Honoring The Women Of Queens, Part 1

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Michelle J. Anderson, Dean of the CUNY School

Dean of the CUNY School of Law, Michelle Anderson said she has always been a teacher first. A law school professor at Villanova University School of Law for eight years, she appreciates the study of law because it is “intellectually enthralling.”

Anderson still teaches one law class every fall, but as Dean, she said she is “the servant leader of the institution and wants to help it grow and flourish.”

“Being Dean is the thrill of being the person who gets to talk about the institution to others and who serves the institution,” Anderson added.

Through her leadership, the law school has seen progressive development since the start of her time in 2006. For starters, the law school now serves its students in a new LEED gold-certified, state-of-the-art building in Long Island City.

Anderson highlighted a program launched in 2006, the Pipeline to Justice Program, which coincides very well with the school’s mission to enhance the diversity of the student body. It prepares underrepresented students to enter CUNY School of Law and supports them throughout their law school career to follow a public interest focus.

This program has led the school to become the second most diverse law school in the nation for both faculty and student diversity.

Anderson said she understands what it means to be a role-model for students because she has seen the “light-bulbs go off when they understand difficult, dense material.” To her, that is “terrifically rewarding.”

As a woman leader in Queens, Anderson wants to continue to resonate the two-fold mission of the law school by diversifying the legal field, so everyone has a fair shot, regardless of his or her background, and graduating public interest attorneys.

- Trisha Sakhuja

 

Eileen Auld, Citi Comm. Develop. Regional Director

Throughout her storied career, Eileen Auld has worked to improve the lives of those who needed it the most.

Auld is the regional director of Citi Community Development, a part of Citigroup dedicated to economically empowering underserved individuals and families. Covering New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, Auld and her team dedicate resources to affordable housing, college success and small business.

She recently worked with New York City to put funding towards helping immigrant parents become naturalized citizens.

Auld credited her career in service as having come from her parents, who were community activists.

“They felt they had a responsibility to partake in the system and make their neighborhood a better place,” she said.

One of the most impactful eras of Auld’s life was her time with the New York Police Department. As the assistant commissioner for community affairs, she helped bring communities and the NYPD closer together. She also worked to bring relief to the families and victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Rockaway plane crash later that same year.

“My experiences with the police department were really unique and life-changing,” Auld said. “The NYPD is always in my heart.”

Having grown up in Queens, the Borough has played a large role in her life. To this day, she still calls it home, living in Forest Hills.

“I was born in Queens, I went to Queens College, I met my husband in Queens,” Auld said. “I love Queens.”

Auld owns a summer home in Breezy Point. After the devastating damage caused by Superstorm Sandy to the Rockaways, she was thrilled that Citi Community was helping with the recovery. The company put up $250,000 for a store front improvement program and $150,000 for a small business marketing campaign.

- Joe Marvilli

 

Carol Conslato: Con Edison Director of Public Affairs

From her time as president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce to her position as director of public affairs with Con Edison, Carol Conslato has dedicated much of her life to staying active within the Queens community.

Conslato has worked for the electric company for 34 years. As director of public affairs, she works with the community and elected officials to resolve any number of issues that arise not just in Queens, but throughout the City.

In the last year alone, Conslato has attended a number of public meetings in southern Queens and the Rockaways, addressing the concerns of residents who lost power in the weeks after Superstorm Sandy.

“I’m very fortunate to work with a company that is so heavily involved with the community,” she said.

Conslato also served as president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce for three years, with her most recent term ending earlier this year. Her time at the Chamber saw Long Island City emerge as a tech hub, as the Chamber continues to bring more tech enterprises to the Borough.

The former president of the Chamber also worked on the This is Queens iPhone app that came out earlier this year. She said that their aim was to market the Borough as a place people can visit.

“With events like the U.S. Open and with people flying into our airports, we wanted to tell people that you can stay in Queens,” said Conslato, who was born in Southeast Queens.

- Luis Gronda

 

Philippa Karteron, Council for Airport Opportunity Executive Director

Philippa Karteron is a seasoned veteran in the field of working with transportation throughout New York City. She has served as executive director for the Council for Airport Opportunity in Jamaica for the past four years. Karterton has also had a hand in starting a number of transportation hub projects throughout the City.

“I worked as an administrator for the City for 32 years. In that time, I’ve developed a partnership with projects like Port Authority and the Air Train,” she said. “When the position of executive director became available, I was interested. I’d already had experience with aviation, and transportation as a whole, so I went for it.”

Karteron has worked with Metro Tech in Brooklyn and founded the flagship location of the Workforce One Community Center in Queens. She has also played an instrumental role in opening various centers for the latter across the City.

Regarding her position as director, Karteron believes that she has taken the station into the 21st century.

“I’ve refurbished the offices, positively increased our statistics annually, and rebranded the organization. Economic and work force development is what I do and what I want others to benefit from,” she said.

Karteron expressed her happiness with being able to work in Queens again. After working in Lower Manhattan for most of her career, she is “happy to be in her home community.”

A sense of giving back is also important in how Karteron runs the work place.

“That is always important. I was brought up to understand that my goal was to help people,” she said.

- Asia Ewart

 

Dr. Marcia Keizs, President, York College

On Valentine’s Day 2005, York College in Jamaica welcomed its new president – Dr. Marcia Keizs. During her eight years at York, the college has seen tremendous success and growth, due in large part to her strong leadership.

But her journey to the top has not always been a walk in the park for the Kingston, Jamaica native.

“My initial year and a half or two was difficult because I tried to assert leadership,” Keizs said. “Not everyone was happy. However, once I was able to balance that assertiveness with listening, I found with that approach, we could be successful.”

Dr. Keizs has more than 30 years of experience in the CUNY system, both as an administrator and a professor. It is her passion for the students that has kept her in the same field after all these years.

“I really love working in an educational institution,” she said. “You’re working actively to help students achieve dreams of higher education. I love to engage with my students even though I am not in the classroom anymore.”

And it is not just the students that give Keizs the fuel to keep running.

“I also get a chance to work with some phenomenal faculty. They bring a wealth of experience,” she said. “That’s one of the beauties of my job – I get to engage and interact with them.”

Her commitment and dedication to York College goes well beyond her role as president. Keizs has also pledged to donate $100,000 to the school, which she has been paying off in installments.

“I would not put my hard-earned money into a place that I didn’t love and didn’t feel the legacy was good,” she said. “I was raised to be generous with what I have and so when we were fundraising for the school two or three years ago, I made a pledge to give $100,000.”

- Natalia Kozikowska