Dan’s Power Women of the East End 2023 Honorees Toasted
Hundreds of supporters celebrated Dan’s Papers’ annual Power Women of the East End honorees during a special summer soiree on Thursday, August 3 at The Muses in Southampton.
Power Women of the East End honors those fearless females who make the Hamptons and the North Fork the thriving and vibrant region it is to work, live and do business.
Honorees ranged from attorneys to architects, engineers to leaders in special education, nonprofits to real estate, education to finance and a wide range of entrepreneurs.
Dawn Amato, of Paws of War, who attended with her service dog Peaches, served in the military for nearly 22 years.
The embodiment of courage, commitment and caring, of service provided and sought when needed, she talked about how important it is to help others and seek help.
“I ran into a veteran friend of mine. I was his sergeant,” she said at the event. “He knew I wasn’t the same. So I went to the VA.”
Amato began volunteering for Paws of War, a Nesconset group that places shelter dogs to serve and provide independence to U.S. military veterans.
“I fell in love with volunteering,” Amato said. “I didn’t’ know I needed a dog until I figured it out.”
A school bus driver, she drives special needs children in the Sachem school district. Amato these days also is trying to get all necessary entities to approve service dogs on these buses.
“She’s a true service dog,” Amato said of Peaches. “It’s going to take some red tape.”
ALLIANCES AND AWARDS
Schneps Media, publishers of the Dan’s Papers, Behind the Hedges and the Long Island Press, is proud to bring together the most extraordinary women to connect, support one another, do business and build community.
Schneps Media founder Vicki Schneps told the story of how she started with $250, creating what became an organization with 91 media outlets. And honorees got a chance to tell their story as well as announce developments in their business.
While many met for the first time, some described partnerships with each other that would grow their business.
Britt and Nancy Burner, founders of Burner Law Group, P.C., unveiled a new name for the firm as it expands. “We’re very proud to announce our firm will soon be Burner Prudenti Law,” Britt Burner said.
Nancy Burner called their trust and estate firm, with offices from Manhattan to East Hampton, “probably largest all female owned law firm in the tri-state area.” It’s getting bigger as the Hon. Gail Prudenti, founding member of Mediation Solutions, NY, LLC, joins the firm.
“We really believe in empowering women,” Nancy Burner said before looking at the other honorees. “All of you, I can see already, are amazing. And I’m really proud to be part of this group.”
One hundred percent of the evening’s raffle proceeds, totaling $3,550, went to support the New York Cancer Foundation, matching a good cause with a good event and the good energy.
“We are raising money tonight for the cancer foundation,” Vicki Schneps said. “Every dollar goes to the foundation.”
Lisa Golden, founding partner of Golden Hirschorn, started her firm in 2010 after doing legal work mostly for Fortune 50 companies.
“I realized one day, I didn’t feel I was adding anything,” she said. “I felt I was moving assets from one column to another and not leaving anything.”
She and a partner co-founded Golden Hirschorn, a full-service law firm which she said focuses on the Long Island community, helping business owners start and grow their business.
Her three daughters attended the event. which blended celebration with inspiration.
“I’m privileged to have them be here to see what women helping women can accomplish,” she said.
Honorees receive their Schneps Media star pin to become an official Star Networking member during the VIP Power Hour. But some were familiar with other types of stars well.
Bonnie Comley, the CEO of Broadway HD, is accustomed to doing business involving Broadway stars. Broadway HD is a streaming service for Broadway shows.
She also produces Broadway shows and is co-producer of Once Upon a One More Time, the Britney Spears musical at the Marquis Theatre. Comley serves as the Board President of the Drama League.
“As a business owner in my tenth year, I was well aware of the statistics for starting a new business,” she said. “Sixty percent of all businesses fold within the first year and the next year about 75 percent. If you make it into your third or fourth year, you’re on solid ground.”
She is the recipient of the Actors Fund Medal of Honor, The Drama League Special Contribution to the Theater Award, The Paul Newman Award from Arts Horizons and The Theater Museum Distinguished Service Award.
The Music Theatre Program at Boston University is named in her honor, The Musical Theatre Society Room at Emerson College bears her name, the 500-seat theater at the University of Massachusetts Lowell is known as the Comley-Lane Theatre, and The Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley Stage is housed in the Booth Arts Complex in Boston.
While honorees stepped into the spotlight to tell their stories, Comley, like many others, took a moment to thank Schneps Media, as well as founder Vicki Schneps.
“$250, 91 publications,” Comley said of money Schneps used to start her company. “I am tipping my hat to Vicky Schneps.”
Guests mingled with honorees and sponsors during the ultimate networking event, providing examples of leadership in action.
Michele S. Mirman, senior partner at Mirman Markovits & Landau PC, said she fights “for people who can’t fight for themselves.”
“We take them from the very beginning, hold their hands through the entire process,” Mirman, who has been practicing law since 1977, said.
She noted she and her firm have represented over 20,000 people through their offices in Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester and New York City.
“I started the firm in 1991. We survived the World Trade Center (attack), we survived Sandy, we survived the pandemic,” she said. “I’m certain we’re going to continue to be here and grow.
When women support women, amazing things happen. And many at the event talked about rising in at-the-time male dominated industries.
Renu D’Allesandro, a hall-of-famer and Jovia’s chief marketing officer, said she has been in banking and financial services for the last two and a half decades.
D’Allesandro talked about “growing up in financial services” and “sitting in a board room full of men,” only to see more women rise in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
“The thing that has really gotten me past that are women like you,” D’Allesandro said. “They’re peers, colleagues that really stand by you. They allow you to have a voice. No matter what goes on, whatever chatter is going on in the Board room, they want to make you shine. We are all here for that reason, to pick each other up.”
She noted the importance of get-togethers honoring women and uniting them for networking.
“I love this type of event,” she said. “I love that everyone gets together, cherishes and meets each other.”
Sponsoring the event were Broadway HD, Serene Home Nursing Agency, Gordon Rees Scully Mansukahni, LLP, Jovia, Paws of War, Meycorr, New York Cancer Foundation, Long Island Cares, Grande Cosmetics, Hamptons Fashion Week, DCG Media,Golden Hirschhorn LLP, The Community Spirit Co., The Pale, Tate’s Cookies, and Dan’s Papers.
Honorees spanned business, professions, the arts and nonprofits, often touching many lives along the way.
Neela Mukherjee Lockel, president and CEO of EAC Network, said her group works with people across their life span. “Our mission is to help people in need when they need it the most,” she said.
Jameson McWilliams, founding partner of Crouch McWilliams Law Group PLLC, said she grew up in Southampton and was “happy to be here in this room full of powerful women.”
She announced that she had also just accepted a position as deputy town attorney for the town of East Hampton.
“I’ll still have my practice,” she said. “My partner will do the town of
Easthampton. I’ll do the other municipalities.”
And Ronnette Riley, principal and owner of Ronnette Riley Architect, has grown her business to 30 architects, including about 75 percent who are women and 65 percent who are people of color.
Current projects include a senior center in East Hampton and a children’s Headstart facility in Riverhead among others.
“It is tough,” she said of being a woman in architecture. “It’s been wonderful to be a mentor to others.”
She said she needed to leave early, because she waited for a year to get a chance to present a client’s project to a zoning board. “Tonight’s my appointment,” she said. “I’m waiting to see when I’m being called.”
While some women talked about expanding their business, many women also talked about pivoting, going from one career to another.
Jacqueline Murphy, an award-winning actress, producer, screenwriter, director and a registered nurse discussed transitioning from nursing.
“I don’t practice anymore, but I started out as a nurse many years ago,” she said of a career that began working with children with special needs on Long Island.
She went from being a nurse to playing nurses in soap operas and then launching her own work. “I started creating my own projects,” she said, noting she has written, directed and starred in projects.
“I’m having a blast,” Murphy said. “Congratulations on your incredible careers and everything you do for the community.”
Dan’s Power Women of the East End
Dawn Amato, Paws of War
Cynthia Barrett, Broker, Brown Harris Stevens
Britt Burner, Esq., Partner, Burner Law Group, P.C
Nancy Burner, Esq., Founder, Burner Law Group, P.C
Cheryl Cameron, Vice President, Metro Division, Unified Door & Hardware Group
Judiann Carmack-Fayyaz, Director of FoodLab Education, Stony Brook University
Sarah Churchill, Principal, North Star Engineering, PLLC
Tisha Collette, Founder Collette Luxury Consignment
Bonnie Comley, Founder, BroadwayHD
Therese Corriente, Owner, MeyCorr LLC (Hall of Fame)
Renu Dalessandro, Chief Marketing Officer, Jovia Financial Credit Union (Hall of Fame)
Rachel Dalton, President, BrideLux
Joan Deignan, Special Education Teacher, Advocate
Jillian Griffiths Franzone, President, Griffiths Property Management Inc. (Hall of Fame)
Palmer Gaget, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Douglas Elliman
Sherrie Glasser, Co-Owner and Founder, Metro Physical and Aquatic Therapy
Lisa Golden, Founding partner, Golden Hirschhorn LLP
Alicia Grande, Founder & CEO, Grande Cosmetics
Eileen Hattersley, Founder & President, Labradoodles of Long Island
Dr. Jerilyn Kronen, Psychologist
Neela Mukherjee Lockel, MSW, MPA, President and CEO, EAC Network (Hall of Fame)
Irene Manolias, Owner & CEO, Serene Home Nursing Agency
Misty Marris, Managing Partner/On-Air TV Legal Analyst, Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, LLP
Jameson McWilliams, Founding Partner, Crouch McWilliams Law Group PLLC
Alexis Meadows, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, NoFo Real Estate, LLC
Michele S. Mirman, Esq, Mirman, Markovits & Landau, P.C.
Jacqueline Murphy, Award-Winning Actress, Producer, Screenwriter, Director
Brianna Ottati, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Douglas Elliman
Liz Parry, Owner & Founder, Hamptons Swim (Hall of Fame)
Eva Pearson, Associate Director of External Affairs, New York Institute of Technology
Hon. A. Gail Prudenti, Founding Member, Mediation Solutions NY, LLC.
Natalie Rebuck, Owner and Principal Designer, Re: Design Architects
Ronnette Riley, Principal, Owner, Ronnette Riley Architect (Hall of Fame)
Dee Rivera, CEO, DCG Media Group
Dr. Jessica Rosati, VP for Programs, Long Island Cares (Hall of Fame)
Melissa Rose, M. A., Vice President & Creative Director, Marketing Works
Sandra K. Schoenbart, Producer, Host, Actress ~ Café with Sandra K., Sandra K, Inc. (Hall of Fame)
Katie Duffy Schumacher, Founder, President, Author, Don’t Press Send Inc.
Ramona Singer, Entrepreneur, Listing Agent of Douglas Elliman, TV Personality
Alycia Steelman, Founder and CEO, Ascension Educational Consulting and Travel Network
Mona Sterling, SterlingRisk
Tina Toulon, Executive Director, New York Cancer Foundation (Hall of Fame)
Maggie Vavrica, Principal, North Star Engineering, PLLC
JoAnn Vitale, Rise Life Services
Karen L. Weiss, Managing Partner, Levitt LLP
Hon. Gail Prudenti