Brooklyn Women of Distinction

Lauding ladies! We toast boro’s best and brightest females at 2018 Women of Distinction gala

Courier Life Publications and Community News Group honored 26 of the borough’s most worthy women at a May 31 awards gala at Sirico’s Caterers in Dyker Heights, celebrating of our Brooklyn Women of Distinction, class of 2018. Comment

S. J. Avery

When city and state agencies tell S.J. Avery “No,” she hears the words “Not yet.” Comment

Ruchama Bistritzky-Clapman

Talking about drug abuse and mental health issues in Brooklyn’s Jewish community was a taboo subject — until Ruchama Bistritzky-Clapman came along. Comment

Rolanda Telesford

Rolanda Telesford is a survivor — she was a teenage mom, and was once homeless — but today she is director of Outreach and External Relations for the YWCA. Comment

Nicole Favours

Brooklyn native Nicole Favours wants to change the way the borough’s kids think about guns. Comment

Monique Waterman

Monique Waterman wasn’t familiar with the term “conflict resolution” when she was 11 years old, but that’s when she began practicing it. Comment

Mitzie Holstein

Teacher, poet, and spiritual leader Mitzie Holstein is all about positivity. Comment

Michelle R. Gall

When Michelle Gall was growing up in Clinton Hill, she was a straight-A student in math and science — but she says she was never taught how to apply those skills to earn a living. Comment

Lucina Clarke

Lucina Clarke wants to make sure that parents of children with autism never feel like they don’t have anyone to turn to. Along with her husband, she is the co-founder of My Time Inc., a support center in Canarsie that specializes in uplifting parents who are raising kids with developmental disabilities. Comment

Lisette Sosa-Dickson

Lisette Sosa-Dickson is the voice of the Spanish-speaking elderly community. Comment

Linda Halsey

After her daughter died at age 34, Linda Halsey created the Caleb’s Feet Foundation in the hopes that others would be spared her pain. Comment

Leslie Green

Leslie Green was born in Kings County Hospital and hasn’t stopped giving back to Kings County ever since. Comment

L. Joy Williams

She may be just 39, but L. Joy Williams has already made a lasting impact on Brooklyn, the city, and the country. Comment

Kim Maier

She can be found leading tours about the Revolutionary War, corralling costumed children during the Halloween Parade, or throwing together a last-minute event — but no matter where this Woman of Distinction may be, Kim Maier is a cherished fixture in Park Slope. Comment

Katarina Martinez

Since quitting her day job and founding her own brewing company in 2015, Katarina Martinez has emerged as one of the most watched women on New York’s beer scene. Comment

Jewel Brown

There are some careers that require continuing education. Being a compliance officer for a private home care organization is one such position. Comment

Inna Lukyanenko

Inna Lukyanenko, born in the city of Mohyliv-Podilskyi Raion of the Vinnytsia Oblast, Ukraine, made her way to New York in 1994. For someone who professes public speaking to have been her biggest obstacle professionally, she is also quite the people person — a fact she does acknowledge. Comment

Harriet Bloomberg Blank

For the past 42 years, Harriet Bloomberg Blank has served as director of the OHEL Geriatric Services, ensuring optimum welfare for seniors and providing them and their families with peace of mind. She does it by connecting the entire community, from kids to teens to adults to elders. Comment

Gabrielle Puglia

When speaking to Gabrielle Puglia’s peers, friends, and relatives, the word “passion” comes up over and over again. Born and bred in Brooklyn, Puglia’s mission in life is to help those in her community that are in need. Comment

Elana Martins

The love Elana Martins feels for her birthplace is evident by the way she talks about it. Comment

Eladia Causil-Rodriguez

For the past 35 years, Eladia Causil-Rodriguez has served Brooklyn by providing infant care and early childhood education at her day care, Eladia’s Kids. The mother of four came to the city from Colombia in 1969, and was impressed even then to “find that Brooklyn was a diverse community of people of all different styles.” Comment

Dr. Evelyn Casrto

Being raised in a family that values education highly, it’s no wonder that Dr. Evelyn Castro became an educator. After all, her mother attended Hampton University, where George Washington Carver was one of her teachers. Castro herself also attended a historically black university, Morgan State, receiving a master of science in early childhood elementary education, as well as a master of public administration from Bank Street College of Education, and a doctorate in education administration from Columbia University Teachers College. Comments (1)

Deidre Olivera

As one of the first women in the heavy duty cement and concrete trades, Deidre Olivera is a pioneer. Today, she is a current member of union Local 731, editor-in-chief of a community newspaper, a community activist, a business consultant, and a fighter for equality. Comment

Cassandra J. Brennan

Cassandra J. Brennan may have been born in Princeton, N.J., but since 2001 she has made New York — where she currently lives with husband Tom — her home. And it doesn’t look like she’ll be leaving the city anytime soon; she truly loves Brooklyn. Comment

Claudette Macey

During her more than four decades at Fort Greene Council Inc., Claudette Macey has redefined what it means to be a senior in Brooklyn. Comment

Arlene King

Arlene King says she was born to help people. Comment

Anna Malkina-Shumaeva

She’s more than 80 years old, but Anna Malkina-Shumaeva doesn’t let that stop her from volunteering in the community she loves. She recently took time from making Passover packages for World War II veterans to share her thoughts about volunteering. Comment

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