Connecticut Forum appoints longtime staffer executive director as co-founder steps back from daily responsibilities

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Stephen Singer, Hartford Courant
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The Connecticut Forum announced Tuesday a longtime staff member will become executive director July 1 as part of a leadership transition.

Ruth Cullen said she looks forward to building on the forum’s legacy. “The Connecticut Forum is a small organization that has always thought big,” she said

She will succeed Doris Sugarman, co-founder and chief executive officer, who will step aside June 30 from her day-to-day responsibilities. She co-founded the Forum with her husband, Richard, in 1992.

“Planned, thoughtful transitions are what great organizations do,” Sugarman said. “And for me and the organization, the time is right.”

The Forum, a cultural organization in Hartford, features high-profile panel discussions at The Bushnell, a CT YOUTH Forum program serving high school students and community outreach and engagement activities that have encouraged individuals and organizations to connect.

Cullen has been a member of the Connecticut Forum staff since 2007, serving as its director of advancement and communications and playing a leadership role in Forum strategy, marketing, fundraising and operations.

More than 300 well-known panelists have spoken about various issues at Connecticut Forum evenings, which the Forum described as “live, unscripted and completely unpredictable.” Panelists have included comedian and former U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.; tennis greats Arthur Ashe and Billie Jean King; humor columnist Art Buchwald; and New York Yankees shortstop Bucky Dent.

Stephen Singer can be reached at ssinger@courant.com.