Tag Archives: ConneCTalent

Roundup: Ukraine Rally, Lynsey In London, Jersey Mike’s …


A rally in support of the Ukrainian people, and against Russian aggression, is set for tomorrow (Saturday, March 26, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.) on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge downtown.

A rally earlier this month drew hundreds of attendees. This will be smaller, but no doubt just as heartfelt.

Georgians have suffered under Russian rule. Earlier this month, these natives of that nation showed solidarity with Ukrainians on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge. (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)


Speaking of Ukraine: The world owes Lynsey Addario a huge debt of thanks.

The Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur Fellow-winning New York Times photojournalist — and, not for nothing, a 1991 Staples High School graduate — has taken some of the most riveting photos in the month since Russia invaded Ukraine. Her images have opened billions of eyes to the horrors of this war.

Yesterday, Lynsey returned home — to her home in London, anyway. Her family there — and her parents, Westporters Phillip and Camille, and her 3 sisters spread across the US — are grateful for her safe return.

Lauren, Lynsey, Lisa and Lesley Addario — the 4 sisters.


So far, we’ve heard — from various Jersey Mike’s communications — that they are “closed permanently” (front door) and “temporarily closed for renovation” (social media).

“06880” reader Jason Stiber used the company’s “Support” function to ask if they were closing the Westport location.

The response, from “Kristin” of the Customer Relations Team at Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, Inc. in Manasquan (New Jersey, of course) was: “The store is relocating. That is all the information we have at this time. Please feel free to check back for updated information.”

So that’s a third option. Almost as difficult as deciding what to order there …


“06880” reader James Grogan asks: “What are the best places — coffee shops, areas of the Library, etc. — in Westport (and surrounding areas) with Wi-Fi to get work done? I have a fully remote job, and want to change my routine.”

I’m sure he’s not the only one. If you’ve got a favorite spot — and don’t mind sharing it — click “Comments” below.

When the power went out during Tropical Storm Isais in 2020, Westporters took advantage of the library’s WiFi al fresco — masked and socially distanced, of course. (Photo/Miggs Burroughs)


The other day, Wendy Crowther spotted the first osprey of the season. He returned  — right on time — to the Fresh Market perch.

Now Peter J. Swift sends along the first photo.  He appears to be settling in well. After all these years, his family are now natives.

(Photo/Peter J. Swift)


Speaking of nature: Aspetuck Land Trust is all about preserving the land.

Except for invasive plants.

The non-profit’s next “Lunch & Learn” is Thursday (March 31, noon to 1:30 p.m. Zoom).

Discover what to remove — and how — with an expert panel. Click here to register. Click here for some great invasive plant resources, to get started.

Invasive vines (Photo/Darcy Sledge)


There’s a new Lighthouse in Westport.

That’s the name of the peer-to-peer social support group for LGBTQ youth (and their allies), ages 12 to 19. It’s part of Kids in Crisis, the Greenwich-based social service organization.

Meetings take place every Monday from 5 to 7 p.m., at Toquet Hall. Two adults are always present, And there is food!

Questions? Email program coordinator Joe Belisle: lighthouse@kidsincrisis.org.


The Westport Police Department earned national recognition for its work in helping donate more than 200 previously used ballistic vests and helmets to Ukrainian fighters.

They — along with departments in Brookfield, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, Norwalk, Stratford, Trumbull and Wilton, plus Western  Connecticut State University — joined the effort.

Police1 — a national website — highlighted the donations as its Photo of the Week:

Donated vests and helmets: Police1’s Photo of the Week.


Yesterday’s Roundup carried news of a Ukrainian relief effort spearheaded by 1972 Staples High School graduates Tom and Mary-Jo Birtwell McCann.

They’ve added a GoFundMe page. Click here to help. Click here for a story on the effort from the Nantucket Current.


Author Marlene Hauser is a former Westport resident, from the 1990s. She lives in England– but her new book “Geraniums” mentions her former town.

Westport is mentioned toward the end. After a long search, the main character is finally reunited with her mother — right here in town.

As for the title: When Marlene was here, she was a regular visitor to a Westport greenhouse. (Hat tip: Barbara Katz)


Connectalent — the Westport-based recruiting company that places female talent and increases diversity within companies, –has just received B-Corp certification from B Lab.

Connectalent qualifies as a full-service recruiting agency that aims to solve a social issue through its work serving an underserved population of candidates — a group that faces chronic discrimination in a particular market, which includes job discrimination based on gender.



Today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature shows off Lauri Weiser’s photography — and her creativity. This is her work:

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)


And finally … in honor of Lynsey Addario’s safe return from Ukraine:

Roundup: Lynsey Addario & Katie Couric, Ukraine, Wegmans …


Every day brings new, grim news from Ukraine. The New York Times photos of Staples High School graduates Lynsey Addario (1991) and Tyler Hicks (1988) are crucial for bringing the horrors of the Russian invasion to the rest of the world.

We all know on some level how dangerous it is for those two, and so many others. But now Katie Couric brings the reality of their situation into our own, comfortable lives.

She conducts an astonishing interview with Lynsey — who, in the opening moments from Kyiv, moves into the bathroom, and dons a flak jacket and helmet, as sirens go off.

Couric’s questions are probing. Lynsey’s answers are insightful. This is must-see journalism, from two pros. (Hat tip: Susan Woog Wagner)


Speaking of Ukraine: Westport’s rally in support of that invaded nation is set for this Saturday (11 a.m., Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Post Road bridge). It’s scheduled to run until 12:30 p.m.

Anyone wishing to continue their support can head a couple of miles east, to Southport.

The Ukrainian American Club (279 King’s Drive, near I-95 and the Metro-North station) is sponsoring its own Saturday rally. It starts at 1 p.m.

Attendees are asked to bring signs, musical instruments, balloons, flowers, and anything else that will help spread the message of freedom, unity and democracy. For further information, speaker, or donation inquiries, call 203-259-2913.


Speaking of Saturday’s Westport rally: one of the organizers, Stephan Taranko, donated 3 exquisite Ukrainian hand-embroidered shirts, similar to the ones worn by the Dumka Choir when they performed last week on “Saturday Night Live.”

They’ll be part of a silent auction at the Westport event. A QR code will be available to help with the bidding.

One of the 3 Ukrainian shirts.


And more on Ukraine: Dori Bomback and Teri Jaffe’s ThingsILove203 — which curates, then sells (duh) things they love — is holding a pop-up sale at MoCA Westport his Sunday (March 6, noon to 4 p.m.).

They carry several Ukrainian lines. A percentage of proceeds will be donated to the Ukrainian Crisis Relief Fund.


“06880” does not cover a lot of Norwalk news. But we do mention Stew Leonard’s from time to time, because, well, Stew’s.

Looks like the Westport-born food store will have some competition

Wegmans is opening its first Connecticut location — municipal approval, and construction, pending.

The site is nearly 11 acres of land off Connecticut Avenue, near I-95. The property is occupied now by MBI, which would move to new office space.

Wegmans is a 105-year-old, 106-store supermarket chain in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts and North Carolina that draws raves from customers.

But will they have Santa, a menorah, and Christmas trees?


Wakeman Town Farm is having kids!

Thelma and Marge — Nigerian dwarf goats — are having babies, at the Cross Highway sustainability center.

They’re due in a month. Laura Miller, of InDorasKitchen.com, has shared them with WTF. She’ll also offer classes in goat dairy, milking and cheese making, soap making, goat anatomy and husbandry, blacksmithing, cheese and balsamic Pairings, and more..

With the babies’ arrival, Westporters can learn about goat anatomy, reproduction, animal husbandry, milking, and caring for kids (the goat kind). WTF will also offer opportunities to learn how to make goat soap and cheese.

Class offerings for adults and (human) kids will be posted online.

Thelma and Marge (or perhaps Marge and Thelma) at WTF. (Photo/Anne Burmeister)


Divorce is stressful. But in addition to lawyers, women going through the process can also support each other.

Next Wednesday (March 9, 7 p.m. Hayvn co-working space, 320 Boston Post Road, Darien), they’ll get together at an an event called “Insider Tips from Divorce Attorneys.” It’s sponsored by the law firm Ferry & Battey, and one of the panelists is Janet Battey of Westport. Click here for tickets and more information.


Westport-based Connectalent co-founders Runa Knapp and Jasmine Silver discuss the future of work, workplace re-entry, job skills needed tomorrow and more. The March 15 event (7:30 p.m., Weston Field Club),  is sponsored by the Weston Women’s League.

An added attraction: photographer Whitnee Schulman will offer headshots for attendees.

For details and registration, click here.


At Christmas time, there are 7 swans a-swimming. Earlier this winter, Peter Swift saw just 4 off Burying Hill Beach.

When we find the other 3, this will be a complete “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/Peter Swift)


And finally … on this date in 1849, the territory of Minnesota was created.

I’m not sure why the (Westport-based) Wiggins Sisters never made it nationally. They are one of my favorite duos of all time. Their harmonies are beautiful; their lyrics are insightful — and they are wonderful, genuine women.

If you’ve never heard them (and also, if you have), enjoy “Minnesota.”






Job Seekers, Employers Connect With Jasmine and Runa

A few years ago, Jasmine Silver was a divorce attorney. She cut back on full-time work to raise her young children, but still wanted clients. However, she had no idea how to find them.

Runa Knapp was a senior manager in KPMG’s credit practice. When her kids were born, she too left the full-time workforce.

The 2 women met through their children’s Westport pre-school. Realizing how many friends they have with corporate backgrounds — “intelligent women who took time off for their kids,” but who wanted either part- or full-time  jobs — they brainstormed ideas.

Jasmine Silver

“There are so many super-educated, super-ambitious people here, and in the rest of Fairfield County,” Jasmine says. “They’re untapped talent. But they needed a resource to re-enter the job market.”

Now, they’ve got one. ConneCTalent helps both stay-at-home professionals and employers by, well, “connecting” them with each other. Opportunities include law, engineering, finance, marking, public relations, non-profits and “creatives.”

They’re also a great resource for commuters looking for opportunities closer to home. Plus people already employed, hoping to move up the corporate ladder.

It sounds like it’s aimed solely at women. Yet, Runa notes, many men face the same job market issues.

In some ways, conneCTalent is like a typical recruiting agency. Employers pay a commission, based on the first year salary. However, Jasmine explains, their rates are lower than others.

In addition, there’s a human touch lacking in most keyword-driven agencies.

Runa Knapp

She and Runa source jobs personally. They also hear of opportunities directly from employers.

Their database of job-seekers is filled with people who are not listed elsewhere. Some are just beginning their search. Others simply like Jasmine and Runa’s personal touch.

“We don’t just match buzzwords on resumes with jobs,” Runa says. “We have conversations with people and businesses. That’s how we make thoughtful, curated matches and connections.”

ConneCTalent is growing rapidly. It will grow even more after a launch party on September 5 (6:30 to 8:30 p.m., B:Hive Southport). The event includes a career transition coaching workshop led by Morgan Mermagen; a resume writing workshop with Lesley Vanderlee, and a roundtable discussion on social media tips headed by WestportMoms co-founder Megan Rutstein.

ConneCTalent will sponsor more workshops this fall. Runa and Jasmine hope to see many new faces at those events. After all, the idea is that everyone in their current database will be busy working.

(For more information, or to RSVP for the September 5 event, email info@connectalentct.com)