Borough’s 25 influential women honored by Bronx Times

Twenty of the 25 Bronx Influential Women pose at the ceremony after being honored.
Photo by Walter Pofeldt

Scavello’s on the Island hosted the Bronx Times Reporter’s’ 25 Bronx Influential Women of 2015 awards gala.

On Tuesday, June 30, the women were honored for their commitment, dedication and excellence.

The event began with a cocktail reception, followed by opening remarks by publisher Laura Guerriero, who proudly stated that the turnout of over 400 people was the most in the six years since the annual tradition was started by former publisher and current editor John Collazzi in 2010.

Community News Group president and publisher Jennifer Goodstein, who also acted as the Mistress of Ceremonies for the event, spoke on behalf of the Bronx Times in congratulating the 25 women who were selected by the event’s planning committee.

CEO Les Goodstein presented welcoming remarks and thanked the event’s primary sponsors, EmigrantMortgage and the New York Yankees.

Following keynote speaker Lenore Skenazy, the awards were ready to be presented to each of the 25 women by the planning committee members, Rosemary DeLuca from the Wildlife Conservation Society, Elizabeth Figueroa from the New York Botanical Garden, Geri Sciortino from the Bronx Design Group, Lisa Sorin from the Westchester Square BID and Anna Vincenty, a community activist.

This year’s 25 Bronx influential women are: Dr. Anita Vazquez Batisti, Nancy Biberman, Dr. Yvette Calderon, Michelle Centeno, Reverend Que English, Elizabeth Gill, Maribel Gonzalez, Barbara Robles-Gonzalez, Reverend Carmen Hernandez, Deborah Hunt, Judy Hutson, Debra Ann Jaffee, Professor Cynthia Jones, Bharati Sukul Kemraj, Nilka Martell, Susan O’Hanlon Mendogni, Denise Pagan, Naomi Pouchie, Dr. Lisa Anne Rizopoulos, the Honorable Fiordaliza A. Rodriguez, Judge Llinet Rosado, Wilma Tamayo, Rhina Valentin, Eva Yan and Loretta Zaino.

This group of influential women, which includes doctors, educators, judges and community activists, to name a few, all possessed qualities of being leaders and role models in the Bronx.

Each women was presented with a glass engraved trophy that read “commitment, dedication and excellence.” Despite the well-deserved honors the women received, each said that they were extremely humbled by the nomination.

“It was truly an honor to even be considered as one of the 25 Bronx influential women by the Bronx Times and the committee,” said Rosado, who was elected to the Civil Court Justice of Bronx County in 2012 and currently sits in Bronx Family Court where she presides over custody, visitation and family offense petitions. “When I was first informed that I was being honored, I was so excited that I bought 32 copies of the paper with the (25 Bronx influential women) insert so I could show everybody.”

“I’ve worked hard at what I do and I love what I do – so this honor is the cherry on top of everything,” said Valentin, BronxNet host of Open who is also a multi-award-winning comedic actress, TV personality, producer, dancer and writer.

“It’s an amazing feeling to know that you have an impact on people while serving the borough that you love, and being recognized by the Bronx Times and the committee is certainly an honor in itself.”

“This particular group of women is just remarkable,” said Yan, an optometrist who immigrated with her parents from British-ruled Hong Kong in 1967, before landing her first job at Metro Optics in 1982. “The time period of 33 years went so quickly, but it is such a wonderful honor to be chosen by the Bronx Times as well as the committee. I also have to thank my husband Michael, who owned Metro Optics when I first started and eventually offered me a business partnership opportunity with his second store – he’s always been there for me.”

The Bronx Times also sends a special thanks to Scavello’s on City Island, Jerome Florist and BronxNet for participating in the event.

Readers are invited to nominate women for the 2016 awards by contacting the Bronx Times.

Look for a photospread of the event in next week’s paper.

Reach Reporter Steven Goodstein at (718) 742–3384. E-mail him at

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