GW logo 2021_virtual


Welcome to the 21st annual Girl Within event!

Hundreds of girls and women connect to The Village each year for help coping with trauma. They are students, daughters, sisters, mothers, neighbors and, for us here at The Village, they are family.

During the next hour you will get a chance to hear from some of these inspiring women—and see how your support is helping them build resilience, confidence and independence, which is needed now more than ever. You will also meet our Woman of the Year and Young Woman of the Year – who are impacting lives and inspiring others to follow suit.

Thank you for joining us today. We hope that you and your family have a safe and peaceful holiday season.

Jeanmarie Cooper

Co-chair, Girl Within Event Planning Committee, Village Board of Directors

Dr. Elsa M. Núñez

Co-chair, Girl Within Event Planning Committee, Village Board of Directors



Jeanmarie Cooper
Chair, Girl Within Event Planning Committee
Village Board Member

A Message from our Presenting Sponsor

Beth Costello
Executive Vice President & CFO, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.
Village Board Member

Spotlight Video

Liza Huertas
Village client

A Message from our President & CEO

Galo Rodriguez
Village President and CEO

Woman of the Year

Paula S. Gilberto
President and CEO of United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut

Young Woman of the Year

Saher Ashraf
Real Talk and Vernon ROCKS Coalition

Audience Activity

Dr. Laine Taylor
Village Medical Director

Spotlight Video

Davine Manson
Village client

2021 Woman of the Year

Paula Gilberto Headshot_2016_USE THIS ONE

Paula S. Gilberto

United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut

Paula S. Gilberto, President and CEO of United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, joined the organization in 1998 as Vice President, Community Services and subsequently Senior Vice President. Her focus has been on developing public/private partnerships to advance grade-level reading, student achievement, financial security, and workforce development. 

Paula is a founding member of United Way’s Women United, which raises resources for comprehensive financial capability services for women and families. She chairs Workforce Solutions Collaborative of Metro Hartford; serves on the boards of Capital Workforce Partners and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions; is a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Community Development Council and CHEFA’s Community Development Corporation Advisory Council; a corporator for Hartford Hospital and Hospital of Central Connecticut, and a volunteer for the National Conference for Community and Justice. She also serves on United Way Worldwide’s Membership Accountability Committee and various teams developing organizational resources for the network.

Paula holds a Master of Science in Organizational Behavior, University of Hartford; a Bachelor of Science in Communications and Psychology, University of Bridgeport; and is Family Strengthening for Success Fellow, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. 

2021 Young Woman of the Year

Saher Ashraf

Real Talk and Vernon ROCKS Coalition

Since 2019, Saher has been a dedicated member of Real Talk, the youth group of the Vernon ROCKS Coalition. Through her work she has supported the coalition’s mission to prevent youth substance use and advocated for her peers, amplifying the work of The Village’s substance use prevention program and partner agencies across Vernon and Manchester. 
Through Real Talk, Saher has been instrumental in helping fellow teens build resilience and understanding around substance use by offering tools, resources and guidance to her peers and their families. Recognizing academic stressors as a risk factor connected with substance use, Saher developed resources to support her peers as they navigated the switch to virtual learning during COVID-19.
She also engages school and town administrators to promote the importance of positive mental health across her community and leads an array of community-building activities with the same focus. As a leader with Real Talk, Saher has also aided in multimedia substance use awareness campaigns ranging from social media to billboards to help her community take strides in its prevention efforts.

Presenting Sponsor

We are grateful to The Hartford for being our presenting sponsor for the past nine years.

Gold Sponsor


Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors



Eastern Connecticut State University

Jean & Ed Cowles

Future Benefits

Gowrie Group

Hartford Hospital at Hartford HealthCare

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation


Liberty Bank



Smith Brothers Insurance

Webster Bank

Patron Sponsor

Connecticut Health Foundation

The Toczydlowski Family

Special Thanks

Challenge Donors


Andrew Baldassarre

Wendy Carberg

Carrie Casciani

Anthony & Ann Cooper

Jeanmarie & Colin Cooper

Beth Costello

Bob & Judy Coughlin

Dan & Joanne Eudy

Jonathan Formanek

Larry & Connie Gavrich

Kevin & Elizabeth Grenham

Hartford Federal Credit Union

Leah Hartman

Bob & Jean Hester

George & Diana Jepsen

Rich Kaplan

David & Jan Klein

Charlie Klippel

Cathy Iacovazzi

Barry Lastra

Bill Husic/Lockton

Mintz & Hoke, Inc.

Marty Morrissey

Dr. Elsa M. Núñez

James & Bonnie Parry

Jeff & Lindsay Paul

Reid & Riege


About The Village

The Village’s impact lies in the thousands of children, adults and families who have overcome enormous challenges to achieve real and meaningful change for themselves with help from the treatment, services and advocacy of The Village.

Our wraparound approach includes individual and family counseling; group home, residential and outpatient treatment; school-based support programs; and in-home family strengthening.

Our goal each day is to do whatever it takes to improve the health, well-being and success of children, adults and families. We help people become resilient and able to overcome the challenges that life throws at them.

Learn more

Our mission is to build a community of strong, healthy families who protect and nurture children.

Jean & Ed Cowles - Girl Within Event ad
Fairview - Girl Within Event ad

Our Executive Team


Galo Rodriguez, MPH​

President and CEO


Hector Glynn, MSW

Chief Operating Officer


Martin Morrissey, MHA, CPA, FACHE

Chief Financial Officer


Deborah Bradley

Vice President, Human Resources


Tammy Freeberg, MSW

Vice President, Strategy and Planning


Steven Moore, PhD

Vice President, New Business Development


Derek Slap, MBA

Vice President, Advancement


Laine Taylor, DO, MBA

Medical Director

Our Board

  • John Turgeon, CPA, HCS*
    Board Chair
    Partner, CohnReznick
  • Curt Cameron*
    Board Vice Chair
    President, Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
  • Cathy Iacovazzi*
    Board Secretary
  • Galo A. Rodriguez, MPH*
    Village President & CEO
  • Ellie Benson
    Village Auxiliary Representative
  • Andrew G. Baldassarre*
    Principal & Chief Market Strategist, Rossmore Private Capital, LLC
  • Jeffrey A. Brine, Esq.
    Member & Attorney at Law, Kurien Ouellette, LLC
  • Richard (Jerry) Bundy
    Community Volunteer
  • Wendy Carberg
    Vice President Group & Worksite Markets, Guardian Life Insurance Company
  • Carrie M. Casciani
    Sr. VP Corporate Internal Audit & Chief Risk Officer, Cigna
  • Jeanmarie H. Cooper*
    Community Volunteer
  • Beth A. Costello*
    Executive Vice President & CFO, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.
  • Thomas Daugherty
    Partner, KPMG
  • Kim DiPietro
    Community Volunteer
  • Margaret Pearl Douglas, CPA
    Certified Public Accountant and CEO, Canoville Consulting, LLC
  • William D. Field
    President, FieldActivate
  • David L. Friar, Architect
    Community Volunteer
  • Lawrence J. Gavrich
    Founder & President, Home on The Course, LLC
  • Stephen E. Goldman, Esq.
    Managing Partner, Robinson + Cole
  • Frederick E. Jenoure, Jr.
    Owner, FEJ Consulting
  • Diana Sousa Jepsen, MBA
    Associate Vice President, Marketing and Public Affairs, University of Saint Joseph
  • Richard M. Kaplan, Esq.
    Associate General Counsel, United Technologies Corp.
  • Patrick Kinney
    Community Volunteer
  • Charles H. Klippel, Esq.
    Community Volunteer
  • Barry N. Lastra
    Community Volunteer
  • Zachary Malet
    Associate Director, Disney Platform Distribution, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution
  • Patricia Marealle, Esq.
    Staff Attorney, Immigrant Children’s Justice Project Center for Children’s Advocacy
  • Dr. Elsa M. Núñez
    President, Eastern Connecticut State University
  • Brian P. Reilly*
    Chief Auditor and Sr. Vice President, Travelers

*member, executive committee

Hartford Hospital Girl Within ad
Liberty Bank Girl Within Event ad
Robinson & Cole - Girl Within Event ad

Second Chance Shops

Looking to have fun, give back and help children in your community? Become a Member at our Second Chance Shops! Donate new or gently used clothing and household items.

Glastonbury Second Chance Shop

730 Hebron Avenue, Glastonbury, CT 06033
(860) 633-5188

Thursday and Friday: 11:00am – 3:00pm
Saturday: 11:00am – 2:00pm

Donations accepted during open hours.

Simsbury Second Chance Shop

12 Station Street, Simsbury, CT 06070
(860) 658-7152

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday
10:00am – 2:00pm

Donations accepted during open hours.

Suffield Second Chance Shop

116 Mountain Road, Suffield, CT 06078

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
10:00am – 2:00pm

Donations accepted during open hours.

West Hartford Second Chance Shop

175 Park Road, West Hartford, CT 06119

Thursday and Saturday
10:00am – 2:00pm

Donations accepted during open hours.

Rossmore - Girl Within Event ad

Rossmore ad

Smith Brothers - Girl Within Event ad
Webster Bank - Girl Within Event ad
KPMG Girl Within ad