THANK YOU to our Gala Chairs, Honorees and Presenters for helping to make the 2021 Gala a Success! Meet them here!!

Honorary Gala Chair

Loreen Arbus, President, The Loreen Arbus Foundation and Loreen Arbus Productions, Inc.
Honorary Gala Co-Chair

Marcy Syms, President, Sy Syms Foundation; Advisory Board, The ERA Project at Columbia Law School
Honorary Gala Co-Chair

Deborah Santana, Founder, Do A Little Fund; Social and Peace Activist, Author & Producer


Kluane Adamek, Assembly of First Nations

Photo by Alistair Maitland Photography

Kluane Adamek (traditional name is “Aagé”) has served as Canada’s Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Yukon Regional Chief since January 2018. Regional Chief Adamek holds the AFN National Portfolios for Climate Change and the Environment, Youth and Modern Treaties, and continues to press for changes in the ways young people and the next generation are included in decision making forums.

LaTosha Brown, Black Voters Matter

The Dorothy Height Champion for Civil Rights Honoree: LaTosha Brown is the Co-Founder of Black Voters Matter, Black Voters Matter Fund and Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute. These initiatives are designed to boost Black voter registration and turnout, as well as increase power in marginalized, predominantly Black communities. She is also a nationally recognized, “go-to” expert in Black Voting Rights and Voter Suppression, Black Women’s Empowerment, and Philanthropy. 

Ting Ting Cheng, ERA Project @ Columbia Law School

The Marcy Syms Leader for Gender Equality Honoree: Ting Ting Cheng is the Director of The ERA Project at Columbia Law School’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, a law and policy think tank established in January 2021 to develop academically rigorous research, policy papers, expert guidance, and strategic leadership on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution, and on the role of the ERA in advancing the larger cause of gender-based justice. As a civil rights attorney and activist, Ms. Cheng previously litigated gender discrimination cases at Legal Momentum, the Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Kylie Hunts-in-Winter, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

TEEN VOICES HONOREE: Kylie Hunts-in-Winter is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and a veteran activist who has created an ever-expanding movement called “Brave Woman” which empowers women, especially those in Native American Communities, through training in martial arts. She is also a board member and chief youth lobbyist for the Indigenous Peoples’ Initiative, which is advocating for Indigenous Peoples’ Day to replace Columbus Day. 

Patrisha McLean, Finding Our Voices

Patrisha McLean is a photojournalist and human rights activist and the founder/president of Finding Our Voices, a non-profit organization based in Maine that marshals survivors’ faces and voices to boldly and creatively break the silence of domestic abuse. McLean is a 29-year survivor of physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse, with her own silence broken in the most public way possible in 2016 with worldwide headlines over the domestic violence arrest of her celebrity husband (Don).

Karine Jean-Pierre, White House Principal Deputy Secretary

The Edie Windsor Champion for LGBT Equality Award: Karine Jean-Pierre serves as the White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary for the Biden Administration. She is the first openly gay woman and second Black woman to give a press briefing from the White House. Previously, she served as the Senior Advisor to President-Elect Joe Biden and Chief of Staff to Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris on the Biden-Harris Campaign. Prior to her role on the campaign, she served as Chief Public Affairs Officer for and an NBC and MSNBC Political Analyst.

Sophie Poldermans, Sophie’s Women of War

Sophie Poldermans is the founder of “Sophie’s Women of War,” an organization that sheds light on women leaders in times of conflict, crisis and change. She is a best-selling author, international speaker, lecturer and consultant on women and war, women’s leadership and business innovation advocating for women’s rights around the globe. Poldermans is the author of the New York Post & Amazon best seller Seducing and Killing Nazis. Hannie, Truus and Freddie: Dutch Resistance Heroines of WWII (USA, 2019).

Tracey E. Vitchers, It’s On Us

Tracey E. Vitchers is a non-profit executive, Democratic political advisor, and nationally recognized expert on sexual violence prevention and survivor advocacy. Tracey currently serves as the Executive Director of It’s On Us, a nonprofit founded in 2014 as an initiative of the Obama-Biden Administration to combat campus sexual assault through peer-to-peer prevention education programs and activating the largest student organizing program of its kind. 

Devika Bulchandani, Ogilvy North America

Devika Bulchandani is the Chief Executive Officer of Ogilvy North America and Global Chairwoman of Advertising. Ms. Bulchandani is deeply devoted to social causes that promote equality, diversity and inclusiveness. She is a founding member of Times Up Advertising, where she has tirelessly championed equality for women in advertising, particularly for women of color. To mark International Women’s Day in 2019, Devika brought together her industry peers for a discussion in partnership with NYWICI, AAF and Bloomberg Media that featured the pioneering women of Madison Avenue. In 2017, she was named “Working Mothers of the Year” by She Runs It and is also a previous recipient of the AdColor Innovator Award.

Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Nuyorican Productions

Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas is an American film producer and the President at Goldsmith-Thomas Productions. As one of the few female Hollywood film producers, she has represented such prominent artists such as Julia Roberts , Jennifer Lopez , Jennifer Connelly , and  Susan Sarandon. Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Jennifer Lopez currently serve as co-presidents of film and television production company Nuyorican Productions. In June 2021, Netflix announced a multi-year first look deal with Nuyorican Productions to produce a slate of films, television series, scripted and unscripted content, with an emphasis on projects that support diverse female actors, writers and filmmakers.

Dr. Michele Bratcher Goodwin, Chancellor’s Professor at the University of California, Irvine.

Dr. Michele Bratcher Goodwin s a Chancellor’s Professor at the University of California, Irvine with appointments at the School of Law; Program in Public Health; Department of Criminology, Law, & Society; Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies; and Center for Psychology and Law. She is also the founder and director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy at UC Irvine School of Law and its internationally acclaimed Reproductive Justice Initiative. An award-winning author, her publications appear across five books and more than one hundred law review articles, book chapters, and commentaries. Her opinion editorials and commentaries can be found in the New York Times, LA Times,, Politico, Forbes, the Christian Science Monitor and other platforms.

Sydney Montgomery, S. Montgomery Admissions Consulting

Sydney Montgomery, is CEO of S. Montgomery Admissions Consulting, which specializes in helping first-generation and minority college and law school applicants. At 27, Ms. Montgomery is one of the only prominent women of color in the law school admissions consulting industry. A graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law, Sydney works to dismantle systemic racism in education, pushing counselors and universities to be culturally competent through published articles, speaking engagements, and the College Equity Index. She also empowers women, especially women of faith, to be ambitious in pursuing higher education and entrepreneurship that benefits social good.

Kimberly Peeler-Allen, Higher Heights of America

Kimberly Peeler-Allen is the Co-founder of Higher Heights for America, a national organization building the political power and leadership of Black women from the voting booth to elected office. Ms. Peeler-Allen and her Co-Founder Glynda Carr have built Higher Heights from an idea on the back of a placemat into a network of over 90,000 members, donors and activists across the country that have helped elect 10 Black women to Congress, 1 Black woman to the US Senate and grow the number of Black women in statewide executive office and leading our nation’s largest cities.

Marcie Roth, World Institute on Disability

Marcie Roth is WID’s Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer. Active in the Independent Living movement since 1982, Marcie has served in senior and executive leadership roles for national and global disability advocacy and public policy organizations since 1995, establishing, supporting and leading coalitions committed to operationalizing disability inclusion as an intersectional imperative for global social justice. Marcie was subsequently appointed by President Obama to the U.S Department of Homeland Security – Federal Emergency Management Agency from 2009 to 2017, where she served as Senior Advisor to the Administrator.

Assembly Member Rebecca A. Seawright

Assembly Member Rebecca A. Seawright represents the Upper East Side, Yorkville and Roosevelt Island in New York’s 76th Assembly District. As the first woman to serve the district and since her election in 2014, she is known as a strong voice for over 133,000 constituents, securing over $15 million in funding for public schools, senior centers, parks and non-profits. Previously, she served in leadership as Secretary of the Majority conference, and as Chair of the Task Force on Women’s Issues. Her bills have been signed into law capping annual fees from lenders, implementing a study on consumer financial literacy, requiring health insurance policies to include 3-D Mammography at no cost to the consumer; encouraging greater representation of women on corporate boards; and identifying how many policy-making positions are held by women in the New York State Government. Inspired to renew the movement for the federal Equal Rights Amendment to guarantee that our rights are anchored in our State and US Constitutions, she authored and passed an Equal Rights Amendment to the New York State Constitution.

Nahid ShahalimiStand Up For Unity

Nahid Shahalimi is a human rights activist, artist, filmmaker, and an international consultant on gender. After being was forced to leave Afghanistan in 1985, she has travelled back 19 times across Afghanistan collecting inspiring stories of hope and courage from women who are great testaments of resilience, which she collated in her book, ‘Where courage bears the soul: We the women of Afghanistan’: Tales of courageous & inspiring Afghan women published in 2017 by Elisabeth Sandmann Publishing. Ms. Shahalimi is also the founder of the international campaign, “Stand Up For Unity” which promotes unity through diversity. The campaign travels around the world raising awareness by gaining endorsements from renowned figures including His Holiness Dalai Lama and others.

Lisa SharkeyHarperCollins Publishers

Lisa Sharkey is a SVP Director of Creative Development at HarperCollins Publishers. Over 50 of the books she has published have become bestsellers, including those written by women who have accomplished extraordinary things and changed the world by telling their stories including: The Dressmaker of Khair Khanaby Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall, and Beauty Sick, by Rene Englen, Ph. D.

Cynthia Richie TerrellRepresentWomen

Cynthia Richie Terrell is the founder and executive director of RepresentWomen, a founding member of the ReflectUS coalition, and an outspoken advocate for institutional reforms to advance women’s representation and leadership in the United States. Ms. Terrell and her husband Rob Richie helped to found FairVote – a nonpartisan champion of electoral reforms that give voters greater choice, a stronger voice, and a more representative democracy.

Mary Kim TitlaSan Carlos Apache Nation

Mary Kim Titla is a member of the San Carlos Apache Nation located in southeastern Arizona. A 20-year veteran TV News Reporter, (notably for KVOA in Tucson, where in 1987 she became the first Native American television journalist in Arizona, and later KPNX in Phoenix), she now serves as Executive Director for United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY), a national non-profit organization promoting youth leadership, citizenship and personal development among Native American youth. She also serves as a journalist for Women’s eNews’ new podcast series, ‘Indigenous Women Leaders Speak Out.”

Yasmin Vafa, Rights4Girls

Yasmin Vafa is co-founder and Executive Director of Rights4Girls. A human rights attorney and advocate, Ms. Vafa has successfully advocated for passage of several laws at the federal level, testified before the U.S. Senate and international human rights bodies, and has been recognized for her legislative advocacy by Congress. She is co-author of several reports, including The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: The Girls’ Story, which exposed the widespread criminalization of girls of color in the U.S. as a direct result of their victimization.

Brooke Warner, Publisher of She Writes Press and SparkPress

Brooke Warner is publisher of She Writes Press and SparkPress, president of Warner Coaching Inc., and author of Write On, Sisters!, Green-light Your Book, What’s Your Book?, and three books on memoir. Brooke is a TEDx speaker, weekly podcaster (of “Write-minded” with co-host Grant Faulkner of NaNoWriMo), and the former Executive Editor of Seal Press. She writes a monthly column for Publishers Weekly.


BREAKING GROUND’ FILM OF THE YEAR: “DISCLOSURE” is a Netflix original documentary that examines transgender depictions in film and television, revealing how Hollywood simultaneously reflects and manufactures society’s deepest anxieties about gender. Leading trans thinkers—including Laverne Cox, Lilly Wachowski, Yance Ford, Mj Rodriguez, Jamie Clayton and Chaz Bono—share their reactions and resistance to some of Hollywood’s most beloved moments. Grappling with films like “A Florida Enchantment,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” “The Crying Game” and “Boys Don’t Cry”—and with television shows including “The Jeffersons,” “The L-Word” and “Pose”—“Disclosure” traces the long, complex history of transgender representations across a range of media.

Director: Sam Feder; Producer: Amy Sholder; Executive Producers include Laverne Cox, S. Mona Sinha and Abigail Disney.

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