2012 Honorees

Kate Murray


Supervisor Kate Murray is the chief executive of America’s largest township, serving the over 760,000 residents who call Hempstead Town home. The first woman to be elected supervisor in Hempstead Town’s 368-year history, Kate Murray is no stranger to shattering the glass ceiling and accomplishing a host of impressive “firsts.” Prior to serving as Supervisor of Hempstead Town, Kate Murray was the first woman and attorney to be elected Hempstead Town Clerk. Elected in 2001, she established a full service passport facility that has grown to be the nation’s largest passport processing center. Prior to her serving as Hempstead Town Clerk, Murray became the first woman and first Levittowner elected to the New York State Assembly from the 19th District.

Before serving as an elected official, Kate Murray worked as an Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Justice Section handling prisoner litigation. Kate also served as advocate for Suffolk University’s Battered Women’s Advocacy Project.

Involved and active in community organizations, Kate Murray is a member of the Nassau County Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association, the Levittown Historical Society, Levittown Kiwanis, Levittown Community Council, Levittown Property Owners Association, Friends of Hofstra Arboretum, Irish-Americans in Government, the Sierra Club and the Bellmore-Merrick Wellness Council.

A graduate of Boston College and Suffolk University Law School, Supervisor Murray is a lifelong resident of Levittown.

As town supervisor, Murray presides at all town board meetings, directing the legislative and administrative functions of that body. The supervisor also oversees the day-to-day operations of a municipal government of 24 departments, employing just under 2,000 people. The supervisor is also responsible for the creation and implementation of a 2012 town budget of $414.8 million.

Kate Murray has managed her government’s finances with the highest level of accountability and professionalism, earning Hempstead the highest Wall Street credit ratings available. While the 2012 budget holds the line on all town taxes, Murray has maintained all town programs in full force, worked with the private sector to expand the economy and put forth an aggressive quality-of-life agenda to preserve the suburban character of our area.

Refurbished parks offer families great recreational opportunities while senior citizens enjoy recreation and social activities at 16 senior centers across the town. Children with special needs are enthusiastic about Hempstead’s ANCHOR summer camp and can hardly wait for the soon-to-be-built ANCHOR center in Lido Beach. Free summer concerts, child car seat safety checks, child ID safety kits and swimming instruction are making for happy adventures and safe experiences for young people. Finally, everyone loves Hempstead Town’s pristine beaches, spotless marinas and breathtaking nature preserves.

A quality-of-life agenda that puts Hempstead residents first is at the center of Kate Murray’s efforts to preserve our suburban quality of life. Murray has produced the toughest cell tower legislation anywhere, stopping wireless communications giants from littering residential neighborhoods with unneeded cell towers.

A friend of the environment, Kate Murray is working to leave our children a clean and healthy planet. Hundreds of storm drain filters installed by the town are protecting bays and waterways from pollution. Long Island’s first hydrogen vehicle fueling station has been built by the town and now fuels pollution-free cars. An alternate energy park cultivated by the town features geothermal energy, solar power, wind technology and hydrogen fuel.

Partnering with the private sector, Murray and the Town of Hempstead team have revitalized nine downtowns with streetscape upgrades to create destinations for visitors and residents alike. Hempstead is restoring luster to commercial centers as it attracts major commercial development to our area. HempsteadWorks, the town’s one-stop career center, and a major $50 million “Improve Hempstead” capital improvement program are creating jobs and fueling economic recovery in our region.

Kate Murray is respected on Wall Street and trusted on Main Street because she has shown that fiscal responsibility and great services can go hand-in-hand.

Katie McGowan


HorseAbility began in 1993 when founder Katie McGowan lent her horse to a friend and physical therapist who used hippotherapy as a treatment modality for a child with cerebral palsy. When Katie saw the child’s physical and emotional connection with the animal and how her treatment accelerated through the use of the horse, Katie knew she had found her calling. Combining her education, her love of children, and her relationship with horses, she forged her own trail to start this wonderful organization.

Katie is a certified instructor from the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International accredited Cheff Center for the Handicapped in Augusta, Michigan. She is also a certified North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) instructor, a Special Olympics Coach and holds her B.A. in philosophy from and her M.A. in Elementary Education.

Aside from her affiliations with NARHA and PATH International, Katie is also a member of the United States Equestrian Federation, United States Dressage Federation, Nassau/Suffolk Horseman’s Association, and Long Island Business and Professional Women’s Association. In the past she received the Alumni Service Award from Molloy College and was chosen as one of the Fortune 52 distinguished women from the Long Island Press. In 2010, she was awarded “Woman of Distinction” by Sen. Marcellino.

HorseAbility converted from a sole proprietorship to a New York Not-for-Profit Corporation with IRS 501(c)(3) status in 2001. Since that time, HorseAbility has significantly increased its operations and expanded its organizational structure. HorseAbility enjoys the distinction of being the only PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Centers on Long Island.

Audra Fordin


Audra is the 4th generation owner to operate Great Bear Auto Repair and Auto Body Shop, founded in 1933 and became one of America’s leading franchise groups, supporting the auto repair industry. She, and her family before her, has provided quality auto repair and body service to thousands of clients over the years. In 2007, Audra took full ownership of Great Bear, the franchise name and the Flushing, New York location and has grown the business to nearly three times its size through her aggressive marketing and service programs.

Audra has formed alliance partnerships with leaders in the industry, government and education that allow her to access the proper channels to move her programs across various platforms and further her advocacy of education and empowerment.

In addition to education on general maintenance, Audra looks to bring more women into the industry itself. Her workshops, intern programs, speaking engagements, website and marketing is attracting women who would otherwise be left from the industry’s consideration.

Happily married to Ed for 14 years they have 3 children, Sammi, Olivia and Andrew, who are all interested in following in their mothers, grandfathers, great grand father and great great GREAT grand fathers footsteps.
Audra holds professional licenses and certifications in a number of areas including ATTP (automotive training program), New York State Department of Motor Vehicle Inspector, NYS DMV Automotive Excellence Program, New York State Motorcycle Inspector has been certified in Air Conditioning Refrigerant, is ASE certified, and serves on many advisory committees and expert panels, as well as the PTA and Girl Scout Troop Leader.

Carol A. DeSantie


Carol DeSantie is an accomplished practitioner in human resources with over twenty years of experience in both the public and private sector. In her current role with Sterling & Sterling, Inc. she is responsible for providing leadership in developing and executing human resources strategy in support of the overall business plan and strategic direction of the organization, specifically in the areas of succession planning, talent management, change management, organizational and performance management, training and development, and compensation. In this role, Ms. DeSantie strives to provide strategic leadership by articulating Human Resource needs and plans to the executive management team, collaborating with the CEO and President on growth strategies and overall well-being of the organization. Ms. DeSantie is also a member of the Executive Cabinet at Sterling & Sterling.

Prior to joining Sterling & Sterling, Inc., Ms. DeSantie served as Vice President, Human Resources & Operations for Corporate Consulting Services in New York City before being promoted to lead its new Human Resources Division. Under her leadership, Corporate Consulting Services provided additional services which supported the concept that an organization’s employees are their most valuable resource. Ms. DeSantie has been responsible for all aspects of human resources, including recruiting, hiring, writing policies and procedures, medical benefits, employee relations, negotiating union contracts, mediation, arbitration, and professional development/training.

Ms. DeSantie is a graduate of Fairfield University with a MA, MFT and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and English from Clark University. In addition, she holds a certification from Columbia University as a Certified Life Skills Trainer and a certification from Mount Sinai School of Medicine as a Crisis and Intervention Counselor.

Teresa Ward


Teresa Ward is the President of Teresa’s Family Cleaning, an award-winning Long Island home and commercial cleaning company that services Nassau and Suffolk County, including the Hamptons. Teresa founded the company in 1993 in her basement and garage which today, has grown into one of the most successful home and commercial cleaning services on Long Island.

Teresa’s Family cleaning is an award-winning company. In 2009, The US Small Business Administration awarded Teresa with the Small Business of the Year Award for New YorkState and she also was named one of Long Island’s Top 50 Women by the Long Island Business News.

In 2010, Teresa’s Family Cleaning was awarded the prestigious ARCSI Residential Cleaning Seal of Excellence by the Association of Residential Cleaning Services, International (ARCSI). She was also appointed as one of the Board members for the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, and in early 2010, Teresa was inducted into the Suffolk County Women’s Hall of Fame for her work in business and the community.

Teresa serves on the Board of the Association of Residential Cleaning Services (ARCSI) and is a member of the Suffolk Women’s Business Coalitions and Friends for Life Foundation. She is an active participant in more than 25 business, civic, and charitable organizations.

Teresa supports a wide variety of local charities and nonprofit organizations by donating her services to help others. She is a founding member of Cleaning for a Reason which is now a nationwide organization that cleans houses for women battling cancer.

As an addition to her work with Cleaning for a Reason, Teresa has created a separate organization called TW Cares that provides house cleaning services for men, women, and the parents of children whose lives are being affected by cancer. The organization allows both individuals and businesses to make a difference in the lives of those struggling with the disease.

Karen Tenenbaum


Karen Tenenbaum, attorney and CPA, founded the Melville law firm of Karen J. Tenenbaum, P.C., in 1996, focusing on IRS and NYS tax disputes. Karen’s background includes a law degree from Brooklyn Law School, an LL.M. in Taxation from New York University, and an undergraduate degree in accounting. She was previously employed at two of the Big Four accounting firms, and some of the largest Long Island law firms.

Karen continues to be involved in both the accounting and legal worlds. She has been on the Executive Board of the New York State Society of CPAs (NYSSCPA), Nassau Chapter, for many years, and has held numerous positions including Chair of the State and Local Taxation Committee and Co-Chair of the Attorneys and Accountants Joint Committee. For her leadership and contributions to the NYSSCPA, Nassau Chapter, Karen was awarded that organization’s Samuel B. Traum Achievement Award.

Karen is a former Chair of the Tax Law Committee at the Nassau County Bar Association, and former Chair of the Internal Revenue Service Garden City Practitioner Liaison group. She often presents seminars on tax topics at professional events, including each year at the Long Island Tax Professionals Symposium, co-sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service and the National Conference of CPA Practitioners, Nassau/Suffolk Chapter.

One of Karen’s most gratifying accomplishments is being co-founder and long-term Board member of Commerce Plaza, a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching children about business through an integrated program of classroom instruction and a field visit to a simulated work environment. The Commerce Plaza workplace has been visited by over 30,000 Long Island children since it opened its doors over ten years ago. Karen is also developing a project to teach financial literacy to children, featuring the cartoon character Walter the Vault, as seen on YouTube.

With the same passion and drive that has brought Karen professional success, in her spare time Karen has pursued her interest in cooking, by training at the French Culinary Institute amateur program, and volunteering at prestigious cooking events in the New York area. Karen and her attorney husband of twenty-seven years, Larry, are the proud parents of Stacie, a college senior, and Allison, who is currently attending law school.