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December 29, 2011 / Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce

New Britain Chamber Women’s AM Network featured in 12/29 New Britain Herald

The go-to networking group

for New Britain businesswomen

Wednesday, December 28, 2011 10:57 PM EST

By Robert Storace, Staff Writer

NEW BRITAIN — Empowerment. Camaraderie. Respect.

Those are the sentiments many have used to describe being a member of the New Britain Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s A.M. Network, which organizers say is the go-to networking group for women in the region.

What began 11 years ago as one of the first women-only support groups sponsored by a chamber in the state has become the place women go to for information, business contacts, professional support and friendship.

“Women working together get things done,” said New Britain Library Director Pat Rutkowski, a member for two and a half years. “It’s all about the sharing of ideas. We also share resources, not just on a professional level but also on a personal level.”

Rutkowski and 40 other women from the business and nonprofit world gather at 8 a.m. once a  month at chamber headquarters on Court Street. They discuss what’s new in the business world and share ideas on a variety of topics.

“Why join? It’s the same reason men join networking groups,” said Jude Satalino of McCue Mortgage, who has been with the group almost since its inception. “It’s empowering. We are all in different stages in our lives. It’s nice when you can help younger women getting into business and you can learn from the women who have been in the business world for a while.”

When her mother became ill, Satalino said she was able to use several of the resources from the group to help with her ailing mother.

Slowly but surely, members say, the barriers that women face in the business world are coming down.

“There are fewer women in business and we need to stick together,” said Rosemary Klotz, chief of staff to Mayor Timothy O’Brien. “The old-boys network still exists, but a group like this helps women take initiative and, together, share ideas.”

Klotz, who attended her first A.M. Network meeting earlier this month, plans on attending on a regular basis.

“I met a few people I had not met before and put names to faces of others I had only met on the phone,” said Klotz, who was formerly part of an all-women networking group in Massachusetts.

Chamber President Bill Millerick sad Tuesday the group has become “fantastically popular.”

“If groups like this are not productive, people stop going,” Millerick said, adding, “We have had unprecedented growth.”

For more information on joining the group, call the chamber weekdays at (860) 229-1665.

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