Some 600 people – including Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams – filled the Grand Prospect Hall on Thursday, March 23 to pay tribute to the 2017 Brooklyn Power Women in Business, a dazzling and diverse group of women from every walk of life.
The event, sponsored by the Star Network, put 45 of the borough’s amazing women in the spotlight, as well as former New York Giants great Leonard Marshall, who was honored as Man of the Year.
“We are thrilled to welcome you to this sold-out house at the Power Women of Brooklyn,” Victoria Schneps, Home Reporter and Brooklyn Spectator co-publisher and spearhead of the event, told the crowd. “There’s women power in this room, and tonight is all about these spectacular women.”
This year’s Power Women include: Lillian V. Brienza (President/CEO, Brienza’s Academic Advantage); Ashley Brigman (License RE Agent, Rapid Realty); Tamara Bulatovic (Branch Manager, Investors Bank); Francesca Cavaliere (International Singer/Entertainer); Amarimba L. Charles (Founder, T.A.L.L.O.M. Foundation, Inc.); Lucina Clarke (Executive Director, My Time Inc.); Debbie Cooper (Vice President/Area Manager, Chase Bank); Yamna Dazzazi (Owner, Z & K Police Equipment & Uniforms, Inc.); Donna Mae DePola (President/CEO, The Resource Training & Counseling Center); Ogo Ekweozor-Holley (Chief Executive Officer, OGONEWYORK); Elisa English, Ph.D, LCSW-R, MSW (Clinical Therapist @AskDrElisa); Dr. Susan Hernandez (Pediatric Dentist, Pearly Whites Pediatric Dentistry, LLC); Highlyann Krasnow (Partner, MNS); Lisa Lonuzzi (NYS Licensed Associate RE Broker, The Corcoran Group); Trish Martin (Managing Director of Sales, Halstead Properties); Geri Martinez (Principal, Bishop Kearney High School); Ferial Masoud (Founder, Balady’s Halal Food); Nina McCandless (Entrepreneur/Business Owner, Nina McCandless Consulting and SSG Underground LLC); Dr. Katherine Melzer Ross (GENESIS Fertility & Reproductive Medicine); Rita Mercieca, RN (SVP/Regional Executive Director, Brooklyn Region, Northwell Health); Kyaisha Max-Macarthy (Mrs. K) (Director & Founder, Mrs. K Dance Academy & Swagga Jumpers); Georgette Neglia (Entrepreneur); Tatiana Y. Nicoli (Owner, Pinot’s Palette Dyker Heights/Boulevard Books); Veronica Pawson (64th AD State Committee Woman); Maya Petrocelli (Associate, Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Formato, Ferrara & Wolf, LLP.); Catherine Petrosino (Owner, Brooklyn Stitchery); Katheline M. Pierre, III (CEO/Founding & Finance Director, Muyasi/MPIENCE™); Dana Rachlin (Founder & Executive Director, NYC Together); Nicolette Repaci Sinatra (Associate General Counsel, Witkoff); Iphigenia Romanos (Head of School, Adelphi Academy of Brooklyn); Pamela J. Roth, Esq. (Law Offices of Pamela J. Roth, Esq., P.C.); Mary Ann Spicijaric (Principal, Fontbonne Hall Academy); Jennifer Tortorici (Director of Operations, Luna Park at Coney Island); Loriann Tropia (Associate Broker, Ben Bay Realty of Avenue U); Sara Valenzuela (Vice President, Patrick Jenkins and Associates); Nakita Vanstory (Program Coordinator, LaGuardia Community College/Justice Community & Justice PLUS Programs); Dawn S. Walker (AVP, Communications & Marketing, Kingsborough Community College); and Dr. Marceline J. Watler (Program Director & Training Specialist, Administration for Children’s Services).
Danielle Rutuelo received the Empire State Bank Exceptional Woman Award for Community Service, Cheryl Swift, principal of Summit Academy Charter School, was awarded the Investors Bank Educator of the Year Award and Sallyann Russo and Angela Febbraro (Towne Boutique) received the Power Retail Team Award..
In addition, Renee Dorsa (Broker/Owner, Dorsa Group Realty) and MJ Pedone (President, Indra Public Relations) were inducted into the Power Women Hall of Fame, and Patricia B. Laudano, owner of Patricia B. Laudano Realty took home the Lifetime Achievement Award.
“It’s refreshing to be in a room full of so many women making a difference,” noted Swift. It really does feel good and it inspires you, makes you want to go out and continue to do what you are doing.
McCandless concurred. “For me, throughout my career, there usually hasn’t been a lot of opportunity to celebrate and lift up women,” she said. “I’m really happy that Josh and Vicki Schneps took the time to put women in different industries together so we could have the opportunity to meet, work with and help each other out, and potentially lift each other up.”
For DePola, being honored is a “privilege.” She stressed, however, “Basically I’m being honored for the people I serve. People who are addicted hold such a special place in my life. I love them.”
Philip Guarnieri, CEO of Empire State Bank, said the bank was delighted to sponsor the first-of-its-kind award recognizing Rutuelo, who is known by many in Bay Ridge as the “mayor of Third Avenue” for her wide-ranging community involvement.
“Our mission as a bank is to help the communities we have banks in,” noted Guarnieri. “We connected very well with the Star Network and its mission of honoring men and women of achievement in the community. This time, we were proud to have been able to sponsor the award of achievement, and we look forward to participating in the future.”
Besides the awards component of the event, a networking event and expo also occurred. Among the participants was Kearny Bank, whose Vice President and Small Business Banker Maria Palumbo explained the benefits of participation in the expo.
“We are now making a very strong footprint in Brooklyn, especially in commercial lending and business banking,” she said, “Since the bank is community-focused, we find it very important to take an exhibit here and support the community.”
One hundred percent of the raffle proceeds went to the Summit Academy Charter School.
This year’s sponsors were Investors Bank, Empire State Bank, Halstead Real Estate, Flushing Bank, New York Community Bank, CHASE Bank, JetBlue, National Grid, Indra Public Relations, Adelphi Academy of Brooklyn, Malsons Jewelers, Broadway Stages, the Brooklyn Chamber of Congress, the Daily News and Medcast Plus.