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

Brooklyn Daily
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Her time: Lucina Clarke, co-founder of My Time Inc., takes her moment in the spotlight.
Head of the class: Assistant Principal Cassandra J. Brennan is all smiles.
Cheers: Brewer Katarina Martinez enjoys the gala.
Social time: Social worker Harriet Bloomberg Blank and guests pose for a picture.
Reading up: Guests read the Women of Distinction magazine.
Mother’s Day: Day care owner and mother of four Eladia Causil-Rodriguez.
Clear as can be: The honorees were each awarded a plaque with their name on it.
A plus: Teacher Mitzie Holstein, right, steps out of classroom and on to the red carpet.
Congrats: Inna Lukyanenko celebrates with a guest.
Her time to shine: Leslie Green, who runs a prom dress giveaway for young girls, looks ravishing.
Packed house: Guests filled the Dyker Heights catering hall.
Terrific trio: Community News Group Advertising Director Amanda Tarley and, right, 2015 honoree Carmen Gloria Rosario-Olmedo present Elana Martins with her award.
Proud grandson: Linda Halsey, who works to raise awareness of cervical cancer, is congratulated by her grandson.
Starts with her: It Starts Here founder Nicole Favours waits to accept her award.
Next generation: Brooklyn branch National Association for the Advancement of Colored People president L. Joy Williams has some help at the mic.
Going forth: Park Slope community activist S.J. Avery steps up to receive her award.
Awards on top of awards: Nonprofit founder Arlene King received some additional commendations.
Stem advocate: Digital Girl, Inc. founder Michelle R. Gall takes the mic.
All smiles: Kim Maier, executive director of the Old Stone House, takes in the night.
In the papers: Violinist and volunteer Anna Malkina-Shumaeva’s talents have been lauded before.
Sharing the night: Senior advocate Claudette Macey is surrounded by loved ones.
Pretty in pink: Dr. Evelyn Castro of Medgar Evers College is all smiles.
Patriotic philanthropy: Hero’s Benefit founder Gabrielle Puglia and her cheering section.
Lovely ladies: CNG’s Amanda Tarley and, right, presenter Nicole Robinson-Etienne, congratulate Mask founder Ruchama Bistritzky-Clapman.
Lisette Sosa-Dickson, executive director of Raices, poses for our shutterbug.
Women supporting women: Rolanda Telesford, of the YWCA Brooklyn branch, is all smiles.
Deserving award: Amanda Tarley and, right, Nicole Robinson-Etienne flank Monique Waterman, founder of East Flatbush Village.

They’re the queens of Kings County!

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 our Brooklyn Women of Distinction, class of 2018.

The plaudits capped our 2018 Brooklyn’s Women of Distinction magazine, which profiled honorees whose ranks included activists, administrators, entrepreneurs, executives, and volunteers.

The awardees, nominated by their peers and selected by an independent panel of judges, included such trailblazers as L. Joy Williams, an advisor to elected officials across the country and the president of the Brooklyn branch of the NAACP — the organization’s youngest such leader in the country; Katarina Martinez, who runs Lineup Brewing and is the borough’s only female brewery owner and head brewer; and Dr. Evelyn Castro, vice president for student affairs at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College.

The hosts honored women, such as educators Cassandra J. Brennan and Mitzie Holstein, for their devoted work developing the talents and young minds of Brooklyn’s next generation. And they toasted others, including Eladia Causil-Rodriguez and Arlene King, for their devotion to providing day care for the borough’s youngest.

Some of our 2018 guests of honor — Jewel Brown, Claudette Macey, and Anna Malkina-Shumaeva among them — made careers of tending to the needs of Kings County’s oldest. Still others — including Brookdale Hospital executive assistant Nicole Favours; Michelle Gall, founder of Digital Girl, Inc.; and Leslie Green, founder and owner of the performing-arts company Potpourri of Color — received recognition for the outreach they’ve conducted to local youth.

And two of our Women of Distinction took home nods for selfless service in their Park Slope neighborhood: Park Slope Civic Council member S. J. Avery, an ardent advocate for the rehabilitation of the Fourth Avenue corridor; and Kim Maier, who as executive director of the Old Stone House museum, has transformed that centuries-old structure into a must-visit institution commemorating the historic Revolutionary War-era Battle of Brooklyn.

This year’s women may have taken different paths to “Distinction,” but all are unanimous in one regard: their fondness for their home borough, and in particular its natural beauty. Avery named Prospect Park as her favorite place in Brooklyn because “it is an unfailing source of physical and spiritual inspiration.” King said Brooklyn Bridge Park “allows me to see the work of God and man.” And Linda Halsey — founder of the Caleb’s Feet Foundation, which works to raise awareness about cervical cancer — said she finds “solitude and peace” on the Canarsie Piers.

Community News Group President and Publisher Jennifer Goodstein said the honorees “represent women we see every day walking on our streets, shopping in our stores, and seated next to us on the bus or train. All of them have demonstrated a commitment to work, attention to duty, and love of community that has inspired, educated, healed, and uplifted Brooklyn.”

Reach James Harney at (718) 260-2529 or e-mail him at
Updated 1:34 am, July 10, 2018
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