The 2020 Women’s Power 100: 51-100

Women who have risen to prominence to lead the Empire State.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez John Minchillo/AP/Shutterstock

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51. Rachel Noerdlinger

Managing Director, Mercury

Rachel Noerdlinger’s most well-known client is the Rev. Al Sharpton, with whom she has worked for years and whom she accompanied at George Floyd’s memorial service. But the communications and public relations professional has also made her mark as a top aide to New York City first lady Chirlane McCray and as the owner of her own firm, Noerdlinger Media. She is now a managing partner at the public strategy firm Mercury. 

52. Candace Johnson

President and CEO, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Candace Johnson
Roswell Park

The Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of the premier cancer treatment centers in upstate New York, and under the leadership of Candace Johnson, it has enjoyed the renewal of the center’s selection as a National Cancer Institute-designated facility. At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo included the center as one of six facilities statewide in his federal request for faster automated testing.

53. Tyquana Henderson-Rivers

President, Connective Strategies

Tyquana Henderson-Rivers
TL Holmes

Tyquana Henderson-Rivers has been on a roll lately. The veteran political consultant delivered recent victories for Queens borough president candidate Donovan Richards, Assembly Members Jeffrion Aubry, Harry Bronson and Catherine Nolan, and Rep. Gregory Meeks. And prior to that, the owner of a fully Black women-run firm helped Melinda Katz win last year’s high-profile Queens district attorney race and assisted in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s successful 2018 reelection bid.

54. Lupe Todd-Medina

President, Effective Media Strategies

Lupe Todd-Medina
Regina Fleming Photography

Ace political consultant Lupe Todd-Medina has worked for several transformational clients over the years, including Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. Todd-Medina, who has also worked for New York County Defender Services and Assembly Member Jeffrion Aubry, does significant work in New York and New Jersey but also assists national campaigns, including with the Equal Rights Amendment Coalition.

55. Michele Cusack

Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Northwell Health

As the chief financial officer for Northwell Health, Michele Cusack has overseen much of the system’s dynamic business strategy. Cusack helped to lead a consolidation that resulted in Northwell’s expansion to 23 hospitals, making it the largest integrated health care system in New York. Northwell’s strong foundation made it possible to pivot once the coronavirus crisis struck, quickly expanding telehealth, and then bringing back elective surgical procedures earlier than anticipated.

56. Susan Arbetter

Host, “Capital Tonight," Spectrum News

Susan Arbetter
Spectrum News

Susan Arbetter made a name for herself as a go-to political news host at “The Capitol Pressroom” and, before that, “New York Now.” As host of “Capital Tonight,” the daily Spectrum News television program covering state government and politics, she has become a mainstay of the state’s political scene, and a must-do media interview for electeds, advocates and lobbyists looking to get things done in Albany.

57. Melva Miller

CEO, Association for a Better New York

Melva Miller
Dezirae Bradley

Melva Miller is the first CEO of the Association for a Better New York. Miller originally joined the organization in 2018 to lead its 2020 census efforts. She previously served as deputy borough president of Queens, created the Jamaica Now Action Plan and was a lead organizer of the Western Queens Tech Zone Strategic Plan, which produced a 5-year, $300,000 plan for equitable growth of the Queens tech ecosystem.

58. Diana Richardson

Assembly Member

Diana Richardson
New York State Assembly

This year, Assembly Member Diana Richardson faced a primary challenge from former state Sen. Jesse Hamilton – and trounced him handily with three-quarters of the vote. She has been out front fighting for more affordable housing in her community, an easier process for absentee voting and for police reforms. Along with an ally, state Sen. Zellnor Myrie, Richardson was recently successful in the renaming of two Brooklyn subway stations in honor of the civil rights leader Medgar Evers. 

59. Stacey Cunningham & Adena Friedman

President, New York Stock Exchange; President and CEO, Nasdaq

Stacey Cunningham

While Wall Street has historically been dominated by men, it hasn’t stopped these two women. As president of the New York Stock Exchange, Stacey Cunningham made the historic decision to close the NYSE on March 23 and move to electronic trading after two people in the building were diagnosed with COVID-19. She has since advocated for more economic recovery efforts and was a signatory on a letter to the governor and mayor advocating for New York “step up to chart the course for recovery of urban centers everywhere.”

During Adena Friedman’s tenure, Nasdaq has modernized and expanded to include cutting-edge technology and innovation. Ranked by Forbes as the 30th-most powerful woman in the world, Friedman introduced Nasdaq’s Purpose Initiative, which was “designed to support women and underrepresented minority communities with the resources needed to grow and sustain their businesses.” In 2018, she became the first stock exchange CEO to join the Federal Reserve Bank of New York board.

60. Julie Tighe

President, New York League of Conservation Voters

Julie Tighe
New York League of Conservation Voters

As president of the New York League of Conservation Voters and its Education Fund since 2018, Julie Tighe has been involved in several major legislative triumphs, including the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the Restore Mother Nature Bond Act, and the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act. She has also been instrumental in the fight for increased funding for water infrastructure, parks and open spaces.

61. Patricia Harris

CEO, Bloomberg Philanthropies

Patricia Harris
Bloomberg Philanthropies

Patricia Harris has led Bloomberg Philanthropies as it has focused on issues like climate change, public health, gun violence prevention and government innovation. As Michael Bloomberg’s right-hand woman, Harris took the helm of his presidential campaign to become his top aide before refocusing on the organization’s philanthropic endeavors after the campaign ended, including using funds to bolster area nonprofits that have suffered during the pandemic.

62. Mary Jo White

Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton

A former chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Jo White returned to her roots atDebevoise & Plimpton in 2017. Now, as senior chair of the firm, White helps clients navigate a regulatory environment where her expertise remains unparalleled. She represented members of the Sackler family of Purdue Pharma, reaching a landmark $8.3 billion settlement in a lawsuit brought by the federal government over Purdue’s role in the opioid crisis.

63. Jennifer Raab

President, Hunter College

Jennifer J Raab
John Abbott

A former litigator, Jennifer Raab has held posts in the Koch and Giuliani administrations and served as chair of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Since 2001, she has been steering the transformation of Hunter College, where she has helped bring in new funding, attract world-class faculty members and raise the academic standards of the CUNY school. She also oversaw the school’s creation of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute.

64. Colleen Wegman

President and CEO
, Wegmans Food Markets

Rochester-based Wegmans Food Markets, which operates more than 100 stores, is led by the Wegman family. As president and CEO of the grocery chain, Colleen Wegman oversees the organization’s 50,000 employees and is responsible for the $9.7 billion in annual sales reported by the company’s enormously popular stores last year. In August, Wegmans opened its newest New York store in Harrison, and is planning to further expand along the East Coast.

65. Laurie Tisch

Founder and President, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund

Laurie Tisch
David Hechler

Billionaire philanthropist Laurie Tisch presides over her eponymous foundation, which aims to expand access and opportunity for New Yorkers, particularly in the areas of healthy food, and arts and culture. The organization teamed up with the Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center to assess the effects of the coronavirus on New York City’s food system and to explore solutions for the underlying issues that were worsened by the pandemic.

66. Mary Ann Tighe

CEO, New York Tri-State Region, CBRE

The leader of one of New York’s top real estate firms, Mary Ann Tighe was the first female chair of the Real Estate Board of New York. She joined more than 175 business leaders in a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio urging a strong, cohesive recovery effort. Earlier, she predicted that by the end of the pandemic, “people will have a renewed appreciation for going to the office.”

67. Bhairavi Desai

Founder and President, New York Taxi Workers Alliance

Bhairavi Desai (center), executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.
Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office

As the founder and president of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Bhairavi Desai represents 21,000 taxi drivers and other professional drivers. Her work has highlighted the plight of struggling taxi drivers during the pandemic, recently organizing a demonstration on the Brooklyn Bridge demanding debt relief from the city and medallion lenders, who made risky loans that drivers were unable to pay back.

68. Resi Cooper

President, CooperHill

With longtime political and corporate connections forged during her time as Hillary Clinton’s top Long Island aide, Resi Cooper is known for her ability to be “in the room where it happens.” She is often on the other end of the line advising lawmakers at every level of government in the state. She is a member of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council and a vice chair of the Nassau County Democratic Party.

69. Regina Myer

President, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

As president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Regina Myer is tasked with revitalizing and reimagining an area that was one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Undaunted, she plans to create more walkable spaces and recruit talent from the neighborhood to staff the creative, technology and manufacturing companies in the area while pushing back against unemployment trends plaguing the borough and the nation.

70. Elise Stefanik

Member of Congress

Rep. Elise Stefanik.
April Greer

Rep. Elise Stefanik is an unapologetic supporter of President Donald Trump and made a speech supporting him at the Republican National Convention. The youngest Republican woman to have been elected to Congress in U.S. history, Stefanik represents the 21st Congressional District and is in her third term. She is a member of the Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Education and Labor.

71. Dottie Gallagher

President and CEO, Buffalo Niagara Partnership

Dottie Gallagher
Buffalo Niagara Partnership

As the head of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, the area’s regional chamber of commerce and economic development organization, Dottie Gallagher advocates on behalf of the employers and citizens of the Buffalo region. The group just launched an education campaign for small businesses and their customers to encourage social distancing and wearing masks in order to keep the economy open.

72. Beth Finkel

State Director, AARP New York


Beth Finkel has been working hard on behalf of older New Yorkers during the pandemic and has been outspoken about the challenges facing the community, including health and income disparities, loneliness and depression, and concerns over in-person voting and faulty mail-in ballot envelopes. She is now hard at work petitioning the state to address the needs of older New Yorkers to be a priority for the recovery phase and beyond.

73. Carlina Rivera, Adrienne Adams & Alicka Ampry-Samuel

New York City Council Members

New York City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, one of City & State's 2020 Above & Beyond.
Guerin Blask
City Councilwoman Adrienne Adams.
John McCarten/NYC Council
Alicka Ampry-Samuel
Alicka Ampry-Samuel







No speaker of the New York City Council has been able to use the post as a springboard to being elected mayor, but the job still confers plenty of power – and there’s plenty of competition for it. It’s still early, but these three lawmakers – Carlina Rivera of Manhattan, Adrienne Adams of Queens and Alicka Ampry-Samuel of Brooklyn – are among the credible contenders for the speakership after the 2021 elections.

74. Marianne Lake

CEO of Consumer Lending, JPMorgan Chase

Marianne Lake has been with JPMorgan Chase for more than 20 years and is considered to be a top contender to succeed Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon. Her roles with the organization have included chief financial officer, chief financial officer of consumer and community banking, and global controller. In her current role, Lake oversees home lending, auto finance and Chase Card Services.

75. Robin Chappelle Golston

President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts

Robin Chappelle Golston
Aleta Chappelle

Robin Chappelle Golston leads Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, the lobbying group for the state’s Planned Parenthood clinics. As reproductive rights and Title X regulations have been targeted by the Trump administration, Chappelle Golston has her work cut out for her. She recently shared her concerns about the fate of abortion rights in the U.S. Supreme Court, and said the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings shouldn’t have taken place before the election.

76. Lorie Slutsky

President, The New York Community Trust

Lorie Slutsky
Photo courtesy NY Community Trust

Lorie Slutsky has served in her leadership role at The New York Community Trust for more than 30 years, overseeing the growth of the grantmaking foundation that funds a range of health and social justice initiatives. Besides working to ensure that the 2020 census accurately represents New York’s immigrant population, The New York Community Trust is currently distributing $73 million from the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund.

77. Goli Sheikholeslami

President and CEO, New York Public Radio

One of the most influential journalists in Chicago, Goli Sheikholeslami left WBEZ to run a station triple the size of her former Chicago station. Now, as president and CEO of New York Public Radio, Sheikholeslami is working with a $97 million budget and more than 24 million audience members between its online properties, its broadcast channels and its roster of podcasts. Her goals for the organization are focused on innovation, independence and service.

78. Julie Samuels

Founder and Executive Director, Tech:NYC

Julie Samuels

As the coronavirus has pushed society online, Julie Samuels, the executive director of Tech:NYC, found herself center stage. Tech:NYC has been a key group moderating between the tech industry and New York City’s interests. She has been advocating for local hiring practices, training programs and early tech education. According to Cheddar, Tech:NYC also created New York’s official contact tracing app, COVID Alert NY.

79. Joni Yoswein

Founder and President, Yoswein New York

Joni Yoswein
Yoswein New York

As a former Assembly member and former assistant commissioner of the New York City Department for the Aging, Joni Yoswein understands New York’s political landscape. Today, she runs Yoswein New York, a public affairs firm whose recent projects included Ikea Brooklyn, Dock Street Dumbo, the Gateway Center in Brooklyn, the Coney Island Rezoning Plan and one of the city’s first “green” luxury hotels on 40th Street in Manhattan.

80. Rachel Haot

Executive Director, Transit Innovation Partnership

As the New York economy continues its recovery, mass transit has been at the forefront of every conversation. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority partnered with Rachel Haot’s Transit Innovation Partnership on the COVID-19 Response Challenge, a call for entrepreneurial solutions to transit issues that have been exacerbated by the pandemic and to modernize the system.

81. Sonia Ossorio

President, National Organization for Women New York City Chapter

Sonia Ossorio has been advocating, amplifying and articulating the voices of women in New York as the head of the organization since 2005. Her many successes include the number of women she has supported who have been elected to public office, and a war waged with the NYPD over its substandard Special Victims Division. In this fraught political climate, Ossorio is a much-needed voice for those who cannot speak.

82. Eva Moskowitz

Founder and CEO, Success Academy Charter Schools

Eva Moskowitz
Success Academy

Eva Moskowitz has redefined the New York City education system. With a wide-ranging career that includes stints as a teacher and college professor, chair of the New York City Council Education Committee and a public school parent, Moskowitz’s Success Academy Charter Schools aim to produce successful college- and career-ready students. Bowing to the pandemic reality, the schools have opted to go fully remote until 2021.

83. Jessica Lappin

President, Alliance for Downtown New York

Jessica Lappin
Pete Thompson

As president of the Alliance for Downtown New York, the business improvement district for Lower Manhattan, Jessica Lappin has prioritized new public health measures as the community has struggled with the coronavirus. The organization has installed sanitizing stations in high-traffic areas, put up signs to help people maintain social distancing on sidewalks and organized the distribution of thousands of masks to local businesses.

84. Phoebe Boyer

President and CEO, Children’s Aid

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Phoebe Boyer is the first woman to lead the Children’s Aid in its 167-year history. She has been vocal about calling for federal resources for New York City’s recovery, and in May, she was appointed to de Blasio’s Education Sector Advisory Council, which was formed to guide the city’s COVID-19 recovery and reopening. She recently led the organization through a relocation from midtown Manhattan to Harlem.

85. Pat Kane & Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez

Executive Director; President, New York State Nurses Association

Since Pat Kane was elevated to the executive director role at the New York State Nurses Association last year, she and President Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez have been closely aligned. On their watch, the union has pushed for more personal protective equipment for nurses on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, while continuing to call for higher minimum staffing levels. The union has also been pressuring hospitals by threatening strikes.

86. Victoria Schneps

President and Publisher, Schneps Media

Local Queens newspaper owner and New York media mogul Victoria Schneps and Schneps Media are not so slowly buying up all of the independent local news carriers in the metropolitan area and expanding even out into the East End of Long Island with its newest acquisition, Dan’s Papers. Schneps Media’s impact can be felt in outlets from amNewYork to the Long Island Press and throughout the outer boroughs.

87. Pamela Liebman & Dottie Herman

President and CEO, The Corcoran Group; CEO, Douglas Elliman

In a real estate market dominated by male developers, Pamela Liebman and Dottie Herman stand out. Liebman has been at the helm of The Corcoran Group since 2000, during which time the firm has expanded its Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group and acquired Citi Habitats which, until recently, functioned as an independent brand and has now been rolled into the Corcoran brand.

As Forbes’ “richest self-made woman in real estate,” Herman famously sold her shares of Douglas Elliman in 2018 for $40 million, but retained her position as CEO. Herman is a prominent fixture in New York real estate, and has played a role in analyzing the uncertain market. She predicted the suburban housing boom early on and continues to predict a comeback for New York City properties.

88. MaryAnne Gilmartin

Founder, MAG Partners, Interim CEO, Mack-Cali Realty Corp.

MaryAnne Gilmartin
Elizabeth Lippman

In July, Mack-Cali Realty Corp. appointed MaryAnne Gilmartin as its interim CEO. Since taking the helm, Gilmartin has made several strategic deals to help the firm, one of the largest landlords in New Jersey, refocus on more valuable waterfront properties. She’s become a champion for women in the industry and recently founded her own company, MAG Partners, which just announced plans for a new residential development in Manhattan.

89. Sandra Wilkin

Founder and President, Bradford Construction Corp.

Sandra Wilkin broke the glass ceiling when she built Bradford Construction Corp. into a formidable construction company. As a past president and founder of the Women Builders Council, Wilkin helped women in the industry and became a voice for their interests and concerns. She created a pathway for women to succeed in a male-dominated field by shaping key public policy measures that affect women and women-owned construction businesses.

90. Mylan Denerstein

Partner, Gibson Dunn

Mylan Denerstein
Gibson Dunn

Mylan Denerstein, a former longtime aide to Andrew Cuomo who served as the governor’s chief counsel and principal legal adviser, is now co-chair of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Public Policy Practice Group. She is an elite litigator, navigating the complexities of governmental agencies and leading internal investigations for a diverse range of clients. Plus, she has been awarded a number of awards and accolades for her legal prowess.

91. Faiza Saeed

Presiding Partner, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Faiza Saeed
Cravath Swaine Moore

One of the few women in the nation currently running a top law firm, Faiza Saeed oversees consequential mergers and acquisitions. She represented Disney in its acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets and advised Viacom in its $30 billion deal with CBS. Saeed also served on the advisory board to the Paley International Council Summit, where media and technology industry leaders gather to advance innovation and discuss global issues.

92. Diana Ostroff

Managing Director, Ostroff Associates

Diana Ostroff
Joan Heffler Photography

Think of some of the biggest businesses you know, and it’s likely Diana Ostroff and her team at Ostroff Associates represents them. From Walmart to FedEx to Tesla and HP, Ostroff Associates is much more than the seventh-largest lobbying firm in the state; it’s a voice for New York businesses. In her spare time, she serves as a mentor for aspiring women in business.

93. Lisa Linden

Media Strategist, LAKPR Group

Lisa Linden

A key leader of the LAKPR Group team, Lisa Linden is a veteran on the New York public relations scene. Her clients span multiple business sectors and reflect Linden’s deep background in New York politics. Linden serves on the boards of NYC & Company and New York League of Conservation Voters, and she previously worked for Rubenstein Associates.

94. Frances Bronet

President, Pratt Institute

The Pratt Institute has long had a strong reputation for cutting-edge engineering, architecture, design and business programs, so when the coronavirus pandemic hit New York, Frances Bronet, the university’s first female president, was eager to act. She wrote an article for Crain’s New York Business on how the region’s universities might collaborate on pandemic-related solutions and encouraged her own community to “focus this collective intelligence on the challenge at hand.”

95. Brette McSweeney & Donna Zaccaro

President; Board Chair, Eleanor’s Legacy

Brette McSweeney
Eleanor's Legacy
Donna Zaccaro
Donna Zaccaro








As the leaders of Eleanor’s Legacy, whose mission is to recruit, train and fund Democratic women to run for state and local office throughout New York, Brette McSweeney and Donna Zaccaro have had an extraordinarily busy year. McSweeney, who worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, and Zaccaro, the film producer daughter of Geraldine Ferraro, have garnered support from state politicians like Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Letitia James.

96. Mitra Behroozi, Vivian Fox & Sandi Vito

Executive Directors, 1199SEIU Benefit and Pension Funds; 1199SEIU Child Care Funds; 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds

Mitra Behroozi
Jim Tynan
Vivian Fox
Belinda Gallegos
Sandi Vito
Belinda Gallegos

1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is New York’s largest union representing healthcare workers. As executive directors of the influential union’s various funds, Mitra Behroozi, Vivian Fox and Sandi Vito command sizable budgets and connect nearly 450,000 members and their dependents with comprehensive healthcare and retirement benefits, child-care programs, and training and job-placement opportunities, and in 2020, provided resources for members facing COVID-19.

97. Taryn Duffy

Chair, New York Gaming Association

Taryn Duffy
Sean Hamrock

Taryn Duffy was appointed chair of the New York Gaming Association several months before COVID-19 hit, making her leadership critical for the eight casinos that the association represents. These casinos – including Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts, where Duffy has worked for nearly a decade – are a significant revenue source for the state, and were cleared to reopen in September with capacity limitations and enhanced indoor air quality standards.

98. Heather Beaudoin

Founder and Principal Officer, Beaudoin and Company

Heather Beaudoin
Greg Motylenski

The head of strategic government relations firm Beaudoin and Company, Heather Beaudoin represents high-level clients, including the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association and the Teamsters Joint Council 16. She is also the CEO of tech startup Canary AI Corp., which offers a news-filtering service that curates information based on individual interests.

99. Liz Neumark

Founder and CEO, Great Performances

Liz Neumark
Great Performances

Liz Neumark’s leadership in the food service and hospitality industry has given her an important voice on food justice issues. She has a record of producing innovative programming and events designed to reach people in need and help families access nutritious meals. This year, as the coronavirus took its toll, Neumark led the company to produce and deliver 40,000 weekly meals for seniors unable to leave their homes.

100. Abby Milstein

Founding Partner, Constantine Cannon

Abby Milstein is a notable philanthropist in New York. Her family has bestowed endowments upon a wide range of projects, including the creation of the Milstein Program at Cornell Tech, which aims to “bridge technology and humanities.” The Milstein family was the recipient of the Distinction in Civic Innovation and Renewal award, and they are regular donors to a range of initiatives in New York and Israel.

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