Oh, what a night! We honor Brooklyn’s best and brightest women

Fierce females: Courier Life Publications’ and Community News Group’s 2016 Brooklyn Women of Distinction join forces for an heirloom-worthy snap outside Sirico’s Caterers in Dyker Heights.
Photos by Stefano Giovannini

They’re the greatest!

Courier Life Publications and Community News Group honored 27 of Kings County’s fiercest females during a June 7 awards gala at Sirico’s Caterers in Dyker Heights, the plaudits capping our 2016 Brooklyn’s Women of Distinction magazine, which came out last month and profiled honorees whose ranks included activists, musicians, executives, volunteers, and mom-and-pop workers.

The evening was a side-splitting shindig, thanks to our gag-meistress of ceremonies — Brooklyn comedian and writer Ophira Eisenberg, host of National Public Radio’s “Ask Me Another,” author of “Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy” that “Airplane!” producers Zucker Productions optioned for a movie, and one of New York Magazine’s “Top 10 Comics that Funny People Find Funny.”

In between her gut-busters, Eisenberg, who released her second comedy album “Bangs!” on Comedy Dynamics recently and played herself on the season finale of Home Box Office’s “Girls,” reflected on the guests of honor and even became a little misty-eyed when hearing them speak.

“You are all women changing the fabric of our community,” said the entertainer, later adding, “I start to tear up when I hear the incredible stories these women tell.”

The awardees — nominated by their peers and selected by independent judges — included the widow of jazz legend Noel Pointer attuning the next generation to the blues, a retired actuary returning to her alma mater at Kingsborough Community College to lead the alumni association, and a health activist forming the Tell Every Amazing Lady national ovarian cancer walk in memory of her sister who succumbed to the disease.

Honoree Maria Teresa Nitti had an extra distinctive evening. The Bensonhurst boutique baker donated a scrumptious, four-tier red velvet, chocolate, and vanilla cake emblazoned with photographs of her fellow guests of honor, and found her generosity rewarded when she, her husband, and her sister won a cash raffle prize and tickets to a dinner cruise.

Her windfall, Nitti said, will benefit her Operation Birthday Party organization that creates rollicking revels for children living in homeless shelters.

“We’re going to use that money for this and next month’s birthdays!” she said.

The women’s spirited efforts to transform ordinary workdays into exceptional opportunities to improve and advance our borough are immortalized on the special edition’s Facebook page, said Community News Group’s president and publisher.

“When you watch their videos online, it becomes clear that regardless of what their day-to-day job responsibilities are, each woman is following a passion,” said Jennifer Goodstein.

A portion of the evening’s proceeds will go to the Camp Brooklyn Fund, which former Borough President Marty Markowitz created for kids from low-income households to attend sleep-away camp.

Courier Life Publications’ senior account executive Stephanie Stellaccio and administrative assistant Jennifer Stern organized the gala.

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