Logo for: YWCA Hartford Region

In the Company of Women Luncheon

In the Company of Women is YWCA Hartford Region’s signature fundraising event. Since 1996, we’ve invited inspirational speakers to share their inspirational stories and lift women, girls and families. The event has grown to become the state’s largest networking event, bringing together business and community leaders, public officials and our program participants to celebrate and advance our work supporting women, girls and families in the Hartford Region.

It gives us great pleasure to introduce the Keynote Speaker for our 2024 In the Company of Women Luncheon, Collette V. Smith

Collette V. Smith is the Founder and President of Believe N You, Inc.  and the NFL’s 1st African American Female Coach in the History of the National Football League by way of being the 1st Female Coach in NY Jets Franchise History, Coaching the Defensive Backs in 2017 during Training Camp.

Smith is a former Women’s Professional Football Player playing two positions as a Defensive Back and Special Teams on Kick Off, Defensive Backs Coach and was the Director of Marketing, PR, Promotions and Events for the New York Sharks women’s pro football team in two Women’s Professional Football Leagues, the WFA- Women’s Football Alliance and the IWFL- Independent Women’s Football League.  She didn’t start playing professional football until the age of 42. The Sharks recently won the National Championship in July of 2018 in Atlanta, GA.

Collette today is a social philanthropist and an entrepreneur specializing in motivational speaking engagements and has been invited to speak at Fortune 100 Companies, Corporations and Ivy League Institutions including Columbia University to speak on disparities women in sports face and the empowerment of black youth, girls and women to see their greatness and excellence through adversity.

Smith was recently Honored with the HUMANITARIAN AWARD by Leigh Steinberg during Superbowl LVI February 2022 in Los Angeles, CA. and is the only woman to have ever received an award in this capacity from him. She was also Honored with the Legacy Award and Keynoted the NAACP’s Legacy Gala, guest speaker at Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network’s “House Of Justice” for their YOUTH HUDDLE program’s live video broadcast, Rev Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition Summits and visits Juvenile Detention Centers to bring hope and inspiration through her own struggles of Hard Knocks to Triumphs to those that need a second chance at Life amongst many other initiatives that will benefit others.

She is a true Change Agent and has dedicated her life to empowering our youth, in particular girls and women to know that Any and Everything we desire IS Possible if we Believe In Ourselves. Her cultural and gender specific loyalty is very important to her.  She emphasizes the importance of building positive self-esteem through team sports to at-risk teens and women in low-income, underserved and marginalized communities.

We can’t wait to see you on April 18, 2024!

Sponsorship Opportunities

Each year, we are joined by corporate and small business partners who join us in making In the Company of Women such a success. Our sponsors support not just the luncheon, but our work throughout the year. We are so grateful to all our sponsors!

Contact Karol Jimenez by email at karolj@ywcahartford.org or by phone at 860-525-1163 x122 with any questions.