“Who would lose an opportunity to stand up and chat with 900 women – where the intelligence of the world lies?” joked Malachy McCourt, humanitarian, actor, writer, radio talk show host and playwright.
It was announced at a press conference with Borough President Helen Marshall on Monday, March 23, that McCourt, who comes from a famous band of brothers, will be honored as “Best Man of the Year” at The Queens Courier and Queens Business Today’s 7th Annual Top Women in Business Networking Awards Dinner, presented by American Airlines, on Thursday, April 2 at Terrace on the Park.
The event, at which “The Ultimate Networking Guide” will be distributed, will recognize New York Metro area women who have demonstrated outstanding leadership within their business and local communities. These women were presented by Marshall and Queens Courier publisher Victoria Schneps at the press conference at Borough Hall. Each of the Top Women in attendance spoke of her own secrets to success.
This year’s “Top Woman of the Year” Award will go to Rosanna Scotto, co-host of “Good Day New York” and part of WNYW-FOX 5 News since 1986.
McCourt has known Schneps since the 1970s and the days of Willowbrook State School.
Both he and Schneps had their daughters in the facility, a state-supported institution for people with mental retardation on Staten Island.
McCourt’s wife Diana’s daughter Nina, who was severely retarded and autistic, was there for six or seven years, but in 1971, with overcrowding and inhumane conditions for residents, politicians and the media got involved.
In 1972, Geraldo Rivera, then a rookie reporter at WABC-TV, gained entry to Willowbrook with a stolen key and exposed what was going on inside.
A class-action lawsuit followed – among others, McCourt and Schneps were named plaintiffs – and the doors of Willowbrook State School were shuttered forever, replaced by group homes and day programs.
“We were partners in the revolution,” said McCourt, who noted that the case “reverberated” throughout the country.
Now, nearly 40 years later, McCourt said of his honor, “It always astonishes me that when you do what you consider the right thing in life, to be singled out is astonishing.
“She [Schneps] took my breath away when she asked me to accept the award.”
The Queens Courier and Queens Business Today’s 7th Annual Top Women in Business Networking Awards Dinner is expected to offer attendees the opportunity to network with top business professionals and participate in an expo with the area’s leading businesses.
There will also be a silent auction with proceeds benefiting the Queens Centers for Progress, www.queenscp.org.
And, just announced, a brand new contest.
Winners will receive a six-day stay for two at the Sunswept Resorts BodyHoliday at LeSPORT in St. Lucia, as well as round trip coach tickets on American Airlines from JFK to St. Lucia. To enter, visit qns.com or look for the ad in this week’s paper.
Sponsors of the 7th Annual Top Women in Business Networking Awards Dinner include American Airlines, Parker Jewish Institute, Bombardier, New York Hospital Queens, Queens Long Island Medical Group, Flushing Savings Bank, Con Edison, Queens County Savings Bank, Astoria Federal Saving Bank, Crowne Plaza LaGuardia New York, National Grid, First Central Savings Bank, the Queens Chamber of Commerce and Herald National Bank.
The ticket price of $85 includes drinks and formal dinner.
Terrace on the Park located at 52-11 111th Street, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. To be included in the free listings in “The Ultimate Networking Guide,” to learn how to become a sponsor, and R.S.V.P. to the 7th Annual Top Women in Business Networking Awards Dinner, call Maria Romero at 718-224-5863, Ext 226 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can even purchase tickets online at qns.com.