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AARP AARP States Connecticut

Developing Confidence and Talent in Connecticut and Beyond

AARP CT believes that our local suppliers and vendors should reflect the diversity of our state, our volunteers and our members, especially when they are interacting directly with them. In 2016 we wanted to provide our diverse group of volunteers with training that would boost skills associated with communicating with confidence, storytelling, and dealing with difficult people/situations. That began our long standing relationship with The Bolder Company.

The Bolder Company is a CT based, woman-owned small business, co-founded by Ellen Feldman Ornato and Jenny Drescher. They bring energy and experiential exercises to individuals and teams, increasing connection & belonging. They believe, as does AARP CT, that when individuals feel powerful and confident, their organizations thrive. Jenny and Ellen focus on four skill sets: listening, speaking up, cultivating ownership, and building strong relationships to produce lasting organizational change.

In 2016 the initial multi-session “Bold Ambassador” program that they created was so popular with our volunteers that we contracted for seminars around building inclusive teams and working well with diverse groups. These successes resulted in additional work with staff and volunteer leaders in the East Region AARP State Offices, as well as several years of work with the AARP Office of Volunteer Leadership’s Community Leadership Academy.

Recognizing that the skills staff and volunteers were building were just as important to offer to AARP members and the 50+ community, Jenny and Ellen developed virtual and in-person seminars for job seekers that focused on using the art of improvisation to get the job. Attendees from CT and across the county learned techniques to tackle the challenges of job interviews and professional networking.

Like the rest of us, The Bolder Company shifted to accommodate the realities of the pandemic when it hit in 2020 - they went virtual.  Jenny and Ellen created a three-part “Zoom Rock Stars” series for CT volunteers, developing a new skill set and giving them the confidence to deliver AARP content virtually. Again recognizing that our members and the 50+ community were also facing the challenges of the pandemic and living in a virtual world, Jenny and Ellen created “Showing Up for Success”, a five- session program for job seekers and those struggling to connect professionally.

In November of 2021, The Bolder Company created a one-hour interactive webinar for family caregivers. Through improvisational-based learning, caregivers from around the country joined AARP CT virtually to learn to shift how they respond to those under their care. They learned techniques to reduce stress and upset for their aging and/or neurologically diminished loved one, as well as increased connections and laughter.  

To learn more about AARP’s Supplier Diversity Program, please visit

Ellen Feldman Ornato and Jenny Drescher.jpg
Ellen Feldman Ornato and Jenny Drescher
Ellen Feldman Ornato and Jenny Drescher

About AARP Connecticut
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