Matrix Awards

Red Carpet Report: 2012 Matrix Awards

April 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm , by

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 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

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