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Swampscott to host Women’s Leadership Forum, with state rep Ehrlich as keynote speaker

SWAMPSCOTT — Inspired by the town’s first majority female Board of Selectmen, Swampscott will host its initial Women’s Leadership Forum.

The women’s networking event will be on June 6 at ReachArts on Burrill Street, with state Rep. Lori Ehrlich as the keynote speaker. Selectwoman Naomi Dreeben said the initial idea for the event came from Town Administrator Sean Fitzgerald after he reminisced on his days of growing up visiting family members in town when there were numerous events led by women he felt proud of.

“That’s how we took off on it,” said Dreeben. “It hadn’t been done before and we thought it was a good idea since there are more women on the board now. There are many women leading volunteer committees who are doing tremendous work for our community and this can bring them together.”

Along with the state representative, there will be speaker presentations from Erin Calvo-Bacci, owner of CB Stuffer; Deb Ansourlian, executive director for Girls Inc. of Lynn; and Kate Leonard, Swampscott High School’s varsity basketball coach. Dreeben said the goal is to let attendees hear from leaders in the community while feeling encouraged and supported to follow through with their own ventures.

Dreeben said after receiving 30 immediate responses from the Evites that were sent out, she expects the 55-person capacity limit at ReachArts to fill up quickly. If all goes well, she said the board hopes the forum will become an annual event, one that could create subgroups of women discussing different leadership topics.

“There are fairly new women’s groups, and those are in the political arena, but the point they all make is women are reticent about taking on leadership positions, but when we do we excel,” said Dreeben. “It benefits the community for us to support each other and have more women in leadership positions in all kinds of places.”


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