Power Lists

The 2023 Power of Diversity: Women 100

Who run the state? These remarkable leaders.

City & State presents the 2023 Power of Diversity: Women 100

City & State presents the 2023 Power of Diversity: Women 100 NYS Governor’s Office; Lev Radin, Pacific Press, LightRocket; Kyle O’Leary

Perhaps more than any other state, New York is known for its trailblazing women. Frances Perkins, who was labor secretary under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was the first woman to serve in a White House Cabinet. Brooklyn’s Shirley Chisholm was the first Black woman elected to Congress. And former first ladies Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Rodham Clinton transcended their status as famous wives to become political and policy leaders in their own right.

These trailblazers have paved the way for women to take on an impressive number of powerful roles in New York today. Gov. Kathy Hochul, state Attorney General Letitia James and state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins are the first women in their respective offices, while New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik have also attained posts that were historically held by men. And that’s not even mentioning household names like U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

City & State’s Power of Diversity: Women 100 highlights the accomplishments of these well-known political leaders, while also putting a spotlight on scores of lesser known but equally noteworthy women in government, advocacy, business, labor, academia and other arenas who are shaping the future of New York and our nation.

1. Kathy Hochul

Kathy Hochul / NYS Governor's Office

After a closer than expected win for her first full gubernatorial term, Gov. Kathy Hochul received a 56% approval rating from New Yorkers at the beginning of the year. She secured a $229 billion budget for the state – up from last year’s record-breaking $220 billion budget – which included a $34 billion boost in education aid, expansions on the state’s bail laws that she had wanted and a minimum wage raise. At the same time, she’s seen lawmakers flex their power by blocking her first pick for state chief judge and her ambitious housing plan. Hochul has already assembled a war chest of more than $4.5 million to seek another term in 2026.

2. Andrea Stewart-Cousins

State Senate Majority Leader
Andrea Stewart-Cousins / Lev Radin, Pacific Press, LightRocket via Getty Images

The governorship may give Kathy Hochul the most power in Albany but Andrea Stewart-Cousins isn’t far behind. The state Senate majority leader oversaw her chamber in the historic rejection of Hochul’s pick of Hector LaSalle for state chief judge and in setting many of this year’s top legislative priorities. Stewart-Cousins has managed to balance the needs of a caucus that spans some of the most progressive legislators in state history and suburban moderates. She has already begun raising funding for her 2024 reelection campaign.

3. Letitia James

State Attorney General
Letitia James / Kyle O'Leary

Letitia James doesn’t shy away from taking on the tough issues as New York’s top lawyer and has established herself as the most consequential state attorney general in the United States. When she’s not taking on former President Donald Trump in an historic $250 million civil fraud lawsuit currently underway in Manhattan, James has successfully taken on the National Rifle Association, and she continues to defend the state’s gun regulations. Her investigation into former Gov. Andrew Cuomo led to his resignation.

4. Adrienne Adams

New York City Council Speaker
Adrienne Adams / William Alatriste, New York City Council

New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams presides over the legislative body’s first female majority and perhaps its most diverse makeup ever. She has charted a course separate from the moderate Mayor Eric Adams while leading a left-tilting council, and in her State of the City address she opposed the mayor’s plans to reduce universal 3-K spending and keep Rikers Island open. The two Adamses have managed to find common ground elsewhere with the approval of the city’s $107 billion budget.

5. Elise Stefanik

Member of Congress
Elise Stefanik / Drew Angerer, Getty Images

As the U.S. House of Representatives’ GOP conference chair, Rep. Elise Stefanik is the highest-ranking Republican woman on Capitol Hill, which also made her a potential candidate for the speakership following Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s ouster. She didn’t end up entering the fray, but, at 39, Stefanik remains among Washington’s rising politicos to watch: the upstate Republican has made moves behind the scenes – securing campaign funding and building out the party’s infrastructure – in the hopes of flipping more New York districts red to take over the House.

6. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senator
Kirsten Gillibrand / Tom Williams, CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is a top Democrat holding powerful committee assignments on the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence and its Armed Services Committee. She continues to work on addressing social gaps in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic through her push for $16 billion in mandatory child care funding and Congress’ new farm bill, which is slated to pass later this year following the 2018 bill’s expiration. Gillibrand took a 62-county statewide tour over the summer to promote the legislation in New York’s rural communities.

7. Karen Persichilli Keogh & Kathryn Garcia

Secretary to the Governor; Director of State Operations
Kathryn Garcia / Kevin P. Coughlin, Office of the Governor

As Gov. Kathy Hochul’s top adviser, Karen Persichilli Keogh is among the few people who have the governor’s ear. The Long Island native got her start as a staff social worker at District Council 37, New York City’s largest public employee union. She pivoted to government work as a staffer in the New York City Council and rose to become a top aide to then-City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. A former campaign manager to Hillary Rodham Clinton, Persichilli Keogh’s effectiveness, expertise and connections are critical to the success of the Hochul administration.

Kathryn Garcia was made state director of operations in 2021 – a fitting job for a veteran bureaucrat known as New York’s reliable “fixer.” The former New York City mayoral candidate – who nearly beat Eric Adams in 2021 – has since kept her head to the ground working to ensure that 96 state agencies are running as they should. Beyond the day-to-day fixtures, Garcia is involved in several big-ticket projects, such as the Gateway Program with New Jersey and the governor’s unsuccessful plan to add 800,000 housing units in the next decade.

8. Ingrid Lewis-Martin

Chief Adviser to New York City Mayor Eric Adams
Ingrid Lewis-Martin / Benny Polatseck

It is hard to overstate the political cachet of Ingrid Lewis-Martin, the “lioness of City Hall.” As chief adviser and a longtime personal friend of New York City Mayor Eric Adams, she juggles a vague yet all-encompassing job description as the mayor’s confidant, strategist, PR manager, dealmaker and enforcer. Before being hired by Adams during his tenure as Brooklyn borough president, Lewis-Martin was active in the Brooklyn Democratic Party and served under elected officials including Rep. Major Owens and Assembly Member Roger Green.

9. Liz Krueger, Shelley Mayer, Jessica Ramos, Julia Salazar & Lea Webb

State Senators
Liz Krueger, Shelley Mayer, Jessica Ramos, Julia Salazar & Lea Webb / Office of Senator Liz Krueger; NYS Senate Media Services; NY Senate Photography; Michael Drake; Senate Photography

State Senate Finance Committee Chair Liz Krueger isn’t focused solely on the state’s budget. The influential Manhattanite is also a good-government reformer, a feminist policymaker and a climate leader. State Senate Education Committee Chair Shelley Mayer is always in the thick of perennial school funding battles, and this year passed legislation on school voter registration and pre-registration programs. State Senate Labor Committee Chair Jessica Ramos has been focused on aiding asylum-seekers, and fueled buzz about a potential mayoral bid by criticizing New York City Mayor Eric Adams for saying that the migrant crisis would “destroy New York City.” Ramos also passed legislation to make wage transparency the law statewide. State Sen. Julia Salazar, a breakthrough Democratic Socialists of America candidate, criticized Gov. Kathy Hochul’s overhaul of state bail legislation and is the sponsor of the “good cause” eviction bill that would protect tenants. The Senate’s first Black woman to represent Broome County, state Sen. Lea Webb chairs the Women’s Issues Committee. Gov. Kathy Hochul signed four bills authored by Webb to bolster human trafficking prevention.

10. Betty Rosa

Commissioner, State Education Department
Betty Rosa / Roger Derrick Fine Art

State Education Department Commissioner Betty Rosa helped get New York’s Foundation Aid fully funded, and now she’s pushing for a study to revise the formula for school funding. Meanwhile, as conservatives move to ban inclusive books and curriculums, her department partnered with state Attorney General Letitia James to launch a joint initiative to actively foster diversity in New York’s schools, and reaffirmed the rights of migrant students to enroll in the state’s public schools. Rosa also banned the use of facial recognition in schools following a report of its potential harm to students.

11. Crystal Peoples-Stokes

Assembly Majority Leader
Crystal Peoples-Stokes / Assembly

Assembly Member Crystal Peoples-Stokes secured a number of wins this year. The Buffalonian bagged $55 million in federal funding to restore the Humboldt Parkway on Buffalo’s East Side – a project she long fought for – and was a top proponent of the Grieving Families Act (though it was vetoed by Gov. Kathy Hochul). The majority leader’s Buffalo district will see a litany of new development, starting with a $200 million project to knock down the old Commodore Perry Homes and Marine Drive Apartments for a mixed-use construction. The project is expected to take three years to complete.

12. Sheena Wright

First Deputy Mayor, Office of the New York City Mayor
Sheena Wright / Submitted

Sheena Wright describes her job as the city’s “offensive coordinator,” which means keeping tabs on multiple fronts of operation. Wright joined the Adams administration as deputy mayor for strategic initiatives, a role in which she helped digitize services through the MyCity portal, where residents can find and track city services and benefits, and expanded the city’s summer youth employment and child care programs. Wright also co-chaired the gun violence prevention task force that developed recommendations informing the administration’s $485 million anti-gun violence blueprint.

13. Ana Almanzar, Meera Joshi, Maria Torres-Springer & Anne Williams-Isom

New York City Deputy Mayors
Ana Almanzar, Meera Joshi, Maria Torres-Springer & Anne Williams-Isom / Michael Appleton, Mayoral Photography Office; Mayoral Photography Unit; NYC HPD; Sal Bets, NBG

The majority of New York City’s deputy mayors are women, and they have immense authority overseeing vast swaths of city government. Meera Joshi, the deputy mayor for operations, has a long history in transportation policy and drives the administration’s infrastructure agenda, including issues relating to water, roads and trash. Joshi is also in charge of overseeing the city’s new rat czar. Maria Torres-Springer started off the summer as the deputy mayor overseeing economic development and ended the summer with housing added to her portfolio. Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom has the task of overseeing the city’s response to the asylum-seekers as well as overseeing health care policy. Ana Almanzar became the new deputy mayor for strategic initiatives earlier this year, with a portfolio covering issues including higher education, food policy, nonprofit organizations and equity.

14. Kathryn Wylde

President and CEO, Partnership for New York City
Kathryn Wylde / Buck Ennis

Good news for Manhattan businesses and landlords: 58% of Manhattan office workers are back in the office on an average weekday since Labor Day, according to the Partnership for New York City, and that number is expected to rise in the long term. The group, which Kathryn Wylde has led since 2000, is a proponent of progressive business policies, such as New York’s Clean Slate Act, and has backed the state’s federal demand for expedited processes to grant work authorizations to incoming asylum-seekers.

15. Nicole Malliotakis

Member of Congress
Nicole Malliotakis / U.S. House of Representatives

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, who represents Staten Island and parts of southern Brooklyn, is a regular fixture on Fox News and one of the most vocal Republicans in New York City. She vehemently opposed housing new asylum-seekers in her district’s shelters – which all districts have been pushed to do by the state – and suggested her borough would be better off seceding from New York City. Malliotakis was among a number of House GOP members who publicly disputed the 2020 election results.

16. Yvette Clarke, Grace Meng, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez & Nydia Velázquez

Members of Congress
Yvette Clarke, Grace Meng, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez & Nydia Velázquez / U.S. House; Franmarie Metzler, U.S. House Office of Photography; Celeste Sloman

Democrats lost their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, but the women in New York’s congressional delegation haven’t receded into the background. Rep. Grace Meng, the senior New Yorker on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, has used her post to push for increased funding for the government’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism while prodding the postmaster general to combat mail theft in Queens. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive social media star, has been trying to navigate the Israel-Hamas war, condemning “hatred and antisemitism” at a pro-Palestinian rally in New York while also blasting the pro-Israel group AIPAC as “racist and bigoted.” The top Democrat on the House Small Business Committee, Rep. Nydia Velázquez called on regulators to finalize executive compensation rules following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and recently led a bipartisan push for federal flood protection for the New York City metropolitan area. Rep. Yvette Clarke has been focused on trying to regulate artificial intelligence for years – and her colleagues have started catching up.

17. Claudia Tenney

Member of Congress
Claudia Tenney / om Williams_CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Claudia Tenney started off her third term in Congress with a move from the Utica area to represent the new 24th Congressional District, which includes the Finger Lakes, Watertown and rural Niagara County. The Republican is a Trump ally; she has claimed the former president was indicted to help Biden and was among House members who disputed the 2020 election’s legitimacy. She is expected to fend off a primary challenge from upstate attorney Mario Fratto, whom she beat in the 2022 race.

18. Stacy Lynch

Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor
Stacy Lynch / Submitted

Stacy Lynch stepped in as one of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s top advisers just last year, but Lynch, who cheekily describes herself as a “political influencer,” holds a political pedigree that runs deep – her father is famed political operative Bill Lynch and she previously served in leadership posts under former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. This daughter of Harlem is also part of the Daughters of the Movement, a collective featuring the descendants of Black political activists like Harry Belafonte and the Rev. Al Sharpton.

19. Camille Joseph Varlack

Chief of Staff, Office of the New York City Mayor
Camille Joseph Varlack / JaDee Murphy

Camille Joseph Varlack became New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ right-hand staffer last year after being a senior adviser to the mayor. Varlack, who emigrated from Trinidad and Tobago to the U.S. with her family, kicked off a career in law as an assistant district attorney, and later was a counsel in the state Department of Financial Services. Notably, she balanced multiple titles in Cuomo’s administration, including deputy director of state operations and chief risk officer.

20. Marie Therese Dominguez, Adrienne Harris, Hope Knight, Jeanette Moy & RuthAnne Visnauskas

Gubernatorial Cabinet Members
Marie Therese Dominguez, Adrienne Harris, Hope Knight, Jeanette Moy & RuthAnne Visnauskas / USDOT; Don Pollard; Kevin P. Coughlin, Office of Governor Kathy. Hochul; Office of General Services Digital Media Services; Kevin Joseph Laccone

Gov. Kathy Hochul, the state’s first female governor, has appointed a number of accomplished women to key roles in her cabinet. State Department of Financial Services Superintendent Adrienne Harris is shaping the future of cryptocurrency, with a series of new regulations for the industry. On Harris’ watch, DFS also stepped in during the collapse of Signature Bank to prevent issues for depositors. The state’s economic development chief, Hope Knight, has overseen the distribution of $146 million in grants awarded to communities statewide through the Restore New York Communities Initiative. Knight also supported a community engagement needs assessment strategy for the new Micron plant in the Syracuse area. State Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez has kept a number of major infrastructure projects around the state on track, including the high-profile plan to cap part of the Kensington Expressway in Buffalo to reconnect the city’s East Side. State General Services Commissioner Jeanette Moy this year announced a new five-year strategic plan for her agency, including a plan to modernize the state’s procurement system. Moy has also been focused on electrifying the state’s vehicle fleet. No state commissioner had a tougher legislative session than state Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner and CEO RuthAnne Visnauskas, but she insists the administration’s housing agenda is still in motion. Visnauskas has spent most of the year working with stakeholders around the state on housing plans and over the summer helped announce a new affordable housing commitment at the World Trade Center.

21. Twyla Carter

Attorney-in-Chief and CEO, The Legal Aid Society
Twyla Carter / Spencer Lee Gallop at The Legal Aid Society

There is much to be done to bolster equity for marginalized New Yorkers, and the Legal Aid Society has made strides to that end under Twyla Carter’s leadership. Her team mitigated pandemic-era evictions and protected over 136,000 households through their legal work, and advocated for incarcerated individuals facing violence and a lack of health care services on Rikers Island. The organization is also leading efforts against New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ suspension of New York’s right-to-shelter law amid the city’s growing asylum-seeker population. 

22. Pat Kane & Nancy Hagans

Executive Director; President, New York State Nurses Association
Pat Kane & Nancy Hagans / Jehan LLC

Pat Kane and Nancy Hagans know that nurses are the lynchpin to New York’s hospitals functioning and are not afraid to remind everyone. The nursing union secured updated contracts for nurses at Montefiore Medical Center and Mount Sinai Hospital in January after a three-day work stoppage by 7,000 nurses. They returned to negotiate against New York City in August and won a historic pay increase that raised pay for public nurses at NYC Health + Hospitals to be on par with the private sector. Under Kane and Hagans’ leadership, the NYSNA is supporting strikes led by SAG-AFTRA and the United Auto Workers.

23. Suri Kasirer

Founder and President, Kasirer
Suri Kasirer / Sara Beth Turner

Suri Kasirer remains at the top of New York City’s lobbying sector, raking in $15.5 million just last year, leading all other firms in revenue. The key to her success? Understanding the city’s political landscape and what levers to pull to get her client’s needs met. “All politics is local,” she told the Commercial Observer. Beyond her strong government connections, Kasirer’s clientele features big property players like the Related Companies to powerful trade groups such as the Hotel Association of New York City.

24. Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, Catalina Cruz, Deborah Glick, Kimberly Jean-Pierre, Latoya Joyner, Karen McMahon, Amy Paulin, Karines Reyes & Helene Weinstein

Assembly Members
Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, Catalina Cruz, Deborah Glick, Kimberly Jean-Pierre, Latoya Joyner, Karen McMahon, Amy Paulin, Karines Reyes & Helene Weinstein / Kristen Blush; State Assembly; Office of Assembly Member Amy Paulin

Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn derives as much influence from being boss of the Brooklyn Democratic Party as she does from being Assembly majority whip. She has called on migrant shelters to be placed across all neighborhoods to ensure equity. Legislatively, she has supported minority-owned firms and sought to ban menthol cigarettes and pass the Grieving Families Act. Assembly Ways and Means Committee Chair Helene Weinstein is the first woman to be the Assembly’s chief budget writer and she has been a leader in protecting women. The author of multiple domestic violence protection laws has long championed the Grieving Families Act, which was vetoed late last year. Assembly Member Amy Paulin, a prolific state lawmaker, took the reins of the Assembly Health Committee this year and got to work passing a bill to expand access to contraception. Paulin also saw her bill enacted to make the dissemination of online deepfake images a crime. Assembly Member Karines Reyes helped deepen New York’s legal protections for abortion rights. The Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force chair championed a new law to protect New York doctors who send abortion pills across state lines. Assembly Member Catalina Cruz has been a high-profile lawmaker since arriving in Albany in 2019. Her Clean Slate Act, which seals certain convictions, will be delivered to the governor this year. Trading the gavel of the Higher Education Committee for the Environmental Conservation Committee this year, Assembly Member Deborah Glick has advanced legislation to protect pollinators from toxins, ban horse slaughter, require wind turbines to have one colored rotor blade to reduce bird deaths and ban lead ammunition for hunting use on state land. Labor Committee Chair Latoya Joyner has been focused on ways to expand New York’s workforce, including chairing hearings on workforce development funding and addressing staffing shortages. Joyner also steered passage of legislation to ban noncompete clauses in employment contracts. Assembly Member Karen McMahon, the Assembly Women’s Issues Task Force chair, has been focused on her district in the Buffalo suburbs. Assembly Member Kimberly Jean-Pierre is the Legislative Women’s Caucus Chair and this year became chair of the Assembly Veterans’ Affairs Committee as well.

25. Emily Giske, Juanita Scarlett, Teresa Gonzalez, Samara Daly, Violet Moss, Anne Marie Anzalone & Prisca Salazar-Rodriguez

Partners, Bolton-St. Johns
Top row, from left: Emily Giske and Juanita Scarlett. Middle row, from left: Teresa Gonzalez, Samara Daly and Violet Moss. Bottom row, from left: Anne Marie Anzalone and Prisca Salazar-Rodriguez / Sippakorn Ponpayong; Roger Archer; Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade; Helena Palazzi; Sippakorn Ponpayong; Natalie Cartz; Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

If you’re looking to get stuff done in New York, you need to know Emily Giske and Juanita Scarlett. The executives at powerhouse lobbying firm Bolton-St. Johns have distinguished themselves as key players in the world of public affairs. Giske, a vice chair of the state Democratic Party, was a key player behind same-sex marriage in New York, gestational surrogacy legislation and the recruitment of more women to run for state Senate. Scarlett brings her deep experience in government and campaigns to her clients, including those in health care, energy, economic development and education. A former executive vice president at the Empire State Development, Scarlett is a veteran of the governor’s office, the state attorney general’s office and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Other female partners are Teresa Gonzalez, Samara Daly, Violet Moss, Anne Marie Anzalone and Prisca Salazar-Rodriguez.

Editor’s note: Juanita Scarlett is a member of City & State’s advisory board.

26. Valerie Berlin

Principal and Co-Founder, BerlinRosen
Valerie Berlin / CEOPortrait

Valerie Berlin’s 20 years of experience as an organizer and campaign manager has no doubt helped build BerlinRosen into one of the city’s leading public relations firms. Most recently, her agency facilitated public messaging around the $6 billion purchase of the Washington Commanders by billionaire Josh Harris – the most expensive deal in NFL history. The agency also made bold moves this year with its acquisition of Inkhouse, one of the largest PR firms in the region, and data and analytics agency Message Lab.

27. Christine Quinn

President and CEO, Win
Christine Quinn / Submitted

The former New York City Council speaker knows how to run up wins while running Win, a nonprofit serving unhoused New Yorkers. She got the City Council to override Mayor Eric Adams’ veto on voucher eligibility and wait times for low-income residents and opposed Adams’ move to suspend the city’s right-to-shelter policy amid the arrival of new asylum-seekers. Quinn has also not ruled out a return to elected office.

28. Diana Ayala, Gale Brewer, Selvena Brooks-Powers, Tiffany Cabán, Amanda Farías & Farah Louis

New York City Council Members
Diana Ayala, Gale Brewer, Selvena Brooks-Powers, Tiffany Cabán, Amanda Farías & Farah Louis / New York City Council; John McCarten, NYC Council Media Unit; Corey Torpie; Emil Cohen; Roman Vail

New York City Council Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala is asserting the legislative body’s independence. This year, Ayala helped engineer an override of Mayor Eric Adams’ veto of housing legislation, including a voucher extension bill. New York City Council Member Gale Brewer, the Council’s Oversight Committee chair, was stuck on the subway for three hours during September’s flooding, emerging critical of the MTA’s preparedness. MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber shouldn’t be surprised if the famously data-loving and detail-oriented lawmaker hands him a plan to improve the MTA. Transportation Committee Chair Selvena Brooks-Powers, who’s also majority whip, is holding city transportation officials to account, including how they are implementing requirements for new bike and bus lanes. Brooks-Powers is also looking to equitably implement congestion pricing. Women and Gender Equity Committee Chair Tiffany Cabán has been working on a legislative package to strengthen the city’s domestic violence laws. This includes a microgrant program to provide domestic violence survivors with funds to assist with housing and other services. 

The New York City Council Women’s Caucus co-chairs are Council Members Amanda Farías and Farah Louis. Farías has introduced a legislative package to improve access to menstrual products, including in correctional institutions and schools. She’s also the Economic Development Committee chair and has introduced legislation to create a citywide plan for industrial development. Louis hosted a first annual gun violence prevention youth rally in her Brooklyn district. As Landmarks, Public Sitings and Dispositions Subcommittee chair, Louis has also been focused on school safety and affordable housing issues.

29. Kathy Sheehan

Albany Mayor
Kathy Sheehan / Sabrina Flores

Kathy Sheehan is now in her third term as mayor of New York’s capital city. In her current budget proposal, Sheehan crafted a $226 million spending plan which includes, among other proposals, a reduction in property taxes for businesses and landlords and a 5% wage increase for city workers. The long-awaited redevelopment of Albany’s I-787 corridor is also underway with a feasibility study for potential projects being carried out by the Department of Transportation.

30. Melinda Person

President, New York State United Teachers
Melinda Person / El-Wise Noisette

A former teacher and government aide with the state Division of the Budget, Melinda Person has ascended to lead New York State United Teachers, the influential union representing nearly 700,000 educators. She has advocated for a more comprehensive approach to high school graduation requirements and successfully lobbied for the inclusion of teachers in New York’s workplace violence prevention law. Next, NYSUT wants the state Legislature to update New York’s Foundation Aid formula used in its education budgeting.

31. Jen Metzger

Ulster County Executive
Jen Metzger / Jen Metzger for State Senate

A former Democratic state senator, Jen Metzger came out victorious in a November special election for the Ulster County executive, succeeding Rep. Pat Ryan and becoming the state’s only female county executive. Metzger proposed a $413 million budget this year with an emphasis on housing and infrastructure investments, $18 million of which would go to a Decarbonization Capital Reserve to reduce carbon emissions at government buildings. Metzger is unopposed this year in her bid for a full four-year term.

32. Darcel Clark, Anne Donnelly, Melinda Katz & Mimi Rocah

District Attorneys, Bronx County; Nassau County; Queens County; Westchester County
Darcel Clark, Anne Donnelly, Melinda Katz & Mimi Rocah / The Bronx Attorney's Office; Nassau County District Attorney's Office; Lynn Savarese; Mimi Rocah for DA

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz barely won the 2019 Democratic primary, but this year she cruised right through. Katz has sought to vacate wrongful convictions and has pushed a new initiative to combat retail thefts. Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark easily won her Democratic primary in June, setting her up for a third term as the Bronx’s top prosecutor. Clark has taken the lead in pushing for state lawmakers to overhaul the state’s discovery laws, saying the 2019 law has hindered prosecutors. The fourth consecutive woman to serve as Nassau County’s district attorney, Anne Donnelly was a career prosecutor before taking the helm of the busy suburban prosecutor’s office. She kicked off 2023 by announcing an investigation into fellow Republican Rep. George Santos. She has also pushed legislation to ban online deepfake images. Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah – who recently announced she won’t seek reelection next year – dropped a probe into Trump National Golf Club Westchester and indicted a former New Rochelle police union leader accused of stealing funds from a charity he founded to assist autistic children.

33. Vanessa Gibson

Bronx Borough President
Vanessa Gibson / Finalis Valadez

Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson has strived to build a better borough during her tenure – and that includes more development. Key projects underway in the borough include construction for the new 530,000-square-foot Hip Hop Museum and a large last-mile warehouse. Gibson, who supported closing Rikers as a New York City Council member, has pushed to cap a new borough jail’s population and the recently shuttered floating jail, the Vernon C. Bain Correctional Center, along with Rikers Island.

34. Heather Briccetti Mulligan

President and CEO, The Business Council of New York State
Heather Briccetti Mulligan / Joan Heffler Photography

For over a decade Heather Briccetti Mulligan has shown Albany that she means business. The Business Council of New York State represents more than 3,000 member businesses that employ a combined total of 1.2 million New Yorkers, and Mulligan is clear on how state leaders can best serve the business community. She wants elected officials to focus their sights on two major issues to spur economic growth: immigration reform – she supports expedited permits so companies can hire new asylum-seekers – and funneling funds to businesses under the new infrastructure and microchip manufacturing laws.

35. Bhairavi Desai

Founder and Executive Director, New York Taxi Workers Alliance

Bhairavi Desai is among New York City’s most visible labor leaders. Her group has advocated for a congestion pricing break for taxi drivers and, in May, filed a petition in state Supreme Court against the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission over a pilot program that would issue street hail livery licenses to 2,500 green taxis. Desai has also opposed the agency’s proposal to eliminate the partition requirement for city cabs, which she likened to “giving drivers a car without brakes.”

36. Tiffany Raspberry

Senior Adviser for External Affairs, Office of the New York City Mayor
Tiffany Raspberry / Regina Fleming Photography

Tiffany Raspberry advised on New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ campaign before she was recruited into his inner sanctum as senior adviser for external affairs, a role that was restructured by Adams to provide Raspberry with more authority and have her report directly to the mayor. The longtime political strategist has served in other city government roles before, among them as chief of staff to then-New York City Council Member Domenic Recchia and as a policy analyst for the City Council.

37. Laura Kavanagh, Jessica Tisch & Dawn Pinnock

Commissioners, New York City Fire Department; New York City Sanitation Department; New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services
Laura Kavanagh, Jessica Tisch & Dawn Pinnock / Lev Radin, Pacific Press, LightRocket via Getty Images; New York City Department of Sanitation; NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services

The first woman to lead the New York City Fire Department, Laura Kavanagh has been charting her own path, even if it means ruffling some feathers along the way. Kavanagh’s reshuffling of her command staff led several department chiefs to request demotions. Kavanagh has been leading a public campaign to better regulate lithium-ion batteries to reduce fires. She also got a chance to hang out with someone who knows a thing or two about organizational drama, the prince of Wales. Not everyone has dreamed of being New York City’s sanitation commissioner, but Jessica Tisch said she did for a long time. The city’s trash chief has been focused on overhauling the Big Apple’s garbage, including requiring businesses to use new receptacles. Mayor Eric Adams may run New York City, but that’s only because Dawn Pinnock knows where the keys are to open up in the morning. The Citywide Administrative Services Department commissioner has been focused on priorities like hiring public sector workers and electrifying the city’s vehicle fleet.

38. Tyquana Henderson-Rivers

President and CEO, Connective Strategies
Tyquana Henderson-Rivers / Cedric Wooten

Tyquana Henderson-Rivers helms a small but mighty team at Queens-based Connective Strategies. Her agency’s slate of winning clients include Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, Rep. Gregory Meeks and Gov. Kathy Hochul. Beyond politics, Henderson-Rivers works on strategic messaging with major corporate brands like Airbnb, FedEx and Walmart. She also serves on numerous boards, including the Thomas White Jr. Foundation and the Jamaica Center for the Performing Arts.

39. Cristyne Nicholas

Co-Founder and CEO, Nicholas & Lence Communications
Cristyne Nicholas / Jill Singer Graphics

Cristyne Nicholas has a laser focus on growing New York City’s economy and making sure the tourism economy always bounces back. Nicholas led the rebuilding of the city’s tourism and convention industry after 9/11 and was former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s communications director. Nicholas’ communications firm is the go-to for many tourism clients, including the Times Square Alliance and Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts. She is a vocal champion for New York’s post-pandemic economic recovery as chair of the state tourism advisory council and Broadway Association chair.

40. Kerri Lyon

Partner, SKDK
Kerri Lyon / SKDK

A self-professed “recovering journalist,” Kerri Lyon won two Emmys in her past life as a reporter for broadcast outlets including NY1 and WCBS-TV. Now as a partner at PR firm SKDK, where she has worked since 2010, Lyon collaborates extensively to generate compelling messaging for a bevy of clients, ranging from the education sector to the corporate C-suite. Her breadth of work includes handling public relations around reproductive rights advocacy, solar energy initiatives and workers’ rights.

41. Risa Heller

CEO, Risa Heller Communications
Risa Heller / Risa Heller Communications

Risa Heller established herself as a crisis communication expert after handling public communication matters for bigwig politicians like U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and then-Gov. David Paterson, as well as figures such as Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump after they both assumed official White House titles. Heller’s eponymous PR agency has achieved noteworthy accomplishments, such as helping to secure $225 million in debt relief for New York City’s taxi drivers and gaining government approval for the 339-mile Champlain Hudson Power Express.

42. Katie Moore

Partner, Red Horse Strategies
Katie Moore / David Yoon (Red Horse Strategies)

Katie Moore is widely credited for Eric Adams’ successful New York City mayoral campaign and led his transition team as executive director. She made a name for herself as an operative in New York’s labor circles serving as political director of the Hotel Trades Council and a political organizer for 1199SEIU. Moore’s firm was recently hired by a coalition of developers to handle public relations for a $3 billion casino development project on Coney Island.

43. Mara Gay

Member, The New York Times Editorial Board
Mara Gay / Kevin Hagen

Mara Gay is among the standout talents within The New York Times. Beyond her role in bestowing the newspaper’s highly coveted political endorsements, which is granted after a thorough review of candidates by the board, Gay’s opinion pieces have brought a fresh voice to an old institution that still struggles to keep up with the changing times. Before joining the Times in 2018, Gay covered New York City politics at outlets like The Wall Street Journal and the Daily News.

44. Rachel Noerdlinger

Partner, Actum
Rachel Noerdlinger / Actum Public Affairs

Rachel Noerdlinger’s decadeslong career in public relations has given her an enviable network of high-profile Black activists and prominent journalists on speed dial. A self-proclaimed “media activist,” she served as both PR handler and chief of staff to then-New York City first lady Chirlane McCray. But Noerdlinger’s longest and most high-profile client is the Rev. Al Sharpton, which led her to manage the publicity around George Floyd’s 2020 funeral in Minneapolis. Last year, she left her position at Mercury to join global consulting firm Actum as a partner.

45. Amelia Adams & Yvette Buckner

Co-Founders, Adams Buckner Advisors
Amelia Adams & Yvette Buckner / Frank Gutierrez

The combined forces of Amelia Adams and Yvette Buckner is every candidate’s or client’s dream. Both women are seasoned operatives and were instrumental in the successful 21 in ’21 initiative (now rebranded as The New Majority NYC) to elect more women to the New York City Council in the 2021 election – with 80% of the newly elected council members backed by the collective being women of color – and advised on the reelection campaigns for Gov. Kathy Hochul and state Attorney General Letitia James. Their Manhattan-based firm was launched in 2022.

46. Camille Joseph-Goldman

Group Vice President of Government Affairs for the Northeast, Charter Communications
Camille Joseph-Goldman / Submitted

Camille Joseph-Goldman served as the director of intergovernmental affairs for U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand before becoming New York City’s youngest deputy comptroller for public affairs. At Charter, Joseph-Goldman landed a $90 million deal with New York City’s public housing authority as the primary internet provider for 300,000 public households and secured a landmark deal with the city’s Office of Technology and Innovation to launch Big Apple Connect, the largest free broadband program of its kind.

47. Jennifer Jones Austin

CEO and Executive Director, FPWA
Jennifer Jones Austin / Rob White

Jennifer Jones Austin is a fourth-generation faith-based social justice activist. She is known as the longtime leader of FPWA – formerly the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies – a consortium of nonprofits and church initiatives collectively serving 1.5 million New Yorkers. Jones Austin’s advocacy work, which spans everything from minimum wage campaigns to calls for criminal justice reforms at Rikers, was recognized by her alma mater, Fordham Law, with its inaugural Eunice Carter Award. She is currently a visiting scholar at NYU’s Silver School of Social Work.

48. Jan Feuerstadt & Tara Martin

Partner; Managing Director, Mercury
Jan Feuerstadt & Tara Martin / David Dupuy Photography; Erin Silber Photography

Mercury is a top lobbying firm with a team full of well-connected talent. Jan Feuerstadt heads the firm’s state and city government relations practice group. She is a seasoned government operative with past posts under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Tara Martin, who advises the firm’s clients on government affairs and social impact strategies, joined Mercury as managing director last December. Martin is a veteran communications strategist who has worked with high-ranking elected officials, including Rep. Yvette Clarke and former President Barack Obama.

Editor’s note: Tara Martin is a member of City & State’s advisory board.

49. Christina Dickinson

Partner, Dickinson & Avella
Christina Dickinson / Christina Primero Photography

Christina Dickinson is a seasoned lobbyist who began her career in government as a legislative aide for former state Sen. Tom Duane. She was eventually promoted as a counsel for state Senate Democrats before moving on to launch her own private firm in 2009. Her firm, Dickinson & Avella, sits as a top lobbyist in Albany. Last year, the firm raked in $4.6 million from clients including the Hotel and Gaming Trades Council, Verizon and New York’s local teams – the Yankees and the Mets.

50. Lupe Todd-Medina

President, Effective Media Strategies
Lupe Todd-Medina / Celeste Sloman

Launched in 2013, Lupe Todd-Medina’s public relations firm has supported high-profile clients, such as Harlem Assembly Member Inez Dickens, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Gov. Kathy Hochul’s successful 2022 campaign. Her public service work involves posts under former Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker’s time in Newark City Hall. A proud Afro Latina with roots in Panama, Todd-Medina is a member of the Olori Sisterhood, a professional network for Black women political operatives based in Brooklyn.

Editor’s note: Lupe Todd-Medina is a member of City & State’s advisory board.

51. Grace Bonilla

President and CEO, United Way of New York City
Grace Bonilla / Amy Lombard

Grace Bonilla’s nonprofit serves low-income New Yorkers by connecting them with resources for economic mobility. Prior to becoming the organization’s first Latina president, Bonilla was a lawyer at the New York City Human Resources Administration and, as part of the city’s Task Force on Racial Inclusion & Equity, led COVID-19 rapid response efforts in 27 underserved neighborhoods. Over the summer, her nonprofit launched its Bookmobile initiative to connect school-age children with a mobile library featuring books highlighted in the city’s new Black Studies school curriculum.

52. Anne Reynolds

Executive Director, Alliance for Clean Energy New York
Anne Reynolds / Cindy Schultz

Anne Reynolds has been a lifelong advocate for clean energy. A former scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Reynolds has led the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, a prominent statewide renewable energy group, since 2014. The alliance is in the midst of petitioning for higher energy prices from previously awarded renewable energy contracts by the state – which make up about 80% of New York’s plan to transition off fossil fuel – due to what the group says are market-induced price spikes.

53. Michele de Milly

Principal, Geto & de Milly
Michele de Milly / Geto & de Milly

Michele de Milly has parlayed her experience in economic development and public affairs into a successful lobbying career with her firm, Geto & de Milly, which has operated since 1980. The firm serves high-profile clients in government and health care with recent successes, including the Gowanus rezoning and approval for the mixed-use development of the South Street Seaport. The firm was also hired by the International Cricket Council to lobby for a new 34,000-seat cricket stadium in the Bronx.

54. Susan Arbetter

Host, “Capitol Tonight”, Spectrum News
Susan Arbetter / Spectrum News

Susan Arbetter is a veteran journalist and host of “Capital Tonight” on Spectrum News, where she keeps New Yorkers abreast of state political happenings. She holds the distinction of co-moderating the only public debate between Gov. Kathy Hochul and Republican foe Lee Zeldin last year. Among Arbetter’s professional honors are her induction into the Women’s Press Club of New York Hall of Fame and a New York Emmy nomination for her show’s coverage of the 2022 governor’s race.

55. Julie Tighe

President, New York League of Conservation Voters
Julie Tighe / NYLCV

In the wake of devastating flooding, climate issues are top of mind for many New Yorkers. Julie Tighe’s New York League of Conservation Voters advocate for environmental policies that will help state and city government combat the climate crisis and educate residents on how they can do their part to push progress. In addition to being outspoken proponents of congestion pricing, her organization helped secure a version of the All Electric Buildings Act and passage of the Planned Offshore Wind Transmission Act, which will advance the state’s offshore wind energy-related efforts.

56. Diana Ostroff

Chief Operating Officer, Ostroff Associates
Diana Ostroff / Elario Photography

Diana Ostroff discovered her passion for lobbying as a college student working at The Business Council of New York State. She became a full-time lobbyist, landing leadership positions with the National Federation of Independent Business and the Life Insurance Council of New York State. She also served as vice president of advocacy and communications for the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce. Ostroff’s firm helped secure $300 million for New York’s development projects and $1 million for blood cancer research to benefit 9/11 first responders.

57. Helena Williams

Project Executive and CEO, JFK Millennium Partners
Helena Williams / Joan Heffler Photography

A veteran transportation executive, Helena Williams is the primary overseer of the $4.2 billion redevelopment of Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 6 into a more modern, sustainable site. Williams has emphasized equity and community outreach throughout the project, supporting certification work with small contractors and facilitating partnerships between subcontractors with small minority-owned companies. A big part of the project’s draw for Williams was its collaborative nature as a private-public endeavor with the Port Authority, which is leading the $19 billion overall redevelopment at the airport. 

58. Lisa Marrello

Partner and Managing Director, Park Strategies
Lisa Marrello / Rich Pagano, Print Connections

After serving in the New York City mayor’s office and the Assembly, Lisa Marrello made her mark in the private sector. She worked at a variety of firms before landing at Park Strategies, where she now manages daily operations in addition to serving her individual clients, with a portfolio that includes the likes of the Westchester County Association and the New York State Association of Professional Driving Schools. She was chosen as a Women Who Mean Business honoree by the Albany Business Review.

59. Jeanne Mullgrav

Managing Director, Capalino
Jeanne Mullgrav / Leigh Beckett

Jeanne Mullgrav served as deputy director of intergovernmental relations for the state Attorney General’s Office and a commissioner for the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development before joining highly ranked lobbying firm Capalino. Mullgrav uses her breadth of knowledge to support nonprofit clients, including HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services and the New York Restoration Project. As a lobbyist working with numerous social services groups, her crowning achievement was securing $12 million in funding for educational resources for foster care youth.

60. Melva Miller

CEO, Association for a Better New York
Melva Miller / Dezirae Bradley

Melva Miller became CEO of the Association for a Better New York in 2020 after leading the group’s efforts to boost local turnout for the census. ABNY recently donated 500 Apple AirTags to support New York City’s efforts to combat increasing car theft in the Bronx and backed the governor’s plans for the construction of 5 World Trade Center, which will bring an additional 1,200 housing units to lower Manhattan. Her organization has also been a proponent of the Gateway tunnel project that’s now underway.

61. Beth Finkel

State Director, AARP New York
Beth Finkel / Johann Gamez, Alerta! Creative

Beth Finkel directs the AARP’s daily operations and lobbying to secure legal protections for New York’s older adult population, a vital endeavor as 1 in 5 New Yorkers are age 65 or older. She played a role in securing provisions for family caregivers in New York’s paid leave and a law prohibiting employers from asking job applicants to disclose their age. Finkel has called on Gov. Kathy Hochul to pass medical billing transparency legislation that would shield seniors from surprise medical expenses stemming from changing drug prices.

62. Katie Schwab & Rose Christ

Co-Chairs, New York Practice Group, Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies
Katie Schwab & Rose Christ / Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies

Katie Schwab and Rose Christ co-lead the New York practice group at Cozen O’Connor, taking on the roles of co-chairs early last year. Schwab’s résumé includes various government stints, including a notable role as deputy commissioner for comprehensive planning under then-Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, and she brings her public planning knowledge to the firm’s work. Christ, who served as president of the Stonewall Democratic Club of NYC, has an affinity for supporting public projects and has secured funding for projects like a large-scale Hudson River Park art installation by the Whitney Museum of American Art.

63. Donna Lieberman

Executive Director, New York Civil Liberties Union
Donna Lieberman / Jena Cumbo

With discriminatory practices against the LGBTQ+ community on the rise, Donna Lieberman has had her staff take up a growing number of cases in support of transgender and gender-expansive clients. The NYCLU filed a new lawsuit against the New York City Police Department over the department’s settlement requirements related to a prior complaint involving mistreatment of a trans activist while in police custody and, in August, the group helped a transgender client secure a historic settlement from Broome County after she was denied health care services due to her identity.

64. T.S. Candii, Cecilia Gentili & Kiara St. James

Transgender activists
T.S. Candii, Cecilia Gentili & Kiara St. James / Policing Our Bodies; Oscar Diaz; Cory Malcolm

A noted transgender activist, T.S. Candii is focused on advocating for transgender people of color. The activist, who’s also the author of “Becoming Candii: My Transgender True Story,” has been focused on safe housing, access to health care and jobs. Cecilia Gentili, the founder of Transgender Equity Consulting, recently published a memoir focused on the work she has done for transgender rights. Gentili, a veteran of GMHC who helped pass New York’s Gender Non-Discrimination Act, is also a founder of Decrim NY, which aims to decriminalize sex work. Kiara St. James has been focused on health care issues facing the transgender community, noting her own experience with cancer. She’s also a member of the New York City Commission on Gender Equity.

65. Rebecca Damon

Executive Director of New York Local Labor Policy and International Affairs, SAG-AFTRA
Rebecca Damon / SAG-AFTRA

SAG-AFTRA took on Hollywood with the historic actors’ strike – and won. Rebecca Damon was responsible for the union’s New York activities, bringing star-studded rallies in Times Square where famous actors mixed with supportive members of New York’s political elite, including Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado and state Attorney General Letitia James. After the writers union secured new contracts, SAG-AFTRA reached a tentative agreement that would boost pay on streaming shows and improve health benefits – which will go to a vote by members.

66. Mary Beth Labate

Senior Adviser, Brown & Weinraub
Mary Beth Labate / Brown & Weinraub

Before joining the state’s top lobbying firm as a senior adviser, Mary Beth Labate had an extensive career in budgeting and finance matters for government and higher education. She held key roles within the state budget divisions of both Cuomo administrations, then moved on to become president of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities representing private nonprofit higher education institutions on public policy. The Notre Dame graduate has served on numerous boards, including the Housing Finance Agency board and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. board.

67. Mary Ann Tighe

CEO, New York Tri-State Region, CBRE
Mary Ann Tighe / Weston Tighe

Mary Ann Tighe is a pillar of New York City real estate, having revived Times Square and expanded Midtown’s central business district through major deals in her illustrious career. After joining real estate brokerage firm CBRE in 2002, Tighe became the first woman to helm the Real Estate Board of New York, which she led for three terms. She was pivotal in getting Fox Corp. to extend the lease on its 1.2 million-square-foot Manhattan office earlier this year as companies contend with remote work.

68. Martha Pollack

President, Cornell University
Martha Pollack / Cornell University

Martha Pollack has led the Ithaca and New York City Ivy League university since 2017. She refreshed its admissions review process through a newly established Presidential Task Force for Undergraduate Admissions and is in the midst of raising $5 billion in new funding. With censorship a hot-button topic in academic circles, Pollack is also contending with debates around free speech on her own campuses after she rejected the student assembly’s request to have trigger warnings put in place for sensitive class materials.

69. Eva Moskowitz

Founder and CEO, Success Academy Charter Schools
Eva Moskowitz / Blair Getz Mezibov

Founded by Eva Moskowitz in 2006, Success Academy Charter Schools now operates 53 schools across every borough except Staten Island. Despite political debates around the city’s charter school expansions, Moskowitz’s schools will continue to flourish thanks to $25 million in private funding from Citadel founder Ken Griffin. The former New York City Council Education Committee chair and longtime teachers union foe secured another win after a judge dismissed a union lawsuit against Success Academy to prevent the charter school from co-occupying two public school buildings.

70. Wendy Stark

President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York

A leader in LGBTQ+ health care services, Wendy Stark now heads one of Planned Parenthood’s largest affiliates. Her branch is estimated to treat 150,000 patients this year alone. Last spring, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York held its first annual Spring to Action fundraising gala with New York political luminaries in attendance, including U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and state Attorney General Letitia James. Stark’s group is among 53 health care providers nationwide receiving $68.5 million in federal funding for teen pregnancy prevention initiatives.

71. Jessica Lappin

President, Alliance for Downtown New York
Jessica Lappin / ChIps Advancing Women

Jessica Lappin’s Alliance for Downtown New York has launched a handful of initiatives supporting the neighborhood’s post-pandemic bounceback. Its annual Dine Around Downtown Community Food Festival, which returned this year, drew 12,000 participants. Beyond that, the organization launched Get Social to match small retailers with digital consultants for social media marketing support, as well as a business incubator for small entrepreneurs focused on interactive walking tours to promote tourism.

72. Joni Yoswein

Founder and CEO, Yoswein New York
Joni Yoswein / Yoswein New York

Armed with an extensive background in government service and a penchant for crafting engaging public messaging, Joni Yoswein launched her boutique lobbying firm nearly 30 years ago. The former Assembly member serves a wide range of clients, such as Wegmans, Ikea, the Brooklyn Public Library and Amazon, and she has pushed campaigns to bolster the restaurant industry’s post-pandemic recovery with outdoor dining and cocktails to-go. Yoswein served as assistant commissioner for the Department for the Aging prior to launching her firm in 1994.

73. Taryn Duffy

Vice President of Public Affairs, MGM Resorts Northeast Group
Taryn Duffy / Sean Hamrock

If anyone understands the ins and outs of the casino business, it is Taryn Duffy. A well-connected executive in the gambling industry, she has spent over a decade with MGM Resorts, becoming its vice president of public affairs in 2021. On top of that, she served as chair of the New York Gaming Association for three years. MGM Resorts released its social impact report detailing numerous ways that its Empire City Casino in Yonkers – a contender for one of three new full casino licenses downstate – supports local communities through charity drives and private funding.

74. Resi Cooper

President, CooperHill LLC

Resi Cooper has somehow managed to keep a relatively low profile despite being considered one of the most influential women on Long Island. Before launching CooperHill LLC, Cooper worked as an aide for then-U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who later appointed her as the New York state director for her second presidential bid. Outside of the firm, Cooper serves on the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council and was selected to the review committee for $250 million in construction grants across Long Island.

75. Minouche Shafik

President, Columbia University
Minouche Shafik / Mark Bader

Becoming Columbia University’s first female president this summer was another notable addition to Minouche Shafik’s already impressive résumé. Shafik led the London School of Economics and Political Science. She was permanent secretary of the U.K. Department for International Development and is a former deputy governor of the Bank of England. She is on leave from the House of Lords, where she serves as Baroness Shafik. In her inaugural address, Shafik outlined a vision for Columbia that includes an education to prepare students for rigorous debate, solving world issues and increased engagement with New York City.

76. Danna DeBlasio

Managing Director, CMW Strategies
Danna DeBlasio / Lisa Berg

Danna DeBlasio manages CMW Strategies’ daily operations on top of her own portfolio of clients, which includes cultural institutions, nonprofits and industry trade groups. Prior to joining the lobbying firm, DeBlasio worked for Patricia Lynch Associates, another top firm, where she was entrusted to oversee client-related operations abroad in Panama City for a year. Her firm has strong connections at New York City Hall as a fundraiser behind Mayor Eric Adams’ 2021 campaign.

77. Linda Mills

President, New York University
Linda Mills / NYU Photo Bureau

Linda Mills is the first woman to serve as New York University’s president. Her prior post as NYU’s senior vice provost for global programs appears to inform her priorities as its new head. She renewed an ongoing partnership with East China Normal University and signed a collaboration agreement for an AI research initiative with the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. Mills, whose mother fled the Holocaust, publicly opposed the academic boycott of Israel by the American Anthropological Association following worsening violence around Gaza.

78. Sonia Ossorio

President, National Organization for Women – New York City
Sonia Ossorio / Lynn Savarese

Sonia Ossorio is a champion for women’s equality, with an emphasis on advocating for victims of sexual assault and sex trafficking. She opposed the nomination of now-state Court of Appeals Chief Judge Rowan Wilson due to his decision to vacate the guilty verdict in a rape case and pushed for the state to remove the statute of limitations on sex trafficking cases and create a one-year window for civil suits. Ossorio has guided the group’s 20,000 members in the organization’s advocacy campaigns for women’s rights since 2007.

79. Phoebe Boyer

President and CEO, Children’s Aid
Phoebe Boyer / Nancy Adler Photography

Children’s Aid is one of the oldest nonprofits serving low-income children in New York City. Phoebe Boyer came in as CEO in 2014 after helming the Robertson Foundation and the Tiger Foundation, both of which focus on education and youth development. Boyer has called for better pay for nonprofit workers and backed a bill that would give nonprofit organizations a bigger seat at the table in terms of shaping policy. Children’s Aid is in the midst of a 15-year deal to sell off parts of its property to New York City.

80. Nina Kubota

President and CEO, New York City School Construction Authority
Nina Kubota / NYC SCA

Nina Kubota has worked at the New York City School Construction Authority since the days of the Giuliani administration, working her way up through the ranks from administrative coordinator to the agency’s boss. As chief, Kubota is responsible for ensuring that the city’s school construction goals are met under Mayor Eric Adams’ $4 billion initiative, which includes making two-thirds of all schools fully accessible. Ten new school buildings just opened under the School Construction Authority in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, adding more than 4,400 new school seats.

81. Lisa Linden

Media Strategist, The LAKPR Group
Lisa Linden / Ronald Glassman

Since co-founding LAK Public Relations in 1993, Lisa Linden made a name for herself as a crisis communications expert in the world of politics while working on election campaigns on the state and national levels. Among her most notable accomplishments has been her work in supporting hospitality industry clients in the 9/11 aftermath. The LAKPR Group, which counts REGO Restaurant Group, Clearview AI and the Hotel Association of New York City among its clients, celebrated its third anniversary this year.

82. Mylan Denerstein

Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
Mylan Denerstein / Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

Before joining her firm, Mylan Denerstein served as an assistant U.S. attorney and as executive deputy state attorney general in then-state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s social justice division. Denerstein’s 2022 appointment as an independent monitor for New York City Police Department reforms saddled her with the hefty task of reviewing the police department’s stop-and-frisk practices. Her June report found that 97% of search stops by the rebranded “neighborhood safety teams” were of Black people or Latinos, with an estimated 24% of those stops considered unconstitutional.

83. Shontell Smith

Executive Vice President, Tusk Strategies
Shontell Smith / State Senate Photography

This past June marked Shontell Smith’s first anniversary at Tusk Strategies, an elite consulting firm in New York City, where she co-heads its New York practice group. Before joining the team, Smith had an influential role as counsel and chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and was crucial in pushing through New York’s first bail reform laws. Her firm has handled high-profile election campaigns as well as legislative lobbying for clients like McDonald’s, LVMH and the Crypto Council for Innovation.

84. Kimberly Nason

Partner, Phillips Lytle
Kimberly Nason / KC Kratt Photography

An expert in land use and environmental law, Kimberly Nason is involved in some of the most high-profile land use matters in the state. As head of Phillip Lytle’s land, environment, and energy practice group, Nason oversees the law firm’s portfolio of work, including fulfilling environmental reviews for the upcoming Buffalo Bills stadium and for a $300 million Amazon warehouse development in Niagara. Additionally, Nason handles transactional support for clients as well as regulatory compliance for requirements under state and federal environmental agencies.

85. Tricia Asaro

Administrative Shareholder, Albany Office, Greenberg Traurig
Tricia Asaro / Greenberg Traurig

Tricia Asaro has sustained a long career as an attorney practicing in the areas of health care and regulatory compliance. Notably, she represented Centene Corp. in a number of dealings, including its $17.3 billion merger with WellCare Health Plans, and she was the lead negotiator for the New York Health Plan Association in its contract negotiations with the state Health Department. Beyond co-chairing her firm’s health care and FDA practice, Asaro in January was made a director of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood.

86. Jennifer Richardson

Senior Vice President, Patrick B. Jenkins & Associates
Jennifer Richardson / Lana Ortiz Photography

Jennifer Richardson is always up for a challenge. Among her professional achievements are two criminal justice bills passed in 2019, which skeptics told her would be impossible to push through. She was also instrumental in drafting and helping secure the passage of universal pre-K, a cornerstone policy for her former boss, then-New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, during Richardson’s post at the Department of Education. When she’s not serving her firm’s clients, Richardson teaches law at her alma mater, Albany Law School.

87. Leecia Eve

Partner, Ichor Strategies
Leecia Eve / Anthony Alvarez Photo

Leecia Eve’s 30-year career is peppered with prominent leadership roles in government and the private sector. Daughter of former Assembly Deputy Speaker Arthur Eve, her political trajectory includes multiple counsel and adviser roles under then-U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, Hillary Rodham Clinton and former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. This year, she was appointed by Gov. Kathy Hochul as interim chair of the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center’s board of directors in her native Buffalo, making Eve the first woman and the first person of color to serve in the role.

88. Eileen Cifone

Director of Government and Community Relations, National Grid
Eileen Cifone / National Grid

Eileen Cifone drives community and government relations for National Grid in New York, including in its effort to transition to renewable energy. She advocates for a company that’s the largest dual gas and electricity provider in the state, with 1.9 million gas customers in the New York City metropolitan area and Long Island, 1.6 million electricity customers upstate and 600,000 gas customers upstate. National Grid recently partnered with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection to launch the Newtown Creek project, which will convert wastewater into renewable energy.

89. Debbie Almontaser

CEO and Founder, Bridging Cultures Group Inc.
Debbie Almontaser / Joey O'Loughlin

Debbie Almontaser has her hand in many campaigns, but whatever she does there is one common thread: lifting up New York’s Muslim communities and dismantling stereotypes. A big part of that mission is her newest endeavor as part of the 9/11 Museum Community Advisory Council, which seeks to update the museum’s exhibit to include nuanced elements related to the politics around the tragedy. A co-founder of the Yemeni American Merchants Association, she has called for more protections against the violence faced by bodega owners.

90. Tricia Brown

New York State Political Director, North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters
Tricia Brown / Amanda Vitti Photography

Tricia Brown unwittingly began a lifelong commitment to the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters as an administrative assistant in 2002. Fast forward 20 years, and she now directs the labor group’s political agenda while representing over 30,000 carpenters and construction workers across the Northeast. Brown has focused on boosting both recruitment and diversity within her group’s trade through initiatives like Sisters in the Brotherhood, a preapprentice training program serving women workers entering the construction sector.

91. Nicole L. Weingartner

Director of State Government Affairs, Davidoff Hutcher & Citron
Nicole L. Weingartner / Davidoff Hutcher & Citron

The crux of Nicole L. Weingartner’s success is her relationship with clients: “All of my clients are my friends,” she told City & State last year, which means she cares deeply about their needs. The philosophy has helped her form strong connections that ground her work. The DHC lobbyist’s passion for government relations began decades ago in her post as a regional coordinator of intergovernmental relations for the Assembly. She works mostly with social services groups, including the Henry Viscardi School as well as Family Residences and Essential Enterprises.

92. Ana María Archila & Jasmine Gripper

Co-Directors, New York Working Families Party
Ana María Archila & Jasmine Gripper / Rynn Reed

The Working Families Party uses its leverage as a well-established third party to pull Democratic politics and policies to the left, an effort that will now be spearheaded by Ana María Archila and Jasmine Gripper. Archila, the former co-executive director of the Center for Popular Democracy and 2022 lieutenant governor candidate, and Gripper, who led the labor-backed Alliance for Quality Education, were announced in October as the new state leaders of the WFP. One looming test is whether they’ll be able to recruit and run a compelling candidate against moderate Democratic New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

93. Donna Rey, Rossmery Dais & Sandi Vito

Executive Directors, 1199SEIU Family of Funds
Donna Rey, Rossmery Dais & Sandi Vito / Belinda Gallegos

As the country’s largest health care union, 1199SEIU is a big deal. Its labor-management funds – with $15.5 billion in assets – serving a membership of half a million people and their families is a big deal. The three women managing these funds are Donna Rey, Rossmery Dais and Sandi Vito. Rey is the executive director of 1199SEIU Benefit and Pension Funds and chief executive officer of Funds Administrative Operation. Last year, she launched a healthy living initiative to help 1199SEIU members and their families achieve healthier lifestyles. Dais is the executive director of the 1199SEIU Child Care Funds, where she runs programs supporting the children of 1199SEIU members. These include programs for child care, along with culture and the arts, summer camps and college prep. Vito is the executive director of 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds and oversees workforce training and job placement programs across New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida and the District of Columbia. Vito is a former secretary of labor and industry of Pennsylvania.

94. Saima Anjam

Senior Vice President, The Parkside Group
Saima Anjam / Wade Dansby

Saima Anjam joined the Parkside Group in 2019, with a focus on using her social justice advocacy background to assist progressive groups. Her portfolio emphasizes social impact with a bevy of nonprofit clients. Previously, Anjam served as senior director of advocacy for the New York Immigration Coalition and as director of public policy for the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She also has extensive experience working on environmental policy across the state.

95. Stephanie M. Marquez

Small Business Administration Servicing Officer, Ponce Bank
Stephanie M. Marquez / Ponce Bank

Stephanie Marquez started as a banking operations manager at Ponce Bank. Her role at the Bronx-based institution quickly changed in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, when the bank became inundated with Paycheck Protection Program loan applications that needed quick processing and attention. Her involvement in the bank’s PPP loans program snowballed into a new role as Small Business Administration servicing officer, created to facilitate community-centered services. She still oversees the bank’s PPP activity in addition to her other duties as its inaugural SBA servicing officer.

96. Jennifer C. Persico

Partner, Lippes Mathias
Jennifer C. Persico / KC Kratt

Jennifer C. Persico is a lifelong Western New Yorker and accomplished attorney. She specializes in business disputes and commercial litigation and heads the litigation practice at Lippes Mathias, one of the 300 biggest law firms nationally. Persico has been instrumental in launching several key programs under the Erie County Medical Center Corp. and, last year, was elected chair of its board of directors. She has also served as a commissioner at the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority and a board member for Shakespeare in Delaware Park.

97. Jessica Haller

Executive Director, The New Majority NYC
Jessica Haller / hedvANDan Photography.

A former New York City Council candidate herself, Jessica Haller now supports other female candidates seeking public office through The New Majority NYC, the rebranded 21 in ’21 initiative that successfully transformed the City Council into a majority-women legislature. The organization has continued its mission under Haller’s directive with its endorsement this year of 33 candidates across 30 districts, 27 of whom won their primaries. The New Majority’s operations also expanded with the creation of its new Young Leadership Council and an internship program.

98. Michelle Stoddart & Meghan Taylor

Senior Vice President of Community Development; Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Relations, Resorts World NYC; Genting Americas Inc.
Michelle Stoddart & Meghan Taylor / Betty Alleyne Hooks, BELAH; Resorts World

Genting Americas Inc. is part of the Genting Group and operates the Resorts World casino properties in the U.S. Michelle Stoddart was elevated to senior vice president of Resort World NYC’s community development this summer after a decade of service within the division. Stoddart has guided the casino’s social responsibility endeavors, which include building local partnerships with conservation organizations like the Queens Botanical Gardens and Jamaica Bay Wildlife Center. Meghan Taylor was promoted to senior vice president of government affairs this year. A key priority is bolstering her company’s campaign for a downstate gambling license through outreach with elected officials.

99. Stephanie Barber Geter

Chair, Restore Our Community Coalition
Stephanie Barber Geter / Molly Hirschbeck

A lifelong resident of East Buffalo, Stephanie Barber Geter made it her mission to reverse the community disruption wrought by the removal of parts of Humboldt Parkway to make way for the Kensington Expressway. Her organization’s tireless advocacy to restore the parkway by turning parts of the expressway into a tunnel are close to becoming a reality with $55 million in federal funding, the largest Reconnecting Communities grant in the country for the project. Gov. Kathy Hochul has also committed $1 billion for the project.

100. Kelly Fay

Public Policy Manager, Airbnb
Kelly Fay / Stand Up Guy Media

Kelly Fay has helped Airbnb with community relations and policy communications since 2015. Her team has their work cut out for them, amid ongoing legal battles between the company and the New York City government. An estimated 15,000 Airbnb listings were taken offline after the passage of a new law that requires hosts to register with the city, among a list of other mandates. The company argued that its service helps homeowners make money, supports tourism and boosts the local economy.