2017 Honorees

Susan Lucci


As the most famous face in daytime television history, Susan Lucci has held audiences spellbound for years as the sexy, sassy, beautiful “woman you love to hate,” Erica Kane on ABC-TV’s “All My Children.” In May 1999 she won the Emmy Award for “Best Actress,” which was a historic moment not only for Lucci, but for all of television. Lucci currently stars in the hit Lifetime series, “Devious Maids” as the wealthy and effervescent socialite, Genevieve Delatour. She was also the host and narrator of Investigation Discovery’s highly rated series, “Deadly Affairs.” She received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 28, 2005 and was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2006. She is the second woman in the history of the Columbus Day parade to serve as Grand Marshal – the first was Sophia Loren. She is proud to serve as an Ambassador for the newly established National Women’s Museum in Washington, DC. In August, she will be honored with the Disney Legends Award for her contribution to Disney’s reputation for creative excellence. Lucci was named one of E! Entertainment’s “Top Entertainers of the Year” as well as one of Barbara Walters’ “Ten Most Fascinating People.” VH-1 has also named Lucci one of its”200 Top Icons of all Time.”

In 2011, Lucci appeared in the highly rated season finale of TV Land’s “Hot in Cleveland” and returned for another episode in February 2012 entitled, “I Love Lucci.” She also guest starred in a recurring role on Lifetime’s “Army Wives” in 2012. Lucci competed on ABC’s primetime reality show, “Dancing with the Stars,” hosted “Saturday Night Live,” and guest-starred in many successful television series and numerous movies for television throughout her career. In March 2011 Lucci released her New York Times bestselling autobiography, “All My Life” with Harper Collins. The paperback edition of All My Life was released on September 13th.

Lucci’s artistic excellence afforded her the opportunity to expand to luminous careers in theater and cabaret with solo concerts across the country and nightclub performances opening for Regis Philbin. In her 1999 Broadway debut, Lucci starred as Annie Oakley in the revival of Irving Berlin’s “Annie Get Your Gun,” to amazing review. Michael Logan of TV Guide said, “Susan Lucci didn’t just take Great White Way by storm: she took it by tornado, hurricane and tsunami, too.”

Acting and singing are only two of Lucci’s many passions. Within the past 10 years she became a successful entrepreneur launching a Susan Lucci Collection of hair care products, two fragrances, jewelry, shoes, and accessory lines, and a lingerie line for “beauty of all ages.” Her head-to-toe collection was a constant sell-out on the Home Shopping Network (HSN). In 2002, Lucci introduced a personal microdermabrasion system with Guthy-Renker, Youthful Essence by Susan Lucci that has sold over 8 million kits worldwide since its debut. Lucci expanded her expertise with Guthy-Renker by also presenting “Malibu Pilates,” the widely popular Pilates chair fitness program. She was recognized by the Electronic Retailing Association for her achievements in direct response marketing with the DR Icon Award at the 2014 Moxie Awards Gala.

Lucci’s commitment to her work with children has taken her to Africa in support of Feed The Children, appearing in an Emmy-award winning documentary. She and her husband have been ongoing champions of Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York and have been the spokespersons for the National AFib Campaign. She currently hosts United Cerebral Palsy of NYC Women Who Care Luncheon. She has served as the March of Dimes’ National Ambassador in 2000 and as a celebrity spokesperson for AMDeC (Academic Medicine Development Company) and The New York Cancer Project. She has also been involved with Broadway Cares Equity Fights Aids and is the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the prestigious New York City Gracie Award and the Muse Award for Women in Film & Television. She was inducted into the American Academy of Achievement Awards and presented with the Italian Board of Guardians Lifetime Achievement Award.

Lucci’s accomplishments and contributions to the world of television and the performing arts have truly made her an icon to millions.

Melissa Joan Hart


Actress Melissa Joan Hart was born on April 18, 1976 in Smithtown, New York. Hart found early success as a teenager, with parts on the television shows Clarissa Explains It All and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She currently stars on the TV series Melissa & Joey. Hart has also appeared on stage, competed on Dancing with the Stars, directed television episodes and written her own memoir.

Melissa Joan Catherine Hart, best known as Melissa Joan Hart, was born on April 18, 1976 in Smithtown, Long Island, New York, to carpenter Billy Hart and his wife, Paula Hart. The oldest of five siblings, Hart grew up in Sayville, New York. From a young age, her mother began taking her into New York City for commercial auditions. Hart proved to be extremely talented, booking the first four commercials she auditioned for. In 1986, at just 10 years old, she earned her first television role in the film Christmas Show. ??Hart worked hard to maintain a balance between show business and regular life. When she wasn’t commuting into New York City, she attended public school and enjoyed extracurriculars such as playing the flute and participating in Girl Scouts.

As Hart gained momentum and began gaining success in her early career, her family life became more difficult: Her parents divorced, and Hart’s mother moved with the children to New York City and began working as a casting director in the entertainment industry. At the same time, her father also began a new career, working as a shellfish wholesaler.

Hart auditioned for the Nickelodeon television show Clarissa Explains it All in 1989. She landed the title role, which would change her life forever. She relocated temporarily to Orlando, Florida, and went on to film 65 episodes over the course of five seasons. While filming, Hart did not attend traditional high school. Instead, she worked with tutors on set to complete her education. Clarissa ended in 1994, and Hart moved back to New York City to be close to her family, as well as attend New York University.

Two years after wrapping Clarissa, Hart once again found herself in the spotlight, landing the role of Sabrina Spellman on the ABC TV show Sabrina the Teenage Witch (later on The CW Television Network). Once again, Hart’s acting career uprooted her family: They relocated to Los Angeles, and Hart continued to attend NYU through the school’s study-abroad program. She also took small roles in many television movies and sitcoms. Sabrina was enormously successful; Hart filmed 160 episodes over seven seasons.

Hart took time off after Sabrina to start a family, but returned to television in 2009 to compete on the ninth season of ABC’s reality-dance competition show Dancing with the Starts, partnering with two-time reigning champion Mark Ballas. Hart and Ballas were eliminated from the show in the sixth week.

In 2010, Hart returned to TV full-time, co-starring on the ABC Family sitcom Melissa & Joey alongside Joey Lawrence. She even tried her hand at directing an episode during the program’s second season.

Outside of her TV work, Hart has been seen on stage in the off-Broadway production Love, Loss, and What I Wore, and has written a memoir, Melissa Explains It All: Tales from My Abnormally Normal Life.

Ross Ellis


Ross Ellis is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of STOMP Out Bullying. She is nationally recognized as an expert for her work in bullying and cyberbullying prevention, violence against children, as well as being an expert in online safety.

Ross has over 20 years of experience in the non-profit and corporate sector, and has been a child advocate for more than two decades. She educates on reducing and preventing bullying, cyberbullying, and other digital abuse, educating against homophobia, racism and hatred, and deterring violence in schools, online and in communities across the country.

In 2005, Ross founded STOMP Out Bullying, the leading national bullying and cyberbullying prevention nonprofit for kids and teens in the U.S. STOMP Out Bullying has since become the most influential anti-bullying organization in the country.

Under Ms. Ellis’ leadership, STOMP Out Bullying has helped over 5 million youths in resolving bullying situations. She established a 24/7 HelpChat Line for youths who have been bullied, cyberbullied and at-risk for suicide. To date the organization has helped over 100,000 students and has saved over 2,000 lives. These number increase daily.

As a noted speaker and expert on teens and social media use, Ross Ellis provides training to schools, youth organizations, parents, and kids on the best practices of identification, prevention, and response.

In addition to speaking to students, Ross speaks to corporate employees on bullying and cyberbullying prevention and how to keep their children safe, and has been a regular guest panelist for Moody’s Corporation New York City and Moody’s Corporation London, as well as other companies.

She is frequently asked to provide expert commentary by news organizations. Her work and STOMP Out Bullying’s has been featured on numerous TV shows including GMA, EXTRA, The Today Show, Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood. Ross Ellis has appeared on ABC Nightline, Inside Edition, MSNBC, CNN Headline News, Fox News, LXTV, HLN News, WABC-TV Eyewitness News, Fox 5 NY, Good Day New York, WPIX News, Huffington Post Live, The Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CBS Radio, Z100, 106.7 Lite FM, Q104.3, Sirius Radio With Larry Flick and many other TV and radio shows. She has been featured in Ladies Home Journal, Seventeen Magazine, Redbook, Better Homes & Garden and countless other magazines. Ross is a contributor to the Huffington Post, and was the National Parenting Issues Examiner for Examiner.com. for seven years. She was featured on SyFy’s “The Internet Ruined My Life” aftershow.

Some highlighted speaking engagements include: Speaker – Black Congressional Caucus; Speaker – Children Uniting Nations “Bullying in America” to Members of Congress; Speaker – “Delete Digital Drama” at The White House Bullying Summit; Featured Guest Speaker – U.S. Embassy (Korea) “Bullying and Cyberbullying What Works in the U.S”; Featured Guest Speaker – National Women’s Educational Conference, “Bullying & Cyberbullying Prevention”. Ross was the featured guest on a special WABC-TV Eyewitness News Show: Battling The Bullies.

In 2015, Ross and STOMP Out Bullying received the award for “Outstanding Organization” at National Philanthropy Day. In 2013, she received the Longines Town & Country “Women Who Make A Difference For Children” Award and in 2010, was included as an Architect of Change on the Program Cover of the Architects of Change Conferenceby former First Lady of California Maria Shriver. In March, 2009 Ross Ellis was named an Inspirational Luminary by Inspire Me Today, and in both 2001 and 2003, was selected as one of New York Women In Communications Women Who are Changing the World. She is named in Marquis Who’s Who of American Women.

Fern Karhu


A Long Island real estate veteran since 1984, Fern Karhu has enjoyed a successful career that began in sales then ascended to the management level in 1989. Now the Executive Vice President heading the Woodbury headquarters and sales office of Realty Connect, USA, a new brokerage which serves the entire Nassau, Suffolk and Queens marketplace, Fern has reached a new and exciting plateau as partner with four others who sit among Long Island’s top tier of real estate leaders.

Prior to embarking on this latest venture, Realty Connect, USA, which is innovative in its thinking, training and business model, yet stellar in the tradition of upholding good old-fashioned quality service, Fern served as Branch Manager and Director of the most successful real estate office in the Prudential Network – Prudential Douglas Elliman in Syosset.

Over the years, Fern has become well known as an active and passionate advocate for senior citizens on Long Island. She, along with long-time colleague Bart Carafella, now President of Realty Connect, USA, have for many years been driving forces in the movement to provide Active Adults with suitable housing options. Their focus on senior housing advocacy inspired them to not only host a radio show entitled, “Seniors on the Move” which aired for 15 years, but resulted in their also becoming noted lecturers and television talk show hosts on the subject.

Raised on Long Island, Fern graduated from Nassau Community College, continued her education at San Diego State University, returned to Long Island and made real estate her lifelong career. She is very active in her field on both the Long Island Board of Realtors and the Long Island Real Estate Group, plus serves on the Board of her condo development where she resides, Woodbury Greens. Fern also serves as Co-President of Friends Assisting Nassau Seniors (FANS), which provides weekend meals on wheels to seniors. She has two grown children and three grandchildren.

Nancy Gilbert


Responsible for marketing, retailer relationships, social media and public relations for Roosevelt Field. The center offers fabulous opportunities for businesses to build their client lists and increase sales and awareness. Media and experiential marketing vehicles are available to reach your business goals.

Leanne Pinard


Leanne Pinard began her pageant career at the age of 12 and has been part of the pageant world ever since. Leanne won the title of Miss Long Island Teen in 2010, and as a former title holder has had the opportunity to see the impact first hand of the Long Island Pageant System, not only for herself, but for other young women as well. Holding this prestigious title has shaped her into the woman she is today and created the opportunity for Leanne to raise awareness for her platform of Food and Latex Allergies.

Leanne has brought awareness to food and latex allergies not only to the Long Island Community but across the country. She has had the pleasure of speaking to high school students on the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms of allergic reactions and the damaging effects of bullying. Leanne has also been invited to speak to the board of education at school districts regarding school policies and how some of these policies can be exclusive and detrimental to a child’s personal development, as well as causing anxiety disorders.

Leanne is thrilled to be the co-owner of this incredible pageant. Having watched the Long Island Pageant System change the lives of women across Long Island, she is excited to be able to mentor and change the lives of many more as the legacy of this system continues. “Knowing I have the opportunity to shape the lives of others the same way Miss Long Island Pageant Founder, Lori Thomas, has mentored me fills me with enormous pride. The Miss Long Island Pageant has always been so special to me and I am excited to create opportunities for future title holders and embark on this new journey. I have always been dedicated to the Miss Long Island Pageant, and now I am able to bring that dedication to being a director, a business owner and a mentor.”

Leanne has earned her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Binghamton University and is on the Board of Directors of Long Island non-profit, Joining Everyone to Share. She recently won the Huntington Chamber of Commerce prestigious Long Island’s Young Professional Award, 30 under 30 and has received Certificates of Merit from New York State Assembly as well as Presiding Officer of the Suffolk County Legislator, DuWayne Gregory. Leanne is employed in non-profit and higher education fundraising and plans on using her skills and experiences to continue and uphold the legacy of the Long Island Pageant System.

Leanne and her fiancé John are planning to be married in 2017 and are excited to start their lives together dreaming big!

Allison Rosenzweig


Allison W. Rosenzweig (New York Law School, 2013) is an associate in both the Corporate and Commercial Law Department and the Tax, Trusts and Estates Department. She concentrates her practice in the drafting and review of agreements for the establishment and continuing operations of corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies. In addition to this general corporate and commercial representation, she assists clients with business succession planning and estate planning.

Ms. Rosenzweig’s business and transactional experience includes entity formation, dissolution and governance, shareholder agreements, limited liability company operating agreements, mergers and acquisitions, supply and distribution agreements, asset purchase agreements and a wide variety of other general corporate and commercial agreements.

Ms. Rosenzweig also represents business owners, entrepreneurs, closely-held companies and individuals in various proceedings in the Surrogate’s Court, including probate and administration, contested probate, accountings and miscellaneous proceedings.

Ms. Rosenzweig served as a judicial intern for the Honorable Robert Ross, Nassau County Supreme Court Matrimonial Center, and for the Honorable Hope Schwartz Zimmerman, Nassau County Supreme Court Matrimonial Center. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan and studied at the Sorbonne in Paris.

Ms. Rosenzweig is admitted to the New York Bar, as well as the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. She is a member of the Nassau County Bar Association and its committees for Young Lawyers, and Corporation, Banking & Securities Law, the Women’s Bar Association of Nassau County, the New York State Bar Association, and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Ms. Rosenzweig’s article, “First Annual Increase to New York State’s Estate Tax Exclusion,” was published in the Suffolk Lawyer (May 2015). Her article, “Private Label Agreements: No More Low Brand Store Brands,” was published in Law360 (January 2016). She was also named a 2015 New York Rising Star® by Super Lawyers.