w-forum1Heather Cosimano and Shari LaRosa outside The Downtown, where they’re putting on women-focused forums each Wednesday night. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)


A few years ago, Shari LaRosa, a working mother of two, made new friends and helped a lot of women with a weekly lunchtime seminar in Red Bank. The lunches, which featured guest speakers covering a range of topics geared toward working mothers, made a lasting impression with women from all over the region, from Holmdel to Long Branch, she said.

But she ended the forum two years ago to dedicate more time to her two children.

Now that they’re in school, and after receiving two years’ worth of questions from women about when she’d bring it back, LaRosa’s decided to make her return.

“I ran into a lot of women during these two years who were thanking me,” LaRosa, 37, said. “It just felt like a really good thing I had done.”

Teaming up with life coach and friend Heather Cosimano, LaRosa returns to Red Bank tonight with the W Forum, at The Downtown, marking the relaunch of a new, nocturnal and more diverse version of what LaRosa established years ago.

This edition of the W Forum will branch out beyond mothers with carriages.

Each week there will be a different guest speaker who will touch on topics that relate to women of all ages and situations, from young, working women to grandmothers looking for a new reason to get out of the house.

She and LaRosa believe they’ve struck that balance with this revamped weekly offering. They’ll cover numerous bases: focusing on reducing stress and improving relationships for example. Psychiatrists, psychologists and a plastic surgeon will speak, and the schedule will include e a “Grandma’s Night Out.”

“All topics women can identify with,” LaRosa said.

“It’s about empowering women — giving them information and letting them come out and have fun,” Cosimano, of Oceanport, said.

The women have a schedule lined up through February.

Because there is only room for 20 attendees each week, reservations are required. The fee of $35 includes dinner.

The forum will run from 7:30 to 9:30p every Wednesday.