The 54th Annual Matrix Awards: Red Carpet Recap

Did you make it to NYWICI’s Matrix Awards? The theme for this year’s event—which honors outstanding women in the communications industry—was Rule Breakers. The 2024 honorees don’t simply accept the status quo; they’re rewriting the rules of success to carve their paths forward.

Sarah Ng, senior journalism major at Hofstra University and three-time NYWICI Scholarship recipient, took to the red carpet on May 21 to interview some of the attendees. You can listen to the full interviews on the WomenHeard podcast—here’s a small taste of what you can expect to hear.

Challenges in the Workplace

Ng’s question to all interviewees about what they think is the most prominent challenge women face today in the workplace garnered a slew of answers. But much of the discussion focused on advocating for yourself and other women. 

“We’re getting the seats, we’re building the tables, and now we need time to speak up,” says Ally Love, Peloton instructor and Today Show contributor. “When we’re new to a workplace, we don’t have someone advocating for us to speak up, so we should empower each other to do so.” 

Avery Loftis, a NYWICI recipient of The Beverly Wettenstein Scholarship for Women’s Studies, agrees: “The biggest challenge is not getting as many opportunities handed to us as men. We have to be more assertive, advocate for ourselves, and be strategic about how we come off when we do that.”

Says Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of the nonprofit GLAAD, “The biggest obstacle women face is that we create our own obstacles to mentorship—for people who are supporting us and helping to lift us up—because we’re so independent and used to getting things done, we don’t ask for help.” 

Adds Brandi Boatner, president-elect of NYWICI, “One of the biggest challenges is that women are underestimated. Never underestimate the power of a woman with a determined plan.”

Breaking the Rules

In honor of the night’s theme, Ng also asked interviewees what it means to be a rule breaker. 

“It’s about being fearless with your perspective and being okay that not everyone is going to be behind you, especially at first,” says Laila Wilson, recipient of the NYWICI Film and Television Scholarship.

“It means doing what you know is right and what you’re passionate about, even if it isn’t the easy thing to do,” adds Jemma Gould, who works for The Interpublic Group (IPG) and is on the NYWICI Scholarship Selection Committee.

“Being a rule breaker is knowing in your heart what is true and being able to suspend boundaries for the right reasons,” notes Jordan Fong, a recipient of IPG Scholarship.

“It’s not just breaking the rules but being able to articulate how this rule doesn’t work and why thoughtfully,” Love says. “Being able to alter, change, and remake rules is essential, and that’s what amazing women do.” 

Thank you to everyone for being part of the podcast! To listen to all the episodes of WomenHeard, visit

Written by Anne Hollyday


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