February 2021 Newsletter

February 1, 2021
Forum member Genevieve Piturro, presented a Masterclass program entitled, "How to Prepare for Your Chapter Two."

Nominate a Woman for Forum Membership

Do you know an outstandingly accomplished woman with the potential to be a great addition to the Women’s Forum of New York? If you have someone in mind, Membership Committee Co-Chairs Wendy Mendenhall, MBE and Peggy Wallace encourage you to submit a nomination form through the link below. All submissions will be reviewed and considered for membership.

Although we are not gathering in person, members are able to invite potential nominees to our virtual programming. Please reach out to SuzyBrown@womensforumNY.org if you would like to extend an invitation to a Forum program to a guest.

We appreciate your assistance with identifying noteworthy candidates interested in joining the Women’s Forum of New York.

Letting Each Other Know...

Lauren C. Anderson, Fellow, Geneva Centre for Security Policy and former FBI Executive, International Consultant, was featured by Women in the Boardroom in their “Journey to the Boardroom” series where she discussed the inspiration behind her corporate board journey, preparation for corporate board service and shared advice for other women interested in corporate board service. To read Lauren’s full “Journey to the Boardroom” interview, please visit HERE.

Lauren has also accepted a position as a Special Skilled Role Player and Advisor with the Department of Defense/U.S. Army for War Exercises. Lauren will advise on how and when the Army will interface with the FBI in an overseas environment, in both peaceful and conflict situations. She will also guide engagement with European security, intelligence, and law enforcement services, civilian NGOs which may be present in country, and private sector multinational or U.S. businesses with a presence in country.

Katherine Brown, Executive Director, New York City Ballet, made the announcement that NYCB plans to return to the stage of the David H. Koch Theater, its home at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts since 1964, for its 2021-22 Season, which is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, September 21, 2021. “We are devastated that New York City Ballet will not be able to perform next winter and spring as we previously hoped, but our primary focus during the ongoing health crisis is the safety of our artists, staff, and audiences. In consultation with medical and government officials, it has become increasingly clear that returning to our home at Lincoln Center to present live performances will not be possible during the early months of 2021,” said Katherine. To read more information on planned scheduling for the NYCB, please visit HERE.

Cheryl McKissack Daniel, President & CEO, McKissack & McKissack, was featured in a broadcast special commemorating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The broadcast, “New York State Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Civil Rights Then and Now” aired Monday, January 18, 2021 on PBS stations statewide. Presented by the Office of General Services (OGS) in partnership with PBS/WMHT and hosted by Reverend Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, the hourlong tribute to Dr. King. showcased people and organizations throughout New York State that embodied the principles of one of America’s greatest leaders for social justice, freedom and equality for all. To view New York State’s MLK tribute featuring Cheryl, please visit HERE.

Whitney Donhauser, Director & President, Museum of the City of New York, held a virtual program on January 26th with Carnegie Hill Village to present how the Museum has responded to the events of 2020 with expanded live and recorded online exhibitions, programs and education resources. Whitney also gave the history of MCNY from its founding in 1923 through to 2023 when the Museum will celebrate 100 years of documenting, interpreting, and celebrating New York City’s past, present and future. To read more on the virtual event info, please visit HERE.

Sheila Johnson, Founder & CEO, Salamander Hotels & Resorts, was named in “Oprah’s List of Famous Black and African American Women Who Are Leaving Their Mark On History.” Johnson, a businesswoman and entrepreneur, was a trailblazer in her own right – becoming the first African-American woman to attain a net worth of at least one billion dollars which earned her a spot as the first Black female billionaire on a Forbes list in 2000. Johnson is also the first and only African American woman to have a stake in three pro sports teams: the Wizards, Capitals, and Mystics. To read Oprah’s List of Famous Black and African American Women who are Leaving their Mark on History, please visit HERE.

Stephanie Mehta, Editor-in-chief, Fast Company, is hosting a podcast about the film “The White Tiger,” a Netflix film written and directed by Ramin Bahrani, and based on the New York Times bestseller and 2008 Man Booker Prize-winning novel. The podcast explores the global appeal of the story, its powerful themes, complex characters and the journey of the film from book to screen. Guests include Bahrani, Adarsh Gourav, RajKummar Rao, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Mukul Deora, and Ava DuVernay. To listen to “The White Tiger” Podcast, please visit HERE.

Jonelle Procope, President & CEO, Apollo Theater Foundation, announced an upcoming program called the “Academy: Digital Collective” which will offer high school students an 8-week immersion into the use of digital media in live and recorded productions. The Apollo Theater Academy Digital Collective (DC) “provides high school students with opportunities for professional and personal development as they explore careers in Technical Theater and Virtual Performance Production. Instructional sessions and required work will be delivered remotely for the majority of the program. Every student accepted into the 2021 Digital Collective will be provided with the equipment and supplies necessary to participate fully.” To learn more about this program, please visit HERE.

Dr. Jocelynne Rainey, President & CEO, Getting Out Staying Out (GOSO), released The State of Criminal Justice in NYC in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Call for Justice in Healthcare. In combatting COVID-19 within City Jails, GOSO’s community-based programs help justice-involved men in three key areas: education, employment, and emotional well-being. Today our staff is increasingly spending its time helping program participants—many of whom don’t have health insurance—manage the dual challenge of turning their lives around while protecting themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19. To learn more, please visit HERE.

Arva Rice, President & CEO, New York Urban League, was one of the influential Harlemites photographed by Flongala to memorialize President Biden’s historic Inauguration Day. “This day was such an amazing moment for all of our women. We have a role model that eats “no” for breakfast. I am so inspired by her and the fact that she is standing up for all of us.” -Arva Rice. To view the photo taken by Flongala of Arva, please visit HERE.

Daryl Roth, President, Daryl Roth Produductions, produced the newly released film version of the play that was performed at her theater “In & Of Itself,” a story of identity and how we see ourselves compared to how we are seen by others. “From creator Derek DelGaudio, In & Of Itself is a modern allegory that explores new ways of seeing the unseeable, as memories from yesterday are blended with inexplicable events witnessed today and secrets imagined for tomorrow, creating a perpetual paradox of a show.” To watch, please visit HERE.

Bonita C. Stewart, Vice President, Global Partnerships, Google Inc.,  was appointed by PagerDuty, a global leader in digital operations management, to its Board of Directors. Listed in Crain’s “2019 Most Powerful Women in New York”, Stewart brings to the PagerDuty team more than 20 years of experience leading multi-billion dollar operations, accelerating digital technology adoption and driving digital transformation at scale. To read the full press release from PagerDuty, please visit HERE.

Kate Swann, Chief Operating Officer, Purpose, was appointed by DHI Group, Inc. to its board of directors. DHI Group, Inc. is a provider of software products, online tools and services to deliver career marketplaces to candidates and employers globally. “I’m excited for Kate to join our board, as she’s an experienced leader with a demonstrated track record driving growth within various business models and customer sectors in the digital technology industry, nicely complementing our already diverse and accomplished board of directors,” said Art Zeile, CEO of DHI Group, Inc. To learn more about DHI Group Inc. and Kate’s appointment to the Company’s board of directors, please visit HERE.

Sheena Wright, President & CEO, United Way of New York City, was featured on Ford’s Entercom Spotlight Celebration – Built for New York. United Way NYC is spotlighted along with companies and organizations across the nation for doing important, meaningful, and essential work for communities in NYC. “We know the problems are too big for any one organization to solve and that’s what the United Way is about: we unite and combine our efforts to really help people when they’re most in need,” said Sheena Wright. To view video, please visit HERE.


In January 2020, the Women’s Forum of New York announced its first-ever strategic partnership with the Executive Forum (EF). The Executive Forum is an invite-only membership of C-suite executives who are in transition in their careers. The EF has over 450 members, only 45-60 members are in transition at any one time. The WFNY will be referring members who are in transition to the EF and the EF will be referring members to the WFNY Membership Committee. Both organizations will continue with their normal membership processes.

“We see this as a great resource for any of our members who are in transition and a pipeline of potential C-suite executives for the WFNY,” said Wendy Mendenhall MBE, Co-Chair of the WFNY Membership Committee and Alumni member of the Executive Forum. For more information, please contact her at wendy.mendenhall@outlook.com

Past Programs

We are always thankful to our outstanding members who participate in our virtual programs, keeping our community ever strong and connected especially during these times of great social challenges. In case you missed our most recent programs….

“How to Prepare for your Chapter Two”

Held on January 28th, Forum member Genevieve Piturro, Speaker, Author, and Founder of Pajama Program presented her Masterclass entitled, How to Prepare for Your Chapter 2. This program taught viewers how to invest in themselves and the dreams that have been placed on the back burner. Genevieve jumped off the corporate ladder 20 years ago to found Pajama Program and is the author of the new book, PURPOSE, PASSION, AND PAJAMAS: How to Transform your Life, Embrace the Human Connection and Lead with Meaning.

To view the entire program, please visit HERE.

“Creating through Crisis at ABT”

Held on January 14th, Forum member Kara Medoff Barnett, Executive Director of American Ballet Theatre (ABT), and Jenna Segal, ABT Trustee, champion of the ABT Women’s Movement, and Tony Award-Winning Producer, moderated a discussion with former Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre dancer Hope Boykin and Tony-nominated choreographer Sonya Tayeh. These two extraordinary choreographers recently completed innovative and inspiring new works for ABT during the pandemic. The conversation explored how Hope and Sonya tackled the unique challenges of creating in quarantined “ballet bubbles.”

“The Facts of the Fight: Justice Victims and Justice Warriors”

Held on December 3rd, Forum members, Dr. Jocelynne Rainey, President & CEO, Getting Out and Staying Out, and Edie Weiner, CEO and President, The Future Hunters and Getting Out and Staying Out, Board Member, presented a remarkable program giving an inside look into the stories of the struggles and successes, and the outcomes that will matter in the fight for equality and justice. Edie and Jocelynne shared inspiring stories about the work and mission of Getting Out and Staying Out (GOSO) and reflected on inequity within the justice system.

To view the entire program, please visit HERE.

“97 Years and Counting”

Held on December 1st, the Forum’s oldest living member, Sonya Hamlin, President, Sonya Hamlin Communications, discussed the many extraordinary lives she has led: starting as a Martha Graham dancer, she became chair of Radcliffe/Harvard’s dance department, went on to host an Emmy award-winning TV talk show in Boston and pioneered the field of jury strategy. She became a communications consultant, lecturer and authored five books. At age 81, Sonya embarked on an acting career in Off-Broadway productions. Sonya discussed her many careers and their transitions with Dede Bartlett, Past Forum President and Non Profit Director and Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow.

To view the entire program, please visit HERE.

“The Honorable RBG: Personal Memories – Enduring Legacies”

Held on November 18th, Forum members came together to share personal stories for inspiration, highlighting the beginning of RBG’s career and how the legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg carries on. This story hour featured:

  • Forum member, The Honorable Loretta A. Preska, United States District Court Judge
  • Forum member, Carol Baldwin Moody, President and CEO, Legal Momentum, The Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Forum member, Elaine Wood, Former Federal Prosecutor and Pro Bono General Counsel, Legal Momentum; Vice President, Charles River Associates
  • Lynn Hecht Shafran, former RBG Student and Colleague, Founder and Director of the National Judicial Education Program, Legal Momentum

To view the entire program, please visit HERE.

Want to Share with Us?

Please submit newsletter content before February 20th to be included in the next edition. Submissions and corresponding media/links can be submitted below, in your “My Participation” section of your member portal HERE, or you can reach out to Communications and Social Media Manager Naja Pazant at najapazant@womensforumNY.org. Also, if you’d like to share newsworthy accomplishments and updates with the IWF community, please reach out to Communications Manager Lauren Williams at lwilliams@iwforum.org.

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