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An Unforgettable Celebration with Stellar Women Leaders

By Natasha Cline-Thomas*

What a night -- stellar honorees, uplifting words, the buzz of networking, and much food for thought! Our 2012 Making a Difference for Women Awards Dinner was an unforgettable series of encounters with exceptional leaders that started off our 30th anniversary with a bang. It began on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 6th at an eye-opening panel: Women 2012 – Taking a Worldwide Reading with leading experts held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The Awards Dinner held in the evening at Cipriani Wall Street featured outstanding honorees: Beth Brooke from E&Y; Anita Hill from Brandeis University; Soledad O’Brien from CNN; and Abigail Disney, Pamela Hogan, and Gini Reticker, co-creators of the PBS series Women, War & Peace.

Rather than the usual line-up of honorees and presenters speaking for 2 minutes each, four of the awardees sat down for a living-room-style frank and open exchange about leadership and finding courage with expert moderator and fellow honoree Soledad O’Brien (whom NCRW Board Chair Lucie Lapovsky termed our ‘hardest working honoree ever’).

Beth Brooke said it was important to speak out in the face of injustice every day, but to also choose the timing and audience wisely.  Anita Hill stressed authenticity and passion as key traits for women leaders, and said she never hesitated to speak out on what she felt was right. Abigail Disney highlighted that film can be a medium through which to capture the plight and triumphs of untold women’s stories worldwide.

A palpable buzz filled the room throughout the dinner portion of the ceremony and the energy picked up even more with the recognition of 30 outstanding women leaders in honor of NCRW’s 30th Anniversary led by Dinner co-Chairs and NCRW Board members Deborah Slaner Larkin and Kathleen Lundquist.

NCRW President Linda Basch quoted the great civil rights leader and educator Dorothy Height, ‘if the times aren’t ripe, you have to ripen the times.’ She concluded: “We believe we must ripen the times for women’s leadership to place our nation, and our world, on a more balanced, equitable, and sustainable course.”

At the end of the evening, guests had their pick of world reports and feminist literature – including Anita Hill’s latest book: Reimagining Equality – Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home – to take home as souvenirs of an unforgettable day.

To read more, view the FINAL PRESS RELEASE.

*Natasha Cline-Thomas is a senior at Barnard College and a Communications Intern at NCRW

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