A Celebration of Pioneering Women – Berkeley College Commemorates Seven Years of Honoring Women's Leadership and Encouraging the Next Generation at "The Future is Women" Summit

Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Contact: Chanel Donaldson
Senior Associate, Media Relations


Photo Caption: The Future is Women, Berkeley College’s seventh annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Week event, included remarks from Diane Recinos, EdD, Interim President, Berkeley College (top left); Juanita N. Holmes, Chief of Patrol, New York Police Department (top middle); Barbara Sampson, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Examiner, City of New York (top right); Kimberly Jean-Pierre, New York State Assemblywoman, District 11 (bottom left); and Grace Meng, U.S. Congresswoman, 6th Congressional District of New York (bottom right). Speakers described support from other women as part of the key to their success and emphasized the importance of mentorship for future generations.

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Women at the forefront of government, business, media, public health, entertainment, fashion and more, were celebrated at Berkeley College’s seventh annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Week (WEW) summit. Nearly 300 attendees took part in the three-day summit, titled “The Future is Women.”

“We believe that bringing women’s voices forward is an important part of building an equitable society, and gives our students a place where they can be inspired and introduced to the movers and shakers, who at one time were just like them,” said Angela Harrington, Founder, Women’s Entrepreneurship Week, and Vice President, Communications and External Relations, Berkeley College. “To bring that inspiration forward for our students is incredible.”

Since 2015, Berkeley College’s WEW has acknowledged the achievements of pioneering women and encouraged the next generation of innovators.

“It is hard to understate the importance and impact of having an event like Women’s Entrepreneurship Week that brings together and creates a space to celebrate these trailblazers,” said Diane Recinos, EdD, Interim President, Berkeley College. “They are examples for all of us of the power of education and that the sky is the limit. We are all capable of reaching our full potential.”


Photo Caption: The Future is Women: Berkeley College Women’s Entrepreneurship Week 2021 featured the inaugural Women’s Empowerment Awards ceremony on Wednesday, October 20, 2021, at the College’s Midtown Manhattan, NY, campus. More than 100 women, including New York State Senators Alessandra Biaggi (third from left) and Jessica Ramos (fourth from left, center), were honored. (Far right) South African recording artist, Nomcebo Zikode, performed her international hit song “Jerusalema.”

The summit was co-sponsored by City & State, Valley Bank, Wells Fargo, Johnson PR and Events, Newark Symphony Hall, Eastern Funding LLC, Pinnacle Construction Group, and Celebrity Media Group. Held from October 19 to 21, the agenda included an interactive workshop about overcoming microaggressions, discussions about the future of New York’s economy, women’s rights, and an introduction to global media influencers, who use their platforms to effect change. A Women’s Empowerment Awards ceremony was also hosted at Berkeley College in Midtown Manhattan, NY, to honor the more than 100 women who have spoken at WEW events since 2015.

Solidarity, Mentorship and Paving the Way for Future Generations
As women continue to break barriers in their careers, this year’s summit provided a platform for women who have achieved historical firsts in their fields. A common key to success for each trailblazer was the support they received from other women on their journey.

Juanita N. Holmes, the first woman Chief of Patrol for the New York Police Department (NYPD), was introduced by a former colleague and current Berkeley College professor of Justice Studies, Charlane Brown, JD, who recounted a moving story of the pair’s initial encounter: “Chief Holmes walked up to me, boldly extended her hand and said, ‘we must be friends,’” recalled Brown of the 1993 meeting.

Just as mentorship featured prominently for today’s leaders, opening doors for the next generation constituted an important theme of the conference.

“So many times, throughout my career, I have reached out to other women to ask them for guidance and universally they are eager to help,” said Barbara Sampson, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Examiner, City of New York, who is the first woman to serve in the role.

“I first became a police officer in 1987. And I can remember my classmates saying ‘what is it that you’re going to be?’ And I used to say, ‘I’m going to be a chief.’ And I stuck to that,” said Holmes. “Thank you so much for having me as a guest speaker and just letting every woman in this meeting know that you can do it. Anything that you can dream, you can achieve.”

Grace Meng, U.S. Congresswoman, 6th Congressional District of New York, illustrated the significance of role models. “Whatever you are studying, whatever your job is, there is someone who is looking at you and learning from you … That can be encouraging to someone else who comes after you one day.” Meng is the first and only Asian American Member of Congress from New York State and the first female Congressmember from Queens since former Vice Presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, who served from 1979 to 1985.

“For far too long, women have lacked that very important proverbial seat at the table,” said Kimberly Jean-Pierre, New York State Assemblywoman, District 11. “But we know that when there are no more seats, we bring our own fold-up chair and we get work done together,” she added, quoting Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman in Congress.

Click here to view photos from the Women’s Empowerment Awards Ceremony.

Berkeley College celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2021. The theme commemorating this milestone is “Empowering Lives for 90 Years!” Visit the 90th Anniversary webpage for more information.

About Berkeley College
Berkeley College, founded in 1931, is a career-focused institution accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that offers students Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs in more than 20 career fields. The College also offers continuing education programs to enhance career credentials.

Berkeley College has campuses in Midtown Manhattan, NY, and in Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge, and Woodland Park, NJ, with more than 4,000 students enrolled. In addition, Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, for eight consecutive years. U.S. News & World Report named Berkeley College (NJ) one of the Best Regional Colleges in the North in its 2022 edition of the Best Colleges Survey. In 2021 Berkeley College (NJ) was also recognized for the first time as a Top Performer on Social Mobility among colleges in the region. The website address is www.BerkeleyCollege.edu.

The mission of Berkeley College is to empower students to achieve lifelong success in dynamic careers.


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