By Suzanne Monteverdi, Queens Courier
Close to 600 spectacular business professionals from across Nassau and Suffolk counties gathered in Great Neck for the Star Network’s Power Women in Business Awards & Networking Event on Thursday, Dec. 1.
The networking and awards gala at Leonard’s Palazzo recognized some of the most influential women in businesses in Long Island who help make a difference in their communities.
Honorees and guests gathered for a networking and cocktail hour, dinner and raffle for prizes, with thousands of dollars collected to be donated to the Michael Magro Foundation, an organization dedicated to the support of children with cancer and other pediatric illnesses and the Jason F. Gruen Research Foundation.
Victoria Schneps, co-publisher of Schneps Communications, welcomed and congratulated the honorees and invited them to attach a ceremonial gold star pin to their attire.
“You are now officially pinned as a Power Woman in the Star Network,” Schneps said. “Wear it with pride.”
“It is an honor to recognize all of you,” co-publisher Joshua Schneps said. “These are all people that try to make a difference, both in business and in their neighborhoods.”
The honorees spoke about the personal and professional significance of being honored as a Power Woman in Business.
“Personally I’m very honored to win the award,” said honoree Ellen Savino, partner at Lewis, Johs, Avallone, Aviles, LLP. “And for the business, I think its a great opportunity for the law firm to be able to network with all of the other honorees at the event.”
“There really are no words,” said Ann Weber-Hughes, Medical Forensic Investigator for the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office. “As a woman in this field — I was the only woman in my unit when I started back in the late-90’s. Now, my unit is half women. So it’s nice to be recognized for what we do.”
“I am now part of this very esteemed group of women,” said honoree Sarah Arora, President of the New York Market for GoHealth Urgent Care,. “I’ve been very lucky in my own career to have had really incredible female mentors, and looking at the women who have been honored, I imagine that they have provided the same for other women in the area. It’s an inspiration.”
“I’m humbled,” said Joanne Mills, broker and owner of Exit Family Realty. “I can’t wait to get to know [the honorees] better: I’ve already picked out at least five women I need to sit down with immediately.”
The Power Women Rookie of the Year Award was presented to Laura Doukas, CEO of Doukas Creative Studios.
“I’m so honored,” Doukas said. “For my business, it’s obviously a great networking opportunity; a great way to get our word out.”
The Community Activist Award was given to Debbie Levine, parent advocate for Alley Oop for Autism and Monday Night Party Event Coordinator.
The Excellence in Real Estate Awards were given to the Ritz-Carlton Residences Sales Team: Debra Quinn Petkanas, Associate Real Estate Broker for Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty; Tracey Murray Kupferberg, CBR, Associate Real Estate Broker for Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty; Gail Holman, Associate Real Estate Broker for Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty; and Renee Aversa, Associate Real Estate Broker for Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty.
Congressman-elect Tom Suozzi received the Man of the Year award, although he was not in attendance to pick up the honors.
A full list of this year’s Power Women honorees can be seen below.
Sarah Arora, President of the New York Market for GoHealth Urgent Care; Laura Camelo, Vice President & Corporate Secretary for Ridgewood Savings Bank; Katie Coleman, Financial Advisor and Managing Partner for Siena Wealth Advisory Group; Jennifer Cona, Esq., Managing Partner of Cona Elder Law; Georgia Dandolos, General Manager, DVP of Lord & Taylor; Sari Friedman, Founding Partner of Friedman & Friedman, Attorneys at Law; Roslyn Goldmacher, CEO/President of Long Island Development Corporation; Christine Ippolito, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Principal of Compass Workforce Solutions, LLC; Stacy Jaffee Gropack PT, Ph.D., FASAHP, Dean of the School of Health Professions and Nursing at LIU Post; Melissa Kaiser, Branch Manager for Investors Bank; Dr. Corey Karlin-Zysman, Academic Hospitalist & Chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine for Long Island Jewish Medical Center & North Shore University Hospital-Northwell Health; Ashima Kapoor, President of ICS US, Inc.; Elizabeth Kase, Esq., Partner for Abrams Fensterman; Ann Kayman, CEO of New York Grant Company; Patricia Kielawa, VP Regional Sales Manager for Wells Fargo; Fenella Kim, President & CEO of Reliance Star Payment Services; Terrie Magro, RN MA, Physician Liaison for Winthrop University Hospital and Co-Founder of the Michael Magro Foundation; Lauren Mangano, Vice President of Mangano Sewer & Drain; Vivian Megala, Vice president, Mortage Loan Officer for Flushing Bank; Joanne Mills, Broker/Owner of Exit Family Realty; Brittany Musto, Executive Assistant to President for The Dover Group; Dr. Chief Chetachi Nwoga-Ecton, Founder & CEO of the When in Need Foundation; Bianca O’Brien, Managing Partner at New York Life Insurance Company; Carolyn Reinach Wolf, Esq., Executive Partner for Abrams Fensterman; Mary Ann Malack-Ragona, Executive Director/CEO of Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center, Inc.; Laurine M. Rubin, Managing Attorney at Picciano & Scahill, P.C.; Melissa Ruvio, Esq., Real Estate Lawyer for Law Firm of Ryan J. Walsh & Associates; Megan C. Ryan, Esq., Executive Vice President and Chief Compliance and Privacy and Ethics Officer for NuHealth/NUMC; Ellen Savino, Esq., Partner at Lewis, Johs, Avallone, Aviles, LLP; Victoria Scotto, Sales Manager for Scotto Brothers; Ann-Marie Scheidt, Director of Economic Development at Stony Brook University; Mary Smith, Practice Manager at Central Veterinary Associates; Carol Soman, CPA, CEO of Dashboard Enterprises, Inc.; Gail L. Trugman-Nikol President/CEO of Unique Business Solutions; Yesenia Vasquez, President/CEO of Laser Now; Ann Weber-Hughes, RPA-C, NMD, Medical Forensic Investigator for the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office; Janice Yao, CEO/Owner of JNJ Pharmacy Corp.
Event sponsors included Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees Inc., GoHealth Urgent Care, Investors Bank, National Grid, Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, NuHealth/NUMC, AgeWell New York, People’s United Bank, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Broadway Stages, Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation, Flushing Bank, Scotto Brothers, Ridgewood Savings Bank, Wells Fargo, Mangano Plumbing Sewer & Drain, Laser Now, Abrams Fensterman, Raiche Ende and Malter, the Melville Chamber of Commerce, Godiva, Lord & Taylor, Sipp Beverage, and Georgi Vodka.
Media sponsors of the event were the Queens Courier, the Best of Long Island, the Long Island Press and the Daily News.
Featured Photo: Among those honored Dec. 1 were Tracey Murray Kupferberg, CBR, Debra Quinn Petkanas, Gail Holman and Renee Aversa: the Ritz-Carlton Residences Sales Team at Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty. Far right is president of Schneps Communications and Star Network Victoria Schneps, who presented them with the Excellence in Real Estate Award. Photos by Allen Ngai and Arthur DeGaeta.