The scene was set in Staten Island as the borough’s Top Women in Business entered Nicotra’s Ballroom for a star-studded celebration of their achievements.
The island borough had a lot to celebrate as 40 of its best and brightest businesswomen were recognized in the inaugural awards ceremony on Wednesday, December 3.
“We’re thrilled to be in Staten Island and to recognize the spectacular women who live, work, and give back in Staten Island,” said Home Reporter and Brooklyn Spectator Co-Publisher Victoria Schneps, whose companies Star Networking and Schneps Communications organized the event. “This is a magnificent opportunity to have a networking of businesses and community leaders.”
Schneps said the purpose of the ceremony was “to bring great people together with great people and to have a night of celebration.
“This is Hollywood East and it’s our night to shine,” she added. “The spotlight is on these spectacular women.”
Sonya Keyser, attorney and partner at Cardillo & Keyser, spoke about the honor of being nominated and why it is important for women in Staten Island to be recognized.
“For Staten Island in general, the fact that this event is here is amazing,” said Keyser. “Staten Island has come a long way with its growth and the fact that these women are being nominated really shows that we are a powerhouse. Women in business are taking a great step forward and I think that it’s a wonderful opportunity to get to know each other.”
New York State Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis shared the same sentiment.
“I think it’s a great event,” said Malliotakis. “It’s always wonderful when we can get together as a group and recognize the achievements of women in our community. I think what we have here today is a great group of very intelligent, talented, successful women, and we’re celebrating their accomplishments for Staten Island and New York City as a whole.”
Along with a VIP cocktail hour for the honorees before the ceremony/dinner, exhibitors from across Brooklyn and Staten Island set up tables to showcase their stylish boutique clothing, jewelry, photography services, and many other financial, beauty and business services.
“It’s very exciting to be a part of [an event] where they’re honoring women in business, being a woman in business myself,” said Nancy Nardulli, an exhibitor representing Fibi & Clo, a boutique for shoes and accessories. “It’s a great honor to be here.”
Morris Esses, exhibitor from Malsons Jewelers, a retailer of the popular “Alex and Ani” and “Lokai” bracelets, with two locations in Brooklyn, was “excited” to be at the event. “This is our core clientele,” said Esses. “It’s a great opportunity to network and meet really fine businesspeople. It’s my honor and pleasure to be here to honor them.”
Before the awards reception began, Donna Proske, executive director at Staten Island University Hospital and the Community Leadership award recipient, and Anthony Pascale, recipient of Man of the Year, took to the podium to address attendees.
Proske made mention of recent women CEOs appointed to companies like IBM and Yahoo. Proske herself became the first female executive at Staten Island University Hospital. “My first reaction [when learning about the reception] was that we were leaders that happened to be women,” Proske said.
“When you get an award that’s called Man of the Year from a group of women, you don’t take it lightly,” joked Pascale, an anchor at NY1 News. “It’s an honor to be here and to receive this award.”
Along with recognizing these women for their accomplishments and service to community, the dinner raised money for two local charities: Kids Against Cancer, a not-for-profit organization that seeks to provide care for children battling cancer in a setting that is not associated with their illness, and Emma’s Place, Staten Island’s grief and loss center for children and families. Attendees were asked to participate in raffles and exhibitors, honorees, and sponsors donated prizes.
Additionally, Avanti Hair Salon (2051 Hylan Boulevard) offered each woman complementary hair and make-up service before the event, an offer many honorees took them up on.
The event was sponsored by North Shore LIJ, TD Bank, Investors Bank, Staten Island University Hospital, New York Community Bank, jetBlue, and The Daily News.