The Women’s Forum of New York hosted The 3rd Annual Elly Awards Luncheon benefitting The Education Fund of the Women’s Forum last week at The Plaza Hotel in New York City. The awards, named for Women’s Forum founder Elinor “Elly” Guggenheimer, were presented to outstanding women leadersMaria Cuomo Cole, advocate, activist, filmmaker and Chair of HELP USA, and Pat Mitchell, President and CEO of the Paley Center for Media.
“Our honorees this year are incredibly deserving of their Elly Awards for their committed service in their respective fields. Ms. Cuomo Cole’s activism throughout her life in the public domain and now behind the scenes as a filmmaker tackling important societal issues is truly inspirational. Ms. Mitchell has similarly demonstrated incredible leadership throughout her unparalleled career and continues to break new ground for women in the media,” said Doris P. Meister, President of the Women’s Forum of New York.
“The inspirational leadership shown by our honorees perfectly complements The Education Fund of the Women’s Forum of New York’s mission to extend the benefits of education to high potential-women who can make a difference and leave a positive legacy for future generations. This year twelve fellowships were awarded to help women overcome obstacles and hardship in returning to their higher education to help realize their dreams,” said Beverly Beaudoin, President, The Education Fund of the Women’s Forum of New York.
On hand to bestow the key awards were celebrity presenters Glenn Close, award-winning actress, and Matilda Raffa Cuomo, former New York State First Lady and Founder of Mentoring USA. I had the honor of speaking to Ms. Close on the red carpet about her relationship with Pat Mitchell. “I’m honored to be here. In many ways, I consider her not only as one of my friends, but also one of my mentors.”
Guests enoyed the provided luncheon, and listened to the stories of those touched by the Women’s Forum. The Women’s Forum of New York is New York’s premier organization of women leaders comprised of the highest women achievers across all professional sectors from finance to fine arts. The organization advances women’s leadership through core programming which provides personal and professional enrichment to members; through The Education Fund, which provides education awards to high potential women whose careers have been derailed by adversity; and through the Corporate Board Initiative which expands and extends the contribution of women leaders through participation on corporate and civic boards.
The Luncheon also saw Eve Ensler, Tony award-winner and author of The Vagina Monologues, lead a conversation with the honorees that revolved around leadership but covered a wide range of issues facing women in the workforce today including the importance of developing and demonstrating fortitude, the role of compassion in female leadership and the advantages it gives women in the workforce, as well as the best ways to deal with criticism and the pressing need for society to address violence against women.
“Violence is a seminal issue around economic achievement, self worth and identity for many women, especially in developing countries. Until the world’s cultures, including our own, accept the right of every person to live securely, we must commit to fighting it collectively,” said Ms. Cuomo Cole said during the conversation.
“I don’t think you can be a great leader without being generous. You have to be generous in listening to opinions to enable to you to look around and see where the issues are that need addressing. Leaders need to have open hearts and minds and remember that we all have the opportunity to help someone in their time of need, no matter their position in life,” said Ms. Mitchell, who was described by Glenn Close as a “Goddess of Networking” in her introduction.
“Maria and Pat both demonstrate compassionate leadership and are incredible connectors and networkers with tenacious attitudes. They are truly excellent mentors who are forging pathways for other women,” Ms. Ensler said of the honorees’ leadership qualities.
One of my favorite parts of the event was the diverse crowd that was in attendance. Women of all ages and races celebrated The Elly Awards. Those that were honored were truly deserving of the award, and the presenters were undeniably proud and supportive to be presenting to the recipients. The Luncheon was able to raise an incredible $250,000 towards the Women’s Forum.
VIP’s who attended the event included: Maria Cuomo Cole, filmmaker, Chair of HELP USA and Elly Awards Recipient; Pat Mitchell, President & CEO of the Paley Center for Media and Elly Awards Recipient; Glenn Close, award-winning actress and Elly Awards Presenter;Matilda Raffa Cuomo, former New York State First Lady, Founder of Mentoring USA and Elly Awards Presenter; Eve Ensler, Tony award-winning playwright, activist and author of The Vagina Monologues; Governor Mario Cuomo, Former New York Governor; Doris P. Meister, President, US Markets, BNY Mellon Wealth Management and President of The Women’s Forum of New York; Carolyn Carter, former President & CEO, Europe, Middle East & Africa of GREY Group and Co-Chair of The Elly Awards; Jane Chesnutt, former Editor-in-Chief of Woman’s Day and Co-Chair of The Elly Awards; Lucy Jarvis, television producer and Legendary Chair of The Elly Awards; Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, Writer, Vice-Chair of the NYSCA, Chair of the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center, Former Elly Awards Honoree and Honorary Co-Chair of The Elly Awards; Kenneth Cole, Designer, Humanitarian and Activist; Ambassador Carl Spielvogel, Chairman and CEO of Carl Spielvogel Associates, Inc. and former U.S. Ambassador to the Slovak Republic; and Randy Guggenheimer, son of Elinor Guggenheimer, Founder of the Women’s Forum of New York and for whom the Elly Awards are named, along with his sons Randy III and Steven.
The prestigious event was sponsored by BNY Mellon, AECOM Technology Corporation, Dede Thompson Bartlett, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, Omgeo, Marissa C. Wesely.
Patron Sponsors included: A+E Networks, Accenture, The Loreen Arbus Foundation, Dr. Georgette F. Bennett, Bloomberg, Anne Donovan Bodnar, BoomBox, Inc., Burberry, Chadick Ellig, Con Edison, Deloitte, Ernst & Young LLP, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, Great Performances and CPS Events at The Plaza, Greenberg Traurig LLP, J.P. Morgan, Lucy Jarvis, Ann Kaplan, Karen Katen Foundation, Barbara Novick, Pershing LLC, a BNY Mellon company, Scotiabank, Muriel Siebert, Sy Syms Foundation, Tiffany & Co., Lulu C. Wang, Linda A. Willett.