Courier Life’s

Women of Distinction gala

CNG’s ‘Women of Distinction’ gala makes a big splash at the NY Aquarium

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Photo gallery

Doula-tastic: Honoree Mattie Berkowitz (left), a female labor coach — one of several hats she wears in the community — accepts her award from Brooklyn Paper publisher Celia Weintrob.
Deputy do-gooder: National Grid’s Renee McClure (right) confers honors on awardee Deputy Borough President Sandra Cheryl Chapman.
Big-hearted bureaucrat: New York City Housing Authority exec Sharon Myrie (right), shares the spotlight with presenter Renee McClure of National Grid.
Grassroots gladiator: Anti-violence advocate Catherine Hodes (left) is lauded by Elizabeth Toledo of Dodge YMCA.
YMCA veep: YMCA of Greater New York Vice President Eileen O’Connor (left) is hailed by presenter Elizabeth Toledo.
Compassionate crusader: Long Island College Hopsital emergency medicine administrator Doris Palazzo-Lopez (left) is presented an award by Elizabeth Toledo.
Tee-erific: Pioneer Josephine Sanfilippo (right), who created a golf club for women in 1955, accepts her “Woman of Distinction” trophy from CNG’s Jeanne Eisenhardt.
Her-storian: Bay Ridge preservationist Susan Pulaski (left) is honored by Jeanne Eisenhardt for keeping her community’s past in the present.
Girl’s best friend: Honoree Cecilia Clarke (right), founder of the Sadie Nash Leadership Project for young women, receives her just dues from CNG’s Jeanne Eisenhardt.
Beautifying Brooklyn: Presenter Rachel Amar of Waste Management (left) extolls the virtues of honoree Susan Doban, an architect and entrepreneur.
Health warrior: New York City Health Department Assistant Commissioner Dr. Monica Sweeney (right) is honored by Rachel Amar of Waste Management.
Whatta doll: Toy Museum founder “Queen” Marlene Hochman (left) receives her accolade from New York Aquarium representative Nicole Robinson-Ettienne.
Canarsie’s choice: Civic activist and merchant Mercedes Narcisse helped to turn around once-depressed Canarsie — an achievement lauded with a “Woman of Distinction” award, presented by Nicole Robinson-Ettienne.
The Rejuvenator: Amethyst Women’s Project founder AIda Leon (left) is honored by Nicole Robinson-Ettienne of the New York Aquarium.
Art-smart: Presenter Nicole Robinson-Ettienne (right) commends cultural warrior Ellen Salpeter for helping to make Brooklyn a desirable place to live and visit.
Brighton Beach booster: Grassroots champion Pat SInger (right) is presented an award by CNG’s Jennifer Stern for helping new immigrants to assimilate in Brooklyn.
Dare-devil: Dare 2 Dream founder Ijana Nathaniel (left) accepts her award from Jennifer Stern.
Distinctive dream: Geneva Farrow — founder of A Young Mother’s D.R.E.A.M. — is honored by Jennifer Stern of CNG.
Agent of change: Rapid Realty franchisee Christine Coley (left) receives an award from Jennifer Stern for keeping a roof over Brooklynites.
Wonder woman: Gerritsen Beach Volunteer Fire Department firefighter Doreen Garson (right) is lauded by CNG presenter Stephanie Stellaccio.
Florence Nightingale: Calvary Hospital Hospice nurse Cathie Gearity (right) accepts her trophy from CNG’s Stephanie Stellaccio.
Human rights hero: Lisa Bova (left) accepts an award on behalf of Mary Sansone — founder of Congress of Italian Americans Organization — from Stephanie Stellaccio.
Scholar with heart: Gladys Schrynemakers (right) accepts an award for honoree Gayle Stevens Haynes, provost of Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus, from CNG’s Stephanie Stellaccio.

We can’t stop singing their praises.

Even the walruses roared and clapped with appreciation when Community Newspaper Group and Courier Life Publications held its second annual Brooklyn Women of Distinction ceremony on Wednesday at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island, formally honoring more than two dozen of the borough’s prominent females for their stellar work and service.

The awards capped the 2012 Brooklyn Women of Distinction magazine, which came out last month and profiled 25 honorees for extending themselves beyond the call of duty to make a positive difference in their communities, and in some cases, across the borough, the city, the state, the nation, and even the world. Believe it!

The awardees were selected by a panel of judges, and ran the civic, industrial, academic, and creative gamut — from activists, social services’ workers, and educators to conservationists, city execs, and entrepreneurs.

They all had a common goal: to make life better for others by going the extra mile. Their impressive work is evident across the borough, where they’ve turned abandoned lots into thriving community farms and gardens, refreshed the souls and energies of troubled inner-city youngsters with innovative programs and services, and volunteered in their spare time when the rest of us are at home watching TV with our feet up.

Of course, Brooklyn’s horn wouldn’t be worth blowing without a sweet toot from Mr. Brooklyn, himself.

Borough President Markowitz kicked off the fete with a guest address, followed by another one from the keynote speaker, former City Councilwoman Una Clarke. Other speakers included Celia Weintrob — publisher and the mistress of ceremonies — and Les Goodstein, senior vice president of News Corporation, the parent company of Community Newspaper Group and Courier Life Publications.

The spotlight, however, was firmly reserved for the honorees themselves, who stood in good company on Brooklyn’s roster of distinguished females — a noteworthy group that includes Lady Deborah Moody, who founded the town of Gravesend in 1645, and Margaret Sanger, who opened the nation’s first birth control clinic in Brownsville in 1916.

“All of our inspirational and dedicated honorees prove what history has always shown — that women are the backbone of a well-ordered society, and most often the ones who shape and steer the course of events for a better world,” said Stephanie Stellaccio, Women of Distinction event coordinator and senior account executive for CNG.

Check out our Women of Distinction magazine at

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Reader Feedback

Randy from Cobble Hill says:
Is the best picture for your homepage and that you had of this brilliant woman one from an upward angle swigging a beer? Have some respect and decency. I don't know why I would expect more from Shavanna or CNG than the sludgy, lazy leftovers of real Brooklyn news, but this is just downright disrespectful.
June 24, 2012, 12:55 pm
Z from Bay Ridge says:
an aide to a politician told me once that one should never let oneself be photographed with a drink in hand or drinking it for that matter.
June 25, 2012, 10:02 am

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CNG: Community Newspaper Group