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Save the Date 2011  1  2 3  5 The Season PB
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Black Tie International:
2011 Women of Distinction Spirit Award Luncheon

Women of Distinction Spirit Award Luncheon

Greater New York Chapter, The Links, Incorporated ANNOUNCES 2011 Women of Distinction SPIRIT Award Luncheon

Saturday, April 23, 2011, Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers

23rd Street at the Hudson River




NEW YORK – Greater New York Chapter, The Links, Incorporated, will present its 2011 Women of Distinction Spirit Award Luncheon, on Saturday, April 23, 2011 at the scenic Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City.  Honoring Debra L. Lee, chairman and CEO of BET Networks and Rhonda Mims, president, ING Foundation and senior vice president, ING’s Office of Corporate Responsibility and Multicultural Affairs, the event will take place from Noon to 4 PM, preceded by a vendor showcase at 11:00 AM.  Among the highlights of the event will be a fashion show featuring the lively and colorful work of legendary designer Stephen Burrows.  The fashion show will be presented by beauty and fashion industry doyenne, Mikki Garth-Taylor, former beauty and cover editor of Essence magazine.  A reception will be held immediately following the event, featuring the Warren Daniels Band. 

Lynn K. Law is the luncheon chair and co-chairs are Mignon Espy-Edwards, Donna Jones and Rhonda McLean.  Sponsorship levels for the event range from $5,000 to $25,000, and individual tickets are $200 each.  Tickets are available at:

Wine and champagne are generously donated by Ruder Finn Multicultural & Image Marketing Group’s Executive Vice President, Helen C. Shelton.

“We are delighted to present the 2011 Women of Distinction Luncheon honoring Debra Lee and Rhonda Mims – two outstanding women who exemplify what it means to pursue excellence, attain goals and positively impact those around you,” says Gerri Warren-Merrick, president, Greater New York Chapter, The Links, Incorporated.  “This year’s luncheon will honor these women and provide an exciting and uplifting forum for all those who attend with an afternoon of fellowship and fundraising to help advance the mission of the Greater New York Chapter of The Links, Incorporated.”


About the Greater New York Chapter

Established in 1946, The Links, Incorporated, is one of the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of women who, linked in friendship, are committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African-Americans and persons of African descent. The Links, Incorporated is a not-for-profit organization, which consists of nearly 12,000 professional women of color in 272 chapters located in 42 states, the District of Columbia and the Bahamas.


Greater New York Chapter, founded in 1949, was the first chapter in New York and comprises members from all five boroughs in New York City and from Long Island. Under the leadership of President, Gerri Warren Merrick, Greater New York Chapter is committed to fostering community outreach in the New York metropolitan area through quality programs with a long-term impact on the well-being and enrichment of African-Americans. For more information log on to Greater New York Chapter’s Web site at


About Debra L. Lee

Debra Lee is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BET Networks, a unit of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B) and the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment for the African-American audience and consumers of Black culture.


Ms. Lee oversees one of the most influential multiplatform media companies in the world, including several cable television networks, digital offerings, and a home entertainment business. BET Networks is committed to providing its audience with quality entertainment that speaks to where they are in their lives and where they want to go. Ms. Lee has led BET’s successful original programming strategy that has created hits such as The Mo’Nique Show, Monica: Still Standing, Sunday Best and many more. In addition, Ms. Lee has helped guide BET’s reinvigorated approach, which is built on supporting families, embracing and encouraging their dreams, focusing on the issues that are important to them and presenting the freshest talent and entertainment.  In September 2009, Ms. Lee managed the launch of CENTRIC, the 24-hour entertainment network featuring the artists, music, series, movies and reality programming that reflects the lifestyle and sophistication of today’s African-American and multi-cultural adult.  She also oversees the company’s current growth initiatives, including international distribution of the brand in the United Kingdom and Africa.

Prior to her being named CEO, Ms. Lee was President and Chief Operating Officer of BET Networks for almost 10 years, during which she guided the company to consistent increases in viewership, revenue and earnings.  She first joined BET as Vice President and General Counsel in 1986 after serving more than five years as an attorney with Washington, D.C.-based Steptoe & Johnson, a corporate law firm.  Prior to that, she served as a law clerk to the late Honorable Barrington Parker of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Her achievements in a 20-plus year career at BET Networks have earned her numerous accolades from across the cable industry, as well as recognition as one of this country’s most respected business executives.  She serves on the corporate board of directors of Revlon, Marriott, Eastman Kodak, and Washington Gas & Light.  Her business acumen and strategic approach to management make Ms. Lee a popular speaker and lecturer on a range of business topics.

Affiliated with a number of professional, civic, and cultural organizations,
Ms. Lee is also a member of the national board of directors for the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Economic Club of Washington, the Center for Communication and the Kennedy Center’s Community & Friends Board.  She is also a member of the Board of Trustees for Brown University and also serves on the boards of the Paley Center for Media, the Ad Council, the Grammy Foundation, and was recently appointed to the Federal Communications Commission’s Advisory Committee on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age.

Ms. Lee earned her juris doctorate at Harvard Law School, while simultaneously earning a master’s degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government.  She graduated from Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in political science with an emphasis in Asian politics. Ms. Lee resides in Washington, D.C., with her two children.

About Rhonda Mims

Rhonda Mims is responsible for creating a corporate responsibility strategy focusing on children’s education, financial literacy, outreach to diverse communities, and environmental sustainability. In this role, she is also responsible for workforce diversity and diversity marketing.

Prior to her current role, Mims was a member of ING’s external affairs team. She served as ING U.S. PAC treasurer, ethics officer, and conducted government affairs for some of the mid-western states and the City of Atlanta. Prior to that role, she was counsel with the ING U.S. litigation team, overseeing the management of outside counsel on litigation matters, and a territorial sales manager for ING based in Fairfax, Va.

Prior to joining ING, she served as an environmental civil litigation attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice and as a senior attorney with the National District Attorney Association's American Prosecutor's Research Institute.

Mims currently serves as an Alliance Trustee for America’s Promise, and she sits on the Board of Directors of The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Woodruff Arts Center, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, UNICEF and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Business Civic Leadership Center. She is also an active member of the Executive Leadership Council. Mims is a 2007 Leadership Atlanta Graduate, and PR News honored her as one of their 2008 Corporate Social Responsibility Executives of the Year.

Mims received her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of South Carolina and her Juris Doctorate from the University of South Carolina School of Law.  She currently holds NASD series 7 and 66 designations.


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