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Women in Business Brunch with Congresswoman Rosa Delauro

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — March is women’s history month, and this morning Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro led a talk about the challenges facing women in business, both in the past and in the future.

A half dozen women in business shared their wisdom with the next generation of business women. DeLauro led the conversation, and she knows all about the business of congress.

“When I started there, there were 33 women in the house and the senate,” DeLauro said. “We’re now up to 104. It’s important progress, but it’s not enough.”

So, during this women’s history month, she held a roundtable discussion with students from New Haven’s Metropolitan Business Academy. The discussion included tips such as: Find a mentor, and it doesn’t have to be a woman.

“Find someone who has the same interests as you,” suggests Kyle Ballou, an Administrative Director for Yale New Haven Hospital. “Someone who you feel you can hitch yourselves to, who’s going to give you direction.”

Marcia Lafemina, the president of PennGlobe, a lighting business in North Branford, says it is just as important to become a mentor to someone else.

“You can be mentoring someone right alongside of you, or they can become your new best friend,” Lafemina said. “How you help empower that person next to you is your real success, no matter what field you chose to go in.”

The roundtable took place at the Westville coffee shop Manjares owned by businesswoman Ana De Los Angeles.

“I can say it’s not easy, but it’s good. It’s comfortable,” De Los Angeles said. “It’s happiness for yourself.”

However, it can be difficult overcoming what DeLauro calls the double standard for women in business.

“If women are too strong, there is a very negative response to that,” said DeLauro. “If they’re too nice, they’re viewed as being weak.”

The high school students say they know they have to overcome that…

“But after hearing what they are saying, I know it’s okay to take that risk and eventually it would pay off,” said Janissa Vidal, a junior at Metropolitan Business Academy.

One of the things women do have going for them in the business world is the fact that they are better at getting together and supporting one another in business endeavors.

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