Photography: Content Machine
Hair: Patty Molleturo, Setsuko Salon
Makeup: J Guerra and Julianna LoPriore The Rose Room at the Wainwright House
Skincare provided by The Formula by Nicole Frontera
Kids Are Great Dental
Pediatric dentist Dr. Gina Lodolini has been one of the proud leaders of Kids Are Great, a division of CareMount Dental, since its opening 30 years ago. From a young age, Dr. Lodolini was passionate about helping others and channeled that motivation into becoming a healthcare professional treating children.
While Dr. Lodolini has done countless fillings, cleanings, and extractions over the past three decades, what matters most to her is taking care of children as a whole — teaching them to take care of their oral health and alleviating any fears of going to the dentist. She finds it extremely rewarding to help a child who arrives with anxiety to have them leave the office with a big smile and feeling confident after dental procedures. Her gentle and caring touch with her disabled patients aims to make dental visits a little easier for these children. She compels her team to work together in this mission, ensuring that all patients feel safe and cared for.
In addition to being a full-time dentist, Dr. Lodolini works for the Westchester Institute for Human Development at the agency’s dental clinic in Valhalla, as well as with its Mobile Dental Van outreach program. This Mobile Dental Van regularly visits other service agencies for adults and children with developmental disabilities, such as Valhalla’s Blythedale Children’s Hospital, throughout the Hudson Valley region. —CC
Abrams Fensterman LLP
For more than two decades, Lisa Florio has faced every challenge with her own unique blend of legal expertise and empathetic leadership. Despite never having previously worked in the private sector, Florio quickly assumed a leadership role at Abrams Fensterman LLP in White Plains due to her extensive government background. She previously served as counsel to the Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals and as Law Clerk to five other judges, navigating a wide array of legal fields.
Under Florio’s stewardship of Fensterman’s Appellate Practice Group, the firm has seen a monthly increase of 400 percent in appellate briefs and motions.
Florio’s impact extends outside of the courtroom. She serves on the board of the Westchester Columbian Lawyers and co-chairs the Westchester County Bar Association and the Westchester Women’s Bar Association, both of which provide continuing legal education programs to lawyers on hot topics and trends in appellate practice. —WX
Volunteer New York!
Jeanette Gisbert’s remarkable 15-year journey with Volunteer New York! is a testament to her unwavering dedication to community service. When she was appointed as Executive Director in 2020, she became the Tarrytown-based organization’s first Latina leader.
Gisbert’s passion for volunteer work ignited during her service in AmeriCorps, where she became familiar with a key factor in all non-profits: the vital role of person-power. The realization pushed Gisbert to inspire others to feel the same pleasure in helping others that she feels.
During her tenure, Gisbert’s outstanding leadership has led Volunteer New York! to achieve record-breaking milestones. More than 37,000 volunteers dedicate approximately 388,000 hours to community service, resulting in a staggering $13.7 million in value to the community — all within a single year. She has successfully led the organization through difficult times, including significant leadership changes and the seemingly insurmountable obstacles caused by the global pandemic, while continuing to inspire others. —WX
Executive Vice President and Chief Nursing Executive
Westchester Medical Center Health Network
For 48 years, Phyllis Yezzo has been a beacon of excellence and leadership in the healthcare community. In 2022, she became Chief Nurse Executive at Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth), overseeing standards of care across all 10 regional hospitals.
During her tenure as the administrator at Bon Secours Community Hospital, she excelled in managing compliance with government and regulating agencies. She also played a pivotal role in strengthening labor/management partnerships with labor union 1199 and successfully negotiated three nursing union contracts.
She has also worked to foster camaraderie and trust among nurses, creating a supportive web to share the burdens brought on by the challenging times of the pandemic. In addition to her career-related accomplishments, Yezzo has also helped local colleges to develop clinical programs for nursing students. —WX
The Arc Westchester
Soosan Bushehri-Tehrani is a born problem-solver. By leveraging her exceptional leadership skills, she helps contribute to The Arc Westchester’s financial stability and sustainability. Over her remarkable 35 years of service to the social service agency that helps intellectually and developmentally disabled residents, she has been able to establish an internal framework of standards and processes that motivated and promoted efficiency and productivity. She has exemplified hands-on, value-driven management despite being challenged with limited staffing and funding resources. Since being hired in 1988, Bushehri-Tehrani is the first woman in the organization to hold many of the titles she has held, including Controller and now Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
Bushehri-Tehrani has also achieved significant milestones, such as implementing a GPS system for agency vehicles, utilizing the Advance Budget Management (ABM) System for The Arc’s budgeting and reporting process, and expanding the capabilities of the organization’s communications. With her energy, natural curiosity, and enthusiasm, Bushehri-Tehrani is able to build high-performing teams through ongoing collaboration, and drive positive change across the organization. —CC
Director of Marketing
The Westchester, Simon Property Group
Maria “Masha” Gregorius is an innovator. In a time when the viability of malls is being challenged, Gregorius has driven profitability, traffic, and sales to The Westchester in White Plains while building key community relationships. She has helped bring 10 new brands to the shopping center this year. Some companies, such as Venchi and Lucid Motors, are new to the Westchester market, while others (like Melissa & Doug) are opening stores for the first time ever. Gregorius helped lure businesses to White Plains by not only demonstrating the opportunity to grow their brand at the mall, but ensuring they thrive once they are there. Her tenacity has resulted in mall sales and traffic seeing a dramatic increase — and she’s not slowing down.
Gregorius never stops collaborating to develop unique concepts for shoppers, providing new and fun programming to local families including free mommy and me yoga and children’s workshops. Conscious of the wellness of her community, Gregorius reestablished a Mall Walker program for local seniors in partnership with Westchester County Parks. She supports the Pediatric Cancer Foundation with on-site mall bake sales raising more than $15,000 for the organization, and has collaborated with Feeding Westchester for an event that brought in more than $330,000 for families in need. As someone who immigrated to the United States as a child from Uzbekistan, Gregorius has a natural empathy and deep-rooted compassion for people of all backgrounds and means. —CC
Director of Policy & Programs for Small Business and Chambers of Commerce
Westchester County Government
Director of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development and Immigrant Affairs
Martha Lopez and Shari Rosen-Ascher are working tirelessly to usher in change for the people of Westchester. As the Director of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development and Immigrant Affairs, Lopez revamped the County’s Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise (MWBE) program, making the registration process easier but also establishing percentage goals for all county departments in awarding contracts. She reestablished and reinvigorated the Technical Assistance Advisory Committee, consisting of MWBE business owners who oversee the program and provide recommendations for any challenges faced by women and minority business owners. Lopez was instrumental in the rollout of the county’s MWBE grant program, providing one-on-one help including scanning required documents for applicants and assisting with other requirements.
As the Director of Policy & Programs for Small Business and Chambers of Commerce for County Executive George Latimer, Rosen-Ascher is the liaison between the county government and all Chambers of Commerce and Business Improvement Districts in the county. With a goal of bringing back Main Street, she has become a trusted partner and resource to chambers and BIDs. Rosen-Ascher has built a synergy between the interconnected chambers to collectively improve the quality of all small businesses.
Rosen-Ascher also serves as the liaison to the county’s Disabilities Advisory Board. She has conducted several job fairs focused on people with disabilities, helping many disabled residents obtain employment and improving accessibility throughout the county. —CC
Senior Vice President, Associate General Counsel
As the first of her extended family to attend college, Alessandra Ravetti has an unwavering determination to excel. From working full time at the Walt Disney Company while attending law school at night to quickly developing her scientific knowledge to provide the most effective legal counsel, Ravetti is a force to be reckoned with.
As Senior Vice President, Associate General Counsel at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Ravetti and her team play a critical role in enabling the development of Regeneron’s life-transforming medicines and ensuring they reach the patients who need them. Her work is instrumental to the success of Regeneron’s nine FDA-approved medicines that have helped millions of people around the world and includes two of the world’s top 10 leading medicines of 2022 (Dupixent® and EYLEA®).
Beyond being at the helm of Regeneron’s rapid growth and success for the past decade, Ravetti is a team builder with the tenacity to get things done and solve problems. She believes in serving her community, and volunteers in a variety of roles at the White Plains YWCA. —CC
Executive Vice President, Chief Client Officer
Harrison Edwards Integrated Marketing
Lisa Buchman leads with passion, dedication, and strategic thinking — qualities that are appreciated by both her coworkers and clients at Harrison Edwards, one of the county’s leading PR and marketing firms. Over the past 24 months, due in part to Buchman’s guidance, the firm has more than doubled in revenue and size, increasing its footprint in Westchester and the region.
Buchman headed up communications and marketing efforts that earned United Hebrew, a New Rochelle senior care facility, a high profile in the county and throughout the nation. Her guidance, creativity, and expertise in marketing United Hebrew’s new memory care facility helped achieve high demand and waiting lists for the center in its first year of operation. Her commitment also assisted United Hebrew during the COVID-19 pandemic to quickly establish communications protocols in a rapidly changing environment — helping inform families and the public about the organization’s efforts to curb infection rates and keep its residents healthy and safe.
Buchman is an agile and supportive leader who likes to think big. With intelligence and curiosity, she quickly becomes a subject matter expert in her clients’ business sectors and is highly regarded by all members of her team. —CC
Renee Plummer-Brown has faced a number of challenges in life, but she has never let them get the best of her. An attorney and entrepreneur, she continues to be a successful business owner and thrive in a difficult environment. Plummer-Brown started DNK Events 18 years ago and has enjoyed connecting her community by providing party planning services for sweet sixteens, weddings, retirements, and more.
Moving with a fierceness to keep growing, Plummer-Brown went back to school after many years of being an entrepreneur and earned a law degree a decade ago. She recognized a community need for a welcoming event space in Mount Vernon, and Double Door was born. While juggling multiple roles and responsibilities, she has consistently grown revenue for both DNK Events and Double Door despite myriad challenges the company faced during the pandemic and its aftermath.
In addition to her significant professional accomplishments, Plummer-Brown is dedicated to giving back. She teaches religion at her church, is active with the local PTA, serves as a member of the Kiwanis Club, and participates in events with the local Girl Scout troop along with her daughter. —CC
Technology is an ever-changing medium that is in a constant state of morphing and shifting. Since 1994, Diane Cricchio has been embracing those changes in her video production and editing company, navigating two recessions, a pandemic, and beyond. With a focus on quality and a selfless commitment to customer satisfaction and fair pricing, Cricchio has not only survived, but thrived for 29 years in business, keeping a book of regular clients that surpasses two decades.
While holding TimeLine Video to the highest standards of quality and integrity, Cricchio seeks out local talent, hires promising young workers in the video production field, and gives opportunities to working career mothers by offering them remote positions in the company. For Cricchio, her lasting power is a result of the quality of the work done by these employees as much as it is her ability to adapt. Her talent in taking employees under her wing and giving them a chance to explore their creativity and develop skills for a lifetime keeps new and longtime clients alike coming back to TimeLine for more. —CC
Erika Strum Silberstein
Wine Enthusiast Commerce
Wine Enthusiast Media
Sisters Erika Strum Silberstein and Jacqueline Strum have created an undeniable symbiosis at Wine Enthusiast Commerce and Media, ebbing and flowing with the times at the family-owned company. In 2022, Jacqueline oversaw the removal of the age restriction of Wine Enthusiast magazine’s ‘40 Under 40’ list and changed it to the ‘Future 40’ list to better represent the inclusion this feature was always meant to convey. The change has opened opportunities to celebrate and acknowledge tastemakers and innovators of all ages who are bringing the beverage business into the future and offering a fresh new perspective on the industry.
In 2023, Erika oversaw the relaunch of the company’s website to bring content and commerce together in one destination at WineEnthusiast.com and rebrand the company to appeal to a wider audience. Offering readers the tools needed to enjoy a wine lifestyle to its fullest, all of Wine Enthusiast’s content remains free to readers with no barriers to accessing the company’s expertise. Living by the company’s motto, “We Bring Wine to Life”, the sisters are continuing to build the company to make wine approachable for all. As working mothers, Erika and Jacqueline have established policies to foster work/life balance, including unlimited PTO for all employees and an expanded family leave policy to include maternity, paternity, same-sex parents, and parents who adopt. —CC
Partner and Deputy Chair of Litigation
Alicia Tallbe has always held herself with grace, patience, and as a distinguished figure in the legal realm. In just four years, Tallbe made partner at White Plains-based Yankwitt LLP in 2021, and just a year later claimed the role of Deputy Chair of Litigation in the firm known for its high stakes cases.
Tallbe managed to achieve these impressive milestones while pioneering a flexible work schedule that allowed her to maintain her desired work-life balance as a mother of three young boys.
From achieving a unanimous reversal in a Manhattan brownstone dispute and earning a multi-million dollar buyout for a client after he was ousted from a company’s board, Tallbe has cemented her place as a top Westchester litigator, legal writer, and mentor. —WX
Phelps Hospital, Northwell Health
Eileen Egan, RN, JD, became Executive Director of Phelps Hospital on March 9, 2020, the day that the medical facility received its first COVID-19 positive patient. Taking on this problem with grit and grace, not only did Egan navigate the difficult waters of a global health crisis, she also oversaw the largest set of expansions that Phelps has ever seen just a year later. The improvements included rebuilding half of the in-patient floors at the hospital, including a re-imagined Maternal Child Health Center, a PET-CT suite, and the Center for Advanced Procedures. For Phelps patients and the larger community, these new developments were integral in the quality of care that hospital workers were able to provide in the area.
Egan began her career as the charge nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Phelps, served as an RN in medical and surgical units, and spent 17 years in Phelps’ emergency department. Taking a pause from her extensive career in medicine, she earned her Juris Doctorate from Pace University School of Law and practiced as an attorney before rejoining Phelps in 2006.
In addition to all her accomplishments, Egan is also a bona fide hero. When a car screeched to a halt in front of the main lobby at Phelps and a frantic driver entered screaming about a passenger not breathing, Egan (who was then Vice President of Administration) and a nurse supervisor were first on the scene. Egan performed CPR while the nurse supervisor instructed the driver to drive to the hospital’s emergency room. After Egan saved the life of the passenger during the short car trip, the patient was subsequently treated in the hospital’s ER. —CC
Kathryn Raio Rende
Kathryn Raio Rende is many things, but most recently she is the esteemed recipient of a Children’s and Family Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Song. As the co-owner (with her husband JP) and composer of the hit producing company Earworm, Rende has penned catchy tunes that have been heard on Sesame Street, Gabby’s Dollhouse, and Grey’s Anatomy. Since 2008, she has been a composer on Sesame Street and is responsible for a plethora of songs you can’t seem to shake. While specializing in children’s music, Rende has also written songs that have been performed by industry titans like Cardi B, Michael Bublé, and Billy Porter.
Graduating from SUNY Purchase College with a degree in music composition, Rende studied jazz and recording with legendary songwriters Carole King, Sturken and Rogers, and Paul Williams. As a result, her knowledge of the music industry and all its intricacies is vast. She has also worked singing backup for Alicia Keys, Ke$ha, and My Chemical Romance and has appeared on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Myers. Working on the other side of the mic, Rende has spent time pitching pop songs, R&B songs, and leading vocal coaching sessions with recording artists like Joss Stone. —CC
Co-Founder and Trustee
Charter School of Educational Excellence
Sobeida Cruz, co-founder and trustee of the Charter School of Educational Excellence (CSEE) in Yonkers, has led an extraordinary campaign against educational inequality. Her dedication to bring academic justice to a severely underfunded area saw the birth of CSEE in 2005. Beginning as an elementary school in a converted supermarket within a run-down strip mall, CSEE has seen significant expansion under Cruz’s guidance. The organization has since taken over the entire strip mall to open a middle school.
In 2021, CSEE achieved the significant milestone of opening a new $27 million high school building. This year, as an outstanding measure of success, it proudly graduated its first senior class, with several students gaining admission to prestigious universities including two students bound for the Ivy League.
A longtime leader within the Hispanic community, Cruz has volunteered with numerous organizations, co-founding the Neighborhood Association for Intercultural Affairs (NAICA) and 100 Hispanic Women, Inc., where she serves as Westchester’s chapter president. —WX
Senior Director of Membership & Programs
Business Council of Westchester
As the Senior Director of Membership and Programs at The Business Council of Westchester (BCW), Linda Tyler has to keep her finger on the pulse of more than 1,000 members. In a constant state of recruiting new members and curating the future plans of current ones, Tyler is in a state of perpetual motion.
Tyler currently coordinates the BCW Ambassador/New Member Mentoring Program and oversees the appointment of co-chairs to plan programming for the organization’s various councils and groups. Since she joined the BCW in 2016, Tyler has tripled the number of members that join yearly with a 213% growth. She has also increased the number of new member engagement and networking events from two to more than 45, with a record number of attendees.
For Tyler, the job reaches beyond planning events and committees. She develops a relationship with each new member to fully understand their business goals and what they are looking to achieve from their BCW membership. By developing those personal relationships, she creates a welcoming culture that is inclusive of all. —CC
Director of Architecture & Design
The Cappelli Organization
For more than three decades, Kathleen Hennessy has made a profound impact on the realms of design, architectural development, and construction. For two of those decades, she has been an integral part of the Cappelli Organization, a prominent Westchester real estate powerhouse responsible for more than 30-million square feet of development.
While she studied in places such as France, Hennessy also accumulated national and international experience working on projects in places such as Boston, Cyprus, Ireland, and New York. She is now a licensed architect in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
Currently, Hennessy oversees a wide array of complex projects, ranging from interior tenant fit outs to expansive commercial developments spanning millions of square feet. Beyond her professional achievements, her dedication to mentoring women in the design industry has led her to positions on the boards of the Westchester-Hudson Valley chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the Whitby School in Connecticut. —WX
Caring for the Hungry & Homeless of Peekskill
Cynthia Knox is the CEO of Caring for the Hungry & Homeless of Peekskill (CHHOP), a non-profit dedicated to eradicating hunger and homelessness in Peekskill and its surroundings. Under her leadership, CHHOP achieved impressive growth, with a 227% revenue increase, a 17% private revenue increase, and a 280% boost in program staffing in just five years.
Knox’s innovative responsiveness to community needs is evident in her development of programs like the collaborative rapid rehousing (RISE) initiative for domestic violence survivors. She transformed CHHOP’s food pantry into a “farm-to-pantry” model in response to surging demand, and it now provides fresh food to approximately 1,300 people weekly. She has also added a rigorous focus on health equity.
As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Knox advocates for creating safe spaces for transgender individuals who are at a higher risk of experiencing homelessness. She serves on various boards, leveraging her legal knowledge to positively impact marginalized communities. —WX
Westchester Disabled on the Move
Maria Samuels, a first-generation Latina and legally blind immigrant, is the embodiment of perseverance and resilience. In 2007, Samuels’ sight began to mysteriously dwindle, leaving doctors puzzled as to the cause. After 17 surgeries, she was able to discern between light and dark, but not much else. Rather than letting this obstacle stop her and armed with a Master’s degree in health administration, Samuels embarked on her new career.
As the executive director of Westchester Disabled on the Move (WDOM) in Yonkers, Samuels champions the rights of people with disabilities, the elderly, and low-income families. Under her direction, she was able to double the budget and grow her team to 10 members — with nearly all representing the community in which her advocacy is based. Her trailblazing determination, passion, and compassionate leadership has changed thousands of lives and serves as an inspiration to her community. —WX
Yonkers Downtown / Yonkers BID
Jessica Ardrey can walk down Main Street in Yonkers and tell you the names and stories of every single business owner. As Operations Manager for the Yonkers Downtown/Waterfront Business Improvement District (YDWBID), Ardrey has been a staple of the Yonkers downtown area for the past 18 years. If there is an event in the area, she is the person behind the scenes coordinating all the moving pieces to make it happen. If the streets look a little cleaner, it’s because she is helping to direct the BID Rangers. Ardrey’s jack-of-all-trades talent makes her indispensable for the Yonkers community.
Of her many accomplishments, Ardrey has spearheaded the weekly Waterfront Live concerts in the amphitheater by the waterfront, the Yonkers Riverfest, the Halloween Pet Parade and Pub Crawl, the Thanksgiving turkey giveaway, the city’s annual holiday tree lighting, and the winter market, just to name a handful. Most recently she established Yonkers Pride, the first and largest Pride festival in Westchester County. The event, first organized six years ago, has been such a success that it has grown exponentially every year. Ardrey has worked tirelessly to establish a thriving downtown and a community that is a source of pride for the people of Yonkers. —CC
Hon. Lissette Fernández
City Court Judge
Peekskill City Court
The Honorable Lissette G. Fernández has dedicated her life to making a difference. The first Latina Judge appointed to the bench in the City of Peekskill, Judge Fernández, a naturalized United States citizen, was born in Quito, Ecuador, and immigrated to the United States as a child with her parents. Judge Fernández believes she is living proof of the American Dream and entrusted with a responsibility to pay it forward. At the age of 12, touched by the horrific child abuse story of Lisa Steinberg, she focused on her studies to ensure access to a legal career.
As a law student, Judge Fernández began her legal career representing impoverished survivors of domestic violence in family court at Seton Hall Law School’s Center for Social Justice Clinic. She was subsequently offered a clerkship in the New Jersey’s Essex County Family Court, and then appointed as an Assistant District Attorney (ADA) in Bronx County.
As an ADA, she was selected to represent the Bronx District Attorney’s Office in the Integrated Domestic Violence Court, the first of its kind in New York State. She successfully tried hundreds of domestic violence cases. During her tenure in the Bronx DA’s Office, she developed and implemented comprehensive domestic violence and sexual assault training for attorneys, law enforcement, social service providers, health care professionals, and community-based organizations. Deeply committed to improving the lives of those in her community, Judge Fernández is unstoppable in the face of injustice. —CC
Vice President, Patient Services
White Plains Hospital
Kerri El-Sabrout, DNP, prides herself on being a respected and inspirational leader in the nursing world. The driving force behind White Plains Hospital’s industry-leading ratings in patient care outcomes, patient experience, and clinical quality, Dr. El-Sabrout began her career as a bedside nurse. Eager to continue to learn, she earned several degrees including her Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP), the highest level of nursing education possible.
As a hospital leader and beacon for quality care, Dr. El-Sabrout has successfully leveraged her early experience as a frontline nurse and nurse practitioner to sustain a patient-centered culture. Thanks in part to her efforts, WPH has achieved its third consecutive designation as a Magnet® Hospital for excellence in nursing. The healthcare center is one of just eight hospitals in New York to achieve a five-star rating for quality and is the only hospital in New York to be named to Fortune Media’s “Best Workplaces in New York” list.
In tandem with her drive for excellence and clinical knowledge, Dr. El-Sabrout brings tremendous enthusiasm, professionalism, and guidance to every aspect of her job. She nurtures those relationships and emphasizes the importance of WPH’s strong culture of collaboration and its vital role in both the success of its patients and the organization as a whole. —CC