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PR- 064-07
March 3, 2007


Briana Collins is appointed as New Executive Director

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the appointment of thirteen new Commissioners to the NYC Commission on Women's Issues and the appointment of the Commission's new Executive Director, Briana Collins. She replaces former Executive Director, Elizabeth LoNigro, who remains in the Mayor's Office as Special Advisor to First Deputy Mayor Patti Harris. The 13 new members of the Commission on Women's Issues are Ronnie Eldridge, Vivian Fox, Ester Fuchs, Natatia Griffith, Meryl Kaynard, Carolyn Buck Luce, Melissa Mendez-Garcia, Mary Murphree, Betsy Perry, Merble Reagon, Pat Koch Thaler, Angie Wang, and Melinda Wolfe.

"Our Administration is committed to finding innovative ways to support the women of New York so that they can experience all the opportunities our City has to offer," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The distinguished commissioners appointed today are uniquely qualified to play a vital role in encouraging women to thrive both personally and professionally in this City."

"Each of the newly appointed Commissioners brings a diverse set of experiences and expertise to the strong dynamic and high standards set by our current Commissioners," said CWI Chair Anne Sutherland Fuchs. "I look forward to the new ideas and the dedication that our new Commissioners and our new Executive Director will contribute to the Commission."

Ronnie Eldridge is the host of Eldridge&Co, a weekly show on CUNY-TV. For 12 years, she served on the City Council representing the west side of Manhattan. During her time in public service, she served as Special Assistant to Mayor John Lindsay, Director of Community and Government Affairs at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and a member of Governor Mario Cuomo's Cabinet and Director of the Division for Women. Ms. Eldridge was also the Director of Special Projects at MS Magazine and the first Executive Director of the MS Foundation for Women. She also was the Executive Producer of WOMAN ALIVE, a feminist series on network public television.

Vivian Fox is the Executive Director of the 1199SEIU Employer Child Care Fund and President of the 1199SEIU/Employer Child Care Corporation. She has over three decades of experience in creating and overseeing innovative health and social service programs. Previously, Ms. Fox served as the first African-American female Executive Director of the YWCA of the City of New York. She is active on several boards including the Harlem Hospital Advisory Board, New

York Women of Distinction, and the New York Chapter of National Political Congress of Black Women. In 1989, she was inducted into the Academy of Women Achievers. In 1995, First Lady Hillary Clinton recognized her at the White House as one of the nation's outstanding non-profit CEO's. Ms. Fox holds a B.S. in from Hunter College.

Ester Fuchs is a Professor of Public Affairs and Political Science at Columbia University. Dr. Fuchs was the first woman to serve as Chair of the NYC Charter Revision Commission. While serving as Special Advisor to the Mayor for Governance and Strategic Planning under Mayor Bloomberg, she helped develop major mayoral initiatives spanning a variety of issues. Currently, she serves on several boards including the NYC Economic Opportunity Commission, the Fund for the City of New York, and the Mayor's Sustainability Advisory Board. She earned her B.A. from Queens College, M.A. from Brown University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Natatia Griffith is Assistant Director with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, working on a team that oversees a budget in excess of nine billion dollars. Natatia presides over the New York Coalition of One Hundred Black Women. She led the Coalition in successful collaborations that resulted in the passage of legislation that eliminated the statute of limitations on rape and sex crimes in New York, the placement of Automated External Defibrillators in police cars and government buildings, and launched the "I Matter" initiative. She is a member of the Advisory Council of the National Organization of Women - NYC, the Multicultural Audience Development Advisory Committee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Diversity Advisory Board of Ogilvy North America.

Meryl R. Kaynard is a Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel at JPMorgan Chase (JPMC), where she provides legal advice on employment issues. She was a founding member and Chair of JPMC's women's leadership employee networking group and co-led the firm's Women's Task Force. She is co-chair of the New York Women's Bar Association Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity for Women and is also involved with the National Council for Research on Women, and the corporate Board of Advisors for "Women Work!" She was inducted into the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers in Industry in 2000. Ms. Kaynard is a graduate of Cornell University and Wayne State University Law School.

Carolyn Buck Luce is the Global Pharmaceutical Sector Leader at Ernst & Young LLP, where she coordinates worldwide relationships with global pharmaceutical corporations in the areas of accounting, risk management, regulatory compliance, tax advisory and finance effectiveness, and serves as the Co-Chair of E&Y's Professional Women's Network. She currently serves on the boards of the New York Women's Foundation, the Center for Work-Life Policy, and the Blair Academy. She is the chair of a multi-company task force exploring "The Hidden Brain Drain - Women & Minorities as Underutilized Assets." Carolyn is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs where she teaches "Women and Power." She graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and she received her M.B.A from Columbia University.

Melissa Mendez-Garcia is a researcher and program director at the Women of Color Policy Network at NYU Wagner, where she developed 'Beyond the Window', a program that aims to cultivate a new generation of advocate-researchers who are young women of color. She is an adjunct instructor at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service and was an adjunct instructor for CUNY's 'College Now' program. She is on the board of the Striplin Foundation and the Asian American Student Advocacy project at the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families. She earned her B.A. from Columbia University and her M.P.A from NYU.

Mary C. Murphree is a Senior Advisor at the Sloan Center for Innovative Training, Center for Women & Work and a Policy Fellow at the Institute for Women's Leadership at Rutgers University. Previously, she served as the Regional Administrator for the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor. In that capacity, she represented the interests of over six million working women in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. She serves on several boards including the Women's City Club of New York and Wider Opportunities for Women. Dr. Murphree received her B.A. from Hollins College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Columbia University.

Betsy F. Perry is the East Coast Director for Special Projects, Marketing and Development at The Milken Institute, nonpartisan, independent economic think tank. Prior to the Milken Institute, she created global news and marketing events at Bloomberg L.P. She has served as Senior Editor for Cosmopolitan Magazine and as a Senior Producer for "Good Day, New York," where she developed the advice segments for young women. She serves on the board of the Mercantile Library Center for Fiction while working on two books due out this spring. She is a graduate of the Brearley School and Barnard College.

Merble Reagon is Executive Director of the Women's Center for Education and Career Advancement, helping low-income women and their families achieve economic self-sufficiency. Her current work includes promotion of the web-based New York City Self-Sufficiency Calculator which estimates a working family's eligibility and benefit amounts for work supports and tax credits. She has received numerous awards including the Susan B. Anthony Award from NOW NYC and the Wiser Hero Award from the Women's Institute for Secure Economic Retirement. She serves on several boards including the New York City Work Alliance, Wider Opportunities for Women, and the Lucius and Eva Eastman Fund. She is a graduate of Smith College and the NYU School of Law.

Pat Koch Thaler was an Associate Dean at New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Education, directing the Division of Arts, Sciences and Humanities, before her retirement. She is the co-author of several books and articles dealing with educational and mental health issues, and recently coauthored two children's books. She is a co-founder and officer of Action to Cure Kidney Cancer, a patient advocacy group. She has been a member of the Women's Forum and previously served on the NYC Commission on Women's Issues, formerly the Commission on the Status of Women. She holds a B.A. in English from Brooklyn College and an M.S. from The Bank Street College of Education.

Angie Wang is the Director of Programs at The New York Women's Foundation, an alliance of women helping low-income women achieve economic security through expanded opportunities. Angie has worked in the nonprofit community, focusing on the needs of women, children, and immigrants. Angie served as Program Director at the September 11th Fund where she oversaw a national grant program coordinating services to victims of the September 11th tragedy. Previously, she worked at Safe Horizon in the areas of crisis counseling and trauma support for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child sexual abuse. She serves on the board of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families and People's Production House.

Melinda Wolfe is the Chief Diversity Officer and Head of Executive Talent at American Express. Ms. Wolfe began her career on Wall Street where she has spent over 25 years at three leading firms holding positions in corporate strategy, human capital management, and as the head of Global Leadership and Diversity at Goldman Sachs. She serves on boards and advisory councils of a number of organizations whose missions are focused on the welfare and advancement of women and other underrepresented groups including: the National Council for Research on Women, the Hidden Brain Drain Task Force and Planned Parenthood of New York City. She is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia's School of International Public Affairs in the Gender and Policy Program. Melinda received her B.A. from Washington University and an M.C.R.P. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Newly appointed Commissioners join current Commissioners Shahara Ahmad-Llewellyn, Joanna Barsh, Katie Couric, Stephanie Cuskley, Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez, Laura Ensler, Patricia Fili-Krushel, Rosa Gil, Cynthia Hayes, Mary Henwood-Klotz, Katherine Kahan, Nancy Kolben, Marcia Brumit Kropf, Ellen Levine, Terry Lundgren, Debra Martinez, Maria Otero, Margarita Rosa, Shirley Rodriguez Remeneski, Barbara Paul Robinson, Joan Steinberg, Marlene Springer, Sally Susman, Jeannette Takamura, and Sheila Wellington.

Briana Collins is the Executive Director for the NYC Commission on Women's Issues, having previously served for over two years as the Commission's Deputy Director. In her time with the Commission, Ms. Collins has created and implemented a number of effective programs and initiatives addressing women's issues in partnership with other City Agencies. She has also worked to increase public awareness of the City's resources for women and of the Commission by helping to launch the public service campaign, "New York Loves Women." Prior to her work with the Commission, Ms. Collins worked in both the marketing and editorial fields at two major publishing houses. Ms. Collins graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Communications and a concentration in Government from Cornell University.

The New York City Commission on Women's Issues was established by Mayoral Executive Order in 1975 as an advisory body to the Mayor on matters impacting the lives of New York City women. The goal of the Commission is to advocate for women by promoting their economic and social well-being; educating the public about women's issues; and making recommendations to the Mayor for legislation or executive action that will improve the lives of women. The Commission's membership is drawn from all sectors of the New York City population and is representative of individuals from a variety of fields and professions. The Commission consists of a Chair and no less than thirty Commissioners appointed by the Mayor. The Commissioners, appointed to a three-year term, serve in a non-salaried capacity. Research and programs supported by the Commission are funded through The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.


Stu Loeser/Evelyn Erskine   (212) 788-2958

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