Speaker Bios

kara barnett

Kara Medoff Barnett

Kara Medoff Barnett was appointed executive director of American Ballet Theatre (ABT), America’s National Ballet Company, in February 2016 following nearly nine years as a senior executive at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. At ABT, Barnett has advanced innovation and inclusion, supporting a robust slate of new productions and increasing diversity in the training pipeline. Since 2016, the company has performed in Paris, Muscat, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, and Detroit, and will soon tour to Singapore and Hong Kong, bringing extraordinary art to audiences worldwide.

During her tenure at Lincoln Center, Barnett served as director of strategy and business development and senior director of the capital campaign for the transformative redevelopment of Lincoln Center’s iconic 16-acre campus. In 2012, Barnett became the founding managing director of Lincoln Center International (LCI), established to extend Lincoln Center’s brand, facilitate artistic exchange, and advise government leaders, philanthropists, and developers on the planning and management of cultural infrastructure projects around the globe. Under Barnett’s leadership, LCI launched the Lincoln Center Global Exchange, an annual conference for international leaders and change agents to advance the role of art and culture in addressing critical challenges facing our collective future.

Barnett has produced plays on and off Broadway, and she received a Tony Award for the 2003 Broadway revival of Long Day's Journey Into Night. She is a member of the Advisory Committee of the American Theatre Wing, a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a 2015 Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. In 2014, she was a "40 Under 40" honoree in Crain’s New York Business.

Barnett attended Duke University on a Trinity Scholarship, graduated summa cum laude, and received her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

danielle butin

Danielle Butin

Danielle Butin, MPH, OTR, is the founder and executive director of the Afya Foundation, a medical supply recovery organization in New York. Since its inception in late 2007, it has shipped several hundred 40-foot containers packed with recovered humanitarian and medical supplies to more than 70 countries globally.

The Afya Foundation dedicates itself to the support of ongoing health missions worldwide, and is an unstoppable force in the realm of disaster relief. Afya’s prompt and effective response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake provided short-term assistance to acute conditions, and later evolved into a network of rehabilitative medicinal clinics that are still in use. Ms. Butin was honored by the Greater New York Hospital Association for Afya’s comprehensive involvement in Haiti.

Ms. Butin brought a swift, efficient response to the tempestuous 2017 hurricane season. In Puerto Rico, a direct relationship with local doctors made this possible. Rather than ship containers to highly congested ports, Afya worked with UJA-Federation of New York and generous donors to pack more than 25 flights to the island. Once there, supplies were passed to doctors, who travelled to the most rural parts of the island to establish clinics and provide care. Ms. Butin later parlayed this network into a relationship with Puerto Rico’s prosecuting attorney, Rosa Emilia Rodriguez Velez, who had established a taskforce to investigate post-hurricane conditions in nursing homes and assisted-care facilities. Afya subsequently directed significant attention and resources to elder care throughout the island.

Also in 2017, Ms. Butin received the Women of Distinction Award from the City of Yonkers. Ms. Butin was also awarded the Eli Lilly Welcome Back Award for Afya’s special prevocational programs for at-risk populations; men and women from these programs volunteer in the warehouse and work with Afya’s occupational therapy graduate students. In 2015, Ms. Butin’s leadership role in the Ebola relief efforts in Sierra Leone was recognized and awarded by Voices of African Mothers and at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting. In 2015, she also received the Brava SmartCEO Award. Ms Butin’s story and Afya’s work have been featured in Real Simple Magazine, MORE Magazine, Family Circle Magazine, on the Katie Couric Show and on Good Life Project radio. The New York Times and the Washington Post have covered the Afya Foundation and Ms. Butin is frequently invited to lecture at college campuses to discuss medical waste recovery. In 2014, the New York State Senate recognized her as a Woman of Distinction for her role in using local medical resources and volunteers to promote global health. In 2011, Ms. Butin received the Lamed Vaynik Award from the J-Teen Leadership in New York for Afya’s educational and volunteer programs for high school students.

Before starting the Afya Foundation, Ms. Butin was the director of health services for the East Region of Senior and Retiree Services for United Health Care. In this role, she provided health service leadership, serving approximately 300,000 Medicare members. Prior to that, Ms. Butin was the manager of the health promotion and wellness department at Oxford Health Plans, serving approximately 80,000 Medicare members and developing innovative health screening, self-management, and wellness programs. Ms. Butin has received national recognition and awards for her leadership in the development of health education programs and materials. She served as a board member for the National HMO Workgroup on Care Management for eight years, and continues to serve on the advisory board for Practice Change Fellows, a grant-sponsored mentoring program that develops national leaders in geriatric care.

Ms. Butin received her master’s in public health with a specialization in geriatrics and gerontology at Columbia University and her B.S. in occupational therapy from New York University. She is currently an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University.

jane clementi

Jane Clementi

Jane Clementi cofounded the Tyler Clementi Foundation to help end all online and offline bullying in schools, workplaces, and faith communities. The foundation achieves this through educational research, legislative advocacy, and awareness programming.

Her desire is to change hearts and minds, because everyone should be allowed to live and thrive in an environment that is free of harassment, intimidation, and humiliation. Her hope is to ignite a culture shift where all people will experience kindness, respect, and consideration.

danielle ellman

Danielle Ellman

Danielle Ellman, president and CEO of the Samuel Field YM & YWHA (SFY) and of the Central Queens YM & YWHA (CQY), has been at CQY since 2009. She previously served as site director until her appointment as executive director in 2014.

As of July 1, 2017, she assumed the role of president and CEO of both CQY and SFY when the two agencies merged. Danielle earned a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in public policy administration and an advanced certificate in nonprofit management. She also has a master’s degree from Baltimore Hebrew University in Jewish communal service.

Before coming to the CQY, Danielle spent more than a decade at the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side, gaining experience in program implementation, fundraising, collaborations, grants acquisition, and budget management. Danielle brings passion and dedication to advancing the agency’s mission of furthering Jewish continuity through a wide variety of educational, social, cultural, recreational, and supportive services — including meaningful on-site adolescent and youth programming, adult and senior services, workforce development initiatives, and services for individuals with disabilities.

Danielle’s commitment to this kind of innovative programming has already proved to be a huge asset in strengthening the services provided to the Jewish and general community of Queens, where she was born and raised, and where she now resides with her husband, Alan, and their three children.

claudia gould

Claudia Gould

Claudia Gould became the Jewish Museum’s Helen Goldsmith Menschel director in early 2012. As a curator and museum director, she has been noted for her commitment to outstanding original programming and an expansive interdisciplinary approach to exhibitions, education, and public outreach.

Prior to joining the Jewish Museum, Ms. Gould was Daniel W. Dietrich II director of the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia from 1999 to 2011. She served as executive director of Artists Space, the landmark New York City exhibition space, from 1994 to 1999, and was the first curator of exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. She has been an independent curator of numerous international contemporary art installations.

karen brooks hopkins

Karen Brooks Hopkins

Karen Brooks Hopkins served as president of the Brooklyn Academy of Music from 1999 until her retirement in 2015, and had been an employee of the institution since 1979. Hopkins served as the chair of the Cultural Institutions Group from 2002 – 2004, a member of the Mayor’s Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission, and as a participant on Mayor de Blasio’s Transition Committee. From 2005 – 2010, she served as the Brooklyn regent for the New York State Education Department. In 2013, Crain’s named her one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in New York,” and in 2014 she was one of 10 selected into its inaugural “New York Business Hall of Fame.” From 2015 – 2017, she served as the inaugural senior fellow in residence at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, where her research focused on the impact of anchor cultural institutions. Hopkins is the author of the widely read book, Successful Fundraising for Arts & Cultural Organizations. Hopkins has been awarded several honorary designations for her international work in the arts, including Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Republic of France, Commander of the Royal Order of the Polar Star from Sweden, and the King Olav Medal from Norway.

Hopkins serves on the boards of the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, the Trust for Governors Island, and Alexander Onassis Foundation, where she is currently serving as senior advisor. She is currently the Nasher Haemisegger fellow of the National Center for Arts Research at Southern Methodist University.

jenny jaffe

Jenny Jaffe

Jenny Jaffe is a Los Angeles-based comedy writer, performer, nonprofit founder, and non-comedy writer. Jenny received her BFA in television writing from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 2012. While at NYU, Jenny was a member (and later director) of NYU's sketch group, Hammerkatz. During her senior year, Jenny was hired as a full-time staff writer at CollegeHumor. She then went on to write for MTV's Nikki & Sara Live, and served as head writer on a pilot, Love Week, for VH1 Online. She has appeared in the feature films Jack of the Red Hearts and Punk's Dead: SLC Punk 2.

Jenny is the founder of Project UROK, a nonprofit organization dedicated to combating the isolation of teen mental illness, which was acquired by the Child Mind Institute in 2016.

Jenny is the creator and star of IFC's Neurotica and is currently a staff writer on Disney's Big Hero 6: The Series. She is a regular contributor to Vulture.

sallie krawcheck

Sallie Krawcheck

Financial feminist Sallie Krawcheck is the CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, a recently launched, innovative digital investment platform for women. She is the chair of Ellevate Network, a global professional women’s network, and of the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund, which invests in the top-rated companies in the world for advancing women. She is also the best-selling author of Own It: The Power of Women at Work.

Before becoming an entrepreneur, she was CEO of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, of Smith Barney, and of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co LLC.

During her career, Krawcheck has flipped and grown troubled businesses, eliminated Wall Street conflicts of interest, and advocated for a true client-centered business model. Fortune Magazine called her “The Last Honest Analyst” during her tenure at Sanford Bernstein, and noted that hers was the most influential voice for research quality and integrity.

Krawcheck has been named among the top ten of Fast Company's "100 Most Creative People in Business,” as well as one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Entrepreneurs to Watch.” She’s also been named one of Marie Claire’s New Guard in 2017.

Krawcheck lends her voice to social media, reaching a network of more than 2,000,000 followers on LinkedIn and more than 50,000 on Twitter.

A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Krawcheck attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on the Morehead-Cain Scholarship and graduated summa cum laude in 1987. In 1992, she received a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University.

kara barnett

Alexandra Lebenthal

Alexandra Lebenthal has led companies on Wall Street for more than 30 years. Most recently, she was the CEO of Lebenthal Holdings LLC, a diversified financial services firm that included the nation’s largest woman-owned broker dealer.

Ms. Lebenthal comes from a storied Wall Street family. Her grandparents, Louis and Sayra Lebenthal, founded Lebenthal & Co., Inc, a municipal bond specialist, in 1925. Her father, Jim Lebenthal, created a mass market for municipal bonds, and was known as the spokesman for the industry.

After starting her career at Kidder Peabody, Ms. Lebenthal joined Lebenthal in 1988 and became president and CEO in 1995 at the age of 31. She was also president of Lebenthal Funds, overseeing the firm’s mutual and money market funds. After successfully diversifying the firm beyond municipal bonds, Ms. Lebenthal engineered its sale in 2001 to the Advest Group Inc., and remained at the firm until it was subsequently sold to Merrill Lynch in 2005. During that time, in addition to managing Lebenthal, she also ran marketing and municipal capital markets for the parent company. She started anew in 2007, building Lebenthal Holdings into an asset management, wealth management, and capital markets boutique. Lebenthal was the number one woman-owned firm in debt and equity capital markets from 2012 – 2016.

A passionate supporter of women in business, Ms. Lebenthal was named one of the “Top 50 Women in Wealth Management” and “Top 50 Women in Private Asset Management” by Wealth Management Magazine, as well as Private Asset Magazine. She has also been named “Top Women-Owned Businesses” and “50 Fastest Growing Businesses in New York” by Crain’s New York Business.

One of the most recognizable women on Wall Street, Alexandra is a frequent commentator in the media, an official CNBC contributor, and a highly sought-after speaker on a wide range of topics, including financial services, capital markets, and women-in-business topics.

Ms. Lebenthal is a former board member and treasurer of the Securities Industry Financial Markets Association, and a current member of its Advisory Council. She is on the advisory board for She is also a board member of Savvy Ladies, a nonprofit organization that provides financial literacy education and resources for women. She is a member of the C200, a well-known organization for female businesswomen.

Alexandra is involved in many cultural and philanthropic institutions in New York City. She is the co-founder of Women’s Executive Circle, a group of high-profile Jewish women who mentor other women under the auspices of UJA-Federation of New York, and she has undertaken the same effort with UJA’s Women on Wall Street. Alexandra is also the spokesperson for Weill Cornell’s focused ultrasound, a groundbreaking procedure addressing essential tremors.

Ms. Lebenthal’s first novel, The Recessionistas, a thriller set in Manhattan during the financial crisis, was published in August 2010.

A graduate of Princeton University with an A.B. in history, Ms. Lebenthal lives in New York City with her family.

julie menin

Julie Menin

Julie Menin is the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment (MOME), an agency encompassing the key economic and creative sectors of film, TV, theater, music, advertising, publishing, and digital content. In total, these industries account for more than 305,000 jobs in New York City and $104 billion in economic output. Commissioner Menin also oversees NYC Media, the largest municipal broadcasting entity in the country. It includes five TV stations and a radio station with a combined reach of 18 million viewers in the metropolitan area. The newly created Office of Nightlife, which promotes the health, safety, and vibrancy of New York City’s nightlife industries, is also housed at MOME. Commissioner Menin also serves as an adjunct professor at Columbia School of International and Public Affairs.

Under her leadership, MOME has launched several groundbreaking initiatives. A five-part women’s initiative, including a $5 million fund for women filmmakers and playwrights is the first municipal program in the country designed to promote equality behind and in front of the camera in film and television, as well as onstage. The One Book, One New York program is the largest simultaneous community read in the country. NYC Film Green is the first sustainable production designation program in the U.S. administered by a governmental entity. Commissioner Menin also led the successful negotiations to bring the Grammy Awards back to New York City in 2018 after a 15-year hiatus.

sheryl olitzky

Sheryl Olitzky

Sheryl Olitzky is the executive director and cofounder of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, emerging out of a local women’s group — which she also cofounded — designed to foster abiding relationships built on mutual trust, respect, and friendship between local Muslim and Jewish women. The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom is the first national grassroots organization of Muslim and Jewish women committed to living in harmony and developing meaningful relationships so they can work together to limit acts of anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic sentiment. In just a few years, under Sheryl’s leadership, the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom has grown into a movement, with members throughout the United States and Canada.

Sheryl started this organization by combining her strong leadership, relationship-building, and organizational skills with her passion to rid the world of hate. Sheryl has extensive training and vast experience in identifying unmet needs in the marketplace and in facilitating and moderating group discussion.

Prior to becoming the executive director of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, Sheryl was a marketing executive at many firms, including Procter & Gamble. She was also president of one of the largest pharmaceutical market research firms in the United States.

Sheryl is a frequently sought-after presenter and can be found teaching high school and university students around the world about interfaith relationship-building, presenting to women about the power of interfaith dialogue and engagement, visiting the chapters of the Sisterhood located around the country and in Canada, or leading bridge-building trips to locations of significant interest to Muslims and Jews. She is a contributor to Huffington Post, Interfaith Observer, and The Forward. Sheryl is also a member of the Muslim Jewish Advisory Council.

abby pogrebin

Abby Pogrebin

Abigail Pogrebin is the author of the recently published book, My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew, which was reviewed by David Gregory in the New York Times and featured on the Today Show. Her first book, Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk about Being Jewish, was adapted for the off-Broadway stage and her second book, One and the Same, covered her every aspect of being a twin. A former producer for Mike Wallace at 60 Minutes and for Bill Moyer at PBS, she has written for numerous publications including Newsweek, New York Magazine, The Daily Beast, the Forward, and Tablet, and has moderated conversations at the JCC in Manhattan, The 92Y, The Skirball Center, and The Shalom Hartman Institute. She currently serves as president of Central Synagogue in Manhattan.

rachel sumekh

Rachel Sumekh

Rachel Sumekh is the founder & CEO of Swipe Out Hunger. The organization is a recognized force in addressing hunger amongst college students. Since Swipe Out Hunger's start in her UCLA dorm room, she has scaled the program to span nearly 50 universities nationwide, serving a total of 1.3 million meals. Her work has been recognized by the Obama Administration and The New York Times, and landed her on the 2017 Forbes “30 Under 30” list.

laura tisch

Laura Tisch

Laurie M. Tisch is the president of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. She is also a trustee and past chair of the Whitney Museum of American Art, a vice chair at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, a trustee of the Aspen Institute, and a co-owner and member of the Board of Directors of the New York Giants.

She founded the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund 10 years ago, building upon her decades of experience serving on boards, creating organizations, and developing partnerships. The foundation works to increase access and opportunity for all New Yorkers by homing in on disparities in areas ranging from the arts and arts education, to access to healthy food and economic opportunity. The Fund’s programs include the Healthy Food & Community Change initiative, which consists of neighborhood strategies in high-need communities. It’s powered by public-private partnerships with city agencies, including the New York City Department of Health, New York City Housing Authority, NYC Health + Hospitals, and the Department of Education, as well as the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships and the Office of Food Policy. The initiative also features the establishment of the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Ms. Tisch was the founding chair of the Center for Arts Education (CAE) and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM). At CAE, she led a campaign that resulted in an investment of nearly $40 million in public and private support for arts education programs in New York City schools. Ms. Tisch led CMOM’s transformation and expansion from a neighborhood-based storefront into a citywide institution that is now recognized as a national leader in health, education, and the arts.

Ms. Tisch was named as one of Crain’s New York’s 2017 “50 Most Powerful Women.” In 2016, Ms. Tisch received the 10th Anniversary Power of Women to Make a Difference Award from the United Way of NYC Women’s Leadership Council, was honored by the New York Women’s Foundation, and received the Lincoln Center Distinguished Service Award. She has an honorary doctorate from Yeshiva University, and her leadership support for initiatives promoting access to healthy foods in low-income communities earned her the Special Merit in Public Health Award from the Public Health Association of New York City, and the No Kid Hungry Hero Award from Share Our Strength.

pamela weinberg

Pamela Weinberg

Pamela Weinberg is a certified career management coach and personal branding strategist who works with individuals in all stages of career development. She specializes in helping people make career transitions and has had success working with a myriad of populations including millennials, women in transition, and career changers. Helping clients build their personal brands to become the stand-out candidate or professional in their chosen field is what she does best. Pamela provides a wide range of services for clients, including personal branding strategy, executive coaching, LinkedIn profile development, interview preparation, and job search techniques.

Pamela runs workshops and seminars for universities, corporations, professional organizations, and nonprofits on a variety of topics, including “Millennials and Managers,” “Building your Professional Brand,” “Personal Branding for Job Search,” and “Redefining your Professional Identity after Raising a Family.” In addition, she leads career development groups at corporations to provide professional development and branding support for key employees. She has been featured on the Today Show and CBS This Morning and is frequently quoted in the media on career-related topics.

Prior to becoming a career coach, Pamela co-wrote City Baby New York, the best-selling New York City parent’s resource guide. First published in 2010, the book is in its fourth edition and has also been published in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. As an advocate for moms, Pamela spoke frequently on parenting-related topics and was often quoted in the media on New York City family life.

leigh weinraub

Leigh Weinraub

Leigh Weinraub is an innovative pioneer in the world of personal transformation. As an internationally known speaker, entrepreneur, author, and competitive athlete, Leigh helps people unlock their inner strength to become their own greatest champion.

Leigh rose from one of America’s top junior tennis players to scholarship athlete to a coach at Dartmouth University and Northwestern University. After earning her master’s in counseling psychology from Northwestern, Leigh built a thriving private practice using her innovative walk-and-talk therapy.

Springing from a passion for helping others create their own destiny, Leigh is the founder of Mind in Motion, a universal movement and lifestyle brand. In addition to speaking, she’s created an innovative apparel line that motivates and inspires people to get off the couch and move their mind and body.