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  • Tennis Star, Former USTA President Katrina Adams to Deliver Keynote at WBDC’s Women Rising Gala

    STAMFORD, Conn. — The Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC) is pleased to announce Katrina M. Adams as the keynote speaker at its 2023 Women Rising Gala and Awards Celebration on October 27 at the Hyatt Regency in Greenwich. Connecticut Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz will serve as the event’s honorary chair.

    As a tennis player, Adams was a specialist in doubles — winning 20 Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) titles in a career spanning 12 years. Following her tennis career, Adams became a commentator for the Tennis Channel and a contributor to the CBS Sports Network’s all-female sports panel, We Need to Talk. In 2015, she became President and Chairman of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), becoming the first former professional tennis player, first African-American and the youngest person to serve as president in the 135-year history of the organization. In 2021, she published her first book — Own the Arena: Getting Ahead, Making a Difference, and Succeeding as the Only One.

    Adams is currently Executive Director of the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program, Vice President of the prestigious International Tennis Federation, Chairman of the Billie Jean King Cup Committee, and Chairman of the Gender Equality in Tennis Committee. In the private sector, she serves as a Board member of Pivotal Acquisition Corp III and GSE Worldwide. She is also a broadcaster and author and serves on multiple Advisory Boards: Athletes Unlimited, Highlight Pro Skydiving, Full Court Tennis, and Racquet Magazine.

    “The Women Rising Gala is an opportunity to celebrate Connecticut’s women entrepreneurs and share their stories of perseverance and success — and their significant contributions to Connecticut’s business community and economy,” said WBDC Founder and CEO Fran Pastore. “I can think of no one better than Katrina to deliver this year’s keynote, and to share her inspirational and captivating journey from the tennis court to the boardroom, breaking barriers along the way.”

    “I am truly honored to spend an afternoon with so many dynamic women, who are already leaders in their own spaces at the Women Rising Gala,” said Adams. “Reiterating the importance of owning our courage, voice and identity as women, is critical to be on track to Own ‘Our’ Arenas.”

    The Women Rising Gala celebrates Connecticut’s women entrepreneurs and business leaders and recognizes WBDC’s nearly three decades of promoting economic equity for women and strengthening communities through entrepreneurial and financial education services.

    The Impact Award, presented during the event, honors individuals who have exemplified WBDC’s mission and goals by promoting economic equality and prosperity for women. The 2023 Impact Award honorees are Leander Dolphin, Managing Partner, Shipman & Goodwin LLP, and Jeffrey Flaks, President and CEO, Hartford HealthCare.

    Other awards presented during the Gala will include the Women Rising Award, presented annually to WBDC clients who show a strong commitment to WBDC and demonstrate success in their business and tenacity in pursuing their goals, and the Patricia Billie Miller Award for Outstanding Community Service, presented to a dedicated WBDC volunteer.

    Additional information and ticket sales can be found at ctwbdc.org/gala.

    About the Women’s Business Development Council 

    The Women’s Business Development Council’s (WBDC) mission is to support economic prosperity for women and strengthen communities through entrepreneurial and financial education services that create and grow sustainable jobs and businesses across Connecticut. WBDC educates, motivates and empowers women to achieve economic independence and self-sufficiency. Since 1997, WBDC has educated and trained nearly 18,000 clients in all of Connecticut’s 169 towns—helping women to launch, sustain and scale over 13,300 businesses, create and maintain 29,000 jobs in Connecticut, and access more than $66 million in capital. Visit ctwbdc.org for more information.