Reminders of the importance of supporting each other and our communities and meeting uncertainty and adversity with compassion, adaptability and courage carried throughout the 90-minute long celebration of women leaders who already possess and exemplify these abilities.

At the 2021 New York Women in Communications (NYWICI) Matrix Awards, over 700 attendees gathered virtually to watch as eight outstanding leaders were honored. This year’s 51st anniversary Matrix Awards, hosted by Bloomberg Media, was emceed by Hallie Jackson, NBC News Senior Washington Correspondent and Host of MSNBC’s “Hallie Jackson Reports.”

“I don’t think they could have imagined a Matrix quite like this one back in 1971, but no matter where we are, the magic of the Matrix Awards is because of you: our incredible women in communications,” Jackson said. “No matter what, you always find a way to come together.”

The 2021 NYWICI Matrix Honorees include:

    • Yamiche Alcindor, Host of WASHINGTON WEEK, PBS
    • Awkwafina, Actor
    • Maggie Haberman, Washington correspondent for The New York Times
    • Judith Harrison, Executive Vice President, Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Weber Shandwick
    • Hoda Kotb, Co-anchor, NBC News’ TODAY and co-host, TODAY with Hoda & Jenna
    • Dawn Ostroff, Chief Content & Advertising Business Officer, Spotify
    • Amanda Richman, North America CEO, Mindshare
    • Marisa Thalberg, Executive Vice President, Chief Brand and Marketing Officer, Lowe’s 

During the event, the #Matrix2021 honorees shared words of wisdom, including:

Yamiche Alcindor: “So many times, women are told not to be ambitious, not to reach for our goals, not to be thinking about what’s next and trying to achieve as much as we possibly can achieve. And this group of women is chock-full of women doing their darndest to impact the world.”

Awkwafina: “When women celebrate other women it is very special, especially this year and after a couple years of hard times. It’s really important to be able to come together and celebrate what we do.”

Maggie Haberman: “I know that I am here because a lot of other women paved my way, and I never forget that. I’m hoping the things that I have done have made it easier for other young women who are coming up in journalism.”

Judith Harrison: “In this time, when truth and sometimes basic human decency are under attack, it has never been more important for us to stand up and be counted and to lead with purpose, empathy and inclusivity.”

Hoda Kotb: “If you want something bad enough, say it out loud. If you speak them, sometimes they do come true.”

Dawn Ostroff: “Know that your superpower will always be your courage. And just remember, when the door opens for that next exciting opportunity along your journey, have the confidence and belief in yourself to walk through it.”

Amanda Richman: “Technology needs to meet humanity, progress needs a purpose and our investment of time and money needs to be more intentional and more responsible.”

Marisa Thalberg: “With recognition that careers now can be as complicated as the world in which we live, I found that the best way to navigate the twists, turns and unexpected new chapters that can arise is to never believe you’re past the point of learning.”

This year’s virtual event also showcased three segments that dove into the results of the #WOMENHEARD study, a research-driven platform focused on call-to-action initiatives to address the dramatic departure of women from the workforce over the last year. As a part of this discussion, WPIX News Anchor Tamsen Fadal spoke with Yamila Martinez and Amanda Gordon, 2021 NYWICI Scholarship recipients, on the effects of Covid-19 on school, the job market, and networking. The final two segments expanded into topics like mental health and parenting.

The 2021 NYWICI Matrix Speaker Presenters include:

    • Nikole Hannah-Jones, Staff Writer, New York Times Magazine, Presenter for Yamiche Alcindor
    • Bowen Yang, Actor, Presenter for Awkwafina
    • Katie Rogers, White House Correspondent for The New York Times, Presenter for Maggie Haberman
    • Gail Heimann, CEO, Weber Shandwick, Presenter for Judith Harrison
    • Maria Shriver, TODAY Special anchor, Presenter for Hoda Kotb
    • Shari Redstone, Chairperson, Viacom CBS, Presenter for Dawn Ostroff
    • Wenda Harris Millard, Vice Chairman, MediaLink, Presenter for Amanda Richman
    • Bobby Berk, TV Personality from Netflix’s Queer Eye and design guru, Presenter for Marisa Thalberg

In addition, a lineup of different voices will speak on behalf of various honorees including: Kristen Bell, Actress; Dax Shepard, Actor and Host, Armchair Expert Podcast; Jody Gerson, Chairman, Universal Music Publishing; Camila Cabello, Singer-songwriter; Marvin Ellison, Chairman and CEO, Lowe’s; Jason Wu, Fashion Designer; Leigh Anne Tuohy, Real Life Mother from “The Blind Side” and Motivational Speaker; Iris Apfel, Fashion Designer and Icon; Leonard Lauder, Chairman Emeritus, The Estée Lauder Companies; Joy Mangano, Inventor, Entrepreneur and TV Personality; Rebecca Minkoff, Fashion Designer; Bob Pittman, Co-Founder of MTV and iHeartMedia, as well as other industry leaders.

There were also special cameos from Jacqueline Simmons, Senior Executive Editor for the Americas, Bloomberg News; Tamsen Fadal, News Anchor, WPIX; Marvin Ellison, Chairman and CEO, Lowe’s Companies, Inc.; Daniela Leibman, world-renowned pianist; Laura Zelenko, Senior Executive Editor, Bloomberg News; Megan Rokosh, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Havas Health & You; Brandi Boatner, Manager, Digital & Advocacy Communications, IBM; Julia Edelstein, Editor in Chief of PARENTS; Sheereen Russell, SVP, Ad Sales and Inclusion Content Monetization Strategy, OWN/Discovery; Abi Evans, SVP, Business Leadership, dentsu International; Laura Brusca, SVP of Corporate Communications, Forbes & VP Communications, NYWICI.

“The 2021 Matrix Awards celebrates eight incredible women who have demonstrated adaptability, innovation and growth during uncertain times while further driving NYWICI’s mission of uplifting and supporting women at all stages of their communications careers,” said Ashley Miles, 2020-2021 NYWICI President and Founder and CEO of Franklyn West.

“There has never been a more important time to be a part of the communications industry than right now,” added Dustee Jenkins, President-elect of NYWICI and VP Global Communications at Spotify.

Proceeds from this year’s Matrix Awards supported NYWICI operations, as well as a full range of scholarships and educational programs for women. To show your support for NYWICI and Matrix, donate here. To inquire about supporting Matrix 2022, please contact:

The 2021 Matrix Awards were hosted by Bloomberg Media and sponsored by Lowe’s, Spotify, Disney and Weber Shandwick, among others. Makeout is the 2021 Production Partner.


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