On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, City & State will honor 40 women who exhibit exemplary leadership in their fields and have made important contributions to society in the sectors of business, public service, media, nonprofit and organized labor. These accomplished women will be profiled in a special edition of City & State magazine and celebrated at the virtual event on the evening of March 31st.
NYC has many women running for Mayor this year. We are proud to feature them at our Above & Beyond webinar. We have asked them all the following questions:
Who was/is your mentor in your personal life and why?
Who was/is your mentor in your professional life and why?
What was the best piece of advice you were given early on?
What advice would you/or do you give to women just starting their careers in this sector?
As a woman with many hats to wear on a daily basis, what is one rule you have for juggling all areas of your life at once?
Kathryn Garcia, Former Commissioner of The New York City Department of Sanitation Dianne Morales, Former NYC Public School Teacher & Former Executive Director and CEO of Phipps Neighborhoods Maya Wiley, Former Counsel to the Mayor
Hermelyn, New York State Assembly Member
Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn is the Assemblymember and State Committee Woman / District Leader for New York State’s 42nd Assembly District. She is also the first Haitian-American woman elected in the city of New York. Assemblymember Bichotte holds the position of Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs). Assemblymember Bichotte is the Co-Chair of the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators Workshops Committee, and has been appointed to Governor Cuomo’s Advisory Council on Domestic Violence, and appointed by Mayor de Blasio’s Advisory Council on Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise.
By her second legislative term, Assemblymember Bichotte introduced over 60 pieces of legislation, of which five became law. In addition, the Assemblymember co-sponsored over 200 pieces of legislation. She is notable for the High Profile Bill -The Elimination of the Personal Net Worth Cap. In addition to a business focus, Assemblymember Bichotte has given legislative attention to Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematic (STEM) and criminal justice reform as well as resolutions on international human rights reform.
She holds an MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, an MS in Electrical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology, a BS in Electrical Engineering from SUNY Buffalo, a BS in Mathematics in Secondary Education and a BT in Electrical Engineering -- both from Buffalo State College.
Council Member, New York City Council District 2
Carlina Rivera represents the 2nd Council District which includes the diverse neighborhoods of the East Village, Flatiron, Gramercy Park, Rose Hill, Kips Bay, Murray Hill, and the Lower East Side. Since taking office in 2017, Carlina has fought for the affordability and livability of New York City by championing issues around affordable housing, small business survival, equitable healthcare, transportation, and quality of life issues. In addition to tackling these tough legislative issues, she has taken a stand for gender equity as the former Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus by sponsoring legislation on sexual harassment and the gender wage gap.
Born and raised in the Lower East Side by a single mother who emigrated from Puerto Rico, Carlina understands the unique challenges District 2 constituents face. Beginning her career as a community organizer supporting seniors and people experiencing homelessness in the Lower East Side, Carlina is a staunch advocate for safe and affordable housing for all New Yorkers. It was with New York City’s housing crisis in mind that Carlina introduced and passed several pieces of legislation providing critical oversight.
As Chair of the Council’s Committee on Hospitals, Carlina has fought tirelessly for access to better healthcare for all New Yorkers. She has prioritized reproductive and birth justice by creating the nation’s first Abortion Access Fund, ensuring anyone who comes to New York can receive abortion care regardless of ability to pay, and is a vocal advocate for ending maternal mortality and morbidity in the City. Carlina has also fought to ensure that no New Yorker feels alone in the overwhelming and bureaucratic health care system by introducing legislation that proposes the creation of an Office of the Patient Advocate. Recently, Carlina has pushed for greater equity and cultural humility in the City’s COVID-19 care and vaccine rollout.
Carlina was inspired to run for office when the Lower East Side was devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and she organized volunteers to provide food, water, and emergency services to communities abandoned by the federal government. She has since secured millions of dollars for her district to improve services, programs, schools, and cultural institutions.
Carlina lives with her husband, pug, and turtle. She graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in Journalism after attending local schools her entire life.
Sheryl Huggins Salomon
Chief Communications Officer, NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy & Research & Chair, City & State Advisory Board
Sheryl Huggins Salomon isChief Communications Officer at the McSilver Institute, where she oversees internal and external communications, events and policy initiative promotion.
Prior to joining the McSilver Institute, Huggins Salomon was the Principal of Media Adept, a communications consultancy through which she served as Communications Lead for the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, among other roles in the non-profit and corporate sectors. Also, she has been Editorial Director of NewsOne.com; Managing Editor of The Root; Managing Editor of Black Voices (at AOL); and held prior roles in digital and traditional news media at the Washington Post Company, Time Inc., Dow Jones Newswires, and other outlets. She is a Contributor to Everyday Health, where she reports about diabetes, nutrition and other physical health conditions. She was an Adjunct Lecturer for journalism at York College – The City University of New York.
Huggins Salomon holds a BA degree from the University of Pennsylvania and an MS degree from Columbia Journalism School.
Former Commissioner of The New York City Department of Sanitation, NYC Mayoral Candidate
Kathryn was appointed in 2014 as the Commissioner NYC Department of Sanitation, the world's largest municipal waste management agency. As Commissioner, Kathryn was responsible for keeping New York City healthy, safe, and clean by collecting, recycling, and disposing of waste, cleaning streets and public spaces, and clearing snow and ice. In 2018, Kathryn was appointed Senior Advisor for Citywide Lead Prevention. In that role, she spearheaded LeadFreeNYC, NYC’s comprehensive plan to eradicate childhood lead exposure. In early 2019, Garcia was appointed CEO and Interim Chair of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), where she worked to reverse decades of disinvestment in public housing and operationalize the City’s agreement with the federal government. During the City's COVID-19 response, Kathryn served as "Food Czar,” and was responsible for building a program of unprecedented scale -- 130 million meals -- to feed hungry and vulnerable New Yorkers and ensuring a safe, reliable and affordable food supply. Kathryn Garcia is a skilled and experienced government executive who will govern the same way she has approached every challenge in her career--data-driven and focused. She will surround herself with competent and passionate public servants who share her goal of building a sustainable future for NYC. Kathryn is a mother of two, a lifelong New Yorker who lives in Park Slope Brooklyn, the neighborhood where she grew up.
Former NYC Public School Teacher & Former Executive Director and CEO of Phipps Neighborhood, NYC Mayoral Candidate
Dianne is like many of us. As a Bed-Stuy native, single mother and proud daughter of Puerto Rican parents, Dianne understands our city’s systems, from public housing to public schools. Dianne’s mother was an office manager for the leather workers’ union, and her father was a 32BJ member and former building manager on the Brooklyn waterfront, the area now known as DUMBO. They lived in NYCHA, and little Dianne was often the translator for her Abuela Rosa, who shared a room and a bed with Dianne. Dianne’s family was a part of a community — a village — that looked out for one another because the City failed to provide the basics their neighborhood needed. Her family taught her to lift as you climb. Even as an adult, this fight didn’t end: A mother of two children with learning differences, Dianne sued the City’s public school system to get the resources her daughter needed to learn effectively.
Dianne is the only former NYC public school teacher in this race — and that matters. Dianne knows firsthand how segregated schools have divided young people based on race, income and ZIP code. It’s for this very reason Dianne has committed her entire career to meeting the needs of our fellow neighbors.
She is the former Executive Director of The Door, where she launched a street outreach program on the Christopher St. Pier for homeless LGBTQ+ youth that expanded to create a drop-in program for homeless youth and a supportive housing development. She also established the strategic plan for what would become Broome Street Academy — the first NYC public high school targeting homeless & foster care youth. Dianne has always focused on co-creating spaces committed to transformation, inclusion and equity with, for and by the community.
In her most recent position as the Executive Director and CEO of Phipps Neighborhoods for almost a decade, Dianne’s management of multimillion-dollar budgets resulted in the creation of a career training program for young adults in the healthcare field. The program successfully exceeded national promotion and retention rates. Dianne has also developed and overseen programs addressing housing insecurity, mental illness, foster care and education. Dianne’s impact is global: She served on the ground during the Hurricane Maria recovery, helping to establish the Fundación de Mujeres en Puerto Rico, which elevates and supports women’s leadership and representation in Puerto Rico’s rebuilding efforts for sustainable relief.
If you ask Dianne, she would likely say she’s a learner, a survivor and a working single mother of two trying to do her best. But to so many in this city touched by her leadership, she is so much more. From being a founding member of Jumpstart, a national early literacy organization, to organizing and marshaling demonstrations against police brutality, to co-leading mutual aid efforts in response to food and clothing needs during the coronavirus pandemic, Dianne is an equity champion who still embodies the lift as you climb mindset from her childhood.
Former Counsel to the Mayor, NYC Mayoral Candidate
Maya is a nationally recognized racial justice and equity advocate. She is a leader in city government and in spurring democratic change. As Counsel to the Mayor, she delivered for New York City on civil and immigrant rights, women and minority owned business contracts, universal broadband access and more. After leaving City Hall, she held police accountable as Chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, and worked to improve public education as a Co-Chair of the School Diversity Task Force. At the New School, where she served as a University Professor, she founded the Digital Equity Laboratory on universal and inclusive broadband.
Maya is a veteran of both the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and the ACLU, was a former Legal Analyst for NBC News and MSNBC — where she argued against Trump’s attacks on our civil liberties and democratic norms — and was the founder and president of the Center for Social Inclusion. Maya was also Senior Advisor on Race and Poverty at the Open Society Foundations, the largest funder of human rights work the world over.
Maya Wiley is committed to a New York City where every New Yorker can afford to live with dignity, that’s why she is running for Mayor. Maya will fight for New Yorkers of all races, all religions, all classes, all types; so that no matter who we are or how we see ourselves, we can find a home here. Her vision is a New York that rises from the ashes of twin pandemics — coronavirus and systemic racism that denies investment to people of color. New York must rise together; rising above hate, rising from joblessness to dignity, rising from homelessness to hope, rising from an affordability crisis to communities that sustain all of us.
This is within our reach, but it requires bold leadership that fearlessly confronts the realities New Yorkers face. Leadership that marshals all of the government’s resources to make history, not deals; and that transcends the business-as-usual governmental tinkering to make truly transformational progress. New Yorkers cannot afford the politics of least resistance and deserve leadership that will beat a path to shared prosperity — to become one city, rising together, out of the ashes and into a future we build and live together.
Director Business Diversity, CDW
Kristin Malek serves as the Director of Business Diversity at CDW. In this capacity, she drives CDW’s strategies to achieve business diversity objectives. She is responsible for CDW’s $2+ Billion Dollar annual Supplier Diversity spend initiatives. Kristin is the architect of the CDW’s diverse supply chain which today is defined as more than 1100+ suppliers that serve the needs and offers solutions to CDW and their customers. CDW has facilitated more than $14 billion of direct and indirect spending with small, minority-owned firms.
She is a member of the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council ( NMSDC) , Board Member of the Chicago Minority Supplier Diversity Council, Women's Business Enterprise National Council, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) and Tech Scale ( Technology Industry Group ), sharing her voice and best practices on inclusive business strategies. Kristin serves as an executive board member to a non for profit SHE TEK in NYC focusing on women and young girls participating in STEM.
Earlier this year, Kristin was named one of Top 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity. Under Kristin’s leadership, in 2020,, CDW was inducted into the prestigious Billion Dollar Roundtable. And finally is named Kristin as One of NYC Most Responsible 100 for her work in diversity and inclusion in New York City.
Director of Government Affairs, Charter Communications
Prior to joining the Charter team, Najay served as Deputy Assistant Director of Intergovernmental Relations at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget where she guided the agency’s state legislative and budget engagement. Najay began her career in government with the New York State Assembly and during a decade-long tenure, she held various roles in public policy, budget analysis and legislative communications. In 2015, she was appointed Deputy Press Secretary and Speechwriter by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and served in that role before moving back to New York City in 2018 to pursue new opportunities in government relations. Najay is a graduate of Utica College and credits her time in the Mohawk Valley for her enduring love of scenic drives and all things New York.
Welcome & Opening Remarks By Sheryl Huggins Salomon, Chief Communications Officer, NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research & Chair, City & State Advisory Board
Sponsored Remarks By: Kristin Malek, Director of Business Diversity, CDW
Recorded Sponsored Remarks By Grand Street Settlement
Sponsored Remarks By Najay Roache, Director of Government Affairs, Charter Communications
Keynote Remarks By: Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, New York State Assembly Member
Keynote Remarks By: Carlina Rivera, Council Member, New York City Council District 2
Female Mayoral Candidate Forum
Kathryn Garcia, Former Commissioner of The New York City Department of Sanitation
Maya Wiley, Former Counsel to the Mayor
Dianne Morales, Former NYC Public School Teacher & Former Executive Director and CEO of Phipps Neighborhoods
Research Director, Empire Center for Public Policy
THIS YEAR'S RANK: 97CHANGE: -4
LAST YEAR'S RANK: 97
As founder and research director of the Empire Center for Public Policy, E.J. McMahon is a go-to expert on budget plans and policy proposals. His organization promotes greater transparency, accountability and fiscal responsibility in state government, which often puts him at odds with lawmakers and the governor. McMahon previously worked as a journalist in Albany, as an Assembly Republican staffer and a budget adviser for almost 30 years, giving him great insight into the goings-on in the Capitol.