Women Leaders in
Food, Fine Beverage & Hospitality

Meet Our Board of Directors

The programs, funds, activities and initiatives of the New York Chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier are managed by our Board of Directors. It is comprised of chapter leaders who are elected by the membership each fall.


Linda Lawry - President

 Job Title: Director, International Wine Center

Professional Skills: Educator
Member Since: 2005
Current Board Position: LDNY President
Past Board Positions and Committees Chaired: Director at Large Programs Committee Chair, Nominating Committee Chair, Conference Delegate, Scholarship Committee Member, Scholarship Committee Cochair
Proudest Accomplishment: Have been teaching professional wine classes for 25 years and still love it
Favorite Place to Visit: So many, it’s hard to pick only one—but Paris
Favorite Food: Smoked salmon and caviar—with champagne, of course!
Fun Fact: With a few minor exceptions, I’ve visited every wine and spirits producing country/region in the world.

Beth Allen - Vice President

 Job Title: President, Beth Allen Associates, Inc.

Professional Skills: Cookbook Author, Recipe Developer and Producer of 23 illustrated cookbooks
Member Since: 2002
Current Board Position: Vice President
Past Board Positions and Committees Chaired: President, Vice President, Secretary, Nominating Committee Chair, Membership Committee Chair, Website Cochair; LDEI President, Immediate Past President, First Vice President, Chapter Board Liaison
Proudest Accomplishment: Married John Allen (with the same last name as mine) over twenty-five years ago and still happily married
Favorite Place to Visit: Paris, where I attended cooking school, returned for my honeymoon and celebrated several holidays
Favorite Food: Brandied Baked Ham with Mom’s Baking Powder Biscuits
Fun Fact: Personally baked over 100 cheesecakes-to-die-for while creating the Junior’s Cheesecake Cookbook

Joan Brower - Secretary

 Job Title: Principal, The Dilenschneider Group

Professional Skills: Communicator and Marketer of food, fine wine and hospitality; a public relations professional, who believes in an integrated approach that brings culture to life through tourism and culinary experiences.
Member Since: 2013
Current Board Position: Secretary
Past Board Positions and Committees Chaired: Public Relations Committee Cochair
Proudest Accomplishment: Two grown sons, who are not only outstanding professionals (veterinary surgeon; biotech executive), but also caring individuals and committed amateur cooks
Favorite Place to Visit: Everywhere and anywhere in my hometown -- New York City
Favorite Food: Duck in any form
Fun Fact: My cousin was the late Dr. Phoebus Levene, an American biochemist who discovered the components of DNA. Perhaps my love of food, wine and hospitality has its genesis in DNA mapping!

Cathy Fazzolari - Treasurer

 Job Title: Co-owner, D. Coluccio and Sons, Inc

Professional Skills: Executive company decisions, buyer, coordinator of all imported products and private labeled goods. Liaison with all Italian vendors and customers. Controller of accounts receivables and payables. Control and supervise all employees. Fluent in Italian.
Member Since: 2013
Current Board Position: Treasurer
Proudest Accomplishment: Being a mother of three children and working full time
Favorite Place to Visit: Italy
Favorite Food: Pasta with fish sauce
Fun Fact:I am an amazing home cook, who has taught various home cooking classes

Alison Awerbuch - Director at Large

 Job Title: Partner, Executive Vice President at Abigail Kirsch Catering Relationships

Professional Skills: Accomplished in all aspects of high volume, upscale catering and special events in the corporate, social and fundraising market segments. Specialize in detailed planning, creative F and B and event design, and working miracles in challenging locations
Member Since: 1993
Current Board Position: Director at Large
Past Board Positions and Committees Chaired: Copresident LDNY for one term, Director at Large for several terms, LDEI Legacy Committee Cochair, Mentoring Committee Cochair, Scholarship Committee Cochair, Ad Hoc Make a Difference Scholarship Committee Cochair, "A Festival of Sweets" fundraiser Cochair
Proudest Accomplishment: Being selected as one of three event companies to caterer the Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden–coordinating over 500 events in four days, working out of 12 makeshift kitchens in the Garden, and executing wonderful menus for over 10,000 people
Favorite Place to Visit: Visiting my immediate family in the midwest and southwest. After that, the Far-East-Vietnam, Thailand, China and Singapore–the culture, the food, the people. When there, I'm immersed in the exotic and unknown
Favorite Food: After foie gras and caviar (just kidding), I'll let you in on my secret which I rarely admit: pizza and ice cream are my favs... maybe because I rarely eat them
Fun Fact: I love listening to music, dancing to music, and singing karaoke to music!

Donna Boland - Director at Large

Job Title: Culinary Instructor, Recipe Developer, Recipe Tester
Professional Skills: Educator, Hospital Administrator and Registered Nurse
Member Since: 2013
Current Board Position: Director at Large
Proudest Accomplishment: Raising my son and daughter
Favorite Place to Visit: Too hard to pick one - Paris, Rome or anywhere with a beautiful beach
Favorite Food: Pasta-it's in my blood!
Fun Fact: I am a total cat lover

Ronnie Campbell - Director at Large

 Job Title: President, The Burrell Group, Ltd

Professional Skills: Public Relations and Communications Specialist
Member Since: 2010
Current Board Position: Director at Large
Past Board Positions and Committees Chaired: Communications Committee Chair
Proudest Accomplishment: There are several, and becoming a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier NY was certainly one!
Favorite Place to Visit: Anywhere in New York and Cape Cod
Favorite Food: All Italian, but especially polenta and risotto when done just right
Fun Fact: My life’s path was totally unplanned but meant to be!

Joan Coukos - Director at Large

 Job Title: CEO and Chocolatier of Chocolat Moderne

Professional Skills: In current life, recipe, product and packaging development; branding (all learned on the job). In past life, financial services
Member Since: 2013
Current Board Position: Director at Large
Proudest Accomplishment: Founding Chocolat Moderne and winning the sofi™ Gold Award for Outstanding Chocolate in both 2012 and 2013
Favorite Place to Visit: Paris, once a Francophile always a Francophile…
Favorite Food: Salmon, caviar, (both of those can be with or without blini), oysters
Fun Fact: I lived in Moscow for 6 years in the 90’s when I was in banking; fluent in Russian

Sharon Franke - Director at Large

 Job Title: Director, Kitchen Appliances and Technology of Good Housekeeping Institute

Professional Skills: Magazine writing, editing, testing kitchen equipment, recipe development, food styling, public speaking
Member Since: 2013
Current Board Position: Director at Large
Past Board Positions and Committees Chaired: Director at Large, Programs Committee Cochair, Communications Committee Cochair
Proudest Accomplishment: Raising an accomplished daughter
Favorite Place to Visit: Westport, CT... that's where my grandkids live
Favorite Food: Scrambled Eggs
Fun Fact: "I cook on a 67-year old Magic Chef range with an oven that has to be lit with a match!"

Marsha Palanci - Director at Large

 Job Title: Founder/CEO Cornerstone Communications, Ltd.

Professional Skills: Wine marketing and public relations
Member Since: 1985
Current Board Position: Delegate at Large, "The Next Big Bite" Fundraiser, Cochair
Past Board Positions and Committees Chaired: Vice President, Membership Committee Chair, Fundraising Auction Cochair, LDEI Legacy Awards Cochair
Proudest Accomplishment: Designing a leadership forum called WWLS for top women in the wine industry
Favorite Place to Visit: Paris, where I can hit all the best food markets and cook my favorite French dishes
Favorite Food: Caviar, what else? Preferably served with Russian Standard Vodka
Fun Fact: During summer break from college, I worked briefly in a screw factory. Exhausting work

Lori Tieszen - Director at Large

 Job Title: CMO / SVP Marketing for Stoli Group USA

Professional Skills: Marketing, Sales, Strategic Planning
Member Since: 2012
Current Board Position: Director at Large
Proudest Accomplishment: Setting up and opening the first US office for Wines of Chile in 2009
Favorite Place to Visit: Barcelona, where you can eat at any time of day. More jamon!!
Favorite Food: Jamon Iberico, preferably pata negra
Fun Fact: Just became a new bride and grandmother of 3 at 56!

Jeanne Voltz - Director at Large

 Job Title: Food Stylist

Professional Skills: Preparing and arranging food for television, photography, and special presentations
Member Since: 2006
Current Board Position: Director at Large
Past Board Positions and Committees Chaired: Programs Committee Cochair (past and current)
Proudest Accomplishment: Working with many renowned chef's and cookbook authors for more than 30 years
Favorite Place to Visit: Cuba–the people, the place, the water, and the food. Or someplace I've never been
Favorite Food: How could there be a favorite?
Fun Fact: My mother, Jeanne A. Voltz, was a founding member of Les Dames d'Escoffier and the first president of LDEI

Deborah Mintcheff - Parliamentarian

Job Title: President, Food Style, Inc. and Founder, LiveForwardCoaching
Professional Skills: Cookbook Editor and Certified Life Coach
Member Since: 2000
Current Board Position: LDEI Chapter Board Liaison, LDNY Parliamentarian
Past Board Positions and Committees Chaired: President, Copresident, Treasurer, Director at Large, Membership Committee Cochair, Public Relations Committee Cochair, Induction Cochair, Scholarship Committee Treasurer, Nominating Committee Chair, Website Cochair, Fales Library Initiative Cochair, Parliamentarian
Proudest Accomplishment: Being the best daughter possible
Favorite Place to Visit: Paris, where I can enjoy all the Brie and baguette I want and not gain an ounce!
Favorite Food: Dover Sole Meuniére (on the bone)
Fun Fact: I founded Biscuits 'n' Bones, a dog-biscuit company specializing in treats for dogs with food allergies
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