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Victoria’s Secrets: Spirit in abundance

Carlos Naudon, holding his “Vicki,” with his team from Ponce Bank.

It was a glorious and joyous night as CEOs and presidents of prestigious organizations proudly rocked the runway of the elevated red carpet to fitting music to accept their “Vicki” statuettes as “Power Listers” at our Bronx Power List event at Maestro’s.

Among the 67 people we honored was Elizabeth Toledo, who leads the YMCA as Vice President of Field Operations in the Bronx and Manhattan. Fittingly, the “Y.M.C.A.” song by Village People accompanied her as she danced her way to the stage!

Our DJ, Mike from Bravo Sound, set the mood for the night with his perfectly planned music appropriate for each honoree.

For me, it was pure joy to welcome the Department of Education’s current Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter, who has met the challenge of educating millions of our children. She is transitioning to become the inaugural CEO of a new nonprofit, the Bronx Community Foundation.

Elizabeth Toledo (YMCA), NYC Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter and New Settlement Executive Director Rigaud Noel.

I was proud to honor an old friend, lobbyist Patrick Jenkins, who has built a powerful business that helps people navigate government agencies.

There were “crossover” honorees like Carlos Naudon, the President and CEO of Ponce Bank, who also serves on the board of the critically needed community-based Brooklyn Hospital Center.

Carlos Naudon struts down the red carpet in style!

We held the event at Maestro’s Caterers, which was stunningly decorated with white Christmas trees filled with shiny red ornaments and tinsel for the holidays.

It was my honor to recognize Maestro’s CEO and Founder Barbara Naclerio, who, like me, has her children working with her. She is carrying on after recently losing her beloved husband and partner, Richard

With Barbara Naclerio.

As a bonus to the spectacularly joyous night, the wonderful people attending helped to raise $2,500 through raffle sales to go directly to the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative.

The Bronx was on fire with power people. It was a memorable night for all in attendance, as everyone had an opportunity to meet the leaders of important and influential groups in the Bronx. What a night!

Our next event is the Power Women of Brooklyn in January. Stay tuned and nominate women for the ultimate networking event!

Spirit of a different kind (VICKI 4, 5 AND 6 GO IN THIS SECTION)

From the moment my first-born daughter Lara turned blue in the nursery hours after her birth, she led me on a path beyond my wildest imagination.

Our journey started with seemingly endless doctors appointments as we searched for a cure for her seizures and then for therapies to help her.

With (from l.) Gabriella DiMisa, Tommy DiMisa, Michael Kitakis and ​​Charles Evdos.

After a painful two-year search, my pediatric neurologist gently, but firmly, told my husband and me that Lara would developmentally be a 3-month-old who would need total care all her life.

My journey trying to help her led me to create Life’s WORC, which started as a small group of fabulous women, and later welcomed busloads of volunteers raising money and offering their time and love to the people at the Willowbrook State School, where Lara was in their Infant Rehabilitation Center, which we called the “baby buildings.”

(Front) Tommy DiMisa, Carrie McDermott Goldman, Mell Goldman, Noel Raab, Louis Panacciulli, (Back) Vince Blasi and Ed Probst.

Sadly, that wasn’t the answer and with a federal class-action lawsuit in place in which she was a named plaintiff, we brought Lara home and changed Life’s WORC’s mission to a provider of group homes, where she spent the rest of her 17 years living with dignity and love.

Fast forward 50 years, and now thousands of groups similar to Life’s WORC help those like Lara, having benefited from the lawsuit’s victory.

Friday night, I had the pleasure of visiting the Spirit of Huntington Art Center, a stunningly large-windowed former school building that has been transformed into a community arts center.

It is run cooperatively by the arts center’s Executive Director Michael Kitakis and Charles Evdos, the Executive Director of the 40-year-old RISE, which operates dozens of group homes and programs for people with disabilities.

(Front) Deirdre McCauley, Joan MacNaughton, Charles and Renea Evdos, (Back) Mike Moriarty and Catherine McCauley.

Together, they partnered to create an environment where people with special needs and veterans can enjoy each other and create art, make music and dance.

I was impressed with the activities in every corner of the building that is devoted to creative expression. It’s an innovative model for every community!

They really knocked it out of the park! How powerful for the Huntington community!

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