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Oh, what a night! We honor Brooklyn’s best and brightest women

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Photo gallery

1/28
Fierce females: Courier Life Publications’ and Community News Group’s 2016 Brooklyn Women of Distinction join forces for an heirloom-worthy snap outside Sirico’s Caterers in Dyker Heights.
2/28
Pleasing plaudit: Forget the Presidential Medal — CNG’s Brooklyn Woman of Distinction award was the coveted laurel of the evening.
3/28
Good evening, folks: Jennifer Goodstein, president and publisher of Community News Group, welcomes one and all to the 2016 Brooklyn Women of Distinction gala at Sirico’s Caterers in Dyker Heights.
4/28
Class of her own: Empire State College Professor Dr, Sybil DeVeaux gives love to a pint-sized supporter — her grandson — before the event began.
5/28
Regular riot: Comedian and emcee Ophira Eisenberg, who played herself on the season finale of HBO’s “Girls,” brought down the house with her gut-busting gags.
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Tickling the funnybone: Eisenberg, left, shares a moment with honoree Lynn Harris, the Breakthrough vice president who also uses humor to spotlight social issues.
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Golden and glowing: Shirley Young, left — a retired Flatlands Volunteer Ambulance Corps emergency medical technician, writer, poet, choral singer, and soloist — receives her award from CNG’s Amanda Tarley.
8/28
Youth activist: Evergreen Middle School social worker Michele Jerry encourages kids to march to their own beat.
9/28
Food for thought: Web designer and spiritual artist Natalie Isikli brought her family’s Sahara restaurant into the modern age.
10/28
Grassroots gladiator: Honoree Bazah Roohi, founder and president of the American Council of Minority Women, waves to family and friends from the podium.
11/28
Blues beauty: Vocalist, actress, and Big Eyes Enterprises’ producer Beareather Reddy embodies the meaning of self-invention.
12/28
Female powerhouses: New York Parenting Media publisher and editor Susan Weiss, right, presents an award to Senior Citizens League of Flatbush executive director Lenore Friedman.
13/28
Mall mover-shaker: Macerich marketing manager Dawn Simon made Kings Plaza Shopping Center a mall for serious shoppers.
14/28
Tireless fighter: Attorney, fund-raiser, and special events consultant Regina Andriolo, one of the first women to work in professional boxing, left, joins presenter Nicole Robinson-Etienne.
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Female force: Moroccan Association Council on Empowering Woman founder Hafida Torres told a touching story about her move to America.
16/28
Renaissance woman: Awardee Carmen Gloria Rosario-Olmedo’s multiple humanitarian and civic hats include being a Fulbright scholar, actress, teacher, and animal activist.
17/28
In the spotlight: There’s no business like show business for Kingsborough Performing Arts Center theater director Anne Becker.
18/28
Amazing ladies: Honoree Pamela Esposito-Amery, founder of a national ovarian cancer walk (left), receives her award from Nicole Robinson-Etienne, New York Aquarium’s assistant director for city and state affairs.
19/28
Sweet melody: Noel Pointer Foundation executive director Chinita Pointer introduces the next generation to the marvels of music.
20/28
Congratulations: Amanda Tarley, CNG’s executive vice president of advertising, left, presents an award to honoree Nancy Colt, a fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society.
21/28
Inspiring youngsters: InspireCorps founder and executive director Stephanie Thompson is honored for giving public school students access to the arts.
22/28
Women of Distinction: Honoree Dr. Amy Lipnicki, a Mill Basin veterinarian, left, receives her award from Edible Arrangements co-owner Limor Ziarno, who was a Brooklyn Women of Distinction last year.
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Smart siblings: Tiny Tots Express pre-K day care co-founders — and sisters — Diane Marino, left, and Nancy Falco, center, receive their awards from last year’s Brooklyn Woman of Distinction Limor Ziarno.
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Sweet deal: Boutique baker Maria Teresa Nitti, owner of Isabella’s Creations, left, makes homeless kids’ birthday wishes come true, courtesy of her Operation Birthday Party organization.
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Youth visionary: Medgar Evers College director Dr. Saundra Johnson strives to give at-risk youth options.
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Step it up: Bonnii and Cathy’s Dance Showcase owner Bonnii Gargano, center, has danced at Carnegie Hall — under the direction of legendary composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein.
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Sensational staffers: From left, Community News Group employees Stephanie Stellaciio, Carol Magluillo, Jeanne Eisenhardt, Pearl Beatrice, Lisa Malwitz, Jennifer Stern, and Cynthia Soto made sure the festivities progressed smoothly.
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Sweet!: Honoree Maria Teresa Nitti’s scrumptious, three-tier, red velvet, chocolate, and vanilla palate pleaser was the icing on the cake.

They’re the greatest!

Courier Life Publications and Community News Group honored 27 of Kings County’s fiercest females during a June 7 awards gala at Sirico’s Caterers in Dyker Heights, the plaudits capping our 2016 Brooklyn’s Women of Distinction magazine, which came out last month and profiled honorees whose ranks included activists, musicians, executives, volunteers, and mom-and-pop workers.

The evening was a side-splitting shindig, thanks to our gag-meistress of ceremonies — Brooklyn comedian and writer Ophira Eisenberg, host of National Public Radio’s “Ask Me Another,” author of “Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy” that “Airplane!” producers Zucker Productions optioned for a movie, and one of New York Magazine’s “Top 10 Comics that Funny People Find Funny.”

In between her gut-busters, Eisenberg, who released her second comedy album “Bangs!” on Comedy Dynamics recently and played herself on the season finale of Home Box Office’s “Girls,” reflected on the guests of honor and even became a little misty-eyed when hearing them speak.

“You are all women changing the fabric of our community,” said the entertainer, later adding, “I start to tear up when I hear the incredible stories these women tell.”

The awardees — nominated by their peers and selected by independent judges — included the widow of jazz legend Noel Pointer attuning the next generation to the blues, a retired actuary returning to her alma mater at Kingsborough Community College to lead the alumni association, and a health activist forming the Tell Every Amazing Lady national ovarian cancer walk in memory of her sister who succumbed to the disease.

Honoree Maria Teresa Nitti had an extra distinctive evening. The Bensonhurst boutique baker donated a scrumptious, four-tier red velvet, chocolate, and vanilla cake emblazoned with photographs of her fellow guests of honor, and found her generosity rewarded when she, her husband, and her sister won a cash raffle prize and tickets to a dinner cruise.

Her windfall, Nitti said, will benefit her Operation Birthday Party organization that creates rollicking revels for children living in homeless shelters.

“We’re going to use that money for this and next month’s birthdays!” she said.

The women’s spirited efforts to transform ordinary workdays into exceptional opportunities to improve and advance our borough are immortalized on the special edition’s Facebook page, said Community News Group’s president and publisher.

“When you watch their videos online, it becomes clear that regardless of what their day-to-day job responsibilities are, each woman is following a passion,” said Jennifer Goodstein.

A portion of the evening’s proceeds will go to the Camp Brooklyn Fund, which former Borough President Marty Markowitz created for kids from low-income households to attend sleep-away camp.

Courier Life Publications’ senior account executive Stephanie Stellaccio and administrative assistant Jennifer Stern organized the gala.

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
Pardon the interruption, but I can name at least three more women that could be added to this list, if you don't mind my saying so.
John Wasserman
June 9, 2016, 11:28 am
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
Pardon me, John Wasserman here. But above John Wasserman, you are starting to drive me cuckoo. Please refrain from using my dear name unless it is on your birth certificate! John Wasserman
June 9, 2016, 1:54 pm
HONEY Pooter from Williamsburg says:
Best and brightest? Where's my invitation then? The people want HONEY! Were they threatened by me?!?!
June 10, 2016, 8:07 am
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
HONEY, hi. John Wasserman here. Maybe you don't fit the ascetic. Were you hit with the "ugly canoe"?
Pardon the question, along with the interruption.
John Wasserman
June 10, 2016, 2:41 pm
Samantha from Woman says:
So John Wasserman - you think an ugly woman has no value? Would you say Madelaine Albright has no value because she's not attractive? What about City Councilwoman Lateysha James - she's achieved a lot despite being fugly. Hmm?
June 11, 2016, 9:13 am
Fannie from Williamsburg says:
Only one day for women of distiction, when everyday is like men of distiction Awards (even though they're all the same). I just wish a man knew what it felt like to be a woman. Just the questions, at our own award show no-less! 'How big is your butt?' 'Are you wearing clothes - and if so did you choose them yourself or did a man dress you?' 'How many abortions have you had?' 'Why you and not a man?'
These are discrimination.
June 12, 2016, 7:37 am

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