A Letter from the President

September 2016

Dear Forum Members,

Another Women’s Forum season is here and we have another group of interesting and varied programs to look forward to. I’m very grateful to Joseph Montebello, our Program Chair, who has almost singlehandedly put together an outstanding collection of speakers and a delightful musical program. We’ll start our year off with a cookbook author and food blogger and later on hear from more authors, writers and a well known local artist. In between will be two panel discussions, one on Litchfield Land Trust preservation and conservation and the second includes a group of local artisanal food producers. Our traditional members tea continues in June at the home of our member Martha Green. So once again I encourage you to invite a friend or someone new to town to join us at a meeting. Spread the word, we always welcome guests!

I thank all of you who continually support this 103 year old organization by renewing your memberships and by attending our monthly programs. I especially want to thank the members who serve on the Women’s Forum Board and help keep this special institution going and growing. I encourage you to renew your membership by mailing in your dues with the enclosed form before our first meeting in October. If you know of someone who is not currently a member but who would like to receive a program, please send the details to the email address, info@womensforumoflitchfield.org. A final reminder, we are now a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

So mark your calendars and I hope to see you at our October 6th program and many more in the coming year.


Anna Heys

Our October Speaker: David Leite


The Women’s Forum of Litchfield welcomes food writer David Leite to speak about his heritage and the delights of Portuguese cuisine at the Litchfield Community Center at 421 Bantam Road in Litchfield on Thursday, October 6, beginning at 2:30pm.

David Leite is a food writer, author, memoirist, and web publisher. He founded Leite’s Culinaria in 1999 and in 2006, he had the distinction of being the first winner ever of a James Beard Award for a website, a feat he repeated in 2007.

He has written about everything from chocolate chip cookies to fried clams, from the foods of Portugal to tribulations of being a super taster—for print, radio, and television. His first book, “The New Portuguese Table: Exciting Flavors from Europe’s Western Coast,” explored the food of his heritage and won the 2010 IACP First Book/Julia Child Award. He’s also written for the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Lucky Peach, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Men’s Health, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun-Times, The Washington Post, Charlotte Observer, among others.

David is also a correspondent on public radio’s The Splendid Table, hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper. He has been a frequent guest and host on Martha Stewart Living Radio programs, including “Cooking Today,” as well as a guest on Lucinda Scala Quinn’s program, “Mad Hungry Monday.” He’s been heard on NPR’s “All Thing Considered” and has appeared on History Channel 2’s “United Stuff of America,” Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay,” The Today Show, “Radical Sabbatical,” and is a regular guest on WTNH-TV.

David won the 2008 James Beard Award for Newspaper Feature Writing Without Recipes for his article “In a ’64 T-Bird, Chasing a Date with a Clam” and was nominated for the same award the following year for his article “Perfection? Hint: It’s Warm and Has a Secret,” both from The New York Times. He was a 2006 winner of the Bert Greene Award for Food Journalism. In 2014, he was nominated for both Best Blog and Best Podcast Series by the IACP. His work has appeared in the Best Food Writing series a total of 14 times, from 2001 to 2015, a record.

Currently, David’s at work on his memoir “Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression” to be published by Dey Street Books, an imprint of HarperCollins. He will bring food samples of olive dip with bread and orange olive oil cake. Fran Keilty, owner of the Hickory Stick, will be offering his books for sale following his presentation.

The event will be open to non-Forum members with a $10 fee at the door, which includes a High Tea reception. The contacts for more information are 860-605-7207 and womensforumoflitchfield.org.

Our May Speaker: Sigrid MacRae

Sigrid MacRae photo May 2016

The Women’s Forum of Litchfield welcomes Sigrid MacRae to speak about her book “A World Elsewhere: An American Woman in Wartime Germany” beginning at 2:30pm on Thursday, May 5, at the Litchfield Community Center at 421 Bantam Road in Litchfield.

Sigrid MacRae was born in Germany, her father a Baltic German aristocrat exiled from St. Petersburg by the Russian revolution and her mother an orphaned American debutante from Hartford he had met in Paris. This unusual alliance that shaped their children’s lives was chronicled by his sixth child in a remarkable and touching book.

MacRae’s father was killed on the Russian Front four months before she was born. Her mother, an American citizen, was left with six children in a country soon at war with her own. She survived the war and eventually returned to the U.S. with her children. MacRae was educated in America and in Europe, and spent much of her professional life as an editor. She is also co-author of “Alliance of Enemies; The Untold Story of the Secret American and German Collaboration to End World War II” and is now at work on another book.

The event will be open to non-Forum members with a $10 fee at the door, which includes a reception.  For more information, call 860-605-7207 or email womensforumoflitchfield.org.


Our April Speaker: Steven Ehrlich

Steven Ehrlich 4-7-16 photo-2

The Women’s Forum of Litchfield welcomes Steven Ehrlich to speak about “Technology, Social Media and Innovation: Changing the Ways we Engage” beginning at 2:30pm on Thursday, April 7, at the Litchfield Community Center at 421 Bantam Road in Litchfield.

Steven Ehrlich, Global Vice President for Client Development at TMP Worldwide Advertising and Communications, will demystify how new technologies are driving the way people consume information and communicate with one another. He is focused on the use of emerging tools and technologies to enhance both brand articulation and recruitment for a multitude of organizations including Areva, Boeing, Deloitte, Disney, Mondelez, P&G, and Walmart.

Splitting his time between London and New York, Steven works closely with TMP teams and clients around the world to explore, develop, and implement strategic initiatives leveraging social media and new technologies. He is often found in front of a crowd discussing candidate engagement, employer brand, digital tools and social media.

Steven has been with TMP Worldwide since 2001 and has held multiple roles including Senior Vice President, European New Business, Global Vice President, Client Development, and VP Business Development. He was the founder and President of Apply Technology, where he created Apply! the breakout product that revolutionized the online college and graduate school application market. Used by more than 750 colleges and universities, Apply! was the market leader in application technology from its inception. In 1996, Steven sold Apply Technology to The Princeton Review, where he continued to manage it.

In 1998, he left to head U.S. News & World Report’s Education Group, where he was responsible for the marketing and further development of the U.S. News College Rankings as well as other related products and services. He was also the founder and former President of the online college advising service PureAdvice. If you want to connect with Steven before, during, or after the event, you can find him @99GR81 on both Twitter and Instagram and, of course, on LinkedIn.

The event will be open to non-Forum members with a $10 fee at the door, which includes a High Tea reception. For more information, call 860-605-7207 or Email womensforumoflitchfield.org.


Our March Speaker: Carol Williams

Carol Williams photo 3-3-16
The Women’s Forum of Litchfield welcomes Carol Williams to speak about “The Plight of a Remote Nepalese Village” beginning at 2:30pm on Thursday, March 3, at the Litchfield Community Center at 421 Bantam Road in Litchfield.

Litchfield resident Carol Williams traveled to the remote village of Koshidekha, Nepal with two colleagues in April 2015. Her plan was to spend a month teaching at the Shree Ram Secondary School and two weeks trekking in the Himalayas with a Sherpa and several other women. Eight days after arriving, the country experienced an earthquake registering 7.8 on the Richter scale. With her village destroyed, schools closed, and no certainty that the after-shocks would end any time soon, she had to decide whether to stay and help the local villagers, figure out a way to get home with the airport in Kathmandu closed and roads made impassable from landslides, or find a way to continue to teach the local school children who wanted so much to learn English.

Carol said before she left the States that she wanted an adventure, but little did she know just what a challenge she would be faced with. Nepal hadn’t had a major earthquake in eighty years. As it turned out, Carol had to dodge not just one, but two significant earthquakes in the span of two weeks. Her fascinating presentation will detail her group’s experiences during the four weeks they remained in Nepal teaching, digging out, helping with relief efforts, and opening the school by themselves to teach English to all those who wanted to come.

The event will be open to non-Forum members with a $10 fee at the door, which includes a High Tea reception. For more information, call 860-605-7207 or Email womensforumoflitchfield.org.


Our February Speaker: Visko Hatfield

Visko Hatfield Photo  2-4-16
The Women’s Forum of Litchfield welcomes Visko Hatfield to speak on “The Art of Visual Communication” beginning at 2:30pm on Thursday, February 4, at the Litchfield Community Center at 421 Bantam Road in Litchfield.

Bantam resident and freelance photographer Visko Hatfield, was born in Salem, Oregon, grew up in Washington, DC, earned his BA at the University of South Carolina, moved to New York City and eventually made Litchfield County his permanent home.

Since establishing himself in New York in 1998, Visko has built an impressive, expressive, and instinctively compelling body of both national and internationally commissioned work. His saturated, stylized, fluid canvases seamlessly blend art and commerce while maintaining a vibrant atmospheric freshness and sensuality.

When asked to describe the range of portraits he shoots, Visko replies “from Bankers to Bee Keepers.”

His portraits have captured the images of artists and actors, billionaires and boxers, politicians and diplomats, the Military, models, friends, everyday people and complete strangers. His celebrity photography includes Matt Damon, Michael Douglas, Hillary Clinton, Bill O-Reilly, Queen Latifah, George Soros, Debbie Harry, artists Jeff Koons and Roy Lichtenstein, Lily Tomlin, Elizabeth Hurley and Steve O.

Visko has created indelible images for brands like American Express, Christie’s, Gatorade, Hard Rock, HBO, Cinemax, Lancôme, Levi’s Silvertab, MTV, Nike and Speedo. He recently finished a Project for National Geographic Television that will air early this year.

Locally, he is a board member of ASAP, The After School Arts Program and heads their Annual Celebration of Young Photographer’s held in Litchfield each November. He and his wife Sharron have two children who attend Litchfield Middle School.

The event will be open to non-Forum members with a $10 fee at the door, which includes a High Tea reception. For further information, call 860-605-7207 or email womensforumoflitchfield.org.

Our January Speaker: Jan Lyon

Jan at work smiling
The Women’s Forum of Litchfield welcomes Jan Lyon who will be speaking about “Homeless Mothers and Babies. What are we doing about It?” at the Litchfield Community Center at 421 Bantam Road in Litchfield on Thursday, January 7, 2016 beginning at 2:30pm.

Jan Lyon, Director of Outreach and Children’s Services at Brooker Memorial, has a Masters degree in early childhood education with an emphasis on Piagetian cognition and a forty-year career working with children and families in a variety of social service settings in Maryland and Connecticut. Brooker Memorial is a non-profit organization in Torrington, whose mission is to prepare children for life-long success. Jan will speak about homeless mothers and babies in our midst and what is being done about this issue on the local level.

The event will be open to non-Forum members with a $10 fee at the door, which includes a High Tea reception. The contacts for more information are 860.605.7207.