Honoring 25 of New York’s most remarkable women of 2017

Above & Beyond

Honoring 25 of New York’s most remarkable women of 2017

New York’s most remarkable women of 2017


The day after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, millions of women marched in Washington, D.C., New York City and other cities across the country and around the globe. Provoked by Trump’s controversial rhetoric on the campaign trail, they came out in record numbers to rally for the rights of women and others who felt threatened by the new administration.

Of course, women are not a monolithic voting bloc, and many of them are staunch supporters of the president. But the massive crowds displayed the influence that women can wield, at least when political winds bring so many of them together.

Unchastened, Trump went on to fill his cabinet largely with white men, appointing just four women and relegating them to less consequential posts. To be fair, there’s also plenty of room for improvement in New York, where politicians pride themselves on their efforts to promote gender equality. No woman has ever been elected governor of the state or mayor of New York City. In Albany, it’s still three (or four) men in a room. In the state Legislature, only about one in four lawmakers are women.

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Still, women in New York have been making notable gains in both the private sector and in the public sphere, rising to the top ranks – even in traditionally male-dominated fields like law and technology. In our annual Above & Beyond list, we put the spotlight on some of these remarkable women. This year, we’re featuring honorees in five sectors: business, health care, education, advocacy and government. Among the honorees are one of the state’s top political strategists, a former head of the American Civil Liberties Union and a pair of elected officials who have been striving to reach positions of leadership – and many more.


Jennifer Cunningham Partner,  SKDKnickerbocker

Ali Davis Chief of Staff,  The Real Estate Board of New York

Ann Kayman Founder and CEO,  New York Grant Company

Safeena Leila Mecklai Associate Vice President,  Capalino+Company

Cristyne L. Nicholas CEO,  Nicholas & Lence Communications



Mylan Denerstein Partner,  Gibson Dunn

Caress Kennedy, CPP,  President, Northeast Region,  Allied Universal

Katherine A. Lemire President,  Lemire LLC

Nekpen Osuan Co-Founder,  WomenWerk

Judith Spitz, Ph.D. Founding Program Director, WiTNY,  Cornell Tech



Nadine Strossen John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law,  New York Law School

Ester R. Fuchs Professor of Public Affairs and Political Science,  Columbia University

Sherry Glied,  Dean, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service,  New York University

Dr. Gail O. Mellow President,  LaGuardia Community College

Suzanne Wilson Executive Director,  Midori & Friends



Cathy Calhoun Chief of Staff,  New York State Department of Transportation

Julissa Ferreras Chairwoman,  New York City Council Finance Committee

Jacqueline Mallon First Deputy Commissioner,  New York City Department of Small Business Services

Catherine Nolan Chairwoman,  Assembly Education Committee

Shola Olatoye Chair & CEO,  New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)



Eliane Abou-Assi Executive Director,  American Autism Association

Paloma Izquierdo-Hernandez President & Chief Executive Officer,  Urban Health Plan

Andrea G. Cohen Vice President,  Office of Transformation, NYC Health + Hospitals

Deidre Sully Deputy Director of NYC Smoke-Free,  Public Health Solutions

Kathleen Regan Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer,  The Commonwealth Fund



Ellen Futter President,  Museum of Natural History

Shelley Lazarus Chairman,  Oglivy & Mather

City & State