Abbe Raven

Red Carpet Report: The 2011 Matrix Awards

April 15, 2011 at 3:47 pm , by

New York Women In Communications held its 41st annual Matrix Awards ceremony on Monday at the Waldorf Astoria, and LHJ was on the scene! Winners of the esteemed award this year were Cindi Berger, Gwen Ifill, Robin Koval, Idina Menzel, Abbe Raven, Sheryl Sandberg, Gina Sanders, and Lifetime Achievement John LegendAward winner, Betty White – all of whom are “women who change the world” through their field of communication. On the red carpet and in their speeches, these ladies were full of inspiration and support for each other… and women everywhere. “I think it’s very important that we help one another,” said Evelyn Lauder, who later presented Sanders with her award. “And there’s nothing like networking with younger women to guide and advise them as they develop in their careers.” Beyond the overwhelming sense of sisterhood, highlights of the luncheon included a surprise performance by John Legend (above, who appropriately sang “Let It Shine”), and what felt like a mini stand-up routine from Rosie O’Donnell who snuck in an impression of Arianna Huffington while presenting Berger with her award. We know why their outstanding accomplishments in communications make them each a Matrix Award winner, but read on to see what they said when we asked, “What Makes You A Lady?”…

Matrix Group 75

{Top Row: Presenters L-R} Rosie O'Donnell, Linda Kaplan Thaler, Mark Burnett, Evelyn Lauder, Paula Kerger, Arianna Huffington, and Dana Tyler. {Bottom Row: Matrix Winners L-R} Cindi Berger, Robin Koval, Abbe Raven, Gina Sanders, Gwen Ifill, Sheryl Sandberg, and Idina Menzel. (Photos Courtesy of

Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook): “I think the important thing for women is to feel empowered.  To be a lady is to feel that you can step forward and do what you want to do, accomplish what you want to accomplish.” 

Idina Menzel (Tony Award-winning performer): “These days, I think what makes me a lady is being able to be a mother, a wife, and a career woman at the same time and to not go crazy in the process! You have to balance it all with grace, and it’s not easy. I’m trying to figure it out moment to moment while trying to stay IN the moment.”

Robin Koval (The Kaplan Thaler Group): “I think being a strong woman makes you a lady – it gives you the perspective on when to be tough, but to do it nicely. I always practice the power of nice which means you’re not being naive, you’re not being a doormat, and you’re getting everything you want without crushing other people.”

Gwen Ifill (Washington Week and The PBS NewsHour): “People expect more of women – we can’t be too tough and we can’t be too retiring, it’s a line we have to walk. Because I was raised in a time when you had to just break through the doors, it wasn’t until I was a grown woman in this business that I realized the value of being a lady…it turns out you can get a lot more accomplished if you’re ladylike, but firm, in what you want to do.”

Gina Sanders (Fairchild Fashion Group): “Being a lady is knowing what you need to do while always being mindful of others – I think you can get to a goal in a way that everybody wins. Your moving up, doesn’t mean someone else should move down. Everyone counts.”

To learn more about the 2011 Matrix Awards and to participate in the online Charity Buzz auction  to benefit the NYWICI Foundation (open through April 27th), visit