Monday, April 23, 2012

►NYWICI's 42nd Annual Matrix Awards - You should have been there! See what you missed!◄

“Not only are we amazing but we can stand up on unbelievable scrutiny! Congratulations to all of our Matrix winners!” ~~ Tina Fey, Matrix Honoree, 2010 American actress, comedian, writer and producer. Quotable quote as told to Matrix audience on April 19, 2010.

“I heard Theresa Guidice of The Real Housewives from New Jersey was under consideration, but you know what happened the last time she sat near a big table. It would have been difficult to flip!”
~~ Pat Kiernan, Matrix Emcee

Morning News Anchor, NY1.
On Monday, April 23, 2012, over 1, 200 professional women in communications attended NYWICI’s 42nd Annual Matrix Awards luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City to honor eight extraordinary women and celebrate 18 scholarship recipients. Pat Kiernan, Morning News Anchor, NY1 known as New York's popular broadcast personality was emcee.

“Good afternoon everyone. I am really excited to be here with you today,” greeted Kiernan. “Not often I get to say that this time of the day. I usually get up at 3:00 a.m., and this is usually the time for my afternoon nap. And I know that Katie and Meredith can relate to that,” continued Kiernan.

The prestigious award recognizes exceptional women who have established themselves in communications fields such as advertising, arts & entertainment, broadcasting, digital media, magazines, marketing, newspapers and public relations. For those of you who weren’t able to attend this luncheon gala, this blog will be updated throughout the day and I will be sharing highlights including honorees and presenters answers to this years Matrix "Question of the Day." Matrix Awards is all about celebrating outstanding women in communications and tomorrows leaders.

Stellar honorees and esteemed presenters for Matrix 2012 are:

Katie Couric, Journalist, Author, Cancer Advocate & Host of "Katie," premiering September 2012, presented the award to Tyra Banks. "Hi everybody. It’s great to be here in the company of so many extraordinary, accomplished women both on the dais and in the audience," said Couric. “I got into broadcast news when they wanted to get the broads out of broadcasting. But I also remembered it was a time when harass was 2 words instead of one,” Couric said as she continued to describe confidence using “The Smize,” one of the creations of that global enterprise known as Tyra Banks,” during her introduction to Tyra Banks, CEO & Chief Creative Officer of The Tyra Banks Company, Inc.
Tyra’s actions were much louder than her words from arriving at the podium to the very “thank you” ending. She enthusiastically shared her opening remarks with insightful delights about the delicious raspberry parfait dessert -- with parfait glass in one hand and long-stem spoon on the other. Banks also opened the Tiffany box to show us the actual Matrix Award at the end of her speech. "Yes I need to be tough and strong. But I also need to be transparent and vulnerable,” said Banks while sharing her experiences at Harvard and her business projects. As I teach young girls in America’s Next Top Model, I always say perfect is boring, and I don’t want to ever forget that!” ~~ Tyra Banks

Michael Roth, CEO of InterPublic Group, hosted this years Matrix Awards and stepped up to the podium. He shared media-worthy statistics and what it takes for succes in communications. "Communicating to the market place is key to success. Research shows that organizations that have significant leadership with women at the helm outperform, financially, other organizations," said Roth.

"In fact, IPG is one of 6 Global Corporations in the Fortune 500 that have 40% representation women in our board of directors. I know what it is to listen to female leadership but more importantly, value the input we get of running this company. Particularly with this organization is so critical to our success, and we're very fortunate to have today some of our companies. For example, the opening video and journal was developed by Deutsch, one of our proud companies of IPG and actually run by Linda Sawyer, a Matrix Award winner herself. The closing video is from R/GA, one of the world class digital agencies that is part of the IPG Group. So as you can see it is not by accident we participated in this organization. Thank you for participating and it's our pleasure to participate with you," ~~ Michael Roth

Rocco DiSpirito, Chef, Best-Selling author of Now Eat This! presented the award to Gayle Butler. "I’m thrilled to be here not only because of my brand new Kenneth Cole Satchel, the many perks for me that come with being on the dais but because of the opportunity to introduce a strong leader, terrific communicator, brilliant editor who shares that passion for food, family and health,” said DiSpirito as he continued by explaining how he learned about Gayle Butler who at a time when all the mother brands were focusing on exclusivity she was reinventing one of the great iconic brands in America. “It was clear to me as well as many of my peers in the food world that something big was happening at Better Homes & Gardens. We quickly saw that Gayle not only understood the power of food and family but that she wanted to find new ways to bring that information to her readers. Whether with magazines, digital extensions, broadcasting, books or licensed products like Walmart, Gayle, like any great host was opening as many doors as she could to the Better Homes & Gardens house inviting all of us to join her for sumptuous celebrations,” added DiSpirito as he congratulated Gayle Butler, EVP of Meredith Creative Content and Editor-in-chief of Better Homes & Gardens.

"Thank you Rocco, thank you NYWICI for everything you do," said Butler continuing by sharing how she got her start in magazine editorial and that she believes all good things do start when you find your purpose. “I started my career in PR, had some great jobs and moved up pretty quickly. But I was really yearning for more emotional connection to my work and I found that the day I started at BH&G as a lowest of lowest junior editor, a big step down in title, status and cut in money. I never hesitated because I was in love with the purpose of brand to help women change not just a home but a lifestyle rich in personal expression. One of the things I love about a career in communications is that it continues to afford us opportunities to grow, discover, and to inundate.” ~~ Gayle Butler

Deputy Chief Theresa J. Shortell, Commanding Officer, NYPD Gang Divisiont presented the award to Glenn Close. “Good afternoon everyone. Oh wow, I am a member of the NYC Police Departent so I am not use to seeing women outnumber men in a crowd or a dais,” opened Shortell who first met Close in 2005 when she was joining the pre-TV police drama “The Shield.”. “I have to admit” said Shortell as she continued “what I first thought of was, wait a minute, the bunny boiler!” Shortell realized Close’s passion in her work and and mentioned how Close’s part represented that women could be strong, effective police officers. Adding how Close has won 3 Tony Awards, 2 Golden Globes, an Emmy, 5 Oscar nominations, 9 Golden Globe nominations and 8 Emmy nominations while Shortell was “happy just to pass the sergeant test.” Shortell described the passion and commitment in everything Close does and how her latest film Albert Nobbs, truly represents universal struggles of survival and strength that conveys very special messages to so many who have suffered violence and sexual assault. Shortell went on to explain this is positive proof of Close’s ability to communicate various situations to those watching her and what makes her “so deserving of the Matrix awards” as she presented to Glenn Close, Actress/Producer, Co-Founder & Chairman of the Board of Bring Change 2 Mind.

Close opened with a scary statistic that out of 40 top ranking officers in NYC only 2 are women and then shared how everyone needs to understand the importance of deeply rooted knowledge and mastering your craft. Close strongly believes that whatever you create will not have a lasting resonance, and will not connect without the basic structure, that knowledge of your craft provides. “I learned how a deep knowledge of your craft and a discipline to do again, again, again, and again, until it’s right, ultimately frees you to take flight…How I need to work everyday matters,” Close said. Close also mentioned how teams whose work is valued as more important than egos are the ones that work best with and how you need to learn new things all the time. “Thank you Theresa for your friendship, inspiration and for your distinguished service to this great city. Thank you Jenna Rich for nominating me for this award. Thank you David, Annie and my whole beautiful family for your love, humor and support. And thanks to Women in Communications for this great honor,” ~~ Glenn Close

Kirsten Gillibrand, United State Senator, New York shared her memories of Maria. “It is such an honor and privilege to present this Matrix award to my friend, Maria Cuomo Cole. Not only because she’s an extraordinary advocate with a phenomenal record in getting things done but she’s also an extraordinary mother, friend and role model for all of us,” said Gillibrand. She continued by expressing her gratitude to Maria and her family who helped her pursue her career in public service and how their mothers and grandmothers taught them that what you do with your time actually matters. “Grass roots activism, advocacy matters; womens’ voices matter. Maria and I worked together to make sure peoples' lives are better, said Gillibrand. “You can do anything you want to as long as you put your mind to it. Maria has made a difference through her own life actions, her work and determination," added Gillibrand during her award presentation to Maria Cuomo Cole, Film Producer and Chairman of HELP USA.

"Every day was an opportunity and an obligation to do something bigger than yourself. This was my father’s mantra,” said Cole referring to her childhood life at home. She continued by thanking her parents and mentioning how their selfless lifetime inspired others and determined her and her siblings’ future aspirations. In closing she mentioned the importance of creating public awareness in motivating action and influencing policy and by sharing her memorable quote by Gloria Steinem “The truth will set you free but first it will piss you off," ~~ Maria Cuomo Cole

Meredith Vieira, Special Correspondent, NBC News presented the award for Broadcasting to Ann Curry. “Hi everyone. I have to admit I am very confused at this point because so many people on the dais are referencing: Meredith, thank you for this, thank you for that. I honestly didn’t do anything," Vieira said. Vieira has known Ann Curry for over 16 years and has worked with her in studio and in field. “I realize Ann has a special relationship with chaos – she doesn’t shy away from it, she’s not afraid of it, she wants to make it right,” said Vieira who shared many of her accomplishments such as the Curry being the first who exposed much of America to the genocide in Darfur, the starvation in Somalia and more recently the bombing in the Nuba Mountains of the Sudan. “Ann goes to those places because she cares about helping people and does so by bringing their stories to all of us,” said Vieira. “I am proud and honored to present my friend Ann Curry with the Matrix Award for Broadcasting,” said Vieira presenting to Ann Curry, Emmy-Award winning Co-Anchor, “Today” and Correspondent
“Meredith Vieira, ladies and gentlemen, a woman to love,” said Curry as she expressed her true friendship with Vieira and how so many other friends count on her. Curry continued to mention that her husband, Brian, is the “best decision she has ever made.” Curry also mentioned that she has had great bosses especially the men she works for at Today. She also mentioned the recent ratings and said “I’m not sucking up even though recent ratings might dictate I do.” Curry shared her concern of living in a mans’ world, and she realizes she is not alone. “We are not done. If not for ourselves, then for our daughters. We need a renewed call for action to stand up for women just as the Matrix Foundation is doing today," said Curry. “To compete not against other women but against ourselves,” said Curry who continued saying “I hope before I die to see men and women standing shoulder to shoulder, strong, supporting each other to make a better world,” ~~ Ann Curry

Susan Werner, American songwriter presented the award to Laura Desmond. Susan mentioned Laura’s new interest in sailing and recollected their college days together while at the University of Iowa where they would talk of their grand futures over pink beer but Laura showed no interest in sailing then. “Then again, no one in Iowa did. But it was clear all along Laura was going to chart her own course in the world," said Werner. “She was more collected, more focused, than the rest of us. And today her future has already been grand. She’s been named media person of the year, Ad 1 of the year, listed among WSJ women to watch, one of the youngest CEO’s in the history of media and communications, and ranked by Forbes Media as the 57th most powerful women in the world,” continued Werner while presenting Matrix Award to Laura Desmond, Global CEO of Starcom MediaVest Group.

"Thank you my friend Susan Werner. Susan and I met each other back when we were young, we had dreams and were broke," said Desmond. The audience applauded as Desmond shared her sources of inspiration with one being a quote from Secretary of State, Madeline Albright -- "There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women," said Desmond. "This is something that I take very seriously and personally," ~~ Laura Desmond

Barbara Walters, ABC News correspondent; "The Barbara Walters Specials"; Creator, Co-Host and Executive Producer of ABC Daytime's "The View" presented the award to Zenia Mucha. "So you all must be wondering just who or what is a Zenia Mucha? First and foremost she might just have the toughest job of anyone....Even Mickey Mouse doesn't make a move without Zenia," said Walters as she introduced Zenia Mucha, Executive Vice President, Chief Communications Officer of The Walt Disney Company.

"For me opportunity means the chance to change your circumstances, your perspectives, your life, your world. It's certainly not a guarantee, it's a chance and it helps you. Millions of people who dream for a better life come to this country. They don't expect it to be perfect or easy. They just want it to be possible and it truly is. My being here is proof of that. I share this award with my mom and dad who taught me anything is possible if you work for it. Most importantly they taught me to believe that dreams realy can come true," ~~ Zenia Mucha

Lesley Stahl, Correspondent, “60 Minutes" presented the award to Peggy Noonan. Stahl opened the introduction with excerpts from memorable speeches from Presidents George H.W. Bush, “I want a kinder, gentler nation,” and Ronald Reagan’s speech on the 40th anniversary of D-Day titled “Pointe du Hoc” (selected as one of the best speeches of the 20th century) noting how Peggy would never admit to their authorship. Stahl first met Peggy at CBS where she wrote for Dan Rather. “I can only imagine what it must have been like writing for a six feet tall Texan and an anchor man who liked to pick fights with Republicans,” said Stahl as she continued; “In our time of divisiveness, cynicism and rage, when political disconnect is reduced to shouting matches, Peggy writes with civility and hope.” Stahl quoted something Noonan once said: “A speech reminds us that words, like children have the power to make dance the dullest beanbag of a heart.” Stahl closed with “I think I can speak for a lot of us when I say thank you Peggy for inviting us to the dance,” as she presented to Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal Columnist and American Best-Selling Author.

"Thank you Lesley. Her intro is almost embarrassingly flattering, but that’s because I wrote it,” kidded Noonan. “Lesley is one of the great journalists of our age. NOT one of the great women journalists…she has interestingly one of the great careers in American broadcasting and one of the best friends to me anyone could ask for,” added Noonan. Paraphrasing brilliantly from President John Kennedy’s remarks made 50 years ago at a dinner honoring Nobel Peace Prize winners of the Western Hemisphere, “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of female [human] talent and knowledge ever to come together at the Waldorf-Astoria [White House] with the possible exception of the night Eleanor Roosevelt [Thomas Jefferson] dined here alone,” said Noonan. “I am honored to receive this Matrix Award in part because it is a prize for women, by women, and it has such a very great meaning for me,” expressed Noonan who went on to share her recent experience of what she described as a "women-to-women connection and how we are all in this together" when she recently met Senator Susan Collins in a green room and they were chatting for a while. As Collins was leaving the room she shared with Noonan that it was a woman who found out about the security issue and exposed it. “…And our eyes kind of locked for a moment…It was wonderful, girl power,” said Noonan. She also shared how the every day things you do from traveling without a male, picking your own clothes, saying what you want, etc., would be a crime in sadder parts of the world for women. “War against women is a bad idea. Whoever has declared war against women, all I can say is good luck because you’re gonna need it,” said Noonan who mentioned what a great leader and Times columnist, Bill Saffir told her about 20 years ago before she had a column. “He told me never to pile on. Don’t knock people when they’re down. Knock them when they’re up. Read. You need the distance of context and information. But what he said then is even more true today,” Noonan added and also shared how David Letterman asked Julia Louis-Dreyfuss "what is Twitter like" and Dreyfuss replied "Twitter is like having 1000 people all screaming opinions at you." "In other words," Noonan added, "it's like walking into what use to be called a lunacy asylum." "All Dreyfuss was trying to do was find 2 or 3 people worth listening to," continued Noonan. “If you want to be one of those people worth listening to bring context and grounding and knowledge to your work and decisions. In other words, read, no matter what you do for a living, you must do time, distance, absorb, and ponder. Bill Saffir also told me to have a philosophy of work. Here quickly is mine: Try to see with clean eyes, with clear eyes, what’s around you. Try to apprehend the facts, the trends, the way people are. We’re human. We’re not just policy-driven, data- extracting, talking-point machines no matter what you see on cable. We are not just aggregates of ambition, we are full human persons. So tell the story, try to be fair, try to be honest. Don’t smuggle in your personal, political philosophy. Announce it up front. Declare it. Tell people where you stand and why. Don’t hide it. This shows respect and people can take it. They don’t mind if they disagree with you. They are trying to be fair too. They find it, they write it and they present it. Don’t let your views color what you see. Don’t let your opinion on a story distort your telling of it. Don’t throw knuckle balls and slides. Throw the ball straight and as quiet as you can. If you can do all that you will make a place for yourself in what can be a magnificent profession and one that at its best is actually a modest public service. Thank you,” ~~ Peggy Noonan

Congratulations to our 18 Matrix Scholarship Winners!
You represent future women in communications and leaders of tomorrow.

Alexandra Carmichael, Carlozzi Family Scholarship
Katia Diaz, Judy Corman Memorial Scholarship and internship from Scholastic
Laura Foti, McGraw-Hill Companies Scholarship
Luisa Garcia, Esperanza Scholarship
Grace Gavilanes, Hammond Family Scholarship from Horizon Publishing
Melanie Hicken, Daniel Ladner Scholarship
Nkechi Hooper, Interpublic Group (IPG) Scholarship and internship
Sarah Kajani, News Corporation Scholarship
Elisa Mala, Ruth Whitney Scholarship from Glamour magazine
Marian Omidiji, News Corporation Scholarship
Marisch Perera Hearst Scholarship
Jamie Primeau, Hearst Scholarship
Tess Quinlan, New York Women in Communications Alumna Award of Excellence
Lauren Ryan, New York Women in Communications Alumna Award of Excellence
Ilyssa Simsek, WEtv Scholarship
Nkiruka Umegbolu, Interpublic Group (IPG) Scholarship and internship
Miriam Ward, Meredith Corporation Scholarship
Jenny Xie Meredith Corporation Scholarship

See you next year!

"Hope you enjoy this blog. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks!

Other Resources (updated throughout the day)

The 41st Annual Matrix Awards 2012: Where communicators honor and celebrate!
The 40th Annual Matrix Awards 2010: Honors Creme de la Creme Women
The Hollywood Reporter: Glenn Close, Tyra Banks To Receive Matrix Awards
PRNewser: Rosie O-Donnell, John Legend Honor Cindi Berger at NYWICI Matrix Awards
Please share this on your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks you enjoy! Thanks!
This will be updated before, during and after the event!

Every year since 1970, NYWICI has awarded outstanding women in communications the prestigious Matrix Awards. The long list of past winners reads like a who-is-who of exceptional women in the fields of advertising, books, broadcasting, film, magazines, new media, newspapers and public relations and is a true reflection of achievements by women in communications. For more information visit


  1. Wow, this sounds like a very exciting place to be. Tyra Banks, and Glenn Close are awesome! Wish I was there. It must be so exciting to live in NYC.

  2. I like your blog and your report on this event. I am a really big fan of Tyra Banks and lover her fashion website and enjoy her TV show America's Next Top Model. Good to see that she is recognized as a leader. Keep on writing and I’ll keep on reading your blogs.

  3. Communications is the most important ingredient for success and it is good to know that there is an organization out there to recognize leading women communicators. What better place than NYC!

  4. Glenn Close is awesome, an amazing actress. I saw her on Broadway many, many times and in several movies of course. Her latest film, Albert Nobbs, she really deserved an Oscar. She has had so many Oscar nominations which is just as good as Oscar, I think anyway. It is so grand that she is being recognized and honored at Matrix.

  5. Congrats to Maria Cuomo Cole, an amazing documentary film writer/producer and inspirational humanitarian. Helping the poor and working to end homelessness. I wonder if she will be wearing one of Ken’s designer attire.

  6. So glad Glenn Close won this prestigious award. She deserved the Oscar for Albert Nobbs but also Fatal Attraction too. On top of all of her accomplishments, she is an amazing humanitarian.

  7. What better choice than Pat Kiernan to emcee? This event usually emceed by women, and this is so refreshing for a change. I recently saw him co-hosting on Live With Kelly, funny guy and smart too. Amazing how a Canadian can be so New York, “eh!”

  8. Glenn Close is amazing especially for all her charity and work she has done for raising awareness for all folks with mental illness. Awesome to read about this event and that she is being honored and awarded. I am going to try to attend this event next year.

  9. What better place to celebrate women in communications than in New York City and at the legendary Waldorf-Astoria. Wish I was there. Good to read this blog.

  10. Congratulations to all and especially the scholarship winners. There can never be enough scholarships to help students dreams come true.

  11. Sounds like a great event and place to be. Thanks for the info. I’m going to check out all the other links you have about this now.

  12. I was there a few years ago when Tom Hanks was there. Spectacular event, had a wonderful time and met interesting people. It was a great experience for me.

  13. This is so great to read about. Sounds like an exciting event and place for women (and men) to celebrate communications and to network with such a distinguished group of honorees.

  14. Interesting. Sounds like you really enjoy these events. I’ve read your reports from earlier events, and you really are a great communicator yourself.

  15. This is so refreshing and exciting to read and learn about future communications leaders.

  16. Great to read this and learn of this celebration. It is so special to empower students and young aspiring professionals in communications and what better way than at this prestigious event.

  17. When I saw the word Matrix in your blog post, I thought it was referring to the scary sci-fi movie back in the late 90s with Keanu Reeves and Lawrence Fishburne having to do with what is real. Ironic that the film ends with the saying “anything can happen.” Glad to learn about this Matrix event, it brings that slogan to a much more positive note. Congratulations to all the winners!

  18. What a wonderful way to celebrate women in communications and scholarship winners. Scholarships are a great way to help students with pursuing their dreams. Those who support and sponsor are so generous to have these offerings.

  19. I like your title. It really speaks to the reader. I agree, I and many of my colleagues should have been there. We would have been so inspired. Glad to learn about it through your informative blog post. For sure, I will bookmark.

  20. Very nice quote from Tina Fey you have there. I also read your blog from the 2010 event. It must have been really exciting to see her in person. She is such an accomplished communicator.

  21. Congratulations to Ann Curry on this exceptional Matrix Award. As a news buff, I was always impressed by her journalism acumen. Even though I think she is a bit too left wing, I was sorry to hear she may be leaving NBC Today show. She had a tough act to follow replacing Vieira. I wonder what her former co-anchor Matt Lauer thinks and who will be replacing her if she leaves.

  22. This is a great write-up on Matrix Awards. I read your other blog posts and really like your writing style. You really do a thorough job.

  23. Everyone should learn about what this Matrix Awards is all about. This is so cool and great to see this blog.

  24. Interesting! Great for all women in communications. With the internet the way it is, everyone is connecting to the world.

  25. Having worked in PR for years I can tell you that communications is essential. It is so reassuring to see that this organization is in the 42nd year of recognizing extraordinary women communicators.