On April 24, 2017, New York Women in Communications presented the prestigious Matrix Award to seven remarkable communications leaders who truly embody “women who connect the world.” The award is one of the highest honors in the communications industry and is awarded to women at the pinnacle of their career. The awards ceremony, hosted by Hearst Magazines, took place at the Sheraton New York Time Square and was emceed by the one-and-only Katie Couric, a previous Matrix honoree and presenter. Nearly 1,000 people attended the luncheon to celebrate these talented women and their achievements.

The 2017 honorees and presenters included:

    • Rukmini Callimachi, foreign correspondent, The New York Times — presented by Lydia Polgreen, editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post
    • Gretchen Carlson, journalist and women’s empowerment advocate — presented by Paul Feig, writer, director, producer
    • Susan Credle, global chief creative officer, FCB — presented by Julie Kent, artistic director, The Washington Ballet
    • Savannah Guthrie, co-anchor of “TODAY” and NBC News chief legal correspondent — presented by Matt Lauer, co-anchor of “TODAY”
    • Kristin Lemkau, chief marketing officer, JPMorgan Chase — presented by Gregg Lemkau, co-head of Global Mergers & Acquisitions, Goldman Sachs
    • Judy A. Smith, founder and CEO, Smith & Company — presented by Byron Pitts, Co-Anchor, ABC News “Nightline”
    • Nancy Weber, EVP, Branding and Marketing Partnerships, Meredith National Media Group — presented by Tom Harty, president/chief operating officer, Meredith Corporation

View photos from the 2017 Matrix Awards

Words of Wisdom from the Matrix Honorees:

Gretchen Carlson: “As women, we will not be underestimated, intimidated, or set back by misogynists who stereotype and demean us. We will not be silenced by the ways of the establishment or the relics of the past. We will stand up together and use our voices to become the women we were meant to be!”

Savannah Guthrie: “I got here not because I’m a woman, or despite being a woman — I got here just being a woman. I’m not the tough as nails, blazer-wearing 80s working woman, who for me, growing up, was the stereotypical image of feminism. I am a combo platter of anxiety and calm, confidence and doubt, fear and courage, vulnerability and invincibility, fragileness and solid, granite strength. I am all of these things at once.”

Kristin Lemkau: “I have two pieces of advice for the impressionable young minds. One personal and one professional. Personal: Choose your partner well. There is no greater impact to your career and to your life than the person you choose to raise children with. Professional: Find your tribe. Find your people who you would have been friends with on the outside. When you do, have each other’s back and help each other. You can have way more impact as a force for good together and you can way more fun. Work is great. People are better.”

Rukmini Callimachi: “Once you find something you love, it’s like you have the wind at your back.”
Nancy Weber: “I truly believe that when we’re pushed beyond our comfort zone, we can reach new heights. And that’s when the magic happens. It’s my favorite part of the job, it’s what energizes me and keeps me looking ahead to the next challenge. My advice to young professionals is to look for and take advantage of every opportunity.”

Judy Smith: “There are challenges and barriers, especially for women and minorities, but I find that pursuing excellence is a great equalizer and a passion in itself. To reach it we have to be willing to step out of our comfort zones and to struggle for something we believe in. We may not know what to do, but if we cling to integrity, honesty, ethics and at least attempting to do what we say we will, we’ll be alright.”

Susan Credle: “I’ve always felt like the small widget, sitting in front of an amazing opportunity. And that’s the difference — it’s when you feel like the small widget, you either can choose fear, worry, trepidation, or you can choose excitement, optimism and anticipation. And my advice is: If you’re a little widget, look at that big thing in front of you with incredible anticipation and excitement. And if you’re not a little widget, try to become one.”

Proceeds from the Matrix Award luncheon are used by the organization to fund scholarships, develop and maintain a full calendar of affordable programs and special events for the organization’s member. Each year, the organization’s foundation presents a full range of prestigious scholarships to extraordinary undergraduate and graduate women who are looking to pursue a career in communications. Proceeds from the Matrix Awards go toward these scholarships and to date, more than $1.5 million has been awarded in scholarships. You can help support the scholarship program by becoming a sponsor, or donating to NYWICI today.

Photo: © Maryanne Russell.


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