A week of powerful women

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Senator Toby Stavisky, candidate Nily Rozic, Assemblymember Grace Meng and Congressmember Carolyn Maloney

Many powerful women had an impact on me this week. Congressmember Carolyn Maloney invited me to the Eleanor’s Legacy Luncheon at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan, and then to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where the amazing Lois Christie was holding her international hair show, bringing people together from around the world to celebrate and share trends from the finest hair and beauty experts. Go Lois go!

Congressmember Carolyn Maloney and Raju Batra, president of the Association of Indians in America New York Chapter

At the Eleanor’s Legacy Luncheon women who support female candidates for office showed their support by packing the room with over 750 people. I had never been to one and was impressed with the quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, “What could we accomplish if we knew we could not fail?”

That was the event’s theme and they had women who lived that idea filling the room.

At first I didn’t know anyone because the luncheon brings people from around the country. But as people filed to their seats old friends and soon to be new ones surrounded me. At my table was Ranju Batra, president of the Association of Indians in America, New York chapter. She is a dynamic and beautiful woman who lives the Eleanor Roosevelt belief. She shared with me how she had recently organized thousands of people at the South Street Seaport and in Jackson Heights on 74th Street (“Little Bombay”) to celebrate the Indian festival of Deepavali. Another table mate was a woman who helped organize political campaigns for women nationwide, Susan Horsfall. As I turned around in my seat there was Senator Toby Stavisky with her daughter-in-law, Kristen, Assemblymember Grace Meng and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, so I didn’t feel so alone. In fact the beauty of not knowing anyone was that I met some powerful new women.

I was impressed by the speakers too. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand got a rousing standing ovation when she was given her recognition as an honored guest along with Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Maria Neira, who is vice president of New York State United Teachers, with more than 600,000 members.

The Senator, who is up for re-election, seems a shoo-in based on the support she has earned and the intelligence she has brought to the Senate. After all, she’s a Dartmouth graduate, as is my husband, and I love smart people.

She enthralled our audience when she came to Queens to speak at our Power Breakfast last year. She achieved the same thing that day. Go Kirsten

Senator Toby Stavisky with her daughter-inlaw, Kristen Stavisky, chair, Rockland County Democratic Commitee


I had never met the elegantly stunning blonde Cecile Richards, but her commanding speech at the luncheon impressed me. She is the daughter of an old favorite of mine, former fiesty Texas governor Ann Richards. It’s not surprising that under her leadership, the number of Planned Parenthood supporters has doubled, reaching over six million! She is taking a leave from her job to help President Obama win re-election, which she thinks will be critical for women’s health and the right to choose. Go Cecile go!

Another powerful woman is recovering from hip surgery. The indomitable, one-and-only Claire Shulman. At 86, she was not allowing a bad hip to stop her. So she had it fixed and is in the third week of recuperation. My love and hugs go to her as she works herself back to full power, but don’t think the operation has stopped her from calling her office daily and working from home! Go Claire go!

Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn