Asnuntuck Community College (ACC) has selected 19 female students to participate in its inaugural Women’s Leadership Institute, “Launch Your Leadership Journey. “The Women’s Leadership Institute at ACC was established in June 2014 to address the needs expressed by women in the ACC community to develop their leadership skills and ability. “Launch Your Leadership Journey” is a step toward realizing the Institute’s vision of a world enriched by ACC women leaders.  The lead facilitator of the program is Ann Gowdey who has 30 years of experience in executive and leadership development. Her consulting practice is committed to the personal and professional success of women leaders in all roles and at all levels. The Institute was supported and developed internally by ACC’s Dean of Continuing Education and Workforce Development Eileen Peltier, Director of Institutional Development and Community Engagement Keith Madore and Coordinator of Student Engagement, and Activities and Educational Needs, Sherry Paquette. According to Peltier, Gowdey was the lynchpin that got the Institute going at ACC, Paquette was the pipeline to the students and Madore was able to help the project with his grant writing expertise.

The Institute has received financial support from Asnuntuck Community College’s Foundation, as well as a private donor. Other support came from The Miller Family and their Enfield Shop-Rite supermarket which will be donating food for the participants, and the United Way, which has supported the program by recruiting volunteer mentors for the program. “ShopRite of Enfield is pleased to support this innovative leadership program and Asnuntuck Community College by providing catering and refreshments for the entirety of the eight session program,” stated Charles Miller, owner and operator of Miller Farms Family Markets – ShopRite of Enfield. Peltier included in her thanks, Tommi DeMichael, a 2015 ACC graduate, who participated in the planning of the program.

A year and a half in the making, the organizing team used input from a focus group, individual conversations and surveys to determine what female students at ACC were looking for in a leadership development program.

At the kick-off of the program, Peltier shared advice to students on how to get the most out of the program and ended with a powerful Gloria Steinem quote, “You are no more important than anyone else but you are also no less important that anyone.” ACC’s Dean of Student Services Katie Kelley shared her journey to get where she is today and how she remained committed to getting her education and a fulfilling career, despite a variety of obstacles. She congratulated the students on their decision to make the commitment to the Institute. Paquette said, “I am incredibly proud of every single one of you tonight. It takes great courage.”


The group is scheduled to meet every other week for three months. Upon completion of the Institute the students will launch their leadership journey by starting a club or association in a leadership position. If they graduate in May they will be encouraged to join an organization in their community. Gowdey reminded the group that the Institute at Asnuntuck was designed uniquely for them. “The Administration put a team together and listened to what you said.” She added, “Honor your strengths and work on your weaknesses.”