Women's Entrepreneurship Week 2021: Recap, Resources and Recordings

Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Future is Women!

Recap, Resources and Recordings 

 WEW Berkeley

Berkeley College’s 2021 virtual Women’s Entrepreneurship Week (WEW) forum, “The Future is Women,” attracted hundreds of attendees on October 19, 20 and 21. Since 2015, Berkeley College’s annual WEW event has created a space to acknowledge the achievements of pioneering women and encourage the next generation of innovators. 

This year’s summit featured keynote addresses by Juanita N. Holmes, Chief of Patrol, New York Police Department; Barbara Sampson, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Examiner, City of New York; New York Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre, 11th District; and U.S. Congresswoman Grace Meng, 6th District of New York.

Women leaders from government and all sectors of business shared resources and insights about combating microaggressions; the future of New York’s economy; women’s rights and overcoming barriers to equality; and how to build an effective global media platform. 

An in-person Women’s Empowerment Awards ceremony at Berkeley College in Midtown Manhattan, NY, honored more than 100 women who have spoken at Berkeley College WEW events. New York Governor Kathy Hochul received the “Courage to Lead” award. New York State Senators Alessandra Biaggi and Jessica Ramos delivered remarks and received the “Inspiring Future Leaders” award. 

You can read more about the takeaways from #WEW2021 below. 

Thank you to this year’s sponsors, City & State, Celebrity Media Group, Eastern Funding LLC, Johnson PR and Events, Newark Symphony Hall, Pinnacle Construction Group, Valley National Bank and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. 


Stories from #WEW2021 

New York Senator Jessica Ramos Announces Plans to Introduce Proposal for Universal Childcare at Berkeley College Women's Empowerment Awards Ceremony 

Women are Integral to Economic Recovery, Says New York Senator Alessandra Biaggi at Berkeley College Women's Empowerment Awards Ceremony 

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 

Share the News: @BerkeleyCollege #WEW2021  


Women’s Empowerment Awards 

In recognition of Berkeley College’s 90th anniversary, we recognized more than 100 remarkable women who have spoken at our Women’s Entrepreneurship Week events over the years.  


Click here to see a list of the Women’s Empowerment Awards recipients. 

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

Berkeley Awards

“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. To bring that inspiration forward for our students is incredible.” – Angela Harrington, Founder, Women’s Entrepreneurship Week, and Vice President, Communications and External Relations, Berkeley College 

“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. 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.” – Diane Recinos, EdD, Interim President, Berkeley College 

“We have a very big responsibility to center women in our recovery. To make sure every industry, every single one, offers women good, high-paying jobs in safe work environments and also offers flexible work.” – Alessandra Biaggi, Senator, New York State 

“(It is) really important to create spaces where women feel welcomed … These conversations are really important for us to have in our communities and certainly in our institutes for higher education.” – Jessica Ramos, Senator, New York State 

Click Here to View Senator Biaggi’s Remarks

Click Here to View Senator Ramos’ Remarks 


Women’s Entrepreneurship Week 2021 

Keynote by U.S. Congresswoman Grace Meng 

WEW Meng Berkeley

Introduction by: Diane Recinos, EdD, Interim President, Berkeley College 

“We still have a lot of work to do, we still have to overcome a lot of stereotypes. There are those stereotypes that say women don’t make good leaders, that women are not as qualified as men are … More people are getting involved because they see all of us, all of you, as women leaders. Whatever you’re studying, whatever your job is, there is someone who is looking at you and learning from you, even though you might not realize that someone is watching you and appreciating your struggles and your success and how encouraging that can be to someone else who comes after you one day.” – Congresswoman Grace Meng, 6th District of New York 

Click Here to View Congresswoman Meng’s Keynote


Opening Remarks

Berkeley WEW Openig

Mistress of Ceremonies: Angela Harrington, Founder, Women’s Entrepreneurship Week and Vice President, Communications and External Relations, Berkeley College 

Opening Remarks: Diane Recinos, EdD, Interim President Berkeley College 

“Programs like Women’s Entrepreneurship Week provide students like myself with the courage to push through our many obstacles and challenges to reach our goals. Seeing strong, accomplished, women make strides in the business world is what keeps us women inspired. I aspire to be one of these ladies in the future.” – Rebekah Andrews-Brannock, Student Speaker and Paralegal, Senior Corporate Governance, Marsh McLennan


Keynote by Chief Juanita N. Holmes 

Berkeley WEW Holmes

Introduction by: Charlane Brown, JD, Professor, Justice Studies, Berkeley College School of Professional Studies

“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. 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. And it was hard work, I’m not going to say it was easy, but it was worth it.” – Juanita N. Holmes, Chief of Patrol, New York Police Department 

Click Here to View the Opening Remarks and Chief Holmes’ Keynote 


Keynote by Dr. Barbara Sampson

Berkeley WEW Sampson

Introduction by: Eva Skuka, MD, PhD, Dean, Berkeley College School of Health Studies 

“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. So please be brave and reach out, and this is important in every point in your career, not just at the beginning. I still routinely reach out to my mentors when I have big decisions to make and it’s a lifelong gift that we should each have to support each other.” – Barbara Sampson, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Examiner, City of New York 

Click Here to View Dr. Sampson’s Keynote 


Keynote by Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre 


Introduction by: Traci Dingle, JD, Professor, Justice Studies, Berkeley College School of Professional Studies 

“The right for true equity continues every single day in all aspects of our daily lives. For far too long, women have lacked that very important proverbial seat at the table. But we know that when there are no more seats, we bring our own fold-up chair and we get work done together.” – New York Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre, Assembly District 11 

Click Here to View Assemblywoman Jean-Pierre’s Keynote


An Interactive Discussion on Microaggressions

Berkeley WEW Microaggressions

Introduction by: Mary Ann Chimento, Corporate, Community and High School Relations, Berkeley College 

“We want to bring about awareness. Sometimes we are not aware we are being biased … I experienced a microaggression early in my career as a young attorney. I appeared in court and the sheriff’s officer stopped me from entering the courtroom because I did not look like an attorney to him. This issue is very broad and wide across society. It doesn’t matter how high up you are, microaggressions are everywhere.” – Moya Bansile, Esq., Co-Chair, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force and Professor, Legal Studies, Berkeley College School of Professional Studies 

“We are discussing the impact of microaggressions, which refers to verbal or behavioral slights, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory or negative attitudes. It’s important to learn about this topic because experiencing a microaggression can stick with us for many years … Sometimes we beat ourselves up after an experience, wishing we would have addressed the situation differently. That’s why it’s important to learn how to recognize and respond to microaggressions, especially in professional settings.” – Maria Rivera, Director, Continuing Education, Berkeley College 

Click Here to View the Slides 


Panel One: The Women Shaping New York City’s Future

Berkeley WEW Panel 1

“Especially with small businesses and startups, reaching out to state or local government is not necessarily the first thing on their mind … Someone once gave me a button that said, ‘I'm from the government and I’m here to help,’ and it was intended as a joke. It would be nice to change that a little bit. We have an opportunity to shift people’s perceptions and streamline access to programs.” – Moderator Heather Briccetti, Esq., President and CEO, The Business Council of New York State, Inc. 

“MWBEs are one of my biggest concerns, always, and working to advance them. What I do want to see is a chief diversity officer in every agency … Diversity is very, very important in the offices, in the agencies, and being culturally diverse and sensitive, including language and all of that.” – Quenia Abreu, President, New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce 

“The Bronx has never elected a candidate who looks like me – an African American, female candidate. I knew the challenges would be great, but I have the heart to do the work, a strong work ethic, and I am committed and dedicated to the residents of the Bronx … I am looking forward to taking office, and not only making history, but making sure that so many young ladies and young girls across the City of New York see all the possibilities and know that they, too, can achieve all of their dreams and their circumstance should never define their future.” – Vanessa Gibson, Nominee, Bronx Borough President 

“You’re just not going to get the vibrancy anywhere else. New York City is addictive. I think you have to keep betting on New York. We are about to enter a new era here and hopefully turn the page on COVID. And I think it’s going to be really exciting to see how the city emerges.” – Jessica Walker, President and CEO, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce 

“We know that the City is facing challenges, but the opportunities and the prospects for growth are huge here. New York is going to continue to grow and the question is how do you plug your small business, entrepreneurial efforts into that growth pattern. Right now high growth is in the tech sector, so that’s why we’re focused on – making sure small businesses here are tech-savvy.” – Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO, Partnership for New York City 

Click Here to View Panel One  


Panel Two: Women’s Rights – Creating a World that Works for Everyone 

Berkeley WEW Panel 2

“We're talking about how we can work together to create a world that works for everyone, how far women have come, how far do we need to go, and what we can do to keep progress moving forward so that we reach a more equitable society … We have amazing trailblazers on this panel. There is so much to learn from each of you and each of you are examples of courage.” – Moderator Angela Harrington, Founder, Women’s Entrepreneurship Week and Vice President, Communications and External Relations, Berkeley College 

“This is the 21st century, and there are critical issues that we all have – our families, and individuals with children or not, single women – being battered and bullied. All the issues that we stand for as women who are equal rights activists, feminists, etc., we need everybody to be fighting for including women and men and boys and girls.” – Liz Abzug, Founder and President, Bella Abzug Leadership Institute 

“There’s a real shift in power among women, women of color, queer and trans communities, nonbinary communities, in taking up and owning space and claiming their rightful place, and that’s been really exciting … I’m seeing a lot of hope in the progress, and the boldness, and the fierceness, and the tenacity of specifically young women and young women of color who have raised their hand and said, ‘I’m going to take leadership, I’ m going to run for office, I’m going to take on these powerful positions, lead organizations, be at the forefront of my community,’ and that’s what’s given me hope.” – Jessica González-Rojas, Assemblymember, New York State 

“There’s still a lot more work to be done … After #metoo there were a lot of really interesting and important conversations in the classroom and a lot of students of all genders having more confidence to come out, and tell stories, and share their experiences, which is important for all of us to learn from. In order to create change, we need to draw attention to these issues.” – Heidi Hoefinger, PhD, Professor, Social Sciences, Berkeley College 

“It’s very important for girls to be able to see that change and to see themselves represented in order really even to aspire to some of these roles and tasks that we are trying to pave for them … We really concentrate on setting up a pro-girl environment, a place where girls are physically safe and also socially and emotionally safe, where they see over and over again that girls can succeed, that they deserve to be taken seriously, that they are supported.” – Stephanie J. Hull, PhD, President and CEO, Girls Inc. 

“To have a woman of color lead means that we are able to center issues that affect women on a regular basis and that is something that we don’t necessarily see or haven’t really seen as much from a legislative standpoint, because we haven’t really had women representing all of us … The path is harder to get there for women, but the impact is stronger, so I really hope to see more women in leadership.” – Mon Yuck Yu, Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff, Academy of Medical & Public Health Services 

Click Here to View Panel Two 


Panel Three: Meet the Influencers 

Berkeley WEW Panel 3

“A recurring theme we seem to be hearing is open-mindedness. And also, balance and dreaming. The key thing is dreaming. But while you dream, you also have to incorporate some of the practical things and be patient, and everything will fall in place.” – Moderator Busie Matsiko-Andan, Global Strategist; CEO, Pont Global; and Executive Director, Africa Future Summit 

“My love for fashion became a passion, to use what God had given me, that blessing, to become a blessing. Looking at the women in my village, looking at the children, I thought to myself, ‘I am so blessed. I need to give back to my community … What do I do with what I have, with these resources? What do I do with this influence that I have?’ And so, we started Beberavi.” – Siamanda Chege, Founder, Chege Village and Beberavi Collections Inc. 

“It’s such a privilege to have a platform where you are able to impact or influence other people … There’s a sort of internal experience that I have where I try think of myself as a vessel for my message, and for that mission that I have for helping those who are chronically ill … Whether I reach one person or hundreds of thousands of people, it’s always for the better of that community.” – Nitika Chopra, Founder and CEO, Chronicon 

“I know I was destined to be here, and that’s why I use my platform and the visibility I have as an actress to be an activist, to spread the message, to fight for women’s empowerment, women inclusion, equality, gender equality, and a whole lot more … I tend to use my influence for those that are following me and those I come across daily to make an impact, because I believe in leadership and women’s leadership.” – Juliet Ibrahim, Activist, Actress and Author 

“I’m excited to be here and be able to be a voice and help women and young girls who don’t know where to start and have nothing but a beautiful, beautiful dream. For that five-year-old who has it inside of them to dream big. And with hard work, and networking, and education, I think anything is possible.” – Jaylah Sandoval, Award-winning Multimedia Personality and Plus-Size Model 

“I had a little bit of a circuitous route to where I’ve now arrived, but somehow it all makes sense now … I feel very lucky. I would say an open mind and good conversations – you just never know where that will take you … Don’t be afraid to speak up for who you are and what you know how to do, because it’s usually a good thing.” – Nancy Mammana, Chief Marketing Officer, NYC & Company 

“Always understand that what your path is may not look like anything that you’ve seen before. It may not be anybody else’s story, so you shouldn’t let that throw you off, or feel like ‘it’s not happening for me’ … Understand the power of yourself. It doesn’t lie in everything else that we’re seeing around us, it lives in you.” – Mimi Plange, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Mimi Plange, LLC 

“I wrote ‘Jerusalema,’ which went viral during COVID. It has resonated with people and given us hope. I use my voice to touch people’s lives … I’m happy that God gave me such power to write such a big song that got us together during COVID, during hard times. There are so many people that DM me and say, ‘You know, Nomcebo, through your music my life has changed,’ maybe ‘I’ve been hospitalized for three years, but I’m healed because of your music, your music gives us hope.’ ” – Nomcebo Zikode, South African Recording Artist

Click Here to View Panel Three



“Jerusalema” by Master KG, featuring WEW Panelist Nomcebo 

Office of Barbara Sampson, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Examiner, City of New York: Contact ocmepublicaffairs@ocme.nyc.gov  

Office of Congresswoman Grace Meng: Contact michelle.schein@mail.house.gov  

Strategy for Building Your Success: Why Relationships Matter – The Valley Bank Women in Business program will host this webinar on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 from 4 to 5 p.m. Dr. Rosina Racioppi, author of Relationships Matter: How Women Use Developmental Networks to Step into Their Power and Influence will lead a conversation about achieving your dream career by networking, creating your personal road map, and developing your own self-management tools. Click here to register. 

Valley Bank’s Women in Business – This program cultivates business relationships and provides meaningful networking opportunities for women professionals. To learn more, visit www.valley.com/WIB 

Caer (“Caught”) – Panelist Heidi Hoefinger, PhD, contributed field research to this film about trans Latina sex workers in Queens, NY. 

“How to Powershift Your Brand Towards Success” by Women’s Empowerment Award Honoree Karmisha Superville 

Berkeley College News Room 

Berkeley College Continuing Education Programs 

Berkeley College Master of Business Administration in Management 

Post a Job or Request a Berkeley College Intern: https://bit.ly/3nxT7pI  

Berkeley College Corporate Learning Partnerships:
Contact Mary Ann Chimento at maryann-chimento@BerkeleyCollege.edu 


Thank you to our partners and sponsors for making #WEW2021 our best event yet!

City & State New York 

Celebrity Media Group 

Eastern Funding LLC 

Johnson PR & Events 

Newark Symphony Hall 

Pinnacle Construction Group 

Valley National Bank 

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage 

Berkeley WEW Sponsors