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Brooklyn Savvy


About Toni Williams

 Toni Williams is the creator, host and executive producer of Brooklyn Savvy, a community-produced talk show that gives voice to social issues from a woman's perspective. For four years she hosted Brooklyn Independent Television’s Brooklyn Reporter Roundtable and received a Telly Award for Raising Sons of Color, which explored the challenges of raising boys in an urban context.
She is also a public relations executive for a Fortune 500 company and is heavily involved in a number of non-profit organizations and boards in Brooklyn. She is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions for her work and her tireless commitment to Brooklyn organizations.

About the Panelists

Born in Cuba and raised in Montreal, Canada, Denise Arbesu migrated to New York City 30 years ago. Her desire to serve the public in concrete meaningful ways inspired Denise to pursue a career in financial services. As a financial executive, she is responsible for developing new business in Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island. Denise has developed an expertise in lending to not-for-profit and healthcare organizations as well as middle market/commercial lending and serves on the Board of Directors for several organizations and on various fund raising committees.

Karen Auster was born in Brooklyn, raised on Long Island and after living abroad in Italy, returned to Brooklyn 22 years ago. While starting a family here, she launched a home-based events business. As her children grew so did her small business and in 2009 founded, Auster Agency, a vibrant strategic marketing agency specializing in being architects of unique experiences for a diverse client list. In Brooklyn, Karen is responsible for producing and marketing Brooklyn's largest festival, the Atlantic Antic, as well as creating the vision and producing BKLYN DESIGNS, Brooklyn’s curated furnishing design show, recognized by the NYC Department of Small Business Services in the outstanding marketing/promotions category. Karen has served on numerous local not-for-profit boards and held leadership position on the PTA of her children’s lower, middle and high schools.

A native Brooklynite, Lisa A. Bing is president and founder of Bing Consulting Group, Inc. Lisa works with successful executives transitioning into new leadership roles and smart managers who want to get better. She culls best practices from her work in varied industries and professions to help leaders locally and from around the world to extend their influence, develop collaborative environments and implement profitable leadership strategies.

A native New Yorker and Brooklynite, Ellen Salpeter is the founding director of Heart of Brooklyn. With almost two decades of not-for-profit experience in arts and culture, Ellen is frequently asked to share strategies with other cultural clusters that recognize the power of partnership. She has served as an adjunct professor at New York University in Arts Administration and as a vice president of Arttable, a national organization for professional women in the arts and was a founding board member of Sadie Nash Leadership Project, a young women’s mentoring program based in Brooklyn. She also currently serves on many boards.

Traecy Smith began her career in advertising and public relations developing campaigns for Bruno Magli, Zegna, NY Waterways, Ralph Lauren and others. She went on to manage broadcast advertising campaigns and music videos for a division of Screen Gems and Edge Films. These experiences led to her working with NBC News and The Today Show for many years. Traecy worked on award-winning stories for Ann Curry that ranged from 9/11, the war in Iraq, the crisis in the Sudan to covering the Oscars.


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