NPR’s Ophira Eisenberg Keynote Speaker at Brooklyn’s 2015 Women of Distinction Awards

We honor Brooklyn’s best and brightest women

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BEEP BEEP: Borough President Adams addresses the crowd.
A NOTE ON KEY: Comedian, Keynote Speaker and Park Slope resident Ophira Eisenberg of National Public Radio’s “Ask Me Another” (which is recorded in Brooklyn), left the audience in stitches. And now, on to the honorees.
Jean P. Alexander: West Indian American Day Carnival Association volunteer, with CNG Vice President of Advertising Ralph D’Onofrio.
Shelly Della Rocco: “Mayor” who leads outings for the handicapped, with Sales Associate and Women of Distinction coordinator Stephanie Stellaccio.
Ericka Medina: Reproductive health educator mentors at-risk kids, with Tarley.
Diana Rafailova: Senior center founder makes elders matter, with Women of Distiction Coordinator Jennifer Stern.
Dr. Laura D’Onofrio: Veterinarian keeps Brooklyn’s furry and four-legged friends healthy, with Stellaccio.
Irene LoRe: Aunt Suzie’s restaurateur pioneered the economic revival of Park Slope, with Luster.
Laura McKenna: Sheepshead Bay volunteer was a community lifeline after Hurricane Sandy, with CNG Classifieds Sales Manager Amanda Tarley.
Theresa Scavo: Gravesend civic leader improves Brooklyn’s quality of life, with Stern.
Gina Argano: “Ms. Zumba Lady,” who helps children in need, with D’Onofrio.
Sanna Ezri: Millennium Theater director casts spotlight on Brooklyn, with Stellaccio.
Dr. Karen L. Gould: Brooklyn College president sets the stage for the borough’s movie-making comeback, with Publisher Clifford Luster.
Joan Millman: Retired assemblywoman authored 58 bills that became law, with Tarley.
Malika Shagaraeva: Mental-health expert helps Superstorm Sandy victims, with Stern.
Maureen O’Malley-Byrnes: Irish step dance instructor, with D’Onofrio.
Jacqueline Florio: Senior center program director takes members’ recreation seriously, with Stellaccio.
Denise McLean: Prospect Park Zoo director fosters our bond with nature, with Luster.
Diana Nelson: Minister helps to nourish the body and spirit, with Tarley.
Sharon Content: Helps children of the incarcerated, with D’Onofrio.
Debra Friedman: Healthcare chief executive officer makes sure New Yorkers are healthy and in good hands, with Stellaccio.
Marianne Nicolosi: Elder care expert’s advocacy is golden, with Tarley.
Limor Ziarno and Sylvia Uziel: Co-owners of four Edible Arrangement boost the local economy, with Stellaccio, left, and Stern, right.

“The question isn’t who’s going to let me, it’s who is going to stop me,” famously said late American novelist Ayn Rand, who should have been at our women of distinction awards night to see some fierce females get their dues.

Courier Life Publications and Community News Group honored 25 of the borough’s best and brightest during a June 10 gala at Sirico’s Caterers in Dyker Heights, the accolades capping our 2015 Brooklyn’s Women of Distinction magazine, which came out last month and profiled honorees whose ranks included volunteers, executives, small business owners, and animal experts.

The honorees — nominated by their peers and selected by independent judges — were picked for turning simple workdays into exceptional opportunities to improve our lives and advance Brooklyn, claimed the publishing giant’s president, Jennifer Goodstein, who was master of ceremonies.

“These are the women who are shaping our borough and influencing our present and future,” she said. “Whether volunteers, government officials, or business owners, they bring their own unique skills to improve Brooklyn.”

Their stories were inspiring: A retired homeowner became a leading civic activist — on a dare. A microbiologist gave up her globe-trotting career to minister to impoverished Brooklynites. A dance teacher took it upon herself to fulfill the holiday wishes of 600 children.

Their combined efforts contributed to raising public consciousness about important issues, remarked keynote speaker and Park Sloper Ophira Eisenberg, a stand-up comic, writer, and host of National Public Radio’s hit trivia comedy show “Ask Me Another,” which is recorded in the borough.

“I am moved by the women’s commitment to their communities and their desire to constantly help other people,” said Eisenberg after bringing the house down with her comic stylings.

The event was coordinated by senior account executive Stephanie Stellaccio, with help from administrative assistant Jennifer Stern.

Check out a PDF version of our 2015 Brooklyn’s Women of Distinction magazine here. Our online round-up, with videos of each recipient, is located here.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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