April 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm , by Rachel Shippy
In its 42nd year honoring “women who change the world,” the 2012 Matrix Awards ceremony, held at New York’s Waldorf Astoria this week, did just that. New York Women in Communications honored eight deserving women for their various accomplishments in the industry, and both the presenters and recipients of the prestigious award left onlookers with a few laughs and lots of inspiration. The Journal caught up with some of these heavy hitters on the red carpet at the annual fete:
Glenn Close (Matrix Award winner) on the awards and her fellow winners: “I think it’s very important for women to support women, and I really believe that for women to attain true positions of leadership it means that they’ve had to be 500,000 times better than any guy – I think that’s still very true. Whatever support and celebration we can have around that [like the Matrix Awards] is tremendously important.” Close received her award from NYPD Deputy Chief Theresa Shortell, with whom she prepared for her role in FX’s police drama, The Shield.
Tyra Banks (Matrix Award winner) on branching out from modeling: “When I was a model I knew that I wanted to produce television but I didn’t think that I would be in front of the camera, and I didn’t think that I would be using my voice to send a message… my biggest message would be to run toward your fears, run toward your insecurities because it means that something different is going to happen. It’s a big risk but a crazy huge reward to be successful.” Banks received her award from seasoned broadcaster Katie Couric.
Katie Couric (Matrix Award presenter) on her advice for being successful: “Don’t let the turkeys get you down. I think that when you’re starting out in your career there are a lot of naysayers and people who think you may not have what it takes. And sometimes you just have to put your blinders on, keep your head down, stay focused and work your butt off.” Katie (pictured here on a stool to bypass 5’10″ Tyra Banks) later quipped about the ‘turkeys’ in Banks’ past who teased the then-gawky beanpole at school saying, “Oh please! Don’t all supermodels say that?”
Ann Curry (Matrix Award winner) on inspiring future generations: “We need a renewed call for action, to stand up for women… We can hear the clamor of smart, young women coming up behind us, calling out to us – we should let their voices embolden us.” Curry received her award from former TODAY show co-star Meredith Vieira who was a Matrix winner in 2007.
Barbara Walters (Matrix Award presenter) on presenting to Chief Communications Officer of the Walt Disney Company, Zenia Mucha, and succeeding as a woman in business: “I think Zenia is an example of how far one can come – she came here as a first generation immigrant and is in charge of all communications for Disney’s vast world. She is tough in the best way, she has a very sweet smile, but do not be deceived. I think we would both say [success] takes very hard work and the will to hang in there when things are not so good. And if you just do your job and only open your mouth to fight the big fight when absolutely necessary, you’ll get there.”
Gayle Butler (Matrix Award Winner) on the advice that has steered her success: “One great piece of advice that I’ve always remembered is to be there on time, be there dressed to play, and be there with an idea in your head. I think that is something that has always stuck with me – to bring some original thinking to whatever task is at hand.” Butler, who is the Editor-in-Chief of fellow Meredith publication Better Homes and Gardens, received her award from celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito who added, “Better Homes and Gardens is one of the first magazines my mom could relate to after coming here from a different country [Italy]. I remember as a kid flipping through the pages with my mom at the kitchen table and am almost certain it has something to do with why I do what I do today.” Of getting to know Butler through their mutual presence in the food industry, DiSpirito jokes, “The truth is we met on Match.com like everyone else!”
This years’ winners also included social activist and wife of clothing designer Kenneth Cole, Maria Cuomo Cole presented by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Laura Desmond from Starcom MediaVest Group presented by Songwriter Susan Werner, and Wall Street Journal‘s Peggy Noonan presented by 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl. Along with its award winners, New York Women in Communications also provided several scholarships to young women pursuing a career in communications.
Photos courtesy of maryannerussell.com