What is your story?
I have dreamed of owning a bookshop for many years. In the last few years we’ve seen a resurgence of independent bookstores across the country, and it felt like the right time to open one in my hometown. People are looking for opportunities to get off their screens and return to books and conversations. The importance of shopping local and supporting small businesses is becoming clear, and our community is ready to respond.
In what capacity do you LEAD UP in your community?
I enjoyed a 20-year corporate career, which provided me the opportunity to travel the world and meet many interesting people. Through work I became involved with the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut as a volunteer reader in Hartford Public Schools. Reading with first and second graders inspired me to shift my focus to community service, particularly early childhood literacy initiatives. I started to think about ways to dedicate more time and resources to these important issues, and the idea of River Bend Bookshop started to form.
What message does River Bend Bookshop like to promote?
River Bend is a bookshop and community gathering place where curiosity leads to discovery, and conversations lead to meaningful connections. We value kindness, and work to provide an inclusive environment for all of our neighbors.
In business and/or in life, share a struggle you overcame that other women can relate to?
Like many women, I spent a lot of time pursuing goals that were set for me by others. Having the career that was expected, the outward signs of success that are engrained from an early age… it took a lot of time and effort to uncover what I really wanted for my next act and go after it.
Did you have a Mentor, Coach or Sponsor along the way that was essential to your growth and success? If so, who was it and why?
Working with a career coach was integral to my process. Understanding the root of fear and challenging those insecurities by taking action – every day, over and over – is what has brought me this far. Now I just keep going!
What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do at River Bend?
As much as this shop is my dream coming to life, I also see it as an act of service to my community. The wonderful early response demonstrates this is the kind of connection we crave, to our towns and to one another. It is joyful work to create those connections and provide a space to come together.