October 10, 2018

Q&A with Sarah Lubarsky, executive director for the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame

Photo Contributed
Photo Contributed
Sarah Lubarsky.

Sarah Lubarsky is executive director for the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame, housed on the Southern Connecticut State campus in New Haven. Although she is readying for the Annual Induction Ceremony on Nov. 5, she isn't too busy to chat with the New Haven Biz about the hall's support of women's history lessons in school and for business events across the state.

Q. How can local businesses work with you or become involved with the Hall of Fame? What can you offer organizations around the New Haven area?

New Haven businesses can get involved with the hall by supporting our educational programming in the public schools. This can be a monetary donation or having their employees volunteer for our various educational programs. Several businesses in New Haven who partner with us have their employees volunteer for our STEM workshops. For the second year in a row we have been visiting selected elementary schools in New Haven, September to June, speaking with both girls and boys about women's achievements and what women have contributed to our state, nation and the world. Our work follows state curriculum standards and the inquiry arc. We provide primary source materials and hands on projects for students. We can also give professional development sessions for teachers to help them implement women's history into their curriculum.

Our employees from the hall are happy to bring our "Talks On The Road" to women's groups, corporations and civic and community groups. There are many topics to choose from and are located on our website. In addition, we have exhibits that are loaned out to the community and are free for nonprofits, women's organizations and corporate sponsors.

Q. How did you come to be involved with the organization?

I first heard about the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame as I was searching for a position as a development director. I was hired by the hall three and a half years ago. I had been employed at a domestic violence and sexual assault agency for 11 years, which I truly enjoyed, but it was time to make a change. I loved the fact that at the hall I would be speaking about the achievements of women and what incredible role models they are for the next generation. Having raised two girls, myself, I thought this would be a fun and important message to bring to others. My mother (I know it sounds cliché, but it's true) was my most important role model.

Q. What has surprised you or really stood out for you during your tenure there?

I have to say that the thing that never ceases to amaze me about all of our Inductees is their determination to do what they were meant to do. They didn't let anything or anyone stop them from what they were destined to be. Their determination and ambition are awe-inspiring and they are great role models for future generations.

Q. How is the CWHF playing a part in current women's issues across the state?

Almost every day the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame is in schools, libraries and civic and community organizations talking about women's history and how it has helped shaped our world today. Our goal is to inspire the next generation of women leaders. Our inductees' stories are the foundation of the hall's one-of-a-kind educational programming, which is offered to elementary, middle and high schools across the state each year. Our in-classroom history curriculum teaches both girls and boys about the extraordinary women on whose shoulders they stand. Additionally, our STEMfems programs for girls encourage the exploration and pursuit of careers in STEM fields. Through Girls Day at the Capitol, young women learn about how to advocate for themselves and others, how to be a catalyst for change and the importance of registering to vote at age 18. Through these various programs our goal is to connect girls with women leaders, aka role models, to develop the tools they need, and to empower them to strive for whatever future they dream of for themselves.

Since the 100th Anniversary of a woman's right to vote is coming up in 2020, the hall will be participating, along with many other organizations, in a centennial commission celebrating the anniversary of women's suffrage through the office of Secretary of State Denise Merrill. The hall will also be developing a display about the history of suffrage in Connecticut that can be loaned out to communities around the state during the year.

Q. What does the future look like for the CWHF?

A. I believe that the future is bright for the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame. Until equal rights are truly embedded into our culture, we believe that our Inductees' inspirational stories will be leading the way for future generations. For example, we have a young woman who just contacted us to partner with her for a Girl Scout Gold Project. She had attended Girls Day at the Capitol two years ago and it started her thinking about getting a law passed in the state that will honor the achievements of women during the suffrage movement; now she is taking action. This is what the hall is here for… to inspire the next generation of women leaders!

Tickets are on sale now for the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame ceremony at the Connecticut Convention Center on Nov. 5. More information here. This year's theme is the performing arts. To be considered, a nominee must:

  • Be a Connecticut native and/or Connecticut resident.
  • Be the first women, historic or living, to achieve recognition in her field of endeavor or have a lifetime of achievement in that field.
  • Have made a significant statewide contribution to arts, athletics, business, government, philanthropy, humanities, science, education, etc.
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