Women Leaders in
Food, Fine Beverage & Hospitality

President's Letters

July 2015

Bright and Shining New Members

Our new members for 2016 have been selected by Nominations Chair Joanne Hayes and the membership committee and heartily approved by the Board of Directors. Here they are:

Carrie Bachman is the owner of Carrie Bachman Public Relations. She has had a long career in culinary public relations and works with cookbook authors and publishers. Most of the committee already knew Carrie and her work and all of us know that she will be an asset to LDNY. She has lots of energy and her experience in event planning, fundraising, and communications will fit perfectly into the work of our organization. Her sponsors are Linda Pelaccio, Jody Eddy, and Suzi O’Rourke.

Marybeth Bentwood is the Executive Director of Wines of Chile USA. A marketing and communications executive specializing in wine, she has worked for Pernod Ricard USA as an Account Manager, The Thomas Collective as a Senior Account Manager, founded her own agency, Delicious Life PR, and then served as PR Director at Kobrand. She holds a BS from Plymouth State University, a MFA from Columbia, is fluent in Spanish and conversant in German. Her sponsors are May Matta-Aliah and Marika Vida-Arnold.

Francine Cohen is Editor-in-Chief of Inside F&B, an online trade magazine that covers the business of the food, beverage, and hospitality industries, as well as a strategic marketing specialist with Inside F&B Ink. It is a unique PR consultancy where she develops and executes editorial content, social media plans, and special events that boost brand awareness and sales. She has already assisted the LDNY events committee with several events benefitting our scholarship fund. Francine holds a B.A. in Communications from Fairleigh Dickenson University. Her sponsors are Barbara Sibley and Melanie Young.

Susannah Gold is President of Vigneto Communications, a Public Relations company specializing in luxury wine and food clients, and writes a wine blog, Avvinare. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Colgate University, a Masters in Economics and Political Science from Johns Hopkins, wine certifications from Associazione Italiana Sommeliers, Wine and Spirits Education Trust, Society of Wine Educators, Spanish Wine Academy, and is currently enrolled at the Institute of Masters of Wine. She is a licensed Real Estate Sales person in New York and New Jersey and also President of Gold Communications, a Public Relations company specializing in finance. Her sponsors are Melanie Young and May Matta-Aliah.

Rhonda Kave e is the Owner/ Operator/ Head Chocolatier at Roni-Sue’s Chocolates and writes that she has been actively making and studying about chocolate, confections and baked goods since 1982. She has a shop in the Essex Street Market and a shop and production site on Forsyth Street, both in NYC’s Lower East Side. In 2010 she became a partner in MOHO Chocolate Company, a bean-to-bar chocolate factory located in Belize City, BZ. The company has two shops in Belize. Her sponsors are Alexandra Leaf and Linda Pelaccio.

Vincenza Kelly is Marketing and Promotion Officer at the Italian Trade Commission – Trade Section of the Consulate General of Italy. She holds a BA from Fairfield University, a MA from Queens College-City University of New York, and an MBA including work at FIT Melbourne, FL and Fordham in New York. She completed a Graduate Business Program with a concentration on the marketing of Italian luxury products in the US Marketplace developed by Fordham University and the University of Naples Federico II. Vincenza has various wine certificates from the Society of Wine Educators, Wine & Spirits Education Trust, and The Court of Master Sommeliers. She speaks Italian, Spanish, and French. Her sponsors are Susan Purdy and Linda Lawry.

Marjorie Wolfson is Cook for Kids Director at Wellness in the Schools, the in-school program that educates children about healthy foods and how to make them. The program now serves 35,000 kids in 60 New York City public schools and the LDNY Green Tables Committee has participated in some of their events. Marjorie holds a BFA from State University of New York, College at Purchase and worked at several fine dining restaurants in NYC before starting Marjorie’s Kitchen, a boutique catering and event production company, where she was the Executive Chef for 15 years. Her sponsors are Georgia Downard and Joyce O’Neill.

The New Members Induction Reception will take place on Monday, September 28, at Lafayette Restaurant. Please plan to be there and welcome this very impressive group into our organization.

Join Us at the Scholarship Reception!

One of the most important events of our year is coming up on the evening of Tuesday, July 21st. The good news is that there is still time to sign up. Come to share in the festivities and leave with a feeling of goodwill and fulfillment.

Charleston Conference Information Has Arrived

The LDEI website www.ldei.org/ has posted information for the upcoming October conference including pre-conference programs, the conference agenda and hotel reservation details. It’s time to sign up for this annual event in a beautiful, historic city.

The Buzz at Corkbuzz

Things were buzzing at the Chelsea Market wine bar Corkbuzz on Monday June 29th. Dames from chapters around the country were in New York for The Fancy Food show at the Javits Center. The LDNY chapter welcomed them to our hometown with a fun evening that included delightful wines and tasty nibbles. It was a great chance to meet Dames from other chapters including The Northeast, Charleston, Chicago and Philadelphia.

The success of this event has persuaded Program Co-Chairs Jeanne Voltz and Joyce O’Neill that we make it an annual event.

Mentoring Revised

Mentoring Co-Chairs Alison Awerbuch and Suzi O’Rourke are reworking the way we present our mentoring program to the scholarship winners. They will offer an event in the fall where the most recent scholarship recipients will be able to meet Dames who will be able to advise and support them in the fields that they plan to enter.

Alison and Suzi will be looking for members who are willing to help support this program, so please consider joining them in this very worthy and fulfilling endeavor.


Two important names were accidently left off of the “Sunday Supper in Harlem” report in last month’s letter. Joanna Pruess and Joyce O’Neill were key to the development and success of this special program. Many thanks to them for all their good work.

I hope you will enjoy the rest of the summer!

Best regards,

Linda Lawry

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