Sonia Manzano, Sesame Street's Maria is Keynote Speker at YWCA's in the Company of Women Luncheon

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 Westchester’s annual premier women’s networking event to attract nearly 600 people


April 9, 2012 (White Plains, NY):  Sonia Manzano, known worldwide for her legendary role as “Maria” in the groundbreaking children’s TV series Sesame Street and an award-winning writer and activist, will be the keynote speaker at Westchester’s premier networking event - In the Company of Women luncheon benefit on May 11, 2012.  The benefit, which draws nearly 600 people and is open to the public, is hosted by the YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester and will be held from 11 am to 2 pm at the Hilton Rye Town.


“Sonia Manzano truly embodies the spirit of the YWCA’s In the Company of Women benefit through her inspiring example of taking full advantage of her career and interests to make a lasting difference in the lives of others,” said Maria Imperial, CEO of YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester.  “This event will bring hundreds of people together where they will gain insights from Sonia, network with each other, and, as importantly, be inspired to make a difference here in Westchester County.”


Sonia Manzano has affected the lives of millions of parents and children since the early 1970s, when she was offered an opportunity to play “Maria” on Sesame Street.  She has received the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Award, the Hispanic Heritage Award for Education and was voted one of the most influential Hispanics by People Magazine en Español in February 2007. Manzano, who has 15 Emmy Awards to date as part of the Sesame Street writing staff, was twice nominated for an Emmy Award as Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series, and was voted Volunteer of the Year by Project Sunshine in 2009.


According to Imperial, In the Company of Women will also recognize three local champions – women and men who through their professional, personal and community commitments, have demonstrated leadership on behalf of the YWCA’s mission to eliminate racism and empower women: Suzanne Clary, President of the Jay Heritage Center as Leader of Distinction; Lee Lasberg, President of Lasberg Construction Associates, Inc. as Community Champion; and Dr. Pauline Mosley, Associate Professor, Information Technology at Pace University as Woman in Technology.


Suzanne Clary, who has been President of the Jay Heritage Center (JHC) in Rye, NY since 2007, has expanded upon its mission to restore and preserve the National Historic Landmark home of John Jay, New York State’s native Founding Father and first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. While a member of the Policy Board of the Legal Aid Society of NY, Civil Division for more than a decade, she raised funds for its Early Intervention Program for Children that provided services to underprivileged, homeless and foster children with delayed development in speech, hearing or vision. Clary's work was recognized by the Garden Club of America with a 2010 Historic Preservation Award. She was recognized by the Association of Development Officers as Outstanding Non-Profit Board Member of the Year and was a recipient of the Visionary Award from the African American Men’s Association of Westchester in 2011.


Lee Lasberg is the President of the third generation general contracting/construction management firm, Lasberg Construction Associates, Inc, located in Armonk, New York that has provided clients with the highest standards of quality, honesty and integrity for more than 80 years. Lasberg Construction Associates was the contracting firm that renovated and transformed the YWCA Residence in downtown White Plains for 193 low-income, single women. The $25 million green renovation has positioned the Residence as a healthy, energy-efficient facility able to provide residents with enhanced on-site case management, health and wellness programming, and other supportive services.


Dr. Pauline Mosley believes that service learning is one of the best ways to give students the experience in collaboration and technical communication skills that are much needed for professional development. Her teaching philosophy stems from over 20 years of teaching experience, nine of which have been in the corporate sector. Dr. Mosley teaches students to pose thoughtful questions, to access relevant information, and to integrate conflicting data into a coherent body of knowledge. Dr. Mosley has written over 50 books and has won national and local grants for her research in "Development of Robotics Technician Curriculum at Baltimore City Community College,” "Promoting Service-Learning Using LEGO Robotics,” and “Promoting Science and Technology Education Using LEGO Robotics.”


The 2012 In the Company of Women event Co-Chairs are Karen V. Hill, President of The Harriet Tubman Home, and Patricia Mulqueen, Manager, Westchester Public Affairs at Con Edison, and the 2012 Honorary Chair is Ruth Mahoney, President, Hudson Valley/Metro NY, Key Bank. Individual Tickets are $150. Sponsorship starts at $2,500 and journal ads at $125.  For more information, contact L. Danielle Cylich, Director of Development at (914) 949-6227 x147 or email: events@ywcawpcw.org.

About the YWCA White Plains and Central Westchester:

For over 85 years, the YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester has been a pioneer for social change through innovative programs that improve the lives of women, children and families. The not-for-profit’s mission is to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Each week the YWCA serves over 4,000 diverse women, children and families through early education and after-school programs; summer camps; swim school and team; gymnastics classes and team; health and wellness activities; programs for people with developmental disabilities; a Residence for low income women; the Children’s Center at the County Courthouse; Supervised Visitation program and other activities that further the mission. Members range in age from infants to senior citizens and come from across the greater Westchester Community.

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