The Bronx Times Reporter played host to the news organization’s eighth annual 25 Bronx Influential Women awards event.
At this year’s awards gala, at Maestro’s Caterers on Wednesday, June 29, women who have made a volunteer commitment to making the borough a better place were honored and given a chance to shine in the spotlight and speak about their accomplishments.
The event started with a dinner that was immediately followed by opening remarks from Mistress of Ceremonies Jennifer Goodstein, Community News Group president and publisher, who is co-owner of the Bronx Times and CNG with Les Goodstein, the CEO.
Jennifer Goodstein said that the women being honored were a dynamic Bronx resource nominated by an independent panel.
“Their stories are truly inspiring,” she said of the women.
She offered thanks to the New York Yankees, the event’s sponsor.
After Goodstein and Bronx Times publisher Laura Guerriero made their remarks, welcoming the honorees and their entourages of well wishers, the keynote speaker, Civil Court Judge Bahaati Pitt, addressed the room.
Pitt referred to a popular quotation about how women multiply and enlarge whatever is given to them.
Pitt said that the event was one that brings together two things she strongly identifies with personally: being a woman and being a Bronxite.
This year’s honorees were: Sara Bonizio, Metro Optics; Selma Arzu-Brown, Boogie Down Grind Café; Lorriane Corsa, attorney-at-law and The Columbian Lawyers; Carolina Di Fuccia, G&R Deli owner and Our Lady of Mount Carmel volunteer; Josephine Fanelli, St. Theresa School, principal and Forum of Italian American Educators president; Bernadette Ferrara, Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance president. Lourdes Melendez-Gamez, Confetti Kids owner; Roberta Gjonaj, school nurse/ Registered Nurse; Kerry Lee, Montefiore; Melissa Libran, Windows of Hip Hop; Ana Melendez, Nos Quedamos; Carolyn Murphy, Country Bank; Mary Murray, National Council of Negro Women; Karen Raushauser Nani, the Island Current newspaper; Yasmin Cruz-Otero, Image Marketing; Milagros Baez O’Toole, Acacia Network and Bronx Lebanon; Dana Carotenuto Rico, Senator Jeff Klein’s chief of staff; Tamara Rivera, New York District Council of Carpenters Council; Frances Ann Rodriquez, Roberto Clemente State Park; Maria Rodriguez, Argus Community, Inc.; Melissa Salguero, P.S. 48/Joseph R. Drake Elementary School; Carolyn Luella Smith, BronxNet; Marlene Taylor, Montefiore; Evelyn Torres, Foxy Family and Dr. Valerie Washington, Bronx Children’s Museum.
Nani, who is a volunteer newspaper editor at the Island Current, used her time at podium urging the audience to support community newspapers.
Dana Carotenuto Rico said she grew up in Throggs Neck and felt especially honored to be recognized by her community paper.
An ovation was given to Murray, who at nearly 80, still takes three buses to a job in the court system she has held for five decades.
The selection committee was Rosemary DeLuca of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Anna Vincenty, formerly of Nos Quedamos and Congressman Jose Serrano’s office; Lisa Sorin, Westchester Square Business Improvement District; Geri Sciortino of Bronx Design Group; and Elizabeth Figueroa of the New York Botanical Garden.
See photo spread in next week’s publication.