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Rising Stars shine over Brooklyn

Brooklyn was a-glitter on Thursday, March 21, as The Home Reporter and Brooklyn Spectator honored 40 of the borough’s young and upcoming entrepreneurs, businesspeople, and community leaders.

More than 500 people crowded into at Stage 6 at Steiner Studios to celebrate the lineup of 40 under 40, led by Star of Stars Cat Greenleaf, the host of “Talk Stoop with Cat Greenleaf,” an NBC show in which the Carroll Gardens resident interviews musicians, actors and newsmakers in 15 to 20-minute segments.

The Rookie of the Year was Priscilla Consolo, an activist and student at Fordham University who is one of the Assembly’s youngest employees.

The honorees represented the best the borough has to offer. “Nothing is more important than the people that make up a neighborhood and fight for it by jump -starting the economy with their businesses or giving back through nonprofits,” noted Joshua Schneps, the papers’ co-publisher, who stressed, “The honorees represent the diversity of this borough and are comprised of everything from web developers to real estate developers to teachers and community activists.”

“I commend you all,” remarked Borough President Marty Markowitz, who contended, “Brooklyn is more than a city, a borough, a republic. It’s a state of mind. It’s all happening here. All roads lead to Brooklyn. Whatever we get, we deserve, and it’s never enough.”

Joining the Brooklynites were actors Joe Estevez and Jenn Gotzon, who were at the event on behalf of sponsor NET TV. “You are the real stars here tonight,” Estevez told the honorees.

“You guys are the future and it’s time for people a little older than you, like me, to say it’s time to step up and take charge,” agreed Carlo Scissura, president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

Attendees expressed their appreciation of both the event and those who were the star attraction. Remarked Rick Russo, the chamber’s senior vice president, about honoree Andrew Steininger, the chamber’s vice president, “Andrew epitomizes everything that makes Brooklyn great. He has a positive attitude and great spirit, and is a sensational colleague.”

Another honoree, Daniella DiBenedetto, was described by friend Manny DaSilva as “bubbly, happy, goal-oriented, and driven. Everything is great about her.”

For the honorees, the event was gratifying. “Above all, it’s a great honor to be recognized amongst so many individuals,” said Tatiana Terzuoli, director of fund development and communications at the Greenpoint YMCA.

Bay Ridge’s own Kevin Peter Carroll, Democratic District Leader, agreed. “It’s incredible to be one of the 40 under 40. There are lots of people in Brooklyn under 40 who are doing lots of great things,” he said.

Accompanying the gala was a networking event. As attendees sampled cheeses, olives, sushi and dumplings, they took the time to learn about the various businesses which had set up expo tables, which were kept plenty busy throughout the evening.

“It’s been awesome,” said Fabian Prendergast, of Flushing Bank. “People ask about the bank, raffle, locations. There’s a good amount of people and good food; people are social.”

Vinnie Valenti, regional manager, TGI, agreed. “We’ve been very busy,” he said. “There’s a lot of great people and information here. …When you sell in a local community, networking definitely makes a difference.”

One of last year’s Rising Stars said that the event had had a positive impact on his business. Frank Morizio, who works for MetLife in Bay Ridge, said he had attended this year’s event “to support Josh and the papers.

“My relationships with fellow Rising Stars over the past year have really helped my business,” Morizio added.

The event sponsors were National Grid, Investors Bank, Mercedes-Benz of Brooklyn (which had two shiny new cars on display outside Stage 6), Con Edison, Flushing Bank, CPEX Real Estate & Business Services, DeSales Media Group/NET TV, Weichert Realtors The Franzese Group, Da Noi on Fifth, TD Bank, Delta Airlines, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Sandwire, Metro USA, Ehren Joseph Studio, and Staples.

Flowers were provided by Henry’s Florist. More than $2,000 was raised for the educational programs at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at Bldg. 9 and the Camp Brooklyn Fund through a raffle; prizes included a vacation in Cancun provided by the Creative Group and Delta Airlines, and a two-night Dominican Republic hotel stay donated by Jamie Johnson, as well as two golf foursomes donated by American Golf, dinner for two donated by Mercedes Benz of Brooklyn, a Lioni’s Heroes gift certificate, a basket of wine donated by Long’s Wines & Liquors, a basket of beauty donated by Da Noi on Fifth, a groceries and produce gift certificate donated by 3 Guys from Brooklyn. and a gift certificate to Cebu Restaurant, donated by Cebu. A Mercedes Benz pedal car donated by Mercedes Benz of Brooklyn was the door prize.

“God Bless America” was sung by Brooklyn Teen Idol Taylor Leigh Cannon.

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