Long Island’s Most Powerful Women in Business Honored

Nearly 650 people gathered to celebrate as women business and community leaders were honored at the Long Island Power Women in Business Awards and Networking Event also raising $2,500 for three local causes on Nov. 30 at Leonard’s Palazzo in Great Neck.

Honorees each took turns sharing the inspiration for their transformative work before mingling with friends, families and colleagues at the posh catering hall. Each then strutted her stuff down a catwalk to receive their award statue from Press co-publisher Victoria Schneps-Yunis.

“Being part of a group of women like this, with so much passion about what they do in life, both personally and professionally, was such an honor for me,” said Suzanne Brienza, Director of Meter Services for PSEG Long Island. “The energy you feel from powerful women makes you feel unstoppable. I am most proud of being part of an organization like PSEG Long Island, which values the development and promotion of women while providing me with the flexibility to be a mom to my three children.”

Click here to view a photo gallery from the event

Among this year’s special honorees were Nassau County Executive-elect Laura Curran; Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas; Linda Armyn, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Bethpage Federal Credit Union, who received the Community Leadership Award; Donna Drake, host of “Live It Up With Donna Drake on WLNY-TV;” “Dynamic Duo” Geri Gregor and Lisa Rispoli of Grassi & Co.; Jessica Kalra, attorney with David Gallo & Associates, LLP, who received the Diversity Champion Award; and Dr. Chetachi Nwoga-Ecton, CEO and President of the When in Need Foundation, who received the Hall of Fame/Global Giving Award.

Raffle proceeds were donated to the nonprofit Family & Children’s Association, The Retreat, a nonprofit that helps domestic violence survivors, and Metavivor, which raises funds for metastatic breast cancer research.

“We’re all about the women,” said honoree Juliana Curran Terian, President and CEO of Rallye Auto Group.” We want you to have an easier, softer, sweeter way when you have your car serviced, when you’re buying a car.”

The awards gave the honorees a moment to reflect on their successes.

“My most proud, successful accomplishment is that I’m the mother of five women,” said honoree Silvana Scotto, the self-described “Queen of fun,” proprietor of the Sagamore Bridge Club and woman behind several other ventures.

Others were profusely thankful.

“I am so touched that the leadership at Parker Jewish Institute for Health Cared and Rehabilitation nominated me for this award,” said Maureen Schneider, RN and Director of Corporate Admissions at the New Hyde Park-based Parker Jewish Institute. “It has been a pleasure, and a blessing in my life to work with such dedicated and professional people, whose only mission is to give quality care to our patients and residents.”

One honoree best summed up the the theme of the night — keeping the charitable holiday spirit alive year round.

“Every day is a good day just as long as we’re helping someone,” said Linda Armyn, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Bethpage Federal Credit Union, who received the Community Leadership Award.

This year’s 2017 Power Women honorees were:

Tara Anglim LCSW-R, ACHP-SW, Associate Director Palliative Care, Peconic Bay Medical Center-Northwell Health

MaryAnn Benzola , Director of Marketing, Custom Computer Specialists, Inc.

Suzanne Brienza, Director of Meter Services, PSEG Long Island

Anne Brigis, President & CEO, YMCA Long Island

Lisa Burch, VP & Chief Operating Officer, Family and Children’s Association

Nicole M. DeMichael-Cadena, Senior Vice President, Commercial Team Leader, Mid-Corporate Banking | HSBC Bank USA

Lisa A. Cairo, Partner, Jaspan Schlesinger, LLP

Pina M.Campagna, Partner, Carter, Deluca, Farrell, & Schmidt, LLP

Suzanne Chimera, Co-Founder, Hair We Share

Marian Conway, Ph.D., Executive Director, New York Community Bank Foundation

Joy DeDonato, Executive Director, Nassau Community College Foundation

Rhonda Pierson-Delorenzo, Vice President, Branch Manager, Flushing Bank

Dr. Sheetal Desai, Owner, Dynamic Physical Therapy & Rehab Services

Denise M. Faltischek, Executive Vice President, The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.

Maria Themistocleous-Frey, Founder & President, Executive Consultants of New York, Corp. & The ECNY Foundation

Karen C. Green, President, Karen C. Green Communications, Inc.

Katy Greene, Founder & CEO, Greene Digital Marketing LLC

Susan Hamblen, Real Estate Broker & Owner, Exit Realty Achieve

Tina Handras, SVP Retail Market Manager, Investors Bank

Eileen Hattersley, President and Breeder, Labradoodles of Long Island

Mary C. Hodge, Coordinator of Community-Based Day Hab and Head Coach of the Nassau Thunderbolts Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County

Patricia Clements Jaquay, Mortgage Loan Originator #1214012, American Advisors Group

Manda Kalimian, Founder, Cana Foundation

Heather A. Kollar, CEO, h2o cleanse

Dr. Karen Michele Kostroff, Chief, Breast Surgery, Northwell Health System

Lisa La Macchia, Senior Market Manager, VP, People’s United Bank

Jennine Rochlin Leale, CEO, HRPRO Consulting Services, LLC

Barbara Lehrer, Founder & President, The Beacon Group

Lisa Mirabile, Founder & CEO, Vertigo Media Group

Maureen Tara Nelson, CEO, MTN Matchmaking, Inc.

Wynne Nowland, Chairwoman & CEO, Bradley & Parker Insurance

Hillary Peckham, Chief Operations Officer, Etain, LLC.

Claudia Pilato, VP, Director of Marketing, Bridgehampton National Bank

Melissa Rose, VP of Marketing, Marketing Works

Silvana Scotto, Founder & President, Sagamore Bridge Club of Long Island

Maureen Schneider, RN, Director of Corporate Admissions, Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care & Rehabilitation

Tina Shah, President & CEO, Sterling Enterprise Corp.

Dee Lakhani Shravah, MetaBash Fundraiser Founder, Dee-termined.org

Juliana Curran Terian, President & CEO, Rallye Motors

Andrea Tsoukalas, Attorney, Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana, LLP

Alissa L.Van Horn, Managing Partner, Van Horn & Friedman, P.C.

Carolyn Reinach Wolf, Executive Partner & Director, Mental Health Law Practice, Abrams Fensterman

Sponsors of the event include platinum sponsor Rallye Auto Group, PSEG Long Island, Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation, Bethpage Federal Credit Union, Investors Bank, Bradley & Parker, Sagamore Bridge Club, Flushing Bank, Greene Digital Marketing, Bridgehampton National Bank, Carter Deluca Farrell & Schmidt llp, National Grid, Raich Ende Malter & Co. LLP , People’s United Bank, Etain, Dynamic Physical Therapy & Rehab Services, P.C., Godiva, Bodian Dermatology, Daily News, Medcast and Sandwire. The event was hosted by the Long Island Press and Schneps Communications Events.

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An interview with LongIslandPress.com

Women diagnosed with stage four breast cancer are twice as likely to survive this year, research shows, prompting Long Island survivors to step up much-needed fundraising for research into the incurable disease. 

The five-year survival rate for women ages 15-49 diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) will double from 18 percent to 36 percent this year, according to a study published last month by the American Association for Cancer Research. The trend inspired several local women to not only hold fundraisers, but also work to raise awareness to the issue.

“I’ve realized that people just don’t know what stage four breast cancer is,” said Dee Lakhani Shravah, a 41-year-old stage four breast cancer survivor from Syosset. “People don’t know what Metastatic disease is. So for me, awareness has become the primary goal.”

The study showed that 154,794 women in the US will live with MBC—cancer that spreads from the breast to other parts of the body—this year, an increase of 17 percent from 2000 to ‘10. The rate is expected to increase by 31 percent from ‘10 to ‘20.

“The increasing burden of MBC highlights the importance of documenting recurrence to foster more research into the specific needs of this understudied population,” the study states.

Shravah was diagnosed with de novo metastatic breast cancer—stage four breast cancer on first diagnosis—in December 2015. That’s when she learned first-hand the need to raise awareness and paired with research driven nonprofit Metavivor—short for Metastatic survivor—to hold an event that raised $29,400 for Metastatic Breast Cancer research on May 23 in Manhattan. The money donated by the 150 people that attended the event goes to Metavivor who also funds research in the under-developed area.

Although more women will live passed the struggles they face in the ever-constant battle with MBC, research funding for this niche area of cancer is slim in comparison to the amount of money put toward cancer research for stages 1-3. There is no cure for MBC, only procedures to mitigate its effects. 

Rebecca Timlin-Scalera, a 44-year-old neuropsychologist from Norwalk, Conn., noticed this lack of funding in the short time she had stage four breast cancer before her re-diagnosis to stage three. Upon further investigation, she found that less than 7 percent of all funding towards cancer research goes to MBC research, according to the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network. She also noted that this is the only kind that is truly fatal.

“It’s really hard not to be angry about it,” Timlin-Scalera said. “But my approach is not to be angry and just to do something proactive and positive about it, which is what I’m doing.”

This pushed her to create The Cancer Couch Foundation, a privately funded, nonprofit organization that fundraises money to allot grants to scientists who study MBC.

Beyond funding and awareness problems, those with MBC also feel excluded from the breast cancer empowerment movement. The month of October may mean pink empowerment to those with stages 1-3 breast cancer, but it usually does not highlight those with metastatic breast cancer.

Jennifer Rindos, a 48-year-old teacher living with MBC from Hicksville, feels like a minority in the otherwise inclusive movement. When she found she was not alone in that feeling, she was inspired to her start a local support group run by those with MBC through Metavivor.

“We don’t fit in with other women who have breast cancer,” Rindos said. “There’s no ringing of the bell at the last chemo – there’s none of that. We have to go about our lives in treatment until our time comes, which is much sooner.”

Although her disease could hinder her lifestyle, she tends to look passed that and see what she can do to stay enjoy every moment of her life. She began practicing deep breathing exercises and yoga to keep her calm and under control in times of worry. Ultimately, she found herself at peace.

“There’s something about knowing that you could die any day brings you a whole new level of gratitude and understanding,” Rindos said.

Support groups for those with Metastatic Breast Cancer through Metavivor can be found here