization has raised $550,000 in grant money to strengthen women’s opportunities in the region. Jarmoc said that men’s engagement is crucial in the organization and charged the group to raise $25,000 this year.

Oz Griebel, former CEO at BankBoston Connecticut and President and CEO of the MetroHartford Alliance, addressed the crowd with a message of inclusion. Surrounded by strong women throughout his life, Griebel learned to understand the importance of differing perspectives. His recalled the contentious debate during his time at Dartmouth College in the 1970s when the school decided to admit women. While at BankBoston, Griebel hired a number of women which was unheard of in the commercial lending world. He said, “By having women at the table, it changed my ideas about family, perspectives and standards.”

Griebel stressed the importance of issues of diversity of thought and experience. He said, “The tent is big enough. We need to look at different social, educational, and gender perspectives. It’s collectively where we need to go. How do we ensure that those diverse perspectives are represented more broadly and also at a leadership level?” Griebel said that there is no monopoly on good ideas and that by forming groups with broader perspectives allows an organization to generate stronger ideas.

Griebel noted the serious inequity in the state and in the region for the minority community and women. “There’s a lack of support systems. Without a structure in place we are condemning women to a desolate future and harming the country as a whole. Our ability to compete is how we address those issues.”

100 Men Breakfast. Submitted photo

Kingswood Oxford is the preeminent co-ed college preparatory day school in West Hartford, just steps from Blue Back Square. It serves 508 students from 62 towns in Connecticut, western Massachusetts and China. A KO education fosters confident communicators, innovative problem solvers, and ethical leaders.

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