New York Women Rising Stars

10 women to watch in New York politics
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10 women to watch in New York politics

New York Women Rising Stars

10 young politicos to watch
November 2, 2020

While women have risen to the top ranks in nearly every field and profession, there are still too many structural obstacles that make their career paths more difficult. Here are 10 young women in New York politics – some just starting out in their career, others who have already achieved noteworthy successes – who were nominated based on their potential to shatter gender barriers in the years to come. 

Martha Ayon

President, Azul Public Solutions

Martha Ayon has a wealth of experience in government, organized labor and political campaigns, including positions in the state Legislature and the New York City Comptroller’s office, as well as at DC 37 and the New York State Nurses Association. Since launching Azul in 2017, Ayon has turned heads working on Tiffany Cabán’s near-upset in the Queens district attorney race and on a successful effort to elect reform-minded Democratic district leaders in Queens. 

Robin Brown

Vice President of Political Affairs, Bolton-St. Johns

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Robin Brown
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Robin Brown
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Robin Brown
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Robin Brown
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Robin Brown
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Sippakorn Ponpayong

Like many young Democrats around the country, Robin Brown’s first foray into politics was working on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential bid. She went on to campaign on policy issues in New York, helping to build support for a landmark paid family leave law and ride-sharing legislation. The Buffalo native joined Bolton-St. Johns, a leading lobbying firm, in 2018, rising to the role of vice president last year. 

Krysten Copeland

Founder, KC & Co Communications

Krysten Copeland got her start at a startup real estate firm helmed by a Black woman, then moved to a small marketing firm helmed by a Black woman. Recently, she’s found success with political clients at her own firm. Her most recent success was as communications director for Rep. Yvette Clarke, who rebounded from a close 2018 race with a resounding primary victory this year. Copeland also helped Assembly Member Michael Blake place second in a notably competitive South Bronx congressional primary. 

Jennifer Gutiérrez

Chief of Staff, New York City Council Member Antonio Reynoso

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Jennifer Gutierrez
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Jennifer Gutierrez
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Jennifer Gutierrez
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With many New York City Council members leaving office in 2021, candidates are already out campaigning – and Jennifer Gutiérrez has a head start. She serves as chief of staff to Brooklyn Council Member Antonio Reynoso, whom she hopes to succeed. To that end, she’s garnered endorsements from the Working Families Party, the 21 in ’21 effort to elect more women to the council, and the labor-backed Road to Justice NYC coalition.

Katie Honan

City Hall Reporter, The Wall Street Journal

Katie Honan has been holding New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio accountable since joining The Wall Street Journal in 2018. Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, she has not shied away from asking the tough questions. Honan, who previously covered Queens for the now-defunct DNAinfo, has reported on problems with the city’s Board of Elections, the growing field of mayoral candidates, and COVID-19 hotspots in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods. 

Sofiya Minsariya

Associate and Executive Scheduler, CMW Strategies

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Sofiya Minsariya
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CMW Strategies

Sofiya Minsariya helps keep everyone on track at CMW Strategies, the top-10 lobbying firm in New York City that has been expanding its footprint in Albany as well. Minsariya, a Queens native and graduate of Baruch College who was hired on at CMW in the summer of 2019, previously worked for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and for New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. 

Marcela Mitaynes

Democratic Nominee, Assembly District 51

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Tenant organizer Marcela Mitaynes became the first of five democratic socialist insurgents to topple longtime Assembly members with her upset victory against Assembly Member Félix Ortiz.
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Tenant organizer Marcela Mitaynes became the first of five democratic socialist insurgents to topple longtime Assembly members with her upset victory against Assembly Member Félix Ortiz.
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Tenant organizer Marcela Mitaynes became the first of five democratic socialist insurgents to topple longtime Assembly members with her upset victory against Assembly Member Félix Ortiz.
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Tenant organizer Marcela Mitaynes became the first of five democratic socialist insurgents to topple longtime Assembly members with her upset victory against Assembly Member Félix Ortiz.
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Tenant organizer Marcela Mitaynes became the first of five democratic socialist insurgents to topple longtime Assembly members with her upset victory against Assembly Member Félix Ortiz.
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Marcela Mitaynes scored an upset this year when she narrowly defeated Félix Ortiz – a 26-year incumbent and the Assembly’s assistant speaker – in the June primary. One of a group of victorious state legislative candidates endorsed by or aligned with the Democratic Socialists of America, Mitaynes will look to move Albany to the left. A tenant organizer, she is also focused on protecting New Yorkers at risk of losing their homes. 

Veronica Ng

Vice President, The Parkside Group

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Veronica Ng
Veronica Ng
Parkside Group

Veronica Ng joined The Parkside Group in 2019 as a vice president focused on public affairs and political campaigns. While her previous position was running external affairs for Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, the Hunter College graduate also has a background in campaign work, including as campaign manager for state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky. She is currently running campaigns for state Sen. Rachel May and state Senate candidates Jeremy Cooney and Elijah Reichlin-Melnick. She also worked for the state Senate Democrats and for then-City Council Member Mark Weprin. 

Melissa Rosenberg

Senior Associate, Real Estate, Kasirer

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Melissa Rosenberg
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Before she joined Kasirer as a senior associate for real estate last fall, Melissa Rosenberg gained valuable experience as a policy analyst at the Supportive Housing Network of New York, which represents nonprofits that develop and provide housing along with other services and supports. Rosenberg also was a senior analyst at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget and did research for Everytown For Gun Safety.

Amy Varghese

Deputy Director of Communications, New York City Comptroller 

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Amy Varghese
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Amy Varghese

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, an early 2021 mayoral frontrunner, is known for his ambitious policy reports – which makes top staffers like Amy Varghese, who help produce and distribute them, invaluable. Varghese, who joined Stringer’s office last year, earned a reputation as a rising star during her time working in the New York City Council, including in the office of then-Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. 

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include Veronica Ng's current campaign work. It has also been corrected to reflect that Krysten Copeland worked on Assembly Member Michael Blake's congressional campaign, but not on his DNC vice chair campaign.

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